What is Trending? An Overview of Trending on Social Media
What is it about Twitter that makes it so exciting when you have the power to trend? For starters, there are many more Twitter users than there are users on Facebook, and Google+ has yet to reach a million users. On Twitter, a single word, phrase, or even a theme that is talked about more than others by a large number of users is said to be in a trending topic or just a ” trending topic”. Trending topics also become very popular either due to an event that causes people to discuss a particular topic or due to a concerted campaign by online users.
Brands can come across as being more accessible to their target audience if they have a strong presence in trending topics. This is because with the prevalence of Twitter on phones, people who would otherwise not have access to a brand’s message are likely to do so because of this new platform. Also, the way that social media allows for more personal interaction between users also makes a lot of brands vulnerable to becoming victims of “cyber-stalking”. This happens when a person gains access to a brand’s account and begins tweeting about the brand in a way that impersonates the brand. If the user has a strong enough following, other users may start sharing the tweets even though they are not aware of the person who is posting them.
As for Facebook, trends tend to appear on the news feed of everyone who friends someone who is signed up to the site, but on a smaller scale than on Twitter. The news feed on Facebook tends to only show relevant trends that are local to that location. Because of this, it is somewhat of a minefield for businesses to try and figure out which trends in their industry are “trendy” and which are simply a fad that will soon be over.
A great tool that Facebook provides to its users, however, is the trending module. The trending module allows users to search and view different trending topics throughout the site based on keywords. On each side of the trending topic there will be links to related posts. Clicking on one of these posts will usually take you to a page with more information on the topic of the post. In some cases the post will link to an external website where more information can be gathered, but sometimes the post will link directly to the source of the post so you can get the information straight from the horse’s mouth itself.
The downside to this system is that it only shows you the most recent trends. You might miss an entire season’s worth of news if you depend on this feature alone. Also, the news feed itself is not always as timely as you would like. It will only show you what is happening on the front pages of the two largest social networks, so if you want real time information you’ll have to go to the source yourself. Luckily, if you use the trending topic filter you can easily see what is being discussed on the internet at any given moment.
To really take full advantage of the trending system, you need to find a great application to help you analyze the trending topics that are occurring throughout the day. Google Trends is a very popular tool that can really help you track down the best trending topics. However, because this service is used by millions of people around the world, there is a chance that it could be hacked. In addition to this, there are other risks involved with using trending topics to your advantage. Viral stories and spam are often created based on trending topics to drive traffic and gain popularity. Therefore, using the trending module responsibly means protecting yourself from these risks while gaining the popularity you’re after.