In social media, trending is when a topic or hashtag becomes popular enough to be highlighted by a social network, usually Twitter. A trending topic is one that has a high number of mentions in real time amongst users, as determined by the network’s algorithms. Trending topics are often linked to events or news stories, and can be in the form of keywords or hashtags. They can also be photos, videos or catch-phrases. Being a trending topic can bring attention and visibility to a business or brand.
It’s important to understand how trending works before trying to capitalize on it. Social networks have strict rules against trends abuse, and posting irrelevant content can lead to account suspension or removal from the site. Trends are based on the algorithms of the individual social networks, which consider factors like the location of a user, the people they follow and the content they like. These factors can influence whether or not something appears in the trending section, and how often it does.
A trend can also be influenced by the timeliness of the content. For example, a viral video is much more likely to become a trending topic than a news story that is released days after an event. In order to get on the trending list, a topic must have at least 30 days of sustained growth. This explains why some topics that gain a lot of volume in one day may not appear on the list, even though they are trending.
Being a trending topic is a huge achievement from a brand’s perspective, and can serve to promote it, increase its community and encourage interaction. However, it is not an easy thing to do. It can be difficult to find the right hashtag that will capture attention, and it can take a long time for a business to build up enough momentum to make the list. It’s also important to ensure that the hashtag is unique, so that it doesn’t compete with any existing campaigns or events.
YouTube also has its own ‘trending’ section, which is a compilation of the most popular videos on the site at any given moment. While it doesn’t have quite the same reach as Twitter’s trending topics, YouTube’s algorithm is still catered to the user, taking into consideration their location and the people they follow.
A YouTube representative told The Verge that the company is careful about what videos end up on the ‘trending’ lists, ensuring that they don’t contain profanity or inappropriate content. Creators have a particular frustration with the system, however, with many believing that they are being overlooked in favour of more mainstream channels. The company has said it is planning to change this in the future.