When the Trend News Breaks, Should Social Media Follow or Not?

Social media topics replace and alternate each other at a rapid speed. Traditional TV commercials was used to be broadcasting for a year, and one version of digital banners can be resized into hundreds of different versions that could be used for one to two months at least; however, when it comes to social media nowadays, hot topics can potentially sustain for a short period of less than three days. Thus, social media editors are tasked with the important mission of keeping up with hot topics.   

But, to follow or not to follow, that is the question.   

Before we summarize three elements to consider, let’s take a look at a poping hot case as an example.   

On June 12, photos exposing a passionate kissing embrace between Aaron Chen and Cheryl Hsieh on the streets shocked the entertainment circle. Internet users were the first to react and immediately photoshopped a BMW logo to the news photo, as following:

On the same day, many brands wanted to catch up to the wave of the topic using some copywriting or similar images to infer the situation, yet the resulting effects were not the same.

The highly acclaimed Shopee copywriters immediately released new content before 4PM on the day. They posted a photo of a measuring tape after Aaron Chen’s comment to the press to promote measuring tapes, which received 13000 likes, 1500 shares and nearly 2300 comments in total. A detailed analysis of the fan clicks demonstrate that there were 7953 likes, 5224 happy face, 44 loves, and only 9 angries  and 2 sads. If we analyze those comments, we will see a majority of them praising the Shopee team for their cunning idea to even make that connection. The overall response was positive.

GO TEETH SPA, with only 1004 fans, also released their content at 7:30PM on the same day. They used a similar photo, pose, and copywriting to infer the situation. A total of 34 people clicked like, and no one clicked angry or expressed their turning off.

Korean accessories brand HUNDRESS has 22164 fans, and they posted the following at 6PM on the 13th. The timing was out of the question, and the connection was even weaker by using only words to express their ideas. A total of 23 people clicked like. Fans were all commenting on the product and were not offended.

In contrast to these three examples, Siangsliving has 100 thousand fans and posted the following post at nearly 7PM on the evening of the day, which ended up receiving a large number of negative comments. There were even fans that have commented “This sucks! How did marketing text with such low quality get passed? The administrator’s skills are obviously poor, so do their products.” More rational fans instead suggested that “This should be deleted”. Even though some of the fans recognized the team’s humor, the overall tone of the post was headed towards a negative direction. The page administrator eventually had to apologize and clarify in the comment.

Why is that some catching the wave can ride it out smoothly, while others are ruthlessly wiped out? 

The evaluation and consideration criteria are quite simple. Please consider the three following elements in following up with controversial news:  

The first element: Who are your fans? What kind of your style that fans are agreed with? 

The Shopee fanbase has always been young and witty. They are a relatively younger age group than that of Siangsliving. Therefore, fans are familiar with Shopee’s style and it’s easier for Shopee fans to accept the tape measure post which was a continuation of the said style. Siangsliving’s style is used to being hipster, yet they chose to meddle in this affair, which was a great departure from the original style of their page. This is why it received so much backlash from the fans who support the artsy and hipster style. Thus, prior to catching the wave of controversial news, please consider what your marketing style is. Does this post fit your original style, and can your fans accept it?   

The second element: Which side does your creativity stands? 

In this controversial topic, both the man and the woman are being criticized. Upon close observation and one would find out a third-person point of view from the poster, which is an objective side, encouraging everyone to behave. But Siangsliving has the same name as the man involved (the word “Siang” is also Aaron Chen’s Chinese name), and posted in the first person plural “we”. Additionally, the word “measure” they used does not connect well with the news, which agitates the fans, and then people think its an inappropriate joke.   

The third element: Is the concept connects well enough with the product?

The most important is, please ask yourselves, are you just following for following, or have you truly found the connection? If you can’t catch the wave, then definitely don’t try to force it to happen. Because the result could vary: if  the situation is light, then you will just be laughed at, otherwise, if the situation is worse, you might be criticized. This is definitely not worthy at all . When you are catching the waves, your content should stay as far away as possible from the news, and the connection between your fan page and the news should remain as close as better. Be very careful about how you operate the line between.    

Commercials must be creative, but even more importantly, be kind  

Yeh Minguay, Olgilvy Chief Strategy Officer shared a personal anecdote from his career. When he took over Pecos’s Proker Ham and had wanted to emphasize the requirement to be “cooked to perfection in 72 hours” in the ham production process, the marketing team had a perfect opportunity during the kidnapping of Pai Hsiao-Yen that shocked the nation: a journalist took a photo of Chen Chin-Hsing(the criminal) standing in line at a noodles stand. They wanted to use this photo with a copywriting to highlight the line “Proker Ham is cooked to perfection in 72 hours, even Chen Chin-Hsing gets in line” to create buzz. However, the idea was rejected by Pecos. After all that’s said and done, we could say that Pecos didn’t have the guts, but Pecos insisted on being kind in their commercials. The brand’s nature must always be taken into consideration.   

Social media management is much more difficult in every regard than traditional printed ads. No matter which way you choose to attract attention or to lure fans, just remember: you are curating the content, and you are representing the brand.        

About the Author
Kenya has over tens years experiences in ad agencies. He loves observing consumer behavior and marketing trends. His left brain strategizes while his right brain writes down the copywriting. He adores creative ideas that make an impact on people’s hearts. Like a squirrel, he just “chows down” (sounds similar to “Kenya” in Chinese) on insight and creativity at all times.

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