Twitter hashtags are a remarkably useful tool built into the social media platform that can help users both easily search through information, as well as increase their own engagement. In fact, hashtags contribute to the larger trending topics feature that Twitter has to offer.
Twitter trends are a set of topics that are determined through a Twitter algorithm that analyses what users are discussing. The trending page on Twitter shows both topics that are trending worldwide, as well as more tailored trends to fit the interests of the individual user.
In this article, we will discuss exactly what Twitter trends, how they are determined, and how users can best find what is trending on Twitter. Plus, we will explore how Twitter trends and related hashtags can be utilised to increase support and engagement for your brand.
What are Twitter Trending Topics?
Twitter trending topics are topics of discussion that are experiencing a significant influx of attention and conversation surrounding them. When a topic does trend, any tweets related to that trend can be then be seen on the trending page. Tweets performing well and experiencing high levels of engagement will generally appear at the top of the trending page, although tweets can be resorted to show the newest first.
Trends can include a wide variety of subject matters, with some of the most popular and frequent ones including:
- Political Happenings: Politics are a major area of dialogue amongst Twitter users. Tweets from or about elected officials and other politicians can easily become trending topics, as they are widely observed and interacted with by users.
- Major Events: Any time a historical occurrence, natural disaster, or other type of major event takes place, it typically trends on Twitter as users discuss the details, causes, and implications of the event.
- Celebrities: Both traditional celebrities and more internet-based celebrities have a tendency to trend, or have topics related specifically to them trend. Celebrity gossip as well generally trends often on the platform.
- Music and Entertainment: The entertainment industry enjoys a significant portion of the attention given by users on Twitter. Musicians, actors, and other entertainers – and their related work – will often trend alongside user reviews and general public opinion.
- Business and Brands: Building in a social media marketing strategy has become a major component of many businesses’ overall marketing plan. As such, business and advertisement campaigns alongside promotion of brands often trend when proper tactics and techniques are utilised by the marketing team.
For non-Twitter users, what is trending on Twitter may not seem necessarily relevant. However, as of October 2020, the United States alone has 68.7 million users, and Twitter draws in around 152 million users on a daily basis worldwide.
Thus, for a topic to trend on Twitter means that it has the potential to be seen by not just thousands, but millions of users. This is an incredibly powerful tool to be used, especially for those looking to grow businesses and brands.
How Twitter Determines What is Trending
Trends on Twitter are determined through the application of an algorithm that analyses a number of factors within existing tweets to discover what the current popular topics of conversation are. The factors include:
- Hashtags: Hashtags a major way that topics begin to trend on Twitter. When many users begin to use the same hashtag, this is noticed by the algorithm. Widespread use of a hashtag is how smaller accounts can bring themselves into a wider scope of exposure.
- Keywords: The algorithm scans not only for hashtags but for keywords as well, such as specific names or phrases, that are related to the trending topic. Thus, even tweets that do not contain a hashtag have the potential to contribute to or start a trend.
- User Location and Preferences: While trends will often include worldwide trends and happenings, individual users will also see topics appear on their trending page that are more specific to the user’s location, who they follow, and their interests.
Trends are also moderated and monitored by Twitter. In some cases, Twitter may actually block certain content or hashtags depending on if they violate Twitter rules. Content that is sensitive in nature, offensive, or factually incorrect may also be limited or blocked to a certain degree.
The Inclusion of Context
Twitter rolled out an update in September 2020 to include more context through several new features that are related to and affect trending topics. These features include brief descriptions giving a user a general rundown of the topic and why it is trending, as well as a list of curated tweets related to the trend that may appear first. Additionally, users are more likely to see tweets from those they follow on the subject.
According to Twitter:
“We manually monitor Trends and work to add context to help answer the question, ‘Why is this trending?’ We do this through attaching a representative Tweet to the Trend, adding a headline and description, or curating a landing page to give more direct context. We may also add a combination of these.”
This feature was added as an effort by the platform to better manage and review information being tweeted about the 2020 U.S. election. However, these contextual features are now used on many trends, not just those of the political nature.
How to Find What is Trending on Twitter
Finding out what is trending on Twitter is not too difficult of a task, luckily for users. However, there are still some key considerations to keep in mind on how to find and search through different trending topics on the platform.
Twitter’s Explore Page
Although trends can be discovered on the desktop version of Twitter in many places (including the home timeline, notifications, and profile pages), the Explore page is the best way to find trending tops on both the desktop and mobile versions of the platform.
On this page, many current trends can be searched through, and the interface offers different tabs to click between to switch between overall trending topics, topics specifically for the user, or other topics within a specific category (such as politics or sports).
Trendsmap is a useful tool and trend tracking service to easily allow for viewing of current trends around the world.
Twitter’s database on trends can also be directly accessed through tools available here at ExportData.io. Our tools allow for users to find current trending hashtags and topics. Additionally, our service allows for users to easily search through older and historical trends dated back from 2019 across 63 countries.
Through this ExportData.io tool, users can also specify whether they would like to search trends worldwide, or have their search narrowed down to a specific country. Plus, a specific date and time can also be selected in order to view what was trending at certain times of the day, or how trends changed over the course of a period of time.
Using Twitter Hashtags to Promote Your Brand
Twitter is an incredibly useful social media platform for those looking to grow and promote their brands. According to a recent study (published by Interpublic’s Magna, IPG Media Lab, and Twitter), at least 25 percent of purchase decisions by consumers were based and influence on the cultural relevance and involvement of a brand. Additionally, tweets with hashtags seen double the engagement of those without.
As such, a brand’s presence on Twitter can greatly affect how the brand is perceived, as well as increasing engagement. Naturally, utilizing hashtags is one of the best ways for brands to better promote their products and services on the platform. Below are a few of the best examples of how to best use Twitter hashtags for the benefit of your brand:
Holidays and Celebrations
Hashtags relating to holidays and celebrations are one of the best way to bring traffic and engagement to your brand’s Twitter account, especially around holidays such as Christmas which focus on gift-giving and could be a great opportunity to promote products you may offer.
Here is an example of how @LaurusHomes utilized #Christmas to promote a competition they were currently offering:
Messages Tailored to Your Audience
When a brand uses hashtags, it is important for that brand to consider who their target audience is and utilize hashtags that are relatable and provide a tailored message to their audience.
For instance, in this example @Grubhub promotes its partnership with the popular game Animal Crossing by using the hashtags commonly used by fans of the game, #AnimalCrossing and #ACNH. They also use #Friendsgiving, which is a good example of a hashtag used to target a specific demographic.
Hashtags that are in support of a cause are another excellent way for brands to bring awareness to themselves while simultaneously showing their support and involvement within a greater issue.
Here we can see @Canes, the North Carolina hockey team, promoting a charity event while also providing opportunity to win a canes jersey.
Relating Your Brand to Popular and Frequent Trends
There are many general hashtags that are used fairly frequent and maintain a decent amount of popularity thanks to their widespread usage. These can include hashtags such as #MotivationMonday and #ThrowbackThursday.
Here we can see @Arravoco taking advantage of #ThrowbackThursday in order to promote its brand.
Hashtags can also be a highly useful tool when users are trying to create marketing or social campaigns. This can help to bring awareness to a campaign, while also giving consumers a hashtag to use to discuss or show their involvement with the brand in question.
Here we can see @GivingTuesday promoting its charity initiative through its own hashtag of the same name.
Understanding Twitter trending topics is an excellent skill for users to have, as it will help them to better explore and utilise the trending features provided by the social media platform. Plus, understanding trends and hashtags is a necessary tool for brands to have in their Twitter toolbelt in order to promote their business and increase their overall engagement with consumers.