Marketers no longer have the luxury of spending weeks conceptualizing a cool campaign for their companies.

While that’s certainly still an open avenue, many consumers nowadays expect their favorite brands to be in sync with trending moments and topical conversations on social media.

There’s enormous pressure on social admins to respond to global online events with witty references (easter eggs) and relevant but seamless product integrations.

Of course, the real challenge is to do all that within the day has ended, and the world has moved on to some other fleeting discussion.

Funnily enough, it’s these corporate brands that crack breaking news stories faster than media outlets themselves.

Business schools now teach a separate branch of digital marketing, known as RTA (Real-Time Advertising), so this genre is certainly worth discussing for marketing students of all ages. It’s also called newsjacking or moment marketing.

Of course, reacting to trends in real-time, while ensuring that the content you put out is relevant to your brand & audience, is as tricky a challenge as it looks.

Thankfully, there are many interesting case studies available online to help us get inspired by the brilliant work of both corporate and independent creators across India.

Age-old pioneers of the technique like Zomato and Fevicol, as well as small new startup entrants like Dunzo and Ixigo, all managed to successfully breathe life into our feeds with plenty of great ad-hoc creatives.

So here’s a handpicked collection celebrating some of the hottest unexpected social trends in recent years that got all major brands buzzing online. Our journey starts way back in 2020 with the Dalgona coffee trend – remember that one?

I’ve given examples of how brands reacted, along with a brief explanation of what exactly happened to create the trend.

Access my complete & regularly updated Airtable database here or preview it below.

So that was my list of social media trends in recent years. If you found it useful, tweet the link to this post to your fellow marketers.

Which one’s your favorite? Which brand do you think outperformed the others in terms of speed, creativity, and relevancy to their product/service? Did I miss any important ones?

Don’t forget to share your views in the comments below.

Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year! Let’s hope that the coming years bring us more of such cool trends to enjoy, both as content artists and consumers…

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