Reactivity is the Heart of Social Media


‘Reactivity’ is a word that’s thrown about a lot in the social media space, but what is it?

In a nutshell, reactive content is anything outside your planned social media calendar. It’s anything created as an immediate reaction to current events or trends.

Done well, it’s the epitome of social-first content: it’s relevant, disruptive and impactful. It will resonate with your existing audience and there’s huge potential to reach new eyes.

Although there is a crossover, it’s important to caveat that reactivity and trending content aren’t interchangeable terms, so let’s dive into the definitions:

Reactive content can be strategic, but more often than not it’s quick, simple and impactful, which makes it fun to both create and consume. Strong reactive content can transcend into meme culture and also set industry standards.

The extent of your reactivity as a brand will vary depending on your sector, but there’s a place for everyone to incorporate it to some extent.

Consider three things: timing, relevance and value-add.



The first (and arguably most important) aspect of reactivity. Social media moves at a rate of knots so it’s important to have your finger on the pulse. The earlier you can capitalise on a trend, the more likely you are to have success. A good rule of thumb is that if your mum thinks it’s funny, you’re probably too late (no offence, mum).


It goes without saying but reactive content has to be relevant.

There’s a bit of a continuum at play here – do you want your content to be relevant to your brand or your audience? 

On one end, you can hop on a trend by applying your brand/product/service to it (see Chipotle for an excellent example of this).

On the other end of the continuum, some brands have such a deep-seated understanding of their audience that they’re comfortable posting about almost anything.

One brand who are killing it in the meme space is Spark Notes. It’s relevant, funny and relentlessly committed to its target audience.

Add Value

Before adding an element of reactivity to your content strategy, ask yourself some questions:

  1. Why does your audience interact with you?
  2. Do you want to add a little bit of value to a large group of people, far beyond your audience, or do you want to focus on the things that truly matter to your subculture?

The key with any type of content (reactive or not) is to always keep your brand values and objectives at the forefront of your mind.

Your strategy is your bible and you should never deviate from it just because it’s exciting to post something new.

You want a new, fresh angle but one that’s aligned with your company, so don’t jump on every bandwagon – assess what your community wants and deliver it.

Oh, and for the love of god, have conviction. There’s nothing worse than a brand putting out wishy-washy content because they’re too afraid of offending someone.

Once you’ve nailed your framework and you’re ready to become a full-time memelord, bear the following things in mind:


Prior Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance

It might sound counter-intuitive but planning space around key calendar moments can be an excellent way to add some reactivity to your content. Whether that’s a global event like the World Cup or a niche date that resonates with your particular subculture, leveraging a topic that’s already being discussed can amplify your content drastically.

Add value

Don’t just hop on any and every bandwagon. You need to be authentic with the way you tap into popular culture. Engage when it feels relevant for your brand. 

Keep your eyes on the ball

Using social listening can be a great way to identify indirect opportunities for you to join a conversation or build your content off UGC (user-generated content).


Many social media platforms (we’re looking at you TikTok) thrive on trends and users replicating one another so pay attention to patterns and act quickly. 


“But Hello, this all sounds very risky to me.”

If we had a $ for every time we heard this, we’d be rolling in dough (or maybe just enough for a semi-fancy dinner).

Reactivity is an exciting world.

It’s creative and fun and the pay-off can be huge.

But it’s also essential to make sure it’s your sport to play.

Reactive community management often happens in real-time, which means that having a clear understanding of your tone of voice as well as guidelines on what you can/cannot say is crucial.

Whether that’s legal regulations or just how humorous you’re willing to be, you need to know how far you’re willing to go as a brand, how to deal with it if it backfires, and how to move on from it.

Don’t stop here. There’s more to see!

View projects
Be a do-gooder and support wonderful things.
We donate to charity every quarter. Help us choose this quarter’s charity of choice.