• What Does Trending Mean? Trending in the 21st Century

What Does Trending Mean?

No doubt you’ve heard it said before that such and such is “trending.” Perhaps you even check out Twitter’s Trending Topics from time to time. But do you really know what “trending” means? It’s a 21st-century play on the verb “to trend.” In other words, it describes what’s currently popular with the masses. You might’ve figured as much on your own, but there’s more to know, such as types of trends, what can become a trend, and how you can improve your marketing by capitalizing on the latest fads.

What Does Trending Mean?

What Can Trend?

There are two main categories of trends: acute and long-term trends. The former suddenly shoots to fame but only rein for a short period before the next big thing comes along. The latter sticks around significantly longer. Consider some examples.

Acute Trends

  • Specific hashtags: Hashtagging in general is a long-term trend that is still growing, but specific hashtags that relate to current issues and events are acute trends (such as #icebucketchallenge).
  • Facebook pages: A single Facebook page may experience bursts of popularity due to a viral post.
  • Website pages:  Single pages can skyrocket into the spotlight, such as if a new product comes out. Sometimes, entire websites do the same.
  • Blog posts: Articles that shed light on a relevant topic or share strong opinions often attract a lot of attention and garner a lot of engagement and discussion in the comments section.
  • Video: Bold and relevant videos spark the interest of society. Funny videos are also major contenders.

Longer-Term Trends

There are different types of long-term trends, including:

  • Year trends: considered “in”…but just for the year.
  • Industry trends: as the name suggests, specific to certain industries.
  • Audience trends: have to do with the inclinations or habits of a specific audience.
  • Fashion trends: Some are good, others are cringey. Some make people glad when they’re revived. Others come back in style when they never should’ve been in style in the first place…

…but back to marketing. There’s a million dollar question that needs answering.

How Can You Leverage Trends for Marketing?

The first thing you need is a toolbox. What tools should you have inside? Consider two important ones that you can’t go without.

Trend Tool #1: Social Media

Many of the fads mentioned above are intertwined with social media. Facebook is a social network. Hashtags are used mainly on social networks. And often, when websites, web pages, blog posts and videos shoot to fame, a lot of the hype is on social media.

If you want to spotlight your brand or anything related to it, being active on social media will increase your chances. Too, you can get a better idea of what it will take to help you reach that goal. By paying attention to what people are most interested in or concerned about, you can improve your posts and position your business cleverly.

What hashtags are being widely used right now? How can you use them in a way that makes sense for your industry and audience? What are some common threads between recent trending web pages, videos and so on? Can those same methods work for you? Social media is the place to engage, observe, gather, adjust, and engage, again and again.

Trend Tool #2: Google Trends

This handy tool allows you to search key terms and see whether their popularity has increased or decreased over time. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to waste energy, time and resources “riding the wave” of a dying craze. You want to get in on the action early on or at the peak of popularity.

Using this tool together with others (or with your ear to the ground that is social media), you can choose the right trends to join in on.

How to Jump on the Trend Bandwagon

Other than tools, what should be your strategy to leverage trends for marketing and business growth? Read on to find out.

1. Use Popular Hashtags

Hashtags, in general, give your business more exposure on social media. They categorize your posts with others on the same topic, excluding unrelated noise and making you more likely to be discovered. How likely, though, depends on how many people are searching a certain tag.

Doesn’t it make sense, then, that you should use popular hashtags to increase your visibility?

2. Share Your Opinion on Hot Topics

When there’s a specific topic on your audience’s mind, join the conversation. Share your opinion. If nothing else, it will attract attention, but it may also increase engagement and people’s support of your business (and help to strengthen your reputation).

3. Relate It Back to Your Business

It’s okay to occasionally talk about unrelated but important current issues. Most often, though, you should choose subjects that are relevant in some way to what you do. That doesn’t necessarily limit you to just your industry, yet you do need to be able to make some connection between what you choose to discuss and your business.

4. Get Your Audience Talking

A two-way conversation is always better in business than a one-sided one. Don’t do all the talking. Give your audience opportunities to express their opinions.

Use Trending to Your Advantage

Society’s tendency towards short bursts of intense enthusiasm can create many opportunities for you. Leverage existing crazes to enhance your marketing, or shine the spotlight on your business and make it the latest topic of conversation.

Whichever route you choose to go, remember one important thing. Evergreen content is still important. As discussed, interest and popularity shift constantly. If you rely too heavily on what’s currently “in,” interest in your business will cool off once that’s no longer the case. So make sure to create and share plenty of evergreen content. It will stay relevant for years to come and so will your business!

Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant
Nia Gyant is passionate about helping small business owners create and execute solid marketing strategies, and writes blogs with a particular focus on inbound marketing and branding.

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