How to Get the Most Out of Trends on Social Media


Trending topics, or topics that are gaining traction on social media, can be a great way to build your brand’s reputation and reach new audiences. But they can also be a minefield, particularly if you’re using them incorrectly or for the wrong reasons. Here are a few ways to avoid pitfalls and get the most out of trends on social media:

Identify What People Are Talking About

Use Google Trends to find what’s trending in your industry, and learn about the terms people are searching for. This can help you create content that relates to these terms, as well as understand what people in your target market are looking for and the words they are most likely to use when searching for it.

Explore Real-World Tweets About Trending Topics

You can see the most recent Twitter trending topics from a variety of sources, including news and entertainment outlets. You can also follow specific hashtags and trends that interest you to discover more about what is happening in your area or in the world.

Buzzsumo is one of the best resources for identifying popular content, especially across social media. It can show you which videos are getting the most traction in your niche and help you develop content strategy. It also provides an interactive list of trending videos in each vertical and has paid features for more in-depth analysis.

YouTube’s Trending Tab Displays What’s Hot

The algorithm that powers YouTube’s Trending tab displays what is trending in real time, so it favors fresh and engaging video content over old, stale ones. That’s why it’s important to keep uploading and releasing new, trend-worthy videos to earn more views and engagement.

When It Comes to Trending, It’s All About Views

A study of YouTube’s top creators, done by Stephen for his Coffee Break video analysis channel, reveals that YouTube has a much higher barrier to hitting the Trending tab than traditional news platforms. For example, Paul’s channel (with 1.2 million subscribers) only trended four times over the 18 months of data he scraped, whereas ESPN (with 8.4 million subscribers) topped the Trending tab 85 times.

In other words, you need to hit a very high view threshold to be trending on YouTube, even if your videos are doing really well in the long term. For example, a popular YouTube channel like KSI (6.9 million subscribers) has to trend a lot more frequently in the U.S. than it does in other countries or regions, because of YouTube’s strong team that moderates content in the United States.

Be Strategic About When to Trend

Because trends are fleeting, it’s important to be cautious about utilizing them in your business. For example, posting about a tragedy can be an important part of the conversation, but too much branding can turn it into a shambles. AdWeek has highlighted a number of American brands that missed the mark when it came to the September 11th attacks, by posting inappropriate or insensitive messages that were not genuinely relevant to the situation.