A trend is a topic, hashtag, photo, video or other element on social media that’s popular at a given moment. Understanding trends is a powerful tool for marketers and can be used to boost engagement on your posts, amplify searches or even create new ones.

Trends are what seems to be catching people’s attention at a particular time, not just in the areas of pop culture and entertainment but also within business, politics, the economy and more. A trend can be anything from a new clothing line, to a political movement, to the way the weather is changing around you. Trends don’t last forever and if something isn’t working it can be replaced by another.

Generally speaking, there are two types of trends: positive and negative. A positive trend is one that moves upwards. A negative trend is one that moves downwards.

When it comes to social media, a trend is an area that has seen a significant increase in conversation and activity over the past 30 minutes. If your posts or videos are trending on Instagram, X or TikTok, they’ll receive a higher number of impressions and interactions than other content on the platform. If you’re not taking advantage of this, it could be a missed opportunity to reach your target audience.

As you might guess, a positive trend isn’t just about the quantity of views but rather the quality. If your content is trending because it’s funny, engaging or informative, the audience will respond to it. Conversely, if you’re trying to get a trend going just for the sake of it, it’s likely to fail.

The first step to getting your content on trend is having a unique hashtag. The more unique a hashtag is, the easier it will be for people to search for and find. Make sure your hashtag is relevant to the topic you’re hoping to bring on and use it in a call-to-action for maximum effectiveness.

Social platforms like Instagram, X and TikTok have their own ‘Trending’ sections on the homepage and in the Explore tab. It’s important to know what each platform looks for in terms of content and topics and how they vary between the different platforms. It’s not uncommon for a trend to emerge on one platform and move over to the other, such as a money-related topic that begins on TikTok before making its way onto YouTube.

Influencers and trendsetting creators also play a huge role in the growth of trends. If an influencer or popular blogger begins wearing a certain outfit or using a certain accessory and promotes it to their followers, it will become more aspirational and the demand for that product or look will grow. As a result, mass markets will begin producing (or copying) the trend and retail stores will stock it in response to consumer demand.