Twitter remains one of the most widely used social media platforms, with its signature 240-character limit for tweets making it a unique network for sharing informative tidbits, breaking news blurbs, and commenting on the most-discussed topics of the day. Twitter marketing is a worthwhile endeavor for many brands, but to get the most from your efforts, you’ll want to leverage all the features Twitter has to offer.
One aspect of Twitter that can be particularly useful for marketers is Twitter trends. Available on the web and on Twitter mobile apps, Twitter trends are determined by an algorithm and reflect the most popular topics in real-time based on the user’s interests, who they follow, and their location. For marketers, Twitter trends can reveal hot topics of discussion relevant to their niche. Capitalizing on those trending topics by using relevant hashtags and creating informative content around those trends offers big benefits for marketers who do it strategically.
More impressions, more comments, more likes, and more clicks…what’s not to love? To learn more about Twitter trends and how marketers can get the most from this Twitter feature, we reached out to a panel of Twitter marketing experts and social media pros and asked them to answer this question:
“What’s the most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends that marketers should be aware of?”
Meet Our Panel of Twitter Marketing Experts:
Read on to learn more about the most important aspects of Twitter trends that you might be missing, and how to best use Twitter trends to your advantage.
Vishal Srivastava is a Marketing Consultant at Trainedge.
“Twitter Trends gives you a way to take advantage of a trending topic or hashtag. It’s a great way to get visibility for small businesses. But just adding a hashtag to your tweet is not the way to go.
“You should first create a tweet that is relevant to the hashtag and is also interesting for your followers / customers. If you can’t create one, then retweet a nice one from someone else.
“If you create your own, promote it using Twitter Ads to get even more visibility and engagement. An organic tweet will die its natural death in a few minutes or a couple of hours. But a promoted one lives as long as you keep the ad running. So you can get a lot more out of a relevant tweet by promoting it.”
Dan Willis is the Millennial Motivator, an international public speaker engaging audiences on how community and relationships are the future of marketing in the millennial marketplace. Dan brings his advice from 15 years of international digital marketing experience.
“The biggest opportunity Twitter trends offers that often goes by the wayside is the ability to gauge community sentiment around a topic before creating content or engaging the conversation. Too often, brands dive into a trending topic without taking the time to gauge the response from the community at large. This can lead to embarrassing stumbles or confusing responses that don’t really speak well to the conversation or paint your brand in a misinformed/disconnected light. Watch the trends, gauge the response, craft your reply, engage your community!”
Baron Christopher Hanson
Baron Christopher Hanson is the principal and lead strategist at RedBaron Advisors in Charleston, S.C., and Palm Beach, Fla. A former rugby player, Harvard graduate, and expert on workplace and small-business turnarounds, Hanson has written for Harvard Business Review and SmartBrief considerably.
“The most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends is that they are for sale, and today controlled 100% by political groups and their powerfully connected donors in the big tech, Hollywood, and mainstream media industries. Twitter trends are very easily force fed based on regional or national political interests, or the business interests of those closest to Twitter’s executive leadership, including their C-suite of influential programmers. Seen as modern day front page news, Twitter is the new Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, or Diane Sawyer. Twitter trends are in fact marketing teasers, enticing users to bite or click based on perceived popularity. Once the simple fact that Twitter programming and trends are for sale, the benefits of Twitter and their easily manipulated trending algorithms can be acquired just like any other controlled marketing platform or media source or news desk, the value really shows through.”
Shannon Doyle is a social media specialist at Page 1 Solutions, LLC. She creates and executes individualized social marketing strategies and paid ad campaigns for clients in the legal, medical, and dental fields. She is a graduate of Radford University, attaining a BBA degree in marketing.
“Twitter trends help to define search trends. Often times, we discover new things on Twitter and then search for them on Google. Mark Irvine, the Senior Data Scientist at WordStream, found that, ‘within 1 hour of trending on Twitter, searches for that subject double, and searches for that subject increase fivefold within 6 hours.’ This phenomenon concludes that social trends predict search trends. Therefore, trending topics on Twitter can be leveraged to optimize search campaigns, paid Twitter campaigns, and organic tweets.”
