By Felicia Guthrie
Is your small business on social media? Do you want to inject some more fun and personality into your social media strategy? Do you want to utilize social media to build connections with your target audience?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, incorporating social media challenges into your social media strategy is a great way to have some fun, show your personality, connect with others, and of course, to potentially boost your visibility.
What are social media challenges anyway?
There are tons of examples out there, including ones you’re probably familiar with, so let’s take a look at a few of them.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from 2014 was perhaps one of the first major challenges we saw blow up on social media, this challenge featured participants having a bucket of ice water poured over their head, to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). You can learn more about it here or see an example here!
During the first major COVID-19 quarantines/lockdowns, many people were turning to social media looking for new ways to not only connect with people, but also to entertain themselves and others, which resulted in plenty of popular social media challenges. One challenge that became viral, was the #PillowChallenge. The pillow challenge simply involved grabbing a pillow and making it a dress! I mean…so many of us were in our pjs all day, or working, learning, and hanging out in our bedrooms.
Here are a few examples of people who totally nailed this challenge:
Now that you have a better idea of what a social media challenge is and a few examples, let’s talk about how you can incorporate them into YOUR social media strategy and content.
Familiarize yourself with current challenges
First, you want to get familiar with what others are doing. Try Googling viral challenges so see what’s trending at the time you’ll be posting. Check out your competitors and see if they’re participating in any online challenges. Alternatively, you can also take a peek on Instagram and TikTok (which is where most challenges will likely be). Watch Instagram Reels and TikTok videos to pick out trending themes. Once you find a challenge (or more than 1) that you’d like to participate in, you can start planning and filming.
You’ve chosen a challenge, but how do you join in?
Ok, so you’ve chosen a theme that you’d like to give a go but you’ve never done this before so you’re not sure what to do next. Here are some tips:
- Choose your filming method. You may want to film directly on your phone camera OR through the apps themselves and both may require some editing. If you’re using your phone camera, you can upload videos and images into the apps and create a video there, or you can use programs like Canva to help you.
- Familiarize yourself with whichever app you’re using and their software. As mentioned above, whether you record on your phone camera or directly in app, you may need to do some editing. Beyond that, you may want to add in elements such as text, text to speech (available on TikTok), voiceovers, and more. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to go into the app of your choice to play around a bit. Feel free to play, because anything can be deleted without publishing!
- Use the same audio that others are using. Using the same audio is important for various reasons. The audio is, often times, tied directly to a challenge, so every post participating will feature the same music. Users can also use the audio as a search tool, so for example if they’re watching a video, they can click the audio to view other videos that have also used it. This will help boost your visibility and help others find your video. Instagram and TikTok both enable you to save audio for later, which means you can easily find it in your favourites or saved audio for later use.
- Use hashtags! Hashtags continue to be a major search tool, so remember to use them in your post so that people can a) find you and b) know that you’re participating in the specific challenge.
What are some viral challenges that can be done now?
You may feel ready to try something right now and may be wondering what some current challenges are that you can participate in. Not every challenge will work with your business or personality, so it may take some time to find what’s right for you, but here are a few current trends and some examples of other businesses hopping on challenges.
The “Questions I get asked” Challenge
This one has become popular on both Instagram and TikTok and each video will feature the same audio and the #questionsigetasked hashtag. This could be a great opportunity to share a few of your frequently asked questions and let people get to know your brand and what you have to offer.
Check out Sawyer Hemsley, Founder of Crumbl, who tried out this trend on TikTok
The “If you know your ___, which ___ would they choose”
For this challenge, you want to select a person, for example, your wife, girlfriend, husband, sister, etc and a topic (think of a noun – people, place, or things). Perhaps your business offers a certain product, like earrings, in a variety of colours and styles, you can say something like, “If you know your wife, which earrings would they choose.” You then share images or videos of various choices, say 1-6.
This is a great way to feature and share your skills or products!
Kassandra Robert, a tattooer in Montreal, Canada, used this theme to share various styles of tattoos that she does. Check it out here. You can use the audio so that it’s searchable and use relevant hashtags like #wife if that’s who you’ve selected to go with your theme.
The Album Cover Challenge
Right now, there is a challenge that basically anything can be turned into an album cover, and users can use a built-in filter on TikTok to participate. While this challenge started gaining popularity in early 2021, people and brands are still sharing their take on it. Here’s an example from UFC. If you’re a small business, you can use this challenge to showcase your products or even things like behind the scenes content. For example, have a product photo shoot coming up? You can use the Album Cover feature to capture some great snaps for your video.
Before you go…
We just wanted to leave you with a few last thoughts before you start your dive into social media challenges.
Remember, trends change all the time, so make sure you’re taking a peek on your social media platforms of choice to see what’s trending at the moment. If you’re on top of his, it’ll be easier to jump on things while they’re hot!
Don’t be afraid to do your own thing! You can always try creating your own challenge, though it might be easier to gain some traction once you’ve built up a bit of a following. If you’d like to go this route, make sure you select (or create) audio that can be used by others, create a relevant hashtag, and invite others to participate. Of course, you’ll also have to think of a challenge theme as well! For example, WINNERS and Walmart Canada currently have challenge campaigns.
WINNERS created their #WINNERSFitCheck – where users can show of their outfits that they purchased at Winners stores. They also worked with influencers to create sponsored content. Check out one of the videos here.
Walmart Canada created a #WalmartFirstDayOutfit challenge, where users can share the outfits they’ve picked out for back-to-school! Again, they also worked with influencers to create content. Check out one of the videos here.
Have fun creating!