Taking Advantage of What’s Trending in Social Media Without Looking Foolish

In the next few weeks there’s going to be a lot of stuff “trending” on social media — The Oscars, Valentine’s Day, March Madness — and you can take advantage of these trends to gain visibility and followers for your business. However, you must do so carefully to avoid a social media “faux pas”.

What is a trend?

A word or phrase is “trending” when a lot of people are posting that word or phrase on Twitter and Google+. You can also see what’s trending on Google search — that’s the top search terms people are searching for at any given time.

What trends?

Sometimes, it’s really silly and you can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why something is trending. Usually it’s either a celebrity, a breaking news item, event, holiday, awareness day/week/month, disaster, etc. They could be a #hashtag or a just a name or phrase. (Related: What is a Hashtag) You can plan ahead for holidays and awareness days by checking Calendar-at-a-Glance to see what’s coming up.

So how do you ride on a trend’s coattails?

Easy. Think of how your product, business or service can tie-in with the trend. Be creative and clever. The sporting events can represent: winning, power, teamwork, speed, agility, skill, training, etc.

The award shows – any one in retail, fashion or style should be commenting on what the celebrities are wearing. What works and what doesn’t. What retro looks are coming back, etc. #RedCarpet will be trending.

It’s in Real Time

Oreo_dunk_in_the_darkDepending on the trend, it’s usually in real time. That means it’s happening now and if you miss it, you missed it. You don’t want to be “Johnny-come-lately”.

The best example of this was during the 2013 Super Bowl when they had the power outage. Some very clever person at Oreo, took advantage of that and sent out the “Dunk in the Dark” picture which got close to 16,000 retweets in minutes! The phrase “power out” was trending as people were tweeting while they waited for the game to resume.

What’s really important is to see WHY something is trending before you take advantage of it. Click on it and read some of the posts. If a phrase or word is trending because of a tragedy, the best thing to do is offer support and compassion. You don’t want to offend anyone.

Trending hashtags are a great way to make your tweets seen by more people, increase your engagement and reach and ultimately grow your community. You do however need to know when it’s not worth using certain hashtags because the reality is, no one cares about your product when the rest of the tweet makes them think about the disaster that is occurring, they will just think of you as insensitive. ~SocialBro Blog “The bad and the ugly, 8 celebrity Twitter mistakes…”

One of the most insensitive examples of this was when “Aurora” was trending – and it wasn’t because of the Aurora Borealis, or a dress, but the shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

Taking advantage of what's trending can fail big time if you don't check first!

Check to see WHY something is trending before you take advantage of it!


A word of caution also, when taking advantage of a celebrity’s misfortune — it may also look insensitive to make fun of them.

What's trending on Twitter

What’s trending on Twitter, 1/23/14, 2:40 pm. 5 trends pertain to Justin Bieber’s arrest for DUI. #ProBowl is a promoted hashtag

When I grabbed what’s trending on Twitter, I found out that Justin Bieber was arrested on DUI charges. Amazing how all you need to do is log on to social media to find out what’s going on in Real Time! No wonder newspapers are going out of business — they are seriously “old news”!

Here’s a perfect example of a company, AirFastTickets.com, that took advantage of poor Justin Bieber’s situation and the hashtag #DeportBieber. They were interviewed by Bloomberg’s Pimm Fox for their clever and innovative offering to send Justin Bieber anywhere around the world as long as he left the U.S. and never came back!

Social Media can be a very powerful marketing tool when used properly. We can help you get set up, branded and optimized. Then we’ll put a strategic and tactical plan together to guide you, train you on how to use the free tools properly and show you how you can manage your social media marketing in just 30 minutes a day!


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