Many an ambitious Social Media Manager / Guru / Lover has it in their goals to achieve a Trending Topic!
A ‘Trending Topic’ for anyone not familiar, is the name given to the most talked about topics on Twitter at any given moment, in a certain location and usually denoted with a #. So for example if you’re looking at Global trends, usually there’s one about One Direction or Justin Bieber and the rest tend to be topical either because of current news stories or media coverage.
So, for us local ladies and gents who don’t work for apple or Coca-Cola, how can we go global with our Social Media efforts? Well unfortunately unless you are one of the VERY lucky few who happens to have something so funny, new and amazing that it goes viral this is a bit of a pipe dream without a large promotional budget or an active international following already!
However, depending on your locality, it’s often easier than you think to become one of the hot topics on a specific day in your area. Take for example Cardiff; as it’s where I’m based it’s definitely an easy example for me to use and the trending topics here are great to check on a regular basis. Main trends I personally associate with Cardiff are integral to Welshness and locality. Rugby days for example always trend on Twitter here! It’s advisable then, if you’re running a big event or campaign, to avoid those days where you know it’ll be hard to get to the top of the tree. On a Welsh Six Nations match day for example, the topics will be dominated by #rugby #sixnations @LeighHalfpenny1 and #Wales etc. During a normal weekday evening however where there’s no earthquake, royal birth or particular news story kicking off it is far easier to find yourself the most talked about.
How do I do it? How can I measure it?
What you need:
- A good campaign: The first thing you need to attempt trending on Twitter is something to promote under a fairly short time scale. Trending for more than one day for example is very hard to sustain. Well-attended events or a new-product launch are a perfect fit for trending.
- A snappy name to hashtag
- An audience that you know is active on Twitter already (and preferably more than one account to tweet from)
- Some time and good Twitter access to keep conversation going.
Anything can ‘trend’ be it a word, phrase or a Twitter handle/username. Through the normal Twitter browser site or a smart phone or tablet you can see anything you need to, but only window by window. I’d recommend using an application like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck should you be expecting plenty of tweets.
Things you need to check, respond to and Retweet:
- Search for hashtag
- Search for phrase (associated with the hashtag or topic)
- Search for common misspellings
- Your tweets, retweeted
How do I know it’s trending?
Twitter itself isn’t actually a very good way to find where your topic is unless it has been right at the top for a while! Take a look at the site TrendsMap to see how they can track trends in real time by location that perhaps aren’t listed on Twitter itself. It’ll show you if your topic or Twitter handle starts to ‘break’ which means it is just beginning to get momentum.
Even if you aren’t trying to start a trend yourself it’s a great idea to keep an eye on Trending Topics regularly so you can join in on conversations. This is a good way to get to know influential accounts locally and might help you reach out to new clients.
The picture opposite shows the Ignite Cardiff #13 that I help manage the Social Media for. It took a lot of work at the event and in the run-up to make sure we were engaging enough but as our audience are generally digitally-minded and active on Twitter it was great to see them appreciate just how popular and credible the event was and spread the word to new people.
In my experience getting trends to take off takes a lot of effort and you certainly need to be tweeting as much as possible with shareable and replyable content! Competitions also work really well.
Trying to trend? Please comment below and let me know if it’s worked for you!