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Mitchell Pereira

Published on

January 8, 2024


Content, content marketing, copywriting

Identify the different trends on social media platforms such as Nano, Micro and Macro social trends, and how your brand can leverage them for your marketing campaign.

If you work, live, or play in the digital spectrum as so many of us do, you’d probably have stumbled upon (or perhaps even been an unsuspecting participant of) a social media trend at least once in the last three months.

But what exactly makes a social media trend? Is it just some dance on TikTok, or a random challenge to raise awareness for some sort of cause?

The truth is a little more complex. Whilst you may remember trends such as the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS, or the Harlem Shake from 2013, trends are constantly evolving, taking on different shapes, roles and applications. This evolving nature also means they have the capability to grow into something that eventually can capture the attention of an even broader audience. This makes it important for you to stay up-to-date and understand what’s popular so you can identify more opportunities for your brand to maintain relevancy and resonate with your audience.

Courtesy of a workshop with our partners at TikTok, here’s a closer look at three different types of trends and how your brand can make the most of them in 2024.

Graph with TikTok Trends

TikTok Trends

As the fastest growing social platform in 2023, TikTok currently has a whopping 1.7 billion active monthly users, and is expected to reach 2 billion by the end of 2024. While this still sets them behind the likes of Facebook (3.03 billion) and Instagram (2.35 billion), TikTok is growing at an incredible rate thanks to a hardworking algorithm that personalises content for each unique user.

In this article, we’ll be utilising TikTok’s identification and terminology for the different type of trends – from Nano, Micro and Macro – that can help you decide on whether it’s the right opportunity for your brand to jump onboard. This may also serve as a quick guide for your content plan on other social media platforms too.

Let’s get to it!

#1 Nano Trends

Nano trends in particular may be harder to spot, but they often times rely on either a filter or a trending song that creators dance to or engage with. Audio plays a big part in such trends, with many creators riding on the virality of soundtracks to boost their content, and the singer or creator of the audio track is usually credited at the bottom of the screen on each Reel and TikTok.

Memes are also still relevant in today’s digital world, however, they’ve evolved from static visuals to sticker templates that you can overlay on your videos, or an AI-generated template or filter that you can use to hop on a trend. Additionally, challenges and topics can fall within the range of Memes as well, sparking a short but viral movement. However, they generally do fade as quickly as they surface, lasting anywhere from a matter of days to a couple of weeks.

Trends that fall under the Nano category require you to move quickly. Work should begin immediately so that your content is released while the trend is still at the top-of-mind. Some examples of these Nano Trends include

#2 Micro Trends

Micro Trends have a longer shelf-life, lasting from months to years and usually have legs to stretch beyond just a single-use campaign. An example is the #GRWM (Get Ready With Me) trend that saw beauty and fashion influencers get dolled and dressed up before heading out. During each video, they speak about their lives, the products they’re using and why they’ve selected said products. The relatability of influencers as opposed to celebrities helps to increase awareness and build a sense of trust, letting the audience build a genuine connection with people they feel are similar to them.

Some trends can even start picking up enough momentum for brands to create an actual product – A trend that began in Indonesia saw customers overturning several soft-serve ice cream cones from McDonald’s into a container and was aptly titled #conesmash. The trend that took place in 2021, spread across Southeast Asia and has even picked up in the USA as recently as 2023.

Recognising the value of the trend, McDonald’s began providing customers with their own takeaway containers so they could get in on the trend as well.

Some other examples of Micro Trends include

Brands aren’t the only ones that hop onto viral trends. TikTok jumped on a viral content video that was trending on its platform to raise awareness for its brand. You may recall sea shanties trending all across the world during the pandemic. What started as a Scottish postman singing alone, soon became a choral of harmony, with other creators joining in to harmonise alongside him. Recognising the impact this had, TikTok launched an ad, to promote the social platform in New Zealand and the UK.

#3 Macro Trends

Some trends that have withstood the test of time, are mostly political by nature, such as the Black Lives Matter movement or LGBTQ rights. Promoting a product or service while tapping on such a movement would be in poor taste, however, there are ways a brand can acknowledge their support as an indicator of their stand and beliefs in order to align themselves with their target audience.

Brands can take a stance on issues the same way Oreo has strongly advocated for gender diversity and equality with their rainbow cookie, sticking true to their values despite backlash on social media.


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A post shared by OREO (@oreo)

Trends in this category are long-lasting to say the least and have evolved from mere trends to pillars in their own right. They include:

What began as content creators jumping onto viral formats has now become evergreen content that your brand can leverage to tell various narratives. Trends such as ASMR have even paved the way for other Macro Trends such as #oddlysatisfying that Angi, a home services brand, leveraged to build awareness.

Tapping on nostalgia is a trend that has also served brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s well over the years. However, one brand that has recently brought nostalgia to the big screens and managed to get almost everyone in on wearing pink, was Barbie – The marketing campaign for Barbie was so successful they sparked trends of their own, such as the Barbie Generator, creating Barbie-inspired recipes, and even a Barbie-inspired Malibu beach house for rent. Barbie has managed to claim the colour pink as their own, and leveraged on nostalgia through into the emotional connections of adults with cherished memories of the doll, while also engaging a younger audience.

Leveraging on these trends

The above classifies trends based on the duration a trend is applicable and offers a gauge and time reference for how quickly your brand should jump on it before it loses relevance.

Being able to identify a trend and how long it might last will be key to helping you adjust your workflow and specific areas you should focus on.

For instance, if you spot a Nano Trend that is relevant to your brand, speed will be the most essential aspect of your plan. As such, you should prioritise execution over conceptualisation of the content to ensure your brand doesn’t miss the wave, or before another trend replaces it. That said, if you’re unable to quickly find a suitable connection between your brand and the said trend, we advise holding off on participating. Instead, take the chance to consider (and plan for) possible spin off trends that may arise which may be more aligned.

In the case of a Micro Trend, you will be afforded more time to spend on conceptualising the content that incorporates a stronger brand message and voice – Take this opportunity to focus on executions that build on what your brand represents and can better resonate with your followers.

Finally, Macro Trends, being the longest of the three, offers your brand the ability to not just focus on a branded narrative, but to craft stories that align with long-term objectives. As mentioned, these trends can often evolve into content formats in themselves or extended campaigns over a span of weeks. As such, your brand could potentially have the chance to plan further ahead, and even create a compelling campaign that rides on poignant topics with meaningful content.

Looking to see how your brand can tap on online trends and create engaging content on social media? Speak to our experts here, or check out our content marketing services

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