5 Ways To Trend on Twitter

By on September 6, 2011

Creating and exploiting a trending topic on Twitter is a great way to market a new product or service. A trending topic is basically a hashtag (#) that has gone viral, or more specifically about 9000 people have used it in a tweet. There’s no doubt that Twitter trends are excellent for exposure – so here are our 5 top ways to create a temporary trending topic.

#1: Big News Always Wins

A sure-fire way of creating and promoting a hashtag that has the potential to go viral, is by monitoring the news. Big stories always hit Twitter first, and if you can get in there with a valuable hashtag – the moment is yours. The bigger the issue, the longer the trending topic will be on Twitter. Learn how to spin these stories to your advantage, and keep your eyes on Google news.

#2: Your Opinion Matters

Or more directly – everyone else’s opinion matters. Hashtags that prompt personal opinion are very popular, especially if they’re funny or teach your followers more about who you are. Everyone likes to speak about themselves – use that in a strategic hashtag to get people to notice your business. Once the trend gains momentum, you can do a bit of PR about its success for additional exposure.

#3: Don’t Underestimate Incentives

How do you get almost ten thousand Twitter users to use your hashtag in a tweet? Easy – promise them something for free. A large prize will get people tweeting your hashtag repeatedly, and the retweets will never end! Remember to make the entry easy, the prize something special and to spread it everywhere you can. These tweets have been known to go viral in a matter of hours.

#4: Occasions Trend Often

The next time Christmas, Halloween or Easter happens (or a famous celeb passes away) – use it to create a trending topic. There will be a lot of competition here for the most imaginative and user friendly hashtag that will beat the rest – but it’s totally worth it if you succeed. When something big is on the horizon, you can bet its going to trend on Twitter. Question is – will it be your hashtag?

#5: Finding The Niche Market

The creator of the hashtag #FollowFriday was a genius. He came up with a way to engage all Twitter users, every single Friday for all time! While these are the most difficult to create, you should always be thinking about it in the back of your mind. What do people in your niche obsess about? What does everyone need all the time? On specific days? Brainstorm! Include your community in the search.

Creating a Twitter trending topic can be good for exposure, but they are quite difficult to achieve and sustain. No one knows why a hashtag will trend, but this much is clear – it’s not because all your friends used it, or because you used it 1000 times. Trends are genuine products of viral sharing. You can’t force a trending topic, but you can certainly reach for it.

What was your favourite trending topic today and why? We want to know, so please leave us a comment below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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