Social media platforms are constantly updating their algorithms in an attempt to better deliver what users want. One of the most popular tools, or features rather, that they offer is “trending.” When a topic or hashtag gains enough popularity over time to make the trending list on sites like Twitter and Instagram, it will be displayed prominently on that page for everyone to see. This is a great way for new users to find content that interests them, and also provides brands with an opportunity to get their content in front of a wide audience.

The trending topics you see are determined by an algorithm that is tailored to your personal interests based on what you follow, who you follow, and your location. As a result, trends can vary greatly from person to person. Some trends are even recurrent. For example, every four years the Olympics become a huge talking point on Twitter, and at Christmas, there is often talk about Santa Claus or gift giving.

If you are able to capture the attention of a trending topic, it can lead to significant traffic growth for your business. It can also help you create an engaging story that is relevant to your audience and will receive a higher engagement level on social media. However, it is important to remember that trends can quickly change, so your content should be quick to respond.

When you’re not a celebrity, it can be difficult to make the trending lists on YouTube and Instagram. In fact, the average YouTube video has to receive more than a million views in order to be featured in the trending section. This is a lot of views for any channel, but especially for independent creators. Executives at YouTube have said they are careful about what videos appear in the trending sections and that they try to balance both news and entertainment content.

You can also find trending topics on YouTube by using Google Trends as described above, or by going to the ‘Explore’ option in the YouTube search menu (on desktop and mobile). There is a ‘Trending’ tab there that displays videos that are popular on Twitter worldwide. The Trending feature on YouTube works similarly to the ‘Explore’ options on other platforms and filters searches by keyword, so you can see what people are searching for on YouTube right now.

Some of the most successful trending content is a call to action. This could be telling people to vote in a political race, encouraging people to share their opinions on an issue, or asking viewers to tell the President or a celebrity what they think about something. But be careful — jumping on a trend without doing your research first can backfire. For example, Burger King recently found itself in hot water with Twitter users after a tweet it sent out about gender inequality in the workplace was seen as insensitive to women.