• Robin Kastengren

Trending: What, exactly, does this mean?

what does trending mean and why you should care

You've probably seen or heard the word “trending” while checking your favorite websites or watching the morning news. What, exactly, are they talking about? In the past, trends described financial markets or fashion styles. However, in today's speak, “trending” refers to a topic or event that is very popular and is part of many conversations online.

What Can “Trend”?

Anything can become an internet trend: current topics, news events, weather and disasters, celebrity activity, videos, apps, pictures and photos, and even a simple phrase or saying – anything that is used or discussed using social media by a lot of people.

How Are Trends Tracked?

Once a tool that was exclusive to Twitter, the hashtag (#) is a common tool across many social media outlets to link up ideas across people, platforms, and applications. For example, a Facebook update about new job openings in your organization might want to include the hashtag #jobs or a similar tag with a local city name. If you're releasing a copy of your post-Thanksgiving Day sale, use the hashtag #blackfriday to make sure your ad reaches the right people.

Where Can I See What is Trending?

On Facebook and Twitter, the top trends are right on the homepage. YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other outlets have pages on their websites where you can see which subjects and hashtags are trending. Many other media outlets will round up what is trending in categories relevant to their readers. For example, Forbes has an entire page devoted to what is trending on its website and on social media. Their topics include popular articles that are being read and shared, along with social media discussions.

Why Do I Care?

Good question. Internet trends can help businesses know what direction to take their current online conversations. Not all trending topics will have a relevant angle for every business or market and constantly trying to find an angle can seem spammy to your readers. However, when trending topics apply, sharing appropriate and useful information and adding to popular online discussions will help build your reputation and increase your online profile.

For example, trending recently on Facebook and Twitter in Illinois is #tornado due to the storms and tornadoes that tore through the area. If you run a store near one of the areas hit hard and you have electricity and supplies, sending out a Tweet and Facebook update using that hashtag will not only let your followers know, it will let anyone who is following stories about the storm know as well. You're not only inviting more business into your store, but you're also helping the community by letting people know where they can access emergency supplies.

Trending can be as simple as that. It can, of course, be very detailed and targeted. The more time you invest into researching what is trending and finding ways to join in the conversations, the more you will get back. However, don't sit on the sidelines. Make it a habit to at least check what is trending on a few social media platforms, news websites, and other media outlets every day. Become familiar with the conversations and it won't be long before something sparks an interest and you're ready to join in.

Do you need customized Tweets to send out? Don't know how to craft Facebook updates that are relevant to what's trending? I can help!

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