Trending is when a topic, hashtag, or keyword becomes more popular than usual on a social media platform, like Twitter or TikTok. This usually leads to a higher visibility and increased engagement within the platform’s Explore or Trending area.

It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes a trend to take off. In general, it boils down to social forces, as styles and tastes shift in the minds of a large enough group of people for them to catch on. Once a new phenomenon has reached critical mass, it will often find itself returning to the public consciousness as part of a cyclical process. Some trends, like memes or viral videos, have a very short lifespan, while others, such as fashion or design, can become long-term and permanent.

For businesses, being able to tap into trends can be a huge advantage as they help to increase reach and exposure on the platforms. However, it is important that brands approach the concept of trending with caution as missteps can quickly damage brand reputation.

The most common way to track trends is by using a tool that tracks the activity of specific hashtags or keywords, such as Insight Copilot. Using this tool, marketers can see what people are talking about in real-time and identify potential opportunities to gain more visibility on the platforms.

However, it is also important to note that a hashtag or keyword must be widely used for it to gain momentum and become trending. In addition, the hashtag or keyword must be unique in order to stand out from existing ones. In some cases, the popularity of a trend can be skewed by people intentionally trying to manipulate the algorithm in order to gain visibility.

In these situations, the algorithms are sometimes modified in order to prevent this manipulation, but this can be a tricky proposition. For example, if a company tries to push an unrelated hashtag in an attempt to boost visibility on the platform, they could run the risk of breaking the rules and possibly being banned from the site altogether.

Another example of how a trend can be manipulated is in the case of certain YouTube channels, particularly those that are classified as news outlets. As the Washington Post reports, YouTube’s internal system tends to favor sharp spikes in video views over gradual sustained growth, which can lead to a content creator being promoted as “trending” even though it hasn’t reached a threshold for such promotion.

This kind of content marketing is not only unethical, but it can have a major impact on the credibility and reputation of the channel in question. This is one of the reasons why it is important for businesses to only engage with trending topics that are relevant to their industry and that align with their overall messaging and values.