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How to Use Trending Topics for Social Media Success

Last week, Facebook introduced “Trending Topics,” this new feature shows users what topics and content other people are talking about on Facebook.

Sound familiar? That’s because it’s nothing new. Twitter has been showing us trending topics for years, as well as Google+ (but less visible). Over the past year or so, Facebook has been slowly catching on and integrating features from other platforms to make it a more viable social media platform. That’s good news for social media managers. Now that Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are all offering trending topics, how do we use this valuable information in our marketing efforts?


Google+ Trends and What’s Hot

Sadly, Google+ has yet to catch on as a popular platform amongst brands and social media managers. If you ask me, it’s definitely something that should be talked about. Google+ incorporates the best of Google into one friendly SEO package. Consumers go to Google to search for your business, so why not have a presence that’s heavy on Google+?

Trends on Google+ started popping up around 2011. However, trends are only visible after you’ve searched for them and in the “What’s Hot” section. Why trends are buried for no one to see is a mystery that only Google can solve however they are out there. The What’s Hot section of Google+ features posts that are getting a lot of attention – shares, comments and +1’s. After perusing through these two sections, it’s easy to get a feel for what your brand should be focusing on and what’s relevant or isn’t relevant for your strategy. Maybe there’s a conversation topic that can be used? The possibilities are endless with “What’s Hot.”


Twitter Trends

Unlike Google+, Twitter trends are available for all to see on the left hand side of the page and can even be targeted by your location. Given the nature of Twitter and the rapidly moving time lines, trends tend to change quickly depending on what you’re looking for. Twitter trends show what’s being talked about vs. what people are looking for. Since Twitter trends are skewed and sometimes even bought or promoted, the trends can be somewhat hard to gauge. Most often you’ll see Justin Bieber trending with an ad from a major brand.

The best way to leverage Twitter trends is to watch for what’s current in the news and any events that might be coming up and/or possibly featuring a promoted topic to gain exposure. It’s always best to see where the conversation is going with a trend before jumping on board and making it a part of your social media strategy.


Facebook Trends

The new kid on the block is Facebook Trends. Facebook Trends appear on the right hand side of your news feed and are located just above the ad space area and below the ticker. Facebook Trends are a mixture of popular news and links shared by your friends. The strategy here is that Facebook is most likely trying to cut back on the clutter seen in news feeds when a news story gets too popular and is shared by multiple people. Instead of showing all those shares in your news feed, it will now appear on the side. By looking at topics that are popular amongst friends, a social media manager can craft a story or create an ad that is targeted based on the trending topics; these are most likely to be looked at for the best success ratio.

From a content creation standpoint, trending topics give social media managers insight into what consumers are talking about and most willing to engage with therefore giving them the tools they need to target consumers in specific posts, ad copy, and other content. Trending topics also help social media managers stay current and relevant.


How do you use trending topics in your social media strategy?

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