Twitter defines trending as the “fts” you see on the right hand side of your screen while logged in to Twitter. What does trending mean? Well, this can be one of the more important definitions you should know when getting started using Twitter.
On Twitter, a tweet, word, or topic which is being talked about more often than other ones is said to be a trending topic or a “viral topic”. A trend can become very popular both through social influence or due to an occurrence which prompts folks to talk more about a particular subject. For example, the emergence of the mini iPod is a trend which originated with the young people of our generation and has since gone on to become one of the most successful trends of recent times. What was once a small fringe phenomenon has since become a niche for those interested in media technology and its uses. So let’s take a look at some of the types of topics which can be classified as “trending”.
In terms of monetization, Twitter offers several options that allow its users to create streams which are based on keywords and then start earning money from the traffic these keywords generate. The two primary methods for earning money off of trending topics on Twitter are through the “buy-in” method and the “retweeting” method. The former is where a follower will retweet a message that has been posted by a paid account in return for some sort of reward; the latter is where a user will retweet a message and then re-tweet it in order to gain more exposure for a company or product.
How are these trends tracked? Twitter uses a hash mark (#) feature on each tweet to track trending topics on Twitter. This is done by searching for words in a short and simple list which ultimately ends up with the most popular trending topics from users which have recently posted a tweet. For example, if I were to search for the most popular keywords in the health vertical on Twitter, I would simply type in “trending topics in health”. The result would be a long list of tweets containing the most recent trend. These are then sorted into descending order of popularity, so that I only receive the most relevant tweets.
To find out which topics are most popular and therefore have the most potential to attract followers, then another method is to search for keywords in trending topics lists and use a keyword tool like Freezing Frog to identify which terms are most searched for. From here, you can target followers who are most likely to want to follow a particular trend. This is the most time consuming of the methods, but it has the potential to yield huge profits.
In order to maximize your use of trending topics, you will want to do some research as to which Twitter hash tags are most likely to attract attention to your brand or website. There are several services available which provide trending data, including Twtpoll. If you subscribe to these services, you’ll receive notifications when there are changes in the popular trending topics across the network. You can then take the opportunity to update your site with the new information, thus maximizing your chance of getting noticed. You can also use this same service to determine whether a particular brand is popular, by checking the hash tag statistics for popular hash tags which may have changed.