To use trending topics to your benefit, first you need to know where to find them. Though there are analysis tools aimed at finding the most popular topics, often they require memberships or payment, or can be glitchy. That’s why we find it is best to simply stick with the major players – Twitter, Facebook and Google. The following is our breakdown of each of these resources:
For most people, Twitter is the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the phrase “trending.” That’s because Twitter gave birth to the trending topics feature. Twitter introduced hashtags as a way to categorize tweets and then the top emerging hashtags were called “trending topics.” What makes Twitter a go-to resource for trends? It’s the originator of trending topics, it’s popular, and it’s extremely easy-to use. Twitter’s trending topics can be found in the bottom-left section of the Twitter desktop interface. They can be customized to your location, which allows you to see what’s trending either worldwide or in a specific city.
Two months after introducing hashtags on their platform, Facebook began testing another feature borrowed from Twitter – trending topics. The trends section, located on the upper right hand side of the Facebook desktop interface, suggests three trending topics along with descriptive headlines. According to NY Times’ Bits Blog, the suggested topics are chosen based on the user’s interests, the authority of the people who comment on the topic, recency and engagement levels. Facebook allows you to click the “X” next to topics that do not interest you or click “Trending” to reveal more. Note that these trending topics are often more news and pop-culture related compared to Twitter’s trending topics section. What makes Facebook’s trends feature worthwhile? It’s eye-catching and offers alternative topics if the ones offered to you do not pique your interest. Brands can use this to keep up with trends nearly effortlessly as the feature gives short but detailed descriptions alongside each trend and serves as a quick way to see 10 trending topics at a time.
Google Trends uses search data to bring you lists of the most popular searches at that time. It can show the current top searches, top trending videos on Youtube and popular interests. What makes Google a good resource for trends? It’s no surprise that Google is a top source for trending information, considering it is a gold mine of search data. Google allows you to search a keyword and view regional interest as well as interest over time – this can be helpful for when planning content marketing strategy. It also shows similar queries that are more popular or on the rise – consider those topics when marketing content. Google Trends has a visualizer feature available, introduced last year, as a colorful way to display up to 25 trending topics simultaneously. Extra perk: the visualizer can be used as a screensaver.
Make the Most Out of Trends
Make the most out of topics that may interest your followers. Stay ahead of the game by planning ahead. Think about upcoming holidays and events that you can post about that will be relevant to your target audience. For instance, have Christmastime content ready before Christmas arrives, think of ways to relate your project to New Years before New Years approaches, etc. This is the best way to get the most out of trends. Be ready to start conversation about relevant happenings!
Also, be in the loop – stay on top of trends. If you are unfamiliar with a trend someone mentions, look it up. This will only help you stay in-the-know. A little research goes a long way. The more knowledgeable you are about current, popular topics, the more respect you will garnish. This can help improve your overall image.
Finally, use tags correctly. Don’t make the mistake of misspelling a hashtag or keyword. DiGiorno Pizza’s made the mistake of joining on a trending hashtag without knowing the meaning behind it and upset Twitter users. Be knowledgeable about how different social media platforms are using trends and participate accordingly. For example, Facebook picks up keywords even if hashtags are not used so it is not always necessary to use hashtags on Facebook.
Good luck trendwatching!