Any marketer hoping to generate buzz on social media has probably dreamt of, or attempted to get a hashtag trending on Twitter. What is a trend on Twitter? Trending topics, which are determined by an algorithm, are the phrases or hashtags that are the most popular at a given time. You can see what is trending on Twitter by pressing the search icon on the mobile Twitter app. Trending topics have the potential to reach a huge amount of people, and many people participate in trending topics through the use of hashtags, such as ending a tweet with #TheOscars to participate in the conversation about the awards show.
Still, getting a hashtag to trend is no easy task. It is not as simple as trying to get a lot of people to tweet with a certain hashtag at the same time. The truth is that there are many different factors that go into becoming viral. If marketers understand these factors and form a strategy around them, the chances of successfully getting a hashtag trending will increase. Some of the factors that can aid in getting a hashtag trending include:
Choosing the right topic. If the goal is to get people talking about your company or product, you must consider what topics are currently relevant. Creating a hashtag that ties into what people want to talk about or are already talking about will be more likely to engage people and encourage them to participate so that they can add their two cents to the conversation.
Teaming up with advocates. No matter how interesting or relevant the topic is, it will never get trending if it is not effectively distributed. It is crucial to have a distribution network of people that can share the content and get the message out there. For this reason, it is extremely beneficial to partner up with influencers that have larger audiences and can help spread the word. Be sure that these influencers are relevant to the topic and message that you are trying to spread, as their audiences will then be more likely to engage.
Making a plan. Timing is an important factor in getting a topic trending on Twitter. For a hashtag to gain some traction, there must be a spike in the number of people and the number of tweets going out around the given topic. As mentioned on the Twitter blog, “Sometimes, popular terms don’t make the Trends list because the velocity of conversation isn’t increasing quickly enough, relative to the baseline level of conversation happening on an average day”. To combat this, it is helpful to reach out to some key influencers to coordinate a time for an initial push of the hashtag.
Considering a mix of organic and promoted tweets. While there is a lot that you can do with organic tweets, it can be helpful to use promoted tweets to more closely targeted group of people that would have a particular interest in the topic. Twitter states that it “uses a variety of signals to determine which Promoted Tweets are relevant to users, including what a user chooses to follow, how they interact with a Tweet, what they retweet, and more.” By taking advantage of promoted tweets, you can get the content onto the feeds of those most likely to engage with it, which can help generate the traction needed to get trending.
In conclusion, there is no one formula for getting a hashtag trending on Twitter. There are a large number of factors that determine what gets trending, including content, distribution, timing, and more. Still, marketers that understand these factors have a better chance of creating a strategy that gets a hashtag trending and generates buzz.