How to incorporate trending topics into your Twitter strategy

By Nick Reese
Best practices
Portrait of a joyful young woman using laptop computer.

Most of the time, marketers like to create their Tweets well in advance of posting. This gives a brand’s social media team the chance to take their time with the posts, find the right images, and get approval.

At the same time, Twitter is the place where people are having an ongoing, global conversation. By monitoring and using trending topics on Twitter, brands can look for opportunities to join the conversation. Even though you can’t always plan out the actual content, the use of trending topics should be a strategic, systematic part of every brand’s Twitter strategy.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using trending topics to make sure you deliver the most value to your followers.

Be authentic

The first and most important step is to make sure you have something to say, which can be difficult when under the pressure to post before a trend goes stale. To get your feet wet, look at weekly recurring hashtags to find ones that fit your audience. This will give you the chance to create Tweets in advance while still taking advantage of the power of trending topics.

Anticipate trending topics

From #NationalPuppyDay to championship games to celebrity weddings, you can easily look ahead on the calendar to anticipate what topics will trend weeks or even months from now. This gives you the time to cherry-pick the right topics and craft high-quality Tweets that will be better positioned to rise above the rest when the big day comes.

Do your homework

Ready to take it up a notch? Check the trending topics on your Twitter homepage for a list of hashtags and topics people are talking about right now.

However, before you grab one and go, make sure you click through and read some Tweets using the hashtag to understand the context. The hashtag #ParisIsBurning could be about cutting-edge fashion hitting the runway, or it could be about riots in the streets of the city of lights. Better to check first! The last thing your brand needs is to get unintentionally embroiled in a serious or controversial issue that alienates your audience when your intention was to Tweet something lighthearted and fun.

Wait for the right fit

Trending topics change daily or even hourly. If there aren’t any topics that feel like a good fit at the moment, don’t worry about it. It’s better to Tweet something that fits your brand and adds value to your audience than to post something about #FajitaFriday just for the sake of it. At the same time, while it’s key to be timely when using a trending topic, don’t sacrifice quality for speed. Make sure your Tweet is up to your usual brand standards.

Balance timely with timeless

Your audience follows your brand because they’re interested in your product or service, not necessarily your perspective on the up-to-the-second news. Too many Tweets using trending topics can come across as trying too hard to be cool, which any 7th grader will tell you is the least cool thing you can possibly do. Make sure your entire Twitter strategy, including the use of trending topics, reflects the reason people follow you and the value your audience expects you to provide. Unless your brand is based on news or current events, trending topics are usually best used as a spice in your Twitter strategy rather than a primary ingredient.

Want to learn more about building a marketing strategy that makes the most of movements, moments, and major live events? Download our workbook for live Tweeting.

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