How to Stay on Top of Trends

When you’re a business trying to stay on top of what’s popular, interesting and catching people’s imaginations, it’s vital to keep tabs on trends. The trending page of a social media platform shows what topics are attracting the most attention, and allows you to tailor your content and campaigns accordingly.

Trending is a feature that started on Twitter, where users can see the most popular hashtags being used at a given moment. Since then, the trending list has expanded to other social media platforms, news websites and even search engines.

Unlike other metrics, trends are based on user response and interaction. Having your content appear on the trending pages of different sites gives you free visibility to an audience that you may not have otherwise reached, and can lead to more traffic, engagement and ultimately, conversions.

The ‘trending’ list is determined by an algorithm that looks at bursts of activity around particular topics and how quickly they rise in popularity. Twitter is a particularly fast-moving network, and its trending page is designed to show quick, current stories that spark conversation and response from users.

This means that trends often reflect events, breaking news, and short-lived fads rather than general popular interests. Getting on the trending page isn’t easy, and it requires a lot of activity around a topic for a period of time that isn’t too long or too short. As a result, being on the trending page can be very volatile.

Many brands try to manipulate the trends by creating specific hashtags and then flooding the page with tweets. This is known as a bot attack, and has led to some controversy. For example, a tweet from Burger King in the US caused the hashtag #burgerking to spike because of a campaign they were running about gender equality. However, the hashtag soon fell off the trending list again.

It can also be difficult to get a new hashtag or subject to trend, especially if it’s not well-known yet. In this case, it can be helpful to create a new hashtag and target it at a limited number of audiences. It’s also important to consider the time of day you’re posting, as the trending pages are often influenced by local events and are based on the timezones of the users who are most active on Twitter at that hour.

Despite the challenges, being on the trending page is still a major boon for anyone who holds a stake in a topic. Whether it’s a product (#iPhone7), a creative piece or shameless self-promotion (#Kardashian), finding yourself on the list can give you a huge amount of free publicity and visibility.