The world of social media and online news is truly amazing. Seemingly out of the blue unexpected stories can suddenly “go viral” and gain huge overnight popularity across the web as first hundreds, then thousands and then millions of people start sharing a particular story, across social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and Pinterest.

Often the individual or organization that initially shares a particular story, photo or video are then astonished by how quickly their social media post can suddenly spread across the globe. Viral posts are one of the strongest indicators as to how powerful social media can be. The global growth of social media use itself is astonishing: in 2010 there were less than one billion people using social media, but by 2020 it is predicted that there will be 2.95 billion users (Statista)! This is great news for your resort as it increases your potential online audience massively.

Social Media is one of the most cost effective and best ways of reaching potential new guests, and by sharing valuable content and expanding your presence on networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube you have a recipe for success. By sharing brilliantly written blog posts, awesome photos and incredible videos based on your resort, its location and the experiences your guests can enjoy, you can create superb inbound marketing as individuals will share your posts and draw others to your brand and website. If your content entertains, creates value to people’s lives, or leads to a strong positive emotional response like happiness or laughter, then very often they will share this with friends and family.

One of the holy grails of digital marketing is the viral post. Every marketer would love to be able to share a social media post, photo, video or blog post that “goes viral” and brings a huge amount of positive traffic to a brand’s website. As mentioned earlier though, it is often difficult to predict what posts will gain this huge amount of online traffic. There is another option though which your resort can get involved in potentially leading to many social media shares and new visitors to your website. This is known as “Trendjacking” and can be highly effective if done correctly!

Online trends come and go quickly and often. Seemingly there is a new massive online trend every couple of weeks which spread like wildfire across social media channels. Trendjacking is similar to another recent piece of digital terminology. Newsjacking  was coined by world renowned Marketing & Sales Strategist, David Meerman Scott.

According to Scott: “Newsjacking is the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business. It creates a level playing field—literally anyone can newsjack—but, that new level favors players who are observant, quick to react, and skilled at communicating.”

In this sense brands are able to utilise events happening in the news that are being shared across social media, and insert themselves into the conversation in real time. One of the best examples of Newsjacking came during a Superbowl game in 2013 when Oreo sent out a simple, but incredibly effective Tweet linked to the power outage that had just occurred. The result? Viral success, and amazing brand exposure!

Trendjacking is very similar to Newsjacking, but instead of utilising stories that are big in the news, your resort can jump onboard to an online trend. This means that instead of having to try and create a photo, video or post that will go viral all on its own, your resort can create content based around an online trend that is already becoming popular.

Newsjacking is often more difficult to execute because news stories, such as the Super Bowl power outage, often appear and disappear in a matter of days or even hours. Because of the speed with which news comes and goes, it can often be difficult to create quality, engaging content based on this. As Scott has said, to take advantage of Newsjacking you need to be observant, quick to react and skilled at communicating! Another issue with Newsjacking is that a lot of news is not suitable for trying to promote a product. If done incorrectly Newsjacking can make a brand look stupid, if their attempt looks completely forced and unrelated, or even worse, completely insensitive.

By contrast your resort can more easily utilise the power of Trendjacking, as many online trends retain their relevance for weeks or even months, and are sometimes revisited years later. At their peak, these trends are being shared on social media across the world, become significant talking points among friends, families, in schools and workplaces, and are even discussed within the mainstream media such as TV, radio and in newspapers.  By creating entertaining or useful content related to a trend, your resort can potentially reach a much larger audience than it would ordinarily be able to, because hundreds of thousands or even millions of people are searching for information and media related to it.

Of course, during November and December, Christmas becomes a steadily growing trend across traditional media and social media. All the big brands start creating advertising campaigns in the hope that it becomes shared as much as possible. In the UK for example, famous retailers such as John Lewis compete with others to create the most share worthy advertising. In order to help their advertising be discovered and shared more easily, brands use a catchy hashtag. For the John Lewis Christmas commercial this year, they have featured a cute boxer dog bouncing on a trampoline and used the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer.

To create some buzz around his own personal brand, inspirational sales and marketing speaker, Steve Clarke, who spoke earlier this year at RDO7, decided to do a bit of Trendjacking himself. After noticing his own dog Trevor jumping up and down and barking at the TV when the John Lewis commercial appeared on TV, he decided to film Trevor and upload the video to YouTube, Instagram and Twitter and used #BusterTheBoxer. The resulting video is short and simple, yet very funny and definitely relevant to the trend. It has been viewed by thousands of people, with some of those potentially then viewing Steve’s profile. Here is Trevor enjoying the advert:

In the past couple of weeks another very different trend has taken the online world by storm! After seemingly appearing out of nowhere, the #MannequinChallenge has appeared all over social media and is a great viral trend for your resort to Trendjack, as it is fun, entertaining and creates great impact when filmed correctly. Many major celebrities have tried this out including Paul McCartney, Michelle Obama, James Corden and countless professional sports teams. Instead of explaining what this is, it’s far better to find out by watching one of the thousands of videos online.

Here are some of the guests at Pearly Grey Ocean Club taking part in the resort’s very own version of the Mannequin Challenge, filmed by Mark Fountain:

As you can see Trendjacking can be a lot of fun, as well as creating a significant buzz for your resort by helping to bring a new audience to your brand. Trends like the Mannequin Challenge are ideal for your resort team and/or guests to get involved in because they are relatively easy to film and are being searched for across social media. If your video is good enough it could even go viral itself, so good luck and get Trendjacking!

Let us know in the comment section below or via our social media using #RDOdigital if your timeshare resort has tried out Trendjacking yet or if you are planning to.