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Key Differences Between a Social Media Trend and a Movement

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Luis Feliz
Luis Feliz
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RALEIGH, NC (March 14, 2022) – Social media is a powerful tool for activists and consumers to share ideas and information. With social networking sites estimated to reach over 3.96 billion users by 2022, they have tremendous power to start or influence social trends and movements.

Social media trends and social movements may have similar goals, but they are very different in how they are executed and their overall impact. Understanding these differences is key to incorporating trends and movements into your brand’s social media strategy, which can help you reach a larger audience and build more loyal followers.

Social media trend vs social media movement

Social media trends and movements are used to attract users’ attention, but their overall strategies and goals may be different. Before diving into the differences between the two, here is a brief definition of each:

social media trend
A trend on social media is when a specific topic suddenly gains popularity. They are often triggered by a current event or flashy new product that people are excited to share on social media. Trends usually only last a few weeks, but during that short period of time, you can use them to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your social media channels.

social media movement
A social media movement is an organized effort to reach a specific goal or raise awareness about a specific issue. These are usually longer-term initiatives that can last for months or even years, and can have a significant impact on society by demanding real change in the world, and sometimes even sparking revolutions.

Spot the differences between a social media trend and a movement

For many small business owners, social media is not only a central communication platform, but also a major source of income. This means that it is essential to stay updated on what is happening on these platforms at all times in order to capitalize on current trends and movements.

However, before you can start incorporating trends and movements into your social media strategy, you need to be able to identify the difference between them, as each requires different responses.

Some of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a social media trend and a movement include:

Post “influence”

The term “influence” refers to the power and authority of a social influencer or trend on social media. It is often used in reference to social media posts that are purely for attention, with no real purpose behind them. If a business or influencer posts a photo for “influence,” chances are they’re not trying to inspire social change. Instead, the post is part of your short-term strategy to increase engagement in your account or draw attention to a particular product/event.

When companies and influencers make these posts, they are almost always taking advantage of social media trends, not movements. For example, brands can promote a new product on TikTok by taking advantage of the “Let me show you how” trend to show users how to use the new product.

Jumping on these trends can be a great way to increase brand awareness and engagement. However, it is a short-term strategy that usually only lasts as long as a particular TikTok sound is trending. Once the trend has passed, you will need to turn quickly to jump into the next one.

community construction
Social media movements are often focused on building a community of like-minded people. These communities then work toward specific goals, such as improving certain aspects of society, educating the public on a certain topic, or inspiring people to take action.

Companies can also get involved in relevant social movements. For example, if your brand prides itself on being cruelty-free, you can collaborate with other cruelty-free brands to start a social media movement to educate the public on why we shouldn’t test products on animals. By doing so, you’ll build a community of like-minded people who can share advice, inspire each other, and further the cause. And as a bonus, you will form a stronger relationship with your followers.

Boost your social media strategy with help from the BBB

Leveraging trends and movements to enhance your brand is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your social media strategy. With so many potential approaches to social media, it can be hard to know where to start, but with proper research, you can create an effective social media strategy to promote and grow your business.


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