Leveraging local trends for brand growth

In the brand growth and marketing playbook, digital media has become the largest driver by far. It’s no longer a question of whether your brand should be on social media. It’s now a matter of how up-to-date your marketing team is with the latest ways to share content and the latest trending formats. Instagram recently announced that they will concentrate their focus on newer formats that are showing much higher engagement levels on the platform than static photos, namely, video (reels) and creators. They have also indicated that payouts might come next to outstanding creators. Combine this with the meteoric rise of TikTok and micro-video content, and you get a clear picture of the future of marketing, especially to young people. 

Pulse sits at the nexus of culture and digital media and through the campaigns, we run and our digital community-building efforts, we have gained insights into driving growth for our partners by leveraging trends. Here are some tips to leverage local trends to drive growth:

1. Identify influential trends on social media

Keeping your target audience in mind, identify trends that get them to engage, react and comment actively and in large numbers. Being active and actively listening on social gives you an idea of what is popular and trending with your target. Some trends may be very spontaneous and will require you to be quick to jump onto them, while others can be anticipated and properly planned for, for example, Big Brother Naija, a reality TV show in Nigeria that has now become the biggest show in Africa. Overall, you need to be actively listening on social media to be able to pick up on these trend waves. Here are some tools that will help you identify trends that are generating engagement and are relevant to your target:

Google Trends

This is perhaps the most expansive tool with which to track rising trends across all of the internet. You can pick up on a trend on a single social network, and use that information to predict that trend on another platform. This can help you prepare to ride the trend when it eventually hits other platforms. Simply set up Google Alerts for the keywords you want to keep an eye on.


This tool is worth mentioning because Twitter is an important platform when we discuss the subject of trends. Twitter and now recently, TikTok is where most social trends originate. It is also where trending topics (which may originate from other networks and channels) get discussed the most. There is always an active conversation on Twitter on the world’s trending topics daily. Monitoring conversations on Twitter is then especially important. TweetDeck helps you monitor chosen hashtags and keep tabs on their popularity. 

TikTok’s Discover

The Discover page on TikTok is an incredibly powerful tool for discovering what’s trending on TikTok. And what’s trending on TikTok spills over to other platforms with an increasing frequency. You can quickly jump on the biggest hashtags or find hashtags that are specific to your niche and create content for this. This way, your content can be shared, reshared, downloaded, and engaged with by the people you’re trying to reach. 


CrowdTangle is a public insights tool from Facebook that makes it easy to follow, analyze, and report on what’s happening with public content on social media. Among other powerful features, you can analyze trends across thousands of accounts over time and get insights into trend seasons, timing, etc. This tool can also be used to evaluate your own social media activity and compare it to similar accounts/competitors to give you clues about what is working, or not working.

2. Get a good handle/perspective

Having identified a trend to jump on, it is important to pay close attention to nuance and context and think about your angle carefully, especially in the light of the culture of your audience. All too often, there is the always present possibility of a backlash from the audience, if the perspective, timing, or visuals are not right. The key here is not to attract too much attention to the brand, but to be positioned as an ally of the crowd, either helping them access gated or exclusive content, or sharing packaged content they may have missed. 

3. Amplification

When you’re jumping on a trend, you want to make sure that you get the word out and properly amplify your message. 

For most brands, this may mean paid amplification across channels. At Pulse, however, we have a native digital community in each of our markets that is active and engaged. The benefit of brand partnerships with Pulse to leverage trends is that we provide this amplification to millions of young users across Africa with engaging content, allowing your marketing efforts to be noticed. 

This year, for Big Brother Naija, we’re partnering with Showmax and DKT to provide coverage of the show and updates for many people who are not able to watch it all day. This partnership allows the brand’s involvement in such a mega trend to be seen and noticed by our millions of community members, and also provides a platform for the brand’s messages to reach the millions of people who will be watching the updates, benefiting from the partnership and being gently exposed to a new or recurring relationship with that brand. 

If you’re interested in spotlighting your brand and taking advantage of the Big Brother Naija show, please reach out to us here

No matter what industry you are in, dialing into the social conversation and inserting your brand appropriately into these conversations can help you boost brand awareness, bringing you top-of-mind to your target, engagement, and ultimately, revenue. Paying attention to what your audience cares about and helping them connect more with it is a great way to build and/or strengthen relationships with them.