Tired of the same old social strategy?
Time to step it up with Twitter Trending Topics.
In this article, I’ll show you how to find and use trending topics relevant to your brand.
What You’ll Learn:
- What Twitter Trendings Topics are
- How to better tailor your topics
- How to incorporate trending topics into your strategy
- How to find topics in your Twitter feed
- How to incorporate trending topics in your Twitter ad strategy
What Are Twitter Trending Topics?
Twitter trending topics are topics that land on Twitter’s radar based on the number of mentions and the engagement generated by the most popular keywords, hashtags, and topics.
It might be the first place you hear about a celebrity death or a new viral trend, but Twitter’s trends are also an effective business tool for marketers.
Why? Well, at the base level, Tweeting about nothing other than your business isn’t actually that great for your business. It’s the social media equivalent of talking about yourself all the time–and failing to read the news, watch the latest TV shows, or ask people questions.
Trending topics allow you to capitalize on the topics your audience actually cares about, so you can start conversations with them. This is one of the best and easiest ways to make sure that your brand comes across as human.
What’s more, by retweeting a Twitter Trend or using a trending hashtag, you expose that new tweet to a potentially huge audience. Twitter doesn’t pick up on a trend unless hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people mention that topic in a short period.
Where to Find Twitter Trending Topics
You can find Twitter topics on your home page on the left side of the screen. You can choose to receive tailored recommendations based on the accounts you follow and topics you’re interested in, or you can view what’s trending by location—be it your city, the United States or the entire global community.
You’ll receive a shortlist of the most popular recommendations, any of which you can click on to view all tweets associated with that topic or hashtag.
The “new Twitter” brings more trends to the table with a few new tabs. There’s Explore (the hashtag icon on the left), which gives you a collection of popular tweets based on your interests and who you follow.
And, there’s the updated notifications and home tabs which give you your trends on the right-hand side of the page. The improvement lends a bit more real estate to trending topics, though the functionality is pretty much the same.
How to Get Better Recommendations Through Trending Topics
If you’re not yet active on Twitter, you’ll notice that your trending topics list might not line up with your brand’s niche or audience interests.
When Twitter doesn’t have much of a data set to work with, the algorithm is forced to make a guess about what you like.
Meaning, it will just pull from the popular general trends—so you’ll see a lot of sports news, celebrity updates, and political happenings.
You can use the search bar to identify trends based on a keyword or hashtag–but that approach may limit the amount of new content suggested by Twitter.
Here are a few ways to make sure you’re following the accounts that will yield you the best possible insights.
Embrace Twitter Lists
A Twitter list is an organized group of Twitter accounts curated based on topics or interests.
If your brand has multiple segments, you may want to create lists of influencers and top accounts that correspond with each one. So, I might create a list of “top search marketing experts,” another for “PPC experts” or “business podcasters.”
The benefit here is, each time you open a list, you’ll only see the tweets and topics from accounts on that list. Start by jotting down a list of categories, then following industry publications or influencers you already know about.
Build your list by searching for trending hashtags and topics–and really hone in on those accounts that increase your ability to promote your brand to the right audience.
Check Out the Competition
We’re not suggesting that you copy another brand’s strategy, not by a stretch. But, you can benefit from watching your competitors and following the people that follow other brands with a similar offering/audience.
The benefit here is two-fold.
Tracking your competitors allows you to learn what language resonates with your audience and gives you a sense of the hashtags and keywords tracking within your niche.
The other piece of the puzzle is that by following your competitors and their fans, you give the Twitter algorithm more information about the suggestions you’d like to receive moving forward.
Unlike Facebook where you can literally go in and “like” your favorite brands, music, and movies, Twitter bases its recommendations on who you follow and where you live—though you can zoom in or out on a location, depending on where your audience is located.
No, I don’t mean going on Twitter on a slow day and following everyone that crosses your path.
Instead, follow people who you admire, who share interesting content, or run in the same digital circles.
