Because trending topics change rapidly, keeping track of what’s hot on each social media platform can be challenging. However, catching a trend at the right time can offer a significant boost to your social media marketing.
Understanding social media trends enables you to respond accordingly, thus improving your overall strategy. This guide will give you the tools you need to optimize your social media.
How to track social media trends
There’s no shortage of online tools for finding trending social media topics and harnessing their power to improve your marketing strategies. These 10 tools for tracking trending topics represent only a sampling of the available options, but they are among the most reputable.
1. Google Trends
Google Trends is the best way to monitor trending topics expansively. Because Google Trends uses search data, it will give you a much broader picture of what is trending than you’d see by analyzing data on a single social network. That data may help you make more informed decisions about what you promote, engage with and follow. You can set up a Google Alert for any keyword you want to watch, so you will always know what is happening.
TweetDeck is a free Twitter monitoring tool that allows you to track specific hashtags and keep tabs on their popularity. It’s also an overall Twitter management dashboard that displays your timeline, messages and notifications in one place so you don’t miss anything.
However, you cannot use TweetDeck to monitor other social media platforms and it’s not as versatile as dashboards, such as Cyfe and Hootsuite.
With a wide selection of tools and an excellent method for searching across several social media platforms, Hootsuite allows you to monitor trends every day, whether only one trending hashtag or a variety of social media trending topics. Be sure to check out Hootsuite’s webinars to see some of the lesser-known features available to pro users.
This all-in-one social trend dashboard allows you to build your tools. It offers widgets that can create anything you need for social media, business, marketing or research. Cyfe is a great way to clear the clutter while tracking many trending hashtags and keywords within one dashboard.
When you see a meme or other trending content on Facebook, it may have been circulating on Tumblr for weeks or months. Though not as popular as it once was, Tumblr is an excellent source of internet content ― especially in the pop culture realm ― right when it has been posted, and you will see it first if you keep your dashboard filled with a good selection of active blogs.
Reddit is another great place to see things early on. But, unlike Tumblr, which is more meme-based, Reddit shows trends in different categories. A trending story about technology sometimes drops there first, and Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” discussions are a great way to engage directly with experts. You can also look at Trending Reddit to see what is hot at any given time.
7. Social Mention
Social Mention allows trend tracking across multiple social platforms. Search for a keyword or phrase, and Social Mention will tell you the networks where that search term is the most popular, along with other metrics, such as whether the sentiment associated with the trend or term is positive, negative or neutral.
8. Top Hashtags
Top Hashtags monitors the hashtags that are trending on Instagram, and you can search to see how popular hashtags are even if they aren’t on the top lists. The tool is easy to use and informative. [Related article: How to Use Influencers to Build Your Brand]
It can be easy to forget that YouTube is also a social media platform. TubeBuddy allows you to perform keyword research on the platform to determine how to shape your company’s next YouTube video. Suppose you want to connect your brand to something trending in pop culture. In that case, TubeBuddy can be especially useful because pop culture is among YouTube’s most-watched content categories, according to Think with Google.
While Feedly may be best known as a popular news reader, your company can also harness its power to identify social media trending topics. Feedly points to which blog topics result in the most conversation, and you can use this data to inform your company’s next blog post. As with any content, share your blog post through social media.
Social media impacts how customers discover products. According to a Nielsen and NM Incite report, 60 percent of consumers learn about a brand through a social media site.
Social media trends to watch
Just as trending topics are constantly in flux, social media trends continue to change. Here are some social media trends experts expect to see over the next few years.
1. Video is king
It should come as no surprise that video is the preferred way to view social media. With the rise of short videos and TikTok, businesses are investing time, money and manpower in creating visual content.
It’s not only e-commerce. Business niches like financial technology are finding ways to educate their customers by producing entertaining videos that are share-worthy.
2. A priority on customer service
Demands for personalization from brands are also affecting customer service times. When consumers have an issue, they expect to receive a response within the hour, not in a few days.
>> Learn More: Twitter as a Customer Support Channel
3. Whisper mission
Social media used to be a place to declare all of your company mission statements. You could create posts to let the world know about your low carbon footprint, what charities you support and what benefits you offer to employees.
However, due to Internet watchdogs, you shouldn’t announce all of your inner workings. If your company no longer practices sustainability the same way, cuts charitable donations or discontinues remote or unique benefits, someone is sure to point this out. So, be careful what you include in your posts.
4. Metaverse or bust
Companies are already dipping their toes in the meta water. Investing in metaverse technology can provide customers with augmented reality/virtual reality experiences, such as virtually “trying on” products for their customers.
5. Authenticity is key
From making behind-the-scenes videos to working with influencers, companies are looking for ways to show authenticity to their audiences.
There will also be a rise in user-generated content. Brands can save money on advertising and appeal to consumers by being more relatable and less tone-deaf.
Generation Z continues to abandon Facebook and is on TikTok for more than five hours daily.
6. Mind your keywords.
With almost 40 percent of Gen Z use TikTok and Instagram instead of Google to perform a search, the focus of being #1 on Google could shift toward ranking on social media, reported Nieman Lab, citing internal Google data.
Ensure your main keywords are chosen, A/B tested and added to your social media posts. Consumers will look for video stories and honest reviews from sites like TikTok and Reddit as they move toward a personalization mindset.
What are the most popular social media sites?
To identify and track topics that are trending on social media, you should know which social media sites have the most users. Here are the six most popular social media sites, with approximate active monthly user counts, as of April 2023:
- Facebook: 96 billion
- Instagram: 35 billion
- TikTok: 05 billion
- Reddit: 6 billion
- Snapchat: 383 million
- Twitter: 368 million
It may come as a surprise not to see Twitter ranked in the top five, but don’t make the mistake of entirely discounting Twitter. The platform’s 368 million active monthly users are still a powerful crowd, and every social listening expert knows the power of a Twitter trend for marketing.
Max Freedman contributed to this article.