Social media has evolved from a platform upon which users could connect with their friends to an extremely useful online marketing tool. Everyday, millions of potential customers are speaking their mind, very often about topics and news items relevant to your business. In a nutshell, the more people that talk about a given topic, the greater chance that topic has at “trending”. Twitter is the best example to illustrate the power of trends, although Facebook and Google+ have recently joined as well.
What does it mean for a topic to trend?
As mentioned, the more attention a topic or keyword gets on social platform, the more likely it is that it will trend. For those new social media, trends are usually prefaced with hashtags (#). For example, if the topic of SEO were trending, one would use #SEO to join the conversation.
By and large, trends come from news headlines, events and major announcements. On Twitter, trends can differ from user to user. For example, a sports fan who follows sports-related Twitter accounts is more likely to see trends derived from happenings in the sports world. One who is interested in technology will see trends about the latest smartphone release or developers conference. Social marketers can also pay to promote a trend. Such is a great way to gain widespread exposure for a new product release.
How can I take advantage of trending topics?
Engage, engage, engage. If you find users posting or tweeting about topics relevant to your business, take advantage. For example, if you are a moving company, you might want to monitor social platforms for people looking for a mover in their area. If you find a potential customer, interact with them by directing them to your website or otherwise providing more information.
To really be on the lookup, consider using “social listening” platforms like Hootsuite to see what potential customers are saying. Sign up for Google Alerts about news items related to your industry. In any case, the more information you can have access to, the more you can use it to your advantage.
Measure your success
As with any online marketing strategy, it’s very important to measure your success. Keep track of how many followers you gain, retweets and likes from users, or how much traffic you receive from social media websites.
One final note about trends — they often fluctuate from day-to-day, so it’s best to continually monitor changes in what’s trending. In the world of social media, it’s better to be early to the game than late.