Trending is a term that refers to topics and keywords being discussed and highlighted by social media platforms in order to encourage discussion and interaction between users. A hashtag, photo, topic or video can be trending if it has a high number of retweets and mentions. Trending topics are often a reflection of what seems popular and interesting to a social media community at a given moment, although they can also be influenced by current events and news, online campaigns and challenges, cultural and other trends and even specific locations and contexts.

Twitter has a section on its website and mobile app highlighting Trending Topics, which are displayed in the sidebar of the homepage or within the Explore tab. These trends are catered to each user based on their location, who they follow and what types of content they like. The idea behind Trending is that when a person or company posts something, it has the potential to reach a much wider audience than it would normally if it were only viewed by people following them or with similar interests.

However, businesses should be wary of posting irrelevant or promotional content to take advantage of a trend. This can be seen as spammy and will often lead to the trend disappearing from the Trending Topics list, and in extreme cases could even result in a business being suspended by Twitter for abusing its trending feature.

Using a tool like Exploding Topics can help ensure that a company is only focusing on relevant trends to their industry, so that they can avoid the pitfalls of using a platform’s trending features and instead use them as a means of building a targeted social media presence. Exploding Topics is a free service that can be used to find and track trend data from over 13,000 manually vetted topics, and it allows users to save any trends they want to keep an eye on by adding them to a Project, which will then live in the main dashboard along with other important stats such as average daily growth, peak days and more.

This means that a business can be aware of what is trending on different social media platforms and respond to them in real-time, rather than releasing pre-planned content that has little relevance to the current conversation. As a result, it can help create a more personal connection between the brand and its customers and allow them to see that the company is in touch with their interests and concerns. In addition, it can also be used to help identify new markets and reach audiences that the brand may not have otherwise been able to target. As a word, ‘trending’ is a relatively recent addition to our vocabulary, but it’s certainly become as popular and widespread as selfie, twerking, bromance and tweetable. Regardless of the definition, it is definitely a useful tool that every marketer should be familiar with. As with all marketing tools, it is important to be creative and think outside the box when using trending data for your own purposes.