When COVID-19 hit, citywide lockdowns forced many people indoors. But even amid the panic and uncertainty, people found new ways to connect with each other via social media trends. In particular, food trends like Dalalgon coffee and homemade sourdough bread brought people all over the world together.
Brands soon joined these trends too. Fat Straws, a Texas-based bubble tea chain, even created new beverages inspired by the Dalgona coffee trend they saw on TikTok.
This gives us a glimpse of how big your impact can be when you know how to capitalize on the trends that are grabbing your audience’s attention. New trends in social media can serve as inspiration not only for new products, but also for fresh content and creative ways to connect with your audience.
Read on to find out how you can use social listening and social media trending to find out what’s trending on the internet. We’ll also give you additional tips to help you get the most out of these social listening trends and insights.
How to discover the trends on the Internet
Native analysis tools on various social media platforms give you an impression of the conversations and hashtags that are relevant to your company. In addition, you can also use social listening tools to delve deeper into conversations about what’s trending on the internet and what people are talking about.
Social monitoring and listening can help you narrow down specific keywords so you can see what people are discussing in relation to a particular industry or topic, and not just when they mention your brand or products directly. This can help you stay ahead of the curve when a new trend hits a niche or audience segment.
Here are a few ways you can start trending topics popping up using social media tools and social listening:
Discover the “For You” tab on Twitter
Twitter has one of the best native trend analysis tools that you can use to discover new audience interests. The desktop client or mobile app shows what is happening and current topics and hashtags are updated in real time.
Hit “See More” and you’ll get a personalized list of the trending conversations you might be interested in and the number of tweets for each topic / hashtag. You can also filter trends by categories like entertainment, news, sports, and more.
This is a great way to find out what is being talked about on the platform. Because Twitter personalizes “For You” trends based on your interests and activities, most of the time you will see topics related to your brand and industry. If you want to look outside of this area of interest, you can check the trends by region or by other sub-topics.
Identify trending niche hashtags on Instagram
Hashtag research can be another important part of spotting trends and making sure your content, especially on Instagram, is easy to find. At the same time, it can be extremely difficult as most hashtag research tools only reveal the most popular hashtags based on how popular they are. Finding niches that are relevant to your niche can become an overly manual process without additional research.
Ingramer makes the process easy for you by letting you sort trending hashtags by niche. So you should be able to filter the most popular hashtags based on various topics and categories, including health, design, animals, sports, news, home, and more. To further define your brand, you can also use Sprout Social’s trending report to narrow down hashtags and topics that are frequently mentioned with your brand handles.
Get deep insights with Sprout Social
Sprout’s own social media listening tool gives you a comprehensive overview of social listening trends. With Query Builder, you can identify conversations based on terms related to your product offering, area of expertise, stakeholders, and more. This will help you understand what the audiences are authentically discussing, not just what they have to say when they mention you or use a campaign hashtag. You can also use the Query Builder to customize context, such as excluding terms to narrow down key discussions.
Not only can you find relevant trends and conversations, but you can also get a detailed breakdown of topic performance to understand how your audience is dealing with a particular trend. You can measure engagement rates, message volume, average sentiment, voice percentage of your brand and much more.
Best practices for success in identifying trends
Recognizing new trends on social media is one thing. knowing what to do with them is another. Knowing some best practices can help you get the most out of a social media trend analysis. Here are some tips to follow to successfully trend social listening:
1. Narrow down the trends relevant to your niche
If you jump on every trend just because “it’s on trend” you will get stuck. If anything, this will only overwhelm your content creation efforts without actually making you visible. Improve your chances of success with a new trend by narrowing down topics and hashtags that are relevant to your niche.
For example, Tourism Ireland used the trending hashtag #armchairtravel during the pandemic. They shared fascinating views of tourist spots in Ireland for followers to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. This made perfect sense at a time when travel restrictions were pausing people’s travel plans and they were looking for virtual alternatives.
2. Track the origin of trends before you start
Another reason you should never get into any trend is that some trends can have questionable origins.
Sometimes innocuous or generic terms come from political controversy far beyond your branding guidelines, to media sources that your audience has no interest or reference point in.
Twitter now often explains the context of trending topics or references the original tweet interest in a trend. This can help you understand where a trend is coming from and whether it fits your brand’s tone and audience interest before diving into the latest viral sensation.
3. Know which trends do not fit
Some trending hashtags and topics have great reach among the general population, not just niche interest groups.
Take, for example, the instant popularity of Among Us, an online multiplayer game where you have to find a cheater in your spaceship. Memes and references about it have expanded well beyond the typical gaming audience, making them great for brands with the Gen Z audience that have helped increase the game’s popularity. Wendy boldly stepped into the trend by having team members play and stream the game.
At the same time, it’s not wise to follow every mainstream trend for every audience. Take into account the brand personality you want to portray and the type of audience you want to reach. For example, the “Between Us” trend may not fit as well with an older audience who are unfamiliar with the game or a more professional content strategy that doesn’t often relate to entertainment trends.
Additionally, some trends and topics may be too “over the top” to appeal to your audience. Use social listening and trending with a tool like Sprout Social to determine when certain topics are losing steam.
4. Find creative ways to incorporate these trends into your content
This is one of the most challenging parts, but it can also be the most fun depending on how you look at it. Merely participating in popular trends can have an impact on your brand’s visibility and engagement. But you have to get creative if you want to really stand out. That means finding unique angles to drive the trend into your social media and content strategy.
Even some trends that obviously don’t fit your niche could work for you if you give it a creative twist. See, for example, how Berger Paints, an Indian paint company, creatively incorporated the Dalgona coffee trend into its content strategy.
Have you heard of the “how it started and how it ended” trend? The meme began to evolve in late September and early October 2020. It started out as a trend, with couples reporting on their first interactions and how they eventually ended. But it soon developed when people started giving funny angles to different situations.
Oreo has given the trend its own twist.
The trend even reached the tweets of sports teams like the Golden State Warriors.
Ready to uncover social listening trends?
Social listening can help you uncover popular trends that your brand can benefit from. However, it takes some planning to take advantage of these trends. Use these tips and ideas to effectively spot trends that appeal to your audience.
Learn more about what consumers expect from social content in our Sprout Social Index report.