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Trends vs originality; An ever-growing paradox – by Motivate’s Hebah Ikhleif

Hebah Ikhleif, Motivate Media Group, Social Media Manager

by Hebah Ikhleif, social media director at Motivate Media Group.

New ideas, creative interpretations and original content are at an all-time high – but on the other hand, social media feeds and pages are cramped with exact replicas of trending ideas.

There’s no denying that everyone is spoiled for choice when it comes to content and entertainment, since users and brands have all the tools they need and are only limited by their own creativity.

While creating original content and hopping on trends are both parts of the content cycle, you can’t help but notice the number of plagiarised content ideas increasing every day. For example, have you ever heard the “Oh no, oh no, oh no, no no” song and thought to yourself oh no, not again?

The main challenge is amplified by brands as they forcefully attempt to be ‘relatable and cool’ with their audience. As a result, brands are blindly jumping on the newest trends, regardless of the relevancy to their audiences or their own brand. Moreover, the reality of changing algorithms across social media platforms and the constant competition for the same goals and objectives – higher reach, higher engagement and achieving ‘virality’ – have been contributing heavily to this slippery slope.

Now, we’re not saying that following trends is a bad strategy or practice. When done correctly, it is impactful, relatable and effective. So, how do we best hop on trends and stay original?

It all starts with your content strategy. While defining your communication and messaging is important, focusing on planning your content through objectives, resources and pillars is more important and will create and maintain your own unique story and voice.

What we recommend is to split your content into multiple categories, ranging from original to curated, with differing levels of effort for each. Whether it’s user generated content, influencer collaborations or a detailed content series, predetermining your content split will help pinpoint opportunities to produce incredible original content. Additionally, it will steer you away from jumping on every trend regardless of relevance.

After defining your content strategy, use every opportunity to get to know the complexity of your audience and their digital behaviour. The more you understand their commonalities, the more relevant your choice of trends will become. Learn what content they follow outside of your channel, what shows they watch and the references they find relatable.

By combining these tactics we’re able to reach our final and easiest step, adding your own flavour to the latest trends. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different interpretations and approaches until one fits naturally with your brand’s persona.

Hopefully this shift in perspective will help us all think more outside the box and put a little more originality and creativity into the world.