But, first, what is a trending topic?
A trending topic is simply, as the name tells, a topic or a hashtag which people are talking about, on Twitter, at the same time. It can be a local trend (region, country) or a worldwide trend.
In other words, it is a subject that creates buzz – Think Kardashian and co – on social media.
You can easily get a glimpse of the trending topics when logged into your Twitter account as they are displayed, by default, on the left hand-side of the screen. You can also filter these by geography (country, town, etc.) in order to address and/or leverage topics in your area.
But how does a topic becomes a trending one and how can you leverage trending topics for your brand?
First, a hashtag
To go viral, you need a topic and an identity. On Twitter, what embodies that is the hashtag. We can often see some random ones, created and shared by teens, some offensive ones too. But what you want for a hashtag is an original one, as much as possible, well crafted and to which your audience can relate (links to your brand, audience or area for example). Humor can be a nice touch as well as giving your hashtag a bit or nerve and edging towards a debatable topic.
Ideally, the hashtag should not be too long or complicated and you need to make it shareable. Not only by crafting it but providing your audience with easy-to-use (and to share) content. Creating visuals with your hashtag is a great way to publicize it. You should leverage your social media banners which are valuable piece of visual real estate. Creating and sharing branded pictures and/or videos is also a great way not only to stand up from the crowd but also increase shares of your content.
Remember to make it as easy as possible (and appealing) for your audience to share your content. Create ready-made tweets so your readers – and audience – can just share them.
Then, Twitter does the maths
You may have read about Facebook’s (slightly human) “algorythm” building your news feed. On Twitter, the algorythm is the all powerful robot generating trending topics.
Hence, when you know the basics, aiming for a “TT” (Trending Topic) becomes a realistic goal. So, what are the items to take into consideration in order to get success with the algorythm?
The number of accounts
sharing the hashtag or mentioning a particular topic will play a massive role in creating a trend. Quite an obvious statement. The point here, though, is that trying to leverage a couple of accounts to create a trending topic is not going to work. You can kickstart a trend but mass sharing and interactions with other accounts will be the trigger to make it a trending topic.
Many tweets, little time
In fact, beyond the sheer numbers of accounts involved, generating a trend will require an important amount of tweets about the hashtag – or topic – in a short amount of time. The more time flies in between tweets, the less chances you have to make your hashtag viral.
Fast and furious
You have accounts. You have tweets. Now you need a bit of speed too. It is basically linked to the number of tweets but the more active Twitter is about one topic, the better to attain trending topic status. However, one item plays an important role too, the time of the day when you are trying to go viral.
Time is… Trending
Time matters. You may already know about the best times to tweet (when your audience is online or most likely to engage with your content). Now, to create a trend, you have to size competition. Ideally, you may want to avoid competing with popular TV shows or football matches, for example, as these are likely to create trending topics of their own and “crowd” the TT space.
The best times to try and create a trending topic are the low activity times. However, the risk associated with such times is that your audience may also not be online or ready to share your content.
When a plan comes together…
In the words of a certain H. Smith, “I like it when a plan comes together”. Success – or lack of – comes down to planning.
Leverage analytics to find the perfect time when low activity/competition meets a solid enough presence of your audience.
Leverage your other networks in order to prepare and plan with your community so that your audience is ready to take part at a scheduled time.
Leverage your creatives to craft killer messages and visuals and build a countdown – or teasing campaign – towards the chosen moment.
Even better, hack an upcoming topic… . To be continued in another blog post – or offline 😉
In the end, if you want your brand to go viral and attain Trending Topic fame, do not rely on sheer luck or click-bait. The best way to build your way to TT status is to actually build it. By using the basis or every business, planning.
Plan your goals and means, build the frame, populate and launch your trending topic rocket!