The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Go for it
The advantage of being a small business marketer is that you can move quickly and fail fast. By trying a tactic or message that is relevant and timely, you can risk very little while standing to gain quite a bit. Worst case scenario, you get a flat return. Best case, you make $1 work like $10.
Monitor Google Trends
Closely monitor Google Trends and be on the lookout for anything that is related to your industry, or something that you can spin into a relevant blog post or piece of highly-shareable content. Monitoring trends allows you to be quick out of the gate with your marketing efforts. You can often rank high in organic search if you're one of the first sources to produce content based around a trend.
You have to be fast. Fads and trends come and go very quickly, so being ahead of the curve and quick to react is critical. Understand what the trend is and find a way to use it to your business's advantage. With Pokemon Go, it's been a big boon for retail businesses with nearby PokeStops who continuously "lure" in customers, creating more foot traffic around their location.
Utilize social media check-ins
Boost your small business's social engagement by encouraging players to check-in while they play. Especially with a trend like Pokemon Go, which is all location-based, asking customers to tag your business whenever they post photos or status updates can help put your business on the map and draw an audience to your storefront. Just be ready to receive and serve an influx of customers.
Keep your audience in mind
Small businesses can take advantage of timely trends by using them to appeal and relate to their target audience. However, businesses should exercise caution when doing so. If the trend is too unrelated to your business or your target audience, just avoid it altogether because there will be little chance of success. Also, once the trend fizzles out, you need to let it go.
Emulate the attraction
Figure out what makes these trends so attractive, and see if you can do something similar as a marketing tactic that will get consumers involved. For instance, a treasure hunt or interactive competition will be something Pokemon Go users recognize and may be more willing to participate in because it's similar to what they already like to do. This will get them emotionally vested in your brand.
Don't just jump on the bandwagon
Stay focused on your target demographic, and don't try to jump on every bandwagon just for the sake of doing so. If you have a dry cleaning and alterations business, chances are that making your business a PokeStop isn't going to help you too much. Then again, if you have a popular clothing store for teenagers, you'd want to jump on that ASAP.
Market relevant content
The easiest way to take advantage of current trends is to create a piece of content on it (i.e. "What Pokemon Go can teach us about XYZ.") This is one way you can always stay relevant in your industry. Of course, it helps if you know something about the subject. People can tell when the story was rushed. Take the time to craft some great insights and tie them into your ongoing content efforts.
Take a stance
Determine whether your company will stand out more by leveraging the trend in your outreach or creating opposition against the trend. For example, businesses who purchased a lure for Pokemon Go saw an increase in business due to the popularity of the game. However, taking a stance against the trend separates you from the crowd and allows your voice to be heard in the chaos.