Recently, Twitter has made some changes to the way it displays trending topics. Rolling out these changes on mobile first, now trending topics come with brief explanations, similar to the trending topics summary in the Facebook feed—no more wondering why that indecipherable hashtag is so popular. Twitter has stated that these will roll out to web as well, and we can expect more changes to come.
At Socedo, we believe that a Tweet is valuable information about an individual’s real-time behavior and interests, so what does it mean for marketers when millions of people are tweeting the same topic?
How Trending Works
The half-life of a Tweet is 24 minutes, meaning that half of all the impressions, clicks, and retweets your Tweets receives will happen in the first 24 minutes, then drop off dramatically. This timeframe can be extended by pinning the Tweet to the top of your page, and users with more followers see a longer lifecycle of their Tweets.
- Trending topics are popular right now, not over a long period of time. A topic usually trends once it spikes quickly in use.
- We all see different trends. The trending topics users see on their Twitter sidebar are tailored based on location and the people they follow. However, many national and international topics are seen by everyone regardless.
- Trending topics tend to appear from retweets, rather than a high volume of original Tweets.
And a few interesting stats about trending topics:
- Seattle is the top city to start a trending topic. As a Seattle-based startup, we’re especially proud of this one.
- 44% of Americans hear about a trending Tweet through another medium.
- The most-used hashtag in 2014 was #WorldCup.
- The most retweeted Tweet in 2014 was Ellen DeGeneres’s Tweet at the Oscars.
What Trending Means for Marketers
In general, we believe that social media is a platform for one-to-one engagement, not public broadcast, but marketers can still take advantage of trending topics from time to time. A trending topic is something you can capitalize on, only if it’s relevant to your community. Expanding beyond your core audience is a good thing, but relevancy will ensure shares, clicks, and a positive impression.
That said, don’t expect to be found in a trending stream. Haphazardly appending a trending hashtag to all of your Tweets is a waste of the precious character limit. Then again, if you use it strategically, with other content that people are willing to retweet, you find yourself in front of a new audience.
A trending topic is also a great source of information. It’s like a crowdsourced pool of opinions right at your fingertips. You can use others’ Tweets for research about conversations in your community, or to curate content. You can create a list of interesting viewpoints or remarks, or even use Tweets around a topic to form a post, like we did in this post after Social Media Marketing World.
Whether you’re shooting for a trending topic or a popular Tweet, the important thing to remember that volume alone does not create interest. Find content worth sharing; connect with influencers; and continue to engage with your audience. From there, your Tweets will travel.