Polly Kay is the Marketing Manager at English Blinds.
“One of the most overlooked aspects of Twitter trends that marketers often don’t know about or lose sight of is that Twitter serves trending search results algorithmically and may return the results of several unique but related hashtags in response to just one search.
“Marketers who don’t know or who forget this often waste characters by needlessly adding multiple trending variations of their chosen hashtag to cover all of the bases when this is unnecessary, throwing away characters that could instead have been used to strengthen the message and improve its chances of uptake.
“Also, the algorithm returns personalized search results to each individual, often on a largely geographic basis, and so marketers need to remember this and how it will apply in practice when targeting varied or remote demographics.”
Jason Myers is the senior account executive for The Content Factory, a digital PR firm that’s managed Twitter accounts ranging from major brands like Fracture to global nonprofits like Fairtrade America.
“Marketers should be aware of the timeliness and an off-the-cuff feel to any Twitter trend responses (while remaining on-brand and adhering to a style guide). At TCF, we believe that monitoring and engaging with brand-appropriate Twitter trends is one of the first things nearly every social media manager should do each morning and follow up on throughout the day as trends evolve.
“When it comes to direct customer service response and PR networking with journalists and influencers, Twitter is one of the most effective tools. But in terms of newsjacking or simply being Johnny-on-the-spot with quick, thoughtful (but not overthought) tweets that put your brand in front of a larger audience, no channel beats Twitter and no aspect of Twitter is more key to this strategy than trending topics or hashtags. Simply by checking to see what’s trending and coming up with creative ways to inject your client’s Twitter account into the conversation, you will add an effective, human element to posting routines that often grow stale with canned, scheduled tweets which can glaze over your most ardent followers. If your brand is playful and hip, take some chances with responses to trends; be real. If you’re managing a more button-down or PC account, it’s still important to be timely with any trending responses, whether you’re actually tweeting about trends or simply doing some savvy social listening to see how Twitter (as a microcosm of the public) reacts. Above all, remember that sometimes no response is the best response. Don’t feel pressured to force a tweet or take a stand on every issue (particularly divisive topics that aren’t relevant to your brand).”
Zach Boyette is the co-founder of GalacticFed, a large, 100% remote, digital marketing agency with over 100+ employees/contractors around the world.
“One of the most relevant things to note about Twitter Trends is that they are no longer as straightforward as they once were.
“The algorithm seems to be better at identifying spam and unnatural discussions from organic ones. The way that it does it, according to Twitter itself, is bringing context, location, and amount of tweets into the equation.
“It is no longer the number of tweets that mentions the same topic, but rather the content and how this correlates to other discussions around the location the user is interested in.”
Ronald D’souza is a Digital Marketer responsible for planning, developing and maintaining web marketing strategies for Angel Jackets. He specializes in areas of Content and Social Media Marketing — with creativity as the main goal.
“Brand mentions are one of the most overlooked aspects of Twitter trends that marketers should be aware of. Search for topics related to your brand, and join in relevant conversations. Remember to search for your brand on Twitter to find anyone who’s mentioned you, but not tagged you. Secondly, use Twitter advanced search to find relevant tops and the latest trends pertaining to your niche market.”
Kristin Dyak is the Digital Marketing Director at The Cyphers Agency.
“Taking a bird’s eye view, the most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends is likely the opportunity that it offers marketers to enter conversations and raise the visibility of both themselves and their clients.
“To take advantage of this opportunity, our digital marketing team populates our dashboard with trends for you, in order to see relevant news and conversations in our industry and nationwide, as well as geographic trends, so that we can monitor what’s going on in our region and community; sends an email to all staff each morning with the day’s top trending hashtags; and meets with all staff to discuss the trends and how they might match our agency and/or our clients.
“We’ve been doing this every weekday for over a year and always end up posting at least one tweet related to digital marketing or advertising trends from our agency account, and almost always post a tweet for a client as well. The most recent, for example, consisted of a Twitter poll from the Grain Foods Foundation asking your favorite bun due to #NationalCheeseburgerDay trending on September 18th. While some trends aren’t so obvious, they can generate some great creativity – for example, another GFF tweet sharing an image that our creative department made of twisted pasta performing yoga on #NationalYogaDay.
