How many of your friends have posted a ‘which Disney character are you?’ Instagram lens onto their Instagram Story over the last two weeks? How many people have tried the Greggs randomiser or McDonalds menu picker, or took part in the Dolly Parton Challenge. What about the 10 year challenge sharing two photos a decade apart?

As a brand, jumping onto current trends in a creative way, without destroying the organic uniqueness of the viral moment is now more important an ever before. Being part of the conversation is now seen as important as leading one.

Audiences are now made up of far more segmented, niche groups – so tapping into this through organic viral content is ideal for brand engagement. Delivering content when it’s right vs for the sake of it… is also more timely than ever.

With algorithms controlling what we do, and more importantly, don’t see – cutting through your marketing content with trending and in-the-moment creative can really allow you to stand out.

Greggs Instagram Lens

I’m fortunate to work with a number of disruptive brands, wanting to push the boundaries. When the Dolly Parton challenge dropped – we immediately thought about the content challenge and whether we could relate this to their products and services.

It’s also really important to have a team who can quickly activate social with quality. Whether it’s a meme which is relevant to your cause, or thinking on your feet about a trending topic – social doesn’t sleep, and therefore having strong content pillars will allow you to quickly deduct whether you should be part of that conversation on social.

Friends star Courtney Cox trying to get herself on an Instagram Lens

For some, it’s not always right – and it’s super important to know when not to join in on a current trend. Is it political? Too controversial or rude… or just doesn’t align with your brand values.

But if it does align. What is really stopping you? Is it a lack of clarity of your brand goals, or not knowing how your audience would receive it? All of these trace back to how analytical you are about your audience, and whether you really know them.

So why do these viral creatives go so far and wide?

Well, they’re unbranded. They’re suitable to be shared time and time again… and it allows all of us to have a bit of fun. The ‘Which Greggs item are on’ on Instagram Stories is a perfect example of this. Quickly executed – everyone recognised their white paper bags, and used it over and over to get their favourite item.

Even Gordon Ramsay got in on the Dolly Parton challenge

There’s no brand trackback, but overall a rise in positive brand sentiment – and you’re putting your product into the hands of potentially millions of Instagram users to market your menu. It’s an easy win.

And if Greggs hadn’t got involved? Well, nothing would have changed. No wins, no losses – but nothing new.

Social is a space to be experimental, and as a global brand or a startup you too can have fun with this. Whether it’s using the emoji reactions on LinkedIn to get your readers attention – or joining TikTok to talk about the EU (LINK), there really is space for all brands to be free and have some well needed fun online.

What’s going to be the next big moment in social? Only time will tell, but you should be a part of it.

What are your thoughts on fast paced social moments? Do you jump on them or do worries or red tape get in the way? Let me know in the comments!

(Photo credit: Bloomberg, Instagram Stories, Greggs, Gordon Ramsay)