In simple terms, trending is what seems to be popular at a given moment, reflecting social and cultural moods. A trend can be a topic, hashtag, photo, video, catch-phrase, or even an app. It could be a new fashion style, celebrity or food. But it could also be a political movement or event. Trends are often driven by big news stories and events but can also be influenced by the weather, for example a sudden drop in temperature might make us want to wear a blanket and stay indoors.

Trends are determined by algorithms that look at the popularity of a topic or hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. These algorithms analyze the volume of activity (likes, comments, shares, searches) and then identify the topics that are being discussed the most. If enough people are talking about a topic, it will rise up the list and then appear on the homepage of the platform as a “trending” item.

Using tools like Google Trends and Twitter’s Explore tab, you can see what is trending on any given day or week. It’s a great way to see what the buzz is about and how you can connect with your audience. You can use it to find relevant keywords for your next blog post or find out if there is any interest in your products or services. You can also see what your competitors are up to, which will allow you to learn from and beat them.

Trending is most commonly seen on Twitter but other social platforms offer similar features. For example, YouTube publicises the trending videos and can be viewed on their home page or in the Trends tab. Trending on social media isn’t always accurate, though. Sometimes, a hashtag will rise because of a single tweet that reaches a certain amount of likes and retweets but because of the algorithm used by each platform, it may not actually have reached a sufficient number of users to be considered a true trend.

For example, in the case of #FreddieGray, a hashtag that rose to the top of the trending list during the death of a famous person, it didn’t actually achieve a specific spike in usage. This was because there wasn’t a sudden increase in volume over a short period of time, as would normally be required to make it a true trend.

Understanding what makes something a trend can help you get ahead of your competition and target your marketing. For example, if you sell an outdoor-themed product, it’s wise to keep an eye on the trends so that you can create and share relevant content around your products. Likewise, it’s important to plan ahead for seasonal trends so that you can make the most of peak sales. The word ‘trend’ is a relatively new addition to our vocabulary and opinions vary as to whether it’s even a real word. But it’s certainly becoming more commonplace and the power of trends can be a powerful marketing tool for your business.