“All this said, it’s very important to remember a few things if you decide to enter the Twitter trends world:
- You shouldn’t force yourself to participate in every conversation – sometimes there’s just no connection there, and that’s OK!
- Always click through and look at the content that’s actually being posted in the thread – you might think a hashtag is connected to a certain topic that it isn’t, and doing this can save you from participating in a wrong (or VERY wrong) conversation!
- Stay out of ALL of the MANY political conversations you’ll likely see!”
Mike is the co-founder of Zima Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and paid advertising. What makes Zima Media different is that we are completely decentralized, meaning we have eliminated overhead such as office bills, allowing us to offer affordable, quality digital marketing services to our clients — thereby lowering the bar of entry for small businesses.
“Twitter is about injecting yourself into the conversion. It’s not the then tweets; it’s all about the now. The more active you are in trends that you identify with and inject value into conversion, the better the results will be for your profiles.”
Marsha Kelly is a serial entrepreneur and consultant for small business owners. Her experiences in marketing for a large corporation empowered her to be business savvy. She left the corporate grind with an arsenal of businesses strategies and the resolve to create her own opportunity.
“Marketers should anticipate trending topics. Don’t wait for your niche trends to just pop up, then scurry around creating Tweets on the fly; instead, get ahead of the pack and capitalize on coming trends before your competitors.
“You can easily plan ahead by browsing your calendar for upcoming holidays, special events or games, that resonate with your target audience. This gives you time to pick the best and create high-quality Tweets (and images) that will be both well-positioned and compelling to your customers on that day.”
Alistair Dodds is the Marketing Director and Co-Founder of London based Digital Marketing Agency EIC Marketing.
“One of the most overlooked aspects of Twitter trends is preparing content ahead of time in anticipation of a trend. The same way financial institutions hedge their bets on the outcomes of upcoming events, preparing two alternate content plans and hashtags can give you a great edge when a news story or event is breaking. If you’ve already anticipated and game played outcomes with your editorial team, you’re in a great place to take advantage of trends as events unfold.”
Jay Allen is the Publisher of Unseen Japan – The Japan You Don’t Learn About in Anime.
“I believe the most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends is redirecting back to relevant content on your own site. A lot of trending traffic I see is either contributing to the conversation, or just trying to grab attention for one’s brand from using a trending hashtag.
“For me, trending topics are a great opportunity to share content from your own site that’s relevant to the trend. Have you written about the topic before? Maybe you’ve written something close to the topic before, and have material that would interest customers interested in the same topic? For example, a financial services firm can ride news about a financial scandal to point back to material on their own site about the importance of adhering to financial regulations.
“Marketers should be looking for ways to point back to their previous content in a way that doesn’t just ride a wave, but adds value to the conversation – and drives people to their own properties in the process.”
Tonya Davis is a marketing professional at ThoughtLab, a full service Salt Lake City, Utah based web design and digital experience agency. Tonya’s focus is to help businesses both small and large gain visibility and drive measurable results through various marketing platforms.
“When it comes to overlooked aspects of Twitter trends, for me it comes down to overlooking or even forgetting who your audience is. It can be tempting to try to jump on a trending hashtag to gain traction and visibility for your business; however, not every trending topic is going to resonate with your target audience. You have to keep in mind how certain trends will tie into your brand and benefit your audience. This will get you the best results.”
Lauren is a Senior Content Specialist at G2 with five years of content marketing experience. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and on the G2 Learning Hub.
“Some people don’t realize that the ‘Trends For You’ section is different than the trends happening worldwide. For example, if you regularly interact with celebrity news and gossip on the same account you publish your work, your Twitter trends are going to skew. That’s why I recommend having a separate account for your work tweets and your personal tweets; it helps keep things segmented and makes following the trends that work for your business easier.”
Hailey Feldman is the CMO and Head of Brand for Mixed Digital, a Brand Marketing Agency. Focusing on defining brand propositions and delivering innovative positioning strategies, Hailey works with a diverse group of clients to develop and establish a foundation upon which all marketing initiatives build off: a brand.
