Every movement begins with a moment.

Brands: Think Before You Share

Posted 14 November 2013 12:00 AM by Lauren Clinton

Listen. I get it. The Internet is filled with adorable baby animals. Kittens, puppies, baby otters holding hands (I know you’ve seen that picture on Pinterest, too), cats sitting on Roombas dressed like sharks chasing baby ducks, a vast array of stampeding puppy GIFs — they’re all here on the interwebz. 

Cute animals = popular content, and it’s almost a rule of the Internet that you must like cat memes and cute puppy pictures to be here. In fact, Mashable recently posted an article about how cats and bacon together are ruling the Internet, with over 30 million monthly Google searches for “cats”— not to mention roughly 475,000 monthly searches for “funny cats” and “cat gif.” 

It’s the kind of content people like to engage with. They post about it, like it, comment on it and share it with their friends. Brands often post this kind of stuff, too. But why? For reach? For ultimately empty engagement in blind likes and shares from users who are learning nothing about the brand but just happen to agree that the picture of the puppy they posted is cute? Many brands don’t consider the fact that just because it’s popular content doesn’t mean it’s the right content. Yes, the saying that middle school students across the nation have memorized applies to billion-dollar brands, too. What’s popular isn’t always right and what’s right isn’t always popular.

The same idea applies to historic events, current events and pop culture. If you have to think for over 30 seconds about how your brand could jump into the Miley Cyrus conversation, you shouldn’t be there in the first place. Take a lesson from The Golf Channel’s “I Have A Dream” backlash and The L.A. Lakers’ September 11th content mishap. If it doesn’t feel natural for your brand to comment about a specific event or you don’t apply the right context to your comment, then you’ll likely be setting yourself up for social disaster. For most people, that threat is a huge deterrent — unless you’re Kenneth Cole.

The bottom line for brands: Don’t forget to connect the dots between topic and brand relevancy before joining a conversation in progress or chiming in using trendy and popular content. If you are Rachel Ray’s Nutrish (our very own client), then yes, please share that super cute pooch. It’s relevant (and adorable). Otherwise, take some time to evaluate purpose and connection before jumping into a popular topic. 

Have you witnessed any social snafus in which brands should have thought before they shared? 

  *Lauren is a Social Engagement Coordinator at Moxie.





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