We say it a lot around these parts but it’s vital that your business remembers to be social on social media.
Too many companies make the mistake of simply selling their wares when they sign in, a tactic that quickly bores (and alienates) the very fans they’re hoping to reach out to. Instead, it’s essential to become part of a community and partake in two-way communication.
One of the more effective ways to become part of this type of community is to leverage trending topics to your advantage. By discussing matters that have already piqued the interest of social media users, you’ll be able to reach out further whilst continuing to make a contribution.
What are trending topics?
Trending topics are exactly what they sound like; topics that are currently trendy with social media users.
On the ground level, trending topics tend to relate to big news stories and large events. For example, when a world leader dies – as was seen recently with Nelson Mandela – people across the globe begin talking about the deceased. Big sporting events – seen recently with the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl XLVIII – always generate conversation, making them trend worldwide.
On a more specific level, one in which you use search parameters to find out what is trending, the topic du jour may be something relating to the local area or a specific group. Some of the current social media platforms allow for very specific searches, which allow you to find trending topics that relate to your business and your audience.
Where can I find trending topics?
When Twitter arrived on the scene, it brought with it the ability to see what other people are talking about. Now, the likes of Facebook, Google and more are also reporting on what topics are trending with their users.
Located on the left hand side of your Twitter profile page you’ll find a list of “Trends”. Here you’ll find up-to-the-minute information relating to what people are talking about, either using the hashtag function or generally in Tweets. Here you can alter the search parameters to a local geographical region. Alternatively use the “Discover” button at the top of the page to see what’s hot right now.
Unveiled just this year, Facebook now features a “Trending” feed on the right hand side of your newsfeed. Correlated using articles, videos and photos users have shared, this isn’t in real time like Twitter, but certainly gives a good overview of what’s popular at the moment.
With Google being the No. 1 internet search engine, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the online giant can help you learn what is trending right now. Visit Google Trends and you’ll find a wealth of information, including relevant search functions, that can keep you abreast of what the world is talking about.
Other social media sites also feature their own form of trending topics, and those that currently don’t are likely to wheel them out soon as social media becomes even more focused on the individual preferences of its users.
How can I get noticed?
Of course, knowing what people are talking about is one thing, but managing to get your company involved in an organic manner – that is to say not shoehorning your brand into any old conversation – is another beast altogether.
The real thing to remember here is to keep things relevant. There’s no point you joining a discussion about the latest football results if all you’re going to do is promote your latest product. Likewise, why get involved in a discussion about politics if all you’re going to do is throw “testimonials” around.
So, how do you get noticed?
Here are some ideas:
>> Offer genuine opinions – this will show your company’s ‘human’ side and while it won’t make you huge amounts of money, it will bring you a quality reputation.
>> Comment on other users’ content – this will help you enter a wider conversation.
>> Add editorial comment to your own page – this will give your existing fans and followers something to think about and something to engage with.
>> Share relevant content – is a trending story related to the business you run? If so, add some relevant, quality content that people will want to share. Images, infographics, news articles, and blogs can all be utilised here.
Whether you’re planning on sharing content or leaving a comment on somebody else’s page, remember that local is often better than global. Use the various search functions to seek out a suitable audience with which to interact.
Also remember, your ability to take advantage of trending topics for business purposes will depend on how much effort you invest in learning just what works and what doesn’t. As with any aspect of social media, there are no hard and fast rules; you simply need to work out what works best for you.