“The most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends that marketers should be aware of is making use of trending terms that relate to their clients’ brands. Twitter is one of the easiest social platforms to find out what potential customers are doing. Searching for trending terms and related terms help brands marketers to identify companies to reverse engineer. I use Twitter trends to uncover competitor strategies. I analyze 3-5 competitor accounts for my clients to understand what they are tweeting and why. I ask myself, which tweets have many likes, comments, and retweets? Then, I click on a tweet to see this information. Other overlooked questions for marketers to ask themselves when conducting Twitter trend research are: Which tweets are blatantly self-promotional? What is their apparent tweeting rhythm, or percent that is fun vs. percent that are self-promotional?”
Jim Milan is the Communications & Organic Search Manager at Auto Accessories Garage, a fast-growing, family-owned online retailer of automotive parts and accessories, where he manages the growth of organic traffic and communication of company messages to the public.
“I think the most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends that marketers should be aware of is the ‘Trends for you’ option. By selecting ‘Trends for you,’ Twitter users can now personalize their trends according to their location and who they follow. This means that, based on who you follow, Twitter will get a sense of what topics and industries you are interested in. What does this mean for marketers? If there is a hashtag related to a particular industry, the Twitter users who have selected the ‘Trends for you’ option and are following lots of users in that industry will be more likely to see trends related to that industry. That means when you tweet about a particular event or happening with a trending hashtag, you are much more likely to reach a tightly focused, hyper-targeted audience. In this way, Twitter becomes much more relevant as a way for marketers to get their content in front of the right audience at the right time.”
Nate Masterson is the CEO of Maple Holistics.
“With Twitter and other platforms no longer showing content in chronological order, Twitter trends is becoming an invaluable way to engage with followers and reach your target audience. The most overlooked aspect of this process is that you shouldn’t just jump on a relevant or trending hashtag that actually has no relevance to your brand at all. If a subject is trending that doesn’t directly tie into your brand, offer a freebie, tip, or new information about your brand instead. This gets people involved and engaged without making it obvious that you’re just jumping on the trending hashtag wagon.”
Megan Meade is a Marketing Specialist at Software Path.
“Most marketers don’t take advantage of tailored trends, instead opting to aim for worldwide trends with the hopes of going viral. The benefit of a tailored trend is that it’s based on your audience interaction and hashtags you’ve previously engaged with, meaning it’s going to be much more relevant to your followers and more likely to result in positive interactions. Further, tailored trends aren’t saturated with thousands of other companies trying to capitalize on the positive publicity, so your voice and brand messaging won’t be as diluted.”
Jake Hay is a Partner and Head of Business Development at PopShorts, a social media agency that specializes in full-service influencer marketing campaigns. Jake has overseen campaigns for some of the world’s largest brands, studios and agencies, including Disney, Adobe, 20th-Century Fox, and many more.
“The most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends is the ability to turn on tweet notifications. The sole purpose of Twitter is to communicate information to a diverse audience quickly and effectively. With a plethora of information distributed each second, it can be tedious to stay up to date with current events. Although notifications will flood your device, you will be able to read valuable Twitter headlines all in one place on your home screen. Don’t miss a beat and turn on notifications for news related accounts or your favorite brands to see what up-and-coming things they will have to offer their fans. All other trending news will be located on the search page through the usage of hashtags. Twitter’s search page will allow you to view people’s opinions about trending topics in one place. Overall, Twitter is a neat tool to stay up to date with news related events or fun and exciting topics.”
Mike Sheety is the Director of ThatShirt.
“The most overlooked aspect of Twitter trends that marketers should be aware of is to make it relate to what is trending!
“If you try hard enough, you can get in on the trends with ease if you know how. This can greatly improve your interactions and broaden your reach. As long as you are reflecting your values, products, or anything from the business, you can make anything work.
“Remember to always ensure that the message is related to your ideal target audience to get the most impact.”
If you’re crafting top-quality content around Twitter trends, you want to get as much leverage as possible. Install the Twitter share button today to make it easy for your readers to share your trend-worthy content with their followers. It takes just minutes to install and makes it easy for your readers to share to Twitter with a single click!