As a brand, it’s essential to be context-aware.
When you publish content on social media, identifying trending topics helps you surface talking points to anchor your own communication in a relevant fashion, as well as showing some restraints in specific circumstances to avoid sounding tone-deaf.
In this guide, you’ll discover 13 ways to stay on top of trending topics, so your content is always on-point.
Table of Content
1. Instagram Explore
Every month, more than half of the Instagram community uses the Explore tab to discover new photos, videos, and Stories. Amazingly, everyone sees a unique selection of content from the billions of options based on their preferences.
Running behind the scenes is “an AI system based on a highly efficient 3-part ranking funnel that extracts 65 billion features and makes 90 million model predictions every second.”
The 3-part ranking system narrows the selection down from 500 candidates to the 25 you see on your individual Explore tab:
- First pass: picks the 150 highest-quality and most relevant candidates out of 500.
- Second pass: picks the 50 highest-quality and most relevant candidates.
- Final pass: picks the 25 highest-quality and most relevant candidates (for the first page of Explore grid).
So, when you browse the Explore tab, you’re sure to see highly relevant and trending content related to your brand.
2. Twitter Trends
There are two ways of discovering trends on Twitter.
Twitter Trends are calculated on the volume of people discussing a topic in their Tweets, based on geographical location and how relevant it is to a user.
For instance, a topic that is trending worldwide may not be displayed to a user with no interest in that subject. Likewise, a topic that is only relevant in San Diego may not be displayed to a worldwide audience.
Note: Marketers can also purchase promoted ads for relevant trends.
You can find your user-specific Twitter Trends in the top-right corner of the homepage under the “What’s happening” title:
Selecting a topic takes you to a page of related tweets, which you can share with your audience.
Loomly Tip: You can generate Post Ideas from Twitter Trends based on your selected location:
Moments are curated stories showcasing the very best of what’s happening on Twitter. They’re customized to show you current topics that are popular or relevant to you, so you can see what’s trending on Twitter right now.
Moments are categorized by Trending, News, Sports, Entertainment, Fun, and more. You can click on a Moment to explore the story further and click on the share icon to Tweet the Moment or copy the link.
3. LinkedIn News
LinkedIn News brings you the latest business news and stories. The editorial team create, curate, and cultivate content through posts, articles, Trending News, LinkedIn Lists, Daily Rundown and more.
For example, if you subscribe to the Daily Rundown, you get a notification each morning that takes you to the curated list of top headlines:
You can also see the day’s top professional news stories and conversations from the top-right corner of your LinkedIn homepage:
You can click the dropdown arrow to expand the list of trending stories hand-picked by the LinkedIn editorial team. When you click on a story, you have the usual options to like, comment, or share with your network.
4. Trends on YouTube
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, making it an incredible resource for finding trending content. The video platform features a trending feed that includes subcategories like music, gaming, and news so that you can narrow your selection.
Reddit – also dubbed “the front page of the internet” – is another site full of trending stories.
Reddit discussions happen in communities – known as Subreddits – that exist for virtually any topic people may choose to discuss. Subreddits begin with “/r/” followed by the forum name.
For example, you can search the popular subreddit (/r/popular) for a roundup of the latest trending and popular stories from different forums.
Reddit discussions are graded using an upvote and downvote system to determine the most popular content.
Quora is an online question and answer forum where users can ask and answer questions on a wide variety of topics.
Like Reddit, answers get upvoted and downvoted, so the one with the most votes sits directly under the question.
Topics are grouped in Spaces. When you follow a topic or space, questions and answers tagged with that topic will appear in your feed.
Likewise, you can also follow people and see questions and answers posted by them in your feed.
So, your main feed will show the latest and most popular questions and answers based on your selections.
7. Facebook for Media
Facebook for Media is open only to those journalists who can provide proof of press passes.
Trending topics, hashtags, conversations, and users are displayed on the dashboard. Using hashtag popularity over time, you can keep track of hot stories that could be relevant to you. In addition to integrating with Instagram search, Facebook for Media creates quick leaderboards, curates content, and provides data.
8. Trending Hashtags
Hashtags are predominantly used on Twitter and Instagram, plus other social platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. They’re either included in the main written text or shortly after to signify the topic.
Using a hashtag is a simple way to quickly add some context to your content, especially on Twitter, where there’s limited character space.
Trending hashtags are typically fast-paced, short-lived, and a little unpredictable. You need to be tracking trends as they happen, and you also need to research the hashtag before jumping into the conversation to make sure it’s relevant to your brand.
Trending hashtags occur on all social media platforms and can attract insane numbers of followers. On the plus side, they’re a great way to get your product, service, brand, or content in front of a massive audience. On the downside, your post(s) might get lost in a mass of content if a particular hashtag goes viral.
Loomly Tip: In Post Builder, Hashtag Suggestions recommends hashtags that are relevant to the copy of your post, as well as trending hashtags so that you can add them to your post in one click:
9. Google Trends
Google Trends provides a much broader picture of what’s trending as it’s based on search data rather than a social network.
You can enter your own search topic and filter it by location, time, category, and more. You also have the option to compare it to another topic, to see which is most popular:
If you scroll down the page, you can check out the latest trending searches:
Plus, you have the option to check real-time search trends for the past 24 hours:
Additionally, you can set up Google Alerts for any keywords you are interested in monitoring and receive daily email notifications.
Feedly lets you discover the best sources for any topic so that you can keep up with trending content in one place.
- Find and organize all your trusted sources – You can add 11 different types of sources, including Twitter feeds and subreddits.
- Train Leo to filter out the noise – Ask Leo (the AI research assistant) to read your feeds and prioritize the topics, events, and trends that matter to you.
- Share insights with your team – Organize, curate, and share key industry insights as a team with your audience.
Flipboard is a content aggregator that curates news and stories from the internet and delivers them to Smart Magazines tailored to your own interests.
With Flipboard’s content recommendation engine, you can find and share great content covering over 28,000 topics that you may not have found elsewhere.
For example, you can follow the Trends magazine to view and share what’s trending right now.
BuzzSumo provides insight into what content is working for any topic or competitor by analyzing hundreds of millions of pieces of content. You can see metrics like social shares, backlinks, and which influencers share any given piece of content.
The Top Stories feature shows you the top articles in the last hour organized by topic and trending score:
You can also search for any topic and then filter results by time (the last 1, 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours) and location to uncover trends:
BuzzFeed shows you what’s happening in popular culture. Although not all stories will be relevant, you can browse content in sections including News, Shopping, Videos, Animals, and more.
The trending section displays the most popular posts.
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Trending Topics in a Nutshell
Finding and publishing trending topics helps keep your social media posts on point. Whether you use a social network, or a user-generated content platform, or a curated news feed app, you can surface relevant trending topics for your brand.