When a hashtag or topic becomes popular on social media, it can be featured in the platform’s “Trending” area. Trends are often influenced by current events, viral content, holidays, or even online campaigns and challenges. Trends can be localized to a specific community, or they can be broad and worldwide. Regardless of the context, trends are a useful tool for marketers to gain visibility and engagement on their social media accounts.

To use the trending feature, users can visit their social media platforms’ “Explore” or “Trending” areas to see what keywords are being used in real-time. Twitter’s trending topics are based on current events, news stories, and pop culture. Facebook’s trending topics are based on people you follow and what’s being talked about in your feed. Instagram’s trending topics are based on popular tags, hashtags, or keywords.

Trends are also influenced by the volume of searches on Google. However, the Washington Post’s Lotan Mazuy explains that there is also an element of randomness involved in what trends and for how long. For example, a trend may fail to make the cut due to a lack of volume, or it could be affected by misspellings (e.g., the trending topics on Twitter for the San Bernardino shootings included both “San Bernardino” and “San Bernadino,” which split the volume).

Participating in a trend can give a brand visibility and engagement. However, it’s important to approach these discussions with care. Insensitive posts can backfire, and breaking Twitter’s rules for trend abuse can result in account suspension. In addition, posting irrelevant content can be seen as spam and cause the trend to disappear more quickly.

Using unique, engaging hashtags and phrases can help your posts rise to the top of a trend. This can be done by incorporating them into your content or sharing them with other users on the platform. Trending tags can also help your content show up in the Explore page or search results of other users, making them more likely to be found and engaged with by a wider audience.

Aside from boosting engagement, participating in trends can boost your brand’s awareness. Trending topics and hashtags are often spotted by the algorithm of a social media platform, which makes them more visible to followers and non-followers alike.

Creating and promoting relevant content that speaks to your audience is an effective way to grow your business. But don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies and tactics to find what works for your brand. If you’re looking for a platform that allows you to plan, manage, and analyze your posts across all of your accounts in one place, try Buffer. Sign up for a free trial today!