How to Use Twitter Trending Topics in Your Social Strategy
Before hopping on Twitter and tweeting out trending hashtags, you need to know that there is a right way and a wrong way to piggyback on hot topics.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind:
Make Sure Topics are a Fit
There’s nothing worse than a brand veering outside of its lane, particularly if that includes an off-brand use of a term or pop culture reference. Your audience will see this as a desperate attempt to appear relevant, which is a huge turn off for customers.
It’s better to Tweet something that fits your brand and adds value to your audience than attempting to make some disingenuous #MotivationMonday tag work for you, or posting something about the next big celebrity wedding when your brand is distinctly B2B professional.
Twitter trending topics change constantly—by the day or even by the hour. So, if nothing works for your brand right now, wait it out and jump on the next trend.
Before you decide on a topic or hashtag you think is the perfect fit, do your research to make sure that topic isn’t trending for something entirely off-brand.
For example, back in 2011 Entenmann’s thought it would be a good idea to use the #NotGuilty hashtag to promote their new, low-calorie snack foods. But if they had done their homework they would have realized that the hashtag was already trending for something entirely unrelated: the Casey Anthony trial.
Moral of the story? Don’t take a Twitter trending topic or hashtag at face value; instead, investigate the conversation happening around it to determine if it’s the right fit.
Relate Trending Topics to Your Product
Instead of thoughtlessly adding hot hashtags to your Tweets in the hope of expanding your reach, apply a more focused approach. Otherwise, you’re placing yourself in the middle of a conversation without adding anything yourself.
Tweets should reflect your values and link back to what you’re offering. For example, don’t #TacoTuesday if you don’t do anything related to food. A good trick for finding hot topics within your niche is to take to the Twitter search bar and type in a keyword or topic.
For instance, I might type in “digital marketing” or “voice search” or “social media trends” to review top tweets related to Ignite Visibility’s core offerings.
This gives me something I can retweet—or build a new tweet around — linking back to a blog post that relates to a similar topic—so, a #VoiceSearch might link back to this recent post on the subject.
If you’re using Twitter to promote blog content, check out this piece to learn the right and wrong ways to do this.
Stay on Top of Twitter Trending Topics
As mentioned, trending topics change on the daily.
Which means it’s your job to stay on top of them – daily.
This doesn’t have to be a major time-suck. Ten minutes a day is all you need to look through what’s trending and identify any topics relevant to your brand.
And, though it goes without saying that not all trending topics will be applicable to your brand, sometimes all it takes a little creativity to tie a topic in.
Remember the Salt Bae meme that was all the rage in 2017? One look at it – and the major stir it was causing on social media – was all it took for Nuskret Gocke, owner of a Turkish steakhouse restaurant chain, to jump on the trend.
What’s so great about this is that it wasn’t a marketing ploy or brand endorsement. It was a way to relate with what his audience was engaging with at the time, and subsequently, insert his name (and his brand) into the conversation.
Opportunities like this abound on the internet. But as always, use caution.
If your audience is made up of middle-aged professionals, the above tweet probably won’t have the desired impact. Know your audience, and choose your topics accordingly.
Retweet Hot Topics
Speaking of retweeting, I’ll remind you that this easy process is still one of the best ways to grow an audience and take advantage of trending topics or a bigger name within your niche.
For example, if you @ mention a blog author in a retweet, you’ll automatically get in front of that person’s followers.
Retweets are the low hanging fruit in the realm of content marketing—not only is it the perfect way to fill up your feed, but it’s also a chance to boost visibility on the platform while engaging with the other users who are part of the same digital community.
Don’t Sleep on Twitter Advanced Search
The search bar is great and all, but it can only get so specific.
Uncovering Opportunities within the Feed
Social listening isn’t only about finding out whether people love you or hate you–it’s also about getting to know the people within your niche that might not know about you yet, following topics and trends, and taking advantage of opportunities to show your relevant solution in front of an audience primed to engage.
A few areas to take a look at:
Connect with Media Outlets
Speaking of content creation, media outlets use Twitter frequently due to its ability to help them uncover the beginnings of that next big story.
