What can we learn from #NekNomination?

Social media and international news has been dominated with the NekNomination phenomenon in recent months. This internet drinking craze spread via social media and involves someone completing a drinking dare to neck their drink and nominate someone else to go next. The videos are posted online to show off their achievements but the craze has led to tragedy with a number of young people dying after necking pints of gin or vodka etc to outdo their friends.

This is a big warning sign for many parents and incidents like this can give social media a bad name, as it facilitates a platform where anything goes and trends like this can spread so quickly, it becomes unstoppable. The trend supposedly started in Australia and became an international problem. Despite the issues, many people are still continuing the trend and want to go one better with one man recently blending dead mice to mix and neck in his drink. Yuck!

This craze is constantly hitting the headlines but it’s important to decipher why a trend is so popular. As a social media marketer, it’s interesting to see how trends develop and evolve online. As a business or individual who wants to get the most out of social media, it’s important to get involved in trends where appropriate to get seen by a larger audience. If you can participate in a trending topic then a large chunk of people will suddenly be drawn to you. However, a topic such as NekNomination is not recommended, but your opinion always counts if you want to be involved in discussing it online.

The simplicity of NekNomination is easy for everyone to understand. This is a key feature if you are looking to start your own trend or participate. Users were clear on the basic rules, i.e. post a video of yourself necking a drink and nominate a friend to do it next. This sets up a scenario and leaves enough flexibility for users to put their own stamp on it, i.e. dress up in their own way for the video, use a cocktail of spirits or even do it in an unusual location. The same happened for the ‘Harlem Shake’ trend and there were lots of creative variations.

This emphasizes the popularity of user-generated content. Facebook in itself sets rules for having a profile and seeing other people’s content but as a platform, it allows creativity to flourish as users have freedom to post whatever they like. The psychology of why people connect and share on social media is complex but users like to draw attention to themselves and stand out from the crowd.

The main features of the NekNomination is that it appeals to users’ desire to get noticed and those who get nominated would feel a small sense of pleasure that they’ve been chosen and will also feel competitive and want to do one better than their friends. To top it off, video is the most engaging form of content and many users will prefer to click to watch a short clip then read updates. They will especially click if the video contains a friend.

An application, game or trend needs to appeal to users need to get seen and demonstrate their creativity to compete against their friends. Therefore, businesses can learn from this and consider a creative advertising campaign that follows this principle. For example, ask followers to submit a video of themselves trying your product or service in order to win a prize. This will lead to lots of ambassadors for you, talking about your brand but also fun content that they will feel inclined to share with friends anyway.

With any campaigns you run, you can create your own hashtag to easily identify and respond to conversations about it. The challenge will be to find something that people will participate in because it is something they are interested in anyway. The NekNomination may appeal to a niche market of young drinkers and is dangerous but find something that your niche audience will respond to positively and generate talking points with their peers.

For more information about advertising campaigns for your business, contact me: jon@socialant.co.uk.

Jon Exton


Twitter: @thesocialant

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