In social media, trending refers to a topic that suddenly becomes popular and gets hyped for a short period of time. It can be a hashtag (pound sign followed by some words), phrase, or news story that people are tweeting about and sharing with others.

The reason why a hashtag or phrase suddenly starts to trend is because there has been an upsurge in interest, popularity, or curiosity about it among the general public. Trending topics can range from major events, like Brexit or Donald Trump becoming president to something as simple as #rain on a miserable day.

Generally, trends are discovered by social networks by analyzing data around specific words or phrases that are being used by many of their users. If a certain word or phrase is being mentioned often, the platform will display it in their “Trending” section, which is usually located on their homepage or within the Explore tab. Trends can also be filtered by location or who you follow on the platform.

The problem with using social media trends to promote your business is that they aren’t as reliable as you may think. They can be impacted by a variety of factors, from misspellings to different perspectives on a certain topic. They are also subject to change rapidly, so once a trend reaches its peak it may start to decline, and then you’ll be left with a skewered image of your brand in the minds of customers.

To avoid getting sucked into the “trending” trap, you should use tools that provide comprehensive data on what is actually trending, not just popular phrases or hashtags. One tool that does this is Tweet Binder, which analyzes tweets and provides weekly, real-time, and historical reports. It can tell you how long a hashtag has been trending, who is talking about it, what sentiment they’re having, and even the keywords that are being used in tweets.

Another option for finding trends is SparkToro Trending, which is a collection of popular Twitter content. It lists links to posts with popular hashtags in categories like News, Marketing, and Tech. However, the tool doesn’t identify the source of the trend and is more likely to pull irrelevant content like movies, songs, or celebrity gossip. To avoid this, you can search for a particular topic in our Trends Database and save it as a Project to monitor its growth over time.

Alternatively, you can try to find trends yourself by visiting the Trends page on your platform of choice and looking for the topics with the highest growth rate over the past 24 hours. However, it can be a lot of work since you’ll have to read through countless articles to identify new trends. This is why we created the Trends Database, a searchable database of 13,000 manually vetted trends that you can filter by category and monitor over time. It’s a great tool for businesses that want to stay ahead of their competitors by staying informed about industry trends.