As such, brands looking for mentions or partnerships can use this platform to reach out to publications using the trending topics hashtags they have in common.
Beyond traditional publications, you can also take advantage of Twitter trending topics to identify influencers and brand advocates who can help you grow your reach.
I should mention using a tool like Followerwork, which I cover here, can simplify the process of locating influencers and media platforms. Plus, it provides a follower breakdown you can use to spot advocates in your audience.
Find Pain Points
When you monitor trending keywords, hashtags, and topics, you’ll start to learn what matters to your audience.
For larger brands, Twitter presents a huge opportunity to listen in on what customers are saying about your brand—be it a positive review or a negative comment.
To do this, make sure you’re tracking branded hashtags and keywords so that nothing slips through the cracks. In this case, you might want to use a tool like Mention, AgoraPulse, or Pitchbox to automate the process.
For smaller brands, look toward larger competitors to see what users say about them—and take note of what they are doing right or getting wrong.
From there, they can get an idea of what types of helpful content to highlight to this audience, leveraging the same industry hashtags used to call out competitors.
Come Up with New Content Ideas Using Twitter Trending Topics
Another reason Twitter rules is the platform is full of ideas pulled from all corners of the web.
Today’s brands need to churn out high-end video content, in-depth blog posts, and come up with creative new ways to share their expertise with their audience.
By searching your industry keywords, scrolling through recommendations, or scanning your favorite accounts, you’re bound to be inspired.
Twitter Trending topics present multiple viewpoints and highlight new areas that you haven’t yet covered—as well as a look at the topics your audience cares about.
Building on this idea of unearthing the pain points that your audience cares about, listening in on customer concerns allows you to identify new leads that might benefit from learning about your brand.
As you come across users that you think you can help—reach out through the platform and share some helpful information. This might not result in an immediate purchasing decision, but proving your value in this way can help you make sure that your solution is top of mind when the time comes to buy.
Level Up Your Paid Ads With Twitter Trending Topics
We dive into Twitter Ads into more detail here, going over ad types, set-up, and best practices.
What we haven’t talked about too much is how you can use Twitter Trending Topics to improve your Twitter Ads ROI.
Here are a few ways that you can turn hot topics into a more informed ad campaign:
First Things First, Get a Twitter Pixel
Twitter ads are much simpler than learning the ins and outs of Facebook and Google’s PPC counterparts. Before you get started, you’ll need to install a single pixel—or website tag—to your website so you can see which ads are generating the most traffic and conversions.
All you need to do to get started is log into your Twitter Ads account and navigate to Tools, then click “conversion tracking.”
From there, you’ll see a prompt that asks you to agree to Twitter’s terms of service agreement by checking a box. Then click the big blue button that says, “Generate website tag for conversion tracking.”
Then, Twitter provides a code you can then insert in your website’s backend before the </body> tag.
Consider Promoted Trends
If you’d rather your brand set the trends than follow them, you may want to look into promoting a trend on the platform.
Promoted Trends is an advertising method that allows you to promote a hashtag at the top of users’ trends list, in their explore tab, and on the app. The goal is to get people to pick up on that hashtag and start using it themselves to drive more organic exposure.
Keep in mind that Promoted Trends are not available to self-serve advertisers. Meaning, you’ll need to work with a sales rep to purchase promoted trend placement.
Finally, Make Sure You Check Your Work with Twitter Analytics
According to Twitter, the more you tweet, the more data you’ll collect. As such, you’ll want to experiment with trending topics to see which activities, hashtags, and topics resonate with your audience.
Take to the dashboard to learn what times work best for sharing content, what topics they care about, or if you can identify any segments that emerge. Over time, you’ll start to identify the organic posts that resonate with each group and can craft content that is better targeted to those groups.
Just because we’ve long known about the benefit of using Twitter Trending Topics doesn’t mean it’s not relevant–in fact, we’ve found that the opposite is true.
Brands have a unique opportunity to get to know more about their audience and what drives them, and then, use those insights to grow your following both on the platform and off.
And hey, it’s free, so you’ve got nothing to lose.