TikTok, The VSCO Girl, And What Digital Branders Can Learn From Social Media Trends

TikTok, The VSCO Girl, And What Digital Branders Can Learn From Social Media Trends (1)

Do you know what it takes to be a TikTok VSCO girl? Many brands want to leverage the power of social media to grow their business, brand, influence, and sales. However, this is easier said than done.

In this blog post, we examine a recent microtrend on social media: The VSCO girl. We explore how trends like this occur, and how you can leverage them to bolster your brand online.

Context Is Key

Trying to keep up with all of the viral crazes and microtrends on social media can leave you scratching your head in confusion. One second something is a sweeping craze, and that next it’s old news. Popular memes can look dated days after they are created, and where do they all come from anyway?

What is ironic? What is genuine? Why are brands always fighting with each other on Twitter? We have all seen brands try to take advantage of popular internet hashtags, memes, or trending topics, and have it go wildly wrong.

So, in this whirl of constantly changing internet culture, how can you make sure that your brand gets it right?

The answer is context.

The Art of Organic Conversation

Let’s forget about Twitter, Instagram, and the internet entirely for a second. Imagine you overhear a group of friends having a conversation and don’t know what they are talking about. Would you run up to them and loudly interject at random? And if you did, how well do you think that you would be received?

If your brand tries to hop on social media trends without any context, that is how it will appear. As a result, you will likely be ignored. Also, you might start negative interactions online. Approach internet trends exactly as you would approach conversations in the real world. Do you know enough to make a relevant or interesting addition? Then get tweeting.

Enter The VSCO Girl

TikTok VSCO girl

Over the summer, the VSCO Girl took social media by storm. Prominent YouTubers, including even Buzzfeed employees, raked in millions of views by discussing the origins of the meme and dressing like them. Currently, multiple YouTube compilations of VSCO Girl memes ripped from TikTok are sitting on millions of views.

Youth trends that start on TikTok seem to sweep the internet with alarming speed. It has gone far past social media sites to include articles by publications like The Independent and The New York Times. For months people around the world have been asking what a VSCO Girl is.

Think pieces analyzing the trend are still coming out. While some have a positive spin, like this generally supportive article from i-D Vice, you can also find numerous negative takes, such as “Teens explain the VSCO girl—and why you never want to be one.”

The buzz is undeniable.

What Is A VSCO Girl, Anyway?

VSCO is a mobile editing app known for distinctive filters. However, the VSCO girl is said to have a set of specific qualities that go far past using the app. As well as having a generally social-media friendly aesthetic, they use things from certain brands, like Fjallraven Kanken bags. They favor environmentally friendly habits and have a relaxed and natural look, such as wearing oversized t-shirts.

Depending on who you ask, this can be positive:

It can also be negative or an internet joke that does not exist in real life:

In the video above, the poster’s dad re-enacts a viral VSCO girl meme which had swept TikTok.

Everyone seems to agree that they wear scrunchies on their wrists, however.

So, the idea of the VSCO girl has definitely blown up, even if people can’t seem to agree on what it means or if it is just a joke.

Why Does This Matter To Digital Branders?

As social media is all about engaging with others in conversation, knowing what is being talked about and how exactly to approach it is key. While leveraging internet topics to bolster your brand is the goal, you cannot do that properly if you do not understand the topics in the first place.

There are a few important key takeaways from the development, virality, and perhaps short-lived pervasiveness of the VSCO girl.

TikTok Is Where Trends Start

If your goal is to reach teenagers and young people, and you are not paying attention to TikTok, you need to start. According to Business of Apps, TikTok has over 500 million monthly active users globally, and over 40 million monthly active users in the US.

Most social media apps are set up to show you content from users that you already follow. But TikTok, on the other hand, is geared more toward endlessly introducing new content to users. As a result, it’s easier for something to go viral on TikTok than many other platforms.

And what does go viral on TikTok often moves into the broader consciousness of social media, the internet, and pop culture.

Depending on your brand, just having the proper context to understand where some trends start and why might be enough to give you that edge. However, you might also want to take advantage of TikTok’s clear viral potential.

Things Move Quickly On The Internet

Things move quickly on the internet

People have spent months loving, hating, and wondering about VSCO girls. However, it is likely that the VSCO girl ship has already sailed. With endless new internet content coming at us in all directions all the time, it is no wonder that few things truly stick.

In 2019 alone, a number of viral crazes have swept social media. These included throwing slices of cheese on unsuspecting people and animals, things “sparking joy,” the VSCO girl, and the Popeyes chicken sandwich.

Yes, the world of social media is quite odd.

The point is that almost all of these viral trends have a shelf-life of some kind. Depending on how connected you are to social media, you may know about all or none of them.

Don’t look at them as trends, but conversations. If a natural conversation is already occurring, join in as it happens for the best results. Unless something drastic happens, the VSCO girl craze is already on its way to fizzling out. Making your own VSCO girl content in 2020 will likely not give the impression that you want to give.

Final Thoughts

While the VSCO girl idea will likely go out of style, the conditions that created it are still here. Also, they will probably produce countless other memes and crazes too. You want to be on the ground when trends like this hit. Then you can make smart decisions about when and how to participate, if at all.

Sometimes, choosing to sit a particular viral craze out is the right choice. It all depends on your brand, ideal customer, and goals. However, understanding what is going viral and the circumstances surrounding it can help inform your own digital branding choices.

Want to learn more about building your digital brand through social media marketing? Check out our blog post on the topic.

So, which current social media trends would you choose to chime in on? Also, which would you let pass you by? Comment below…

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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