A trend is a term that describes a popular topic or hashtag on social media. The popularity of a trend is usually determined by algorithms on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok that analyze activity, such as posts, searches, likes, comments, and shares to identify keywords or topics that are gaining traction. Trends are then prominently displayed and promoted to users on these platforms. Some trends are caused by influencers or celebrities who create content around a specific theme that is then shared widely, and others can be started by accidental or intentional manipulation (e.g., the Mannequin Challenge).

Trends reflect a social media community’s interests, discussions and collective attention at a given time. They can relate to current events, entertainment industry news and gossip, culture or other issues, viral content, campaigns and challenges, holidays, and even everyday mundane things. They can be localized to a specific region or community or have an impact on a global scale.

Some trends are fueled by a sense of curiosity, and others are the result of viral content or memes that capture people’s imagination. A trend can also be influenced by social pressure to keep up with or surpass the crowd.

While some trends fade quickly, others can remain in a prominent position for an extended period of time. As a result, there are many opportunities for businesses to use trending as an effective marketing tool.

By identifying trending topics, marketers can create relevant content for their audience that connects with them on a personal level. Using tools, such as Ahrefs’ Trends, to find trending search terms can be helpful for generating keyword rich content that is SEO optimized.

While it is important to keep up with the latest trends, it is also critical not to put too much value on them. Sometimes, trends and challenges can be harmful or destructive, so it is important to be aware of the source and motive of what is being spread.

When creating a social media strategy, it’s essential to understand how a trend is generated and what influences its momentum. For example, a recent trend related to the Mannequin Challenge was inspired by a viral video of people freezing in place for several seconds while music played. Other examples include the Bottle Cap Challenge, where participants attempt to unscrew a bottle cap with untraditional physical techniques, and the Ice Bucket Challenge, where viewers donate money to charity after filming themselves dumping water on their head.

By utilizing trending, marketers can create content that aligns with their target audiences and positions their company as a leader in the industry. Determining the demographics of a particular audience can help narrow the list of trends to those that are most applicable and meaningful to your target market. This process can be facilitated through the use of marketing tools, such as those offered by Buzzsumo. Learn how to use these tools with the intention of identifying trending topics that can help your business grow and thrive.