A guide to trending topics and hashtags

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A guide to trending topics and hashtags

Creating content around trending topics keeps your brand relevant, interesting and current. Trending topics come in and out of popularity fast. This disposable outlook leads many to believe trends aren’t worth focusing on. Even though this may be the case, digital marketers believe the contrary.

Concentrating on trending topics offers a host of benefits; when done right, of course. We’ll dive deeper into these reasons later on. We will also answer these questions:

  • What is a trending topic? 
  • Why are trending topics useful to you?
  • How can you spot relevant trending topics?
  • How can you use trending topics to market your business?

By the end of this article, your mind will change. Your business will be ready to utilise trending topics within your digital marketing. And you’ll have the knowledge and tools to do so with confidence.

What a Trending Topic is


Trending topics are subjects that are currently of high popularity. Trends can be broad or specified, as long as there’s a wave of engagement around the subject on social media. Anything from ‘Bulldog Puppies’, to ‘The Duchess of Cambridge’s new baby boy’. 

While Trends have a time-limit, this doesn’t mean after it’s time the subject won’t get searched for.

They can also be hashtags on social media platforms. These hashtags generate a ton of exposure, as you can see from the examples below:


This Twitter user has managed to gain 113 comments, 5.0K retweets (shares) and 9.3K likes. All for a few pictures of bats under the hashtag #BatAppreciationDay.

Why trending topics are useful to your business 


You can include trending topics in your digital marketing plans. They are great for gaining quick exposure and fast engagement on social media. 

Using trends helps your business appear on more search results, as a ton of people search for the subject.

In turn, this higher reach will attract more traffic to your site. So, not only will you be more relevant on social media, you’ll also gain more traffic to your site.

Being modern and up-to-date are benefits of creating content around a trending topic. Ever seen a brand that stays on-the-ball with hot topics and insights? You trust that brand, don’t you?

You trust they’ll give you the correct information and offer you knowledge of the topic.

Do this and your brand’s reputation will skyrocket.

This will increase your brand’s trust as you’re proving that you know your stuff.

Exactly like this Twitter user has done. The hashtag #WednesdayWisdom gets used for a series of content. Which solves the issue of trending topics becoming useless over time. Yet, it does pose the issue of becoming overused and too broad.



How you can spot relevant trending topics 


There are many tools to use to find relevant trending topics. In regards to the relevancy of said topic; research the topic before using it. This will ensure a topic is exactly what you believe it to be. 

Hashtags get misused by brands all the time. The results can be devastating for some but hilarious for others…

Penguin’s #YourMum 


The hashtag was for Twitter users to ask Penguin (the British book publisher) for Mother’s day gift advice. Of course, we won’t have to explain what people actually used the #YourMum for.

Dorothy Perkins’ #loveDP


DP stands for Dorothy Perkins… Well, it does to Dorothy Perkins at least. Though, what DP means to the rest of Twitter is completely different.

Can you see why it’s important to check the hashtag and trending topic before using it? Please, don’t be another Dorothy Perkins; it’s embarrassing.

Google Trends


Google Trends includes real-time data that is anonymous and free to use.

Key points of Google Trends:

  • Uses Google search data
  • Unbiased
  • Categorised by the topic of a search query
  • Aggregated – grouped together 
  • Measures interest in a topic/search term 
  • Search for topics or a specific set of search terms 
  • See interest over time, where it’s most searched and relevant searches 
  • Real-time and non-real-time options
  • Time and location



Regional search interest in a topic


See which countries have the highest search volume for a trend. Google calculates the number of searches for a term as a portion of all search terms in that area.

This creates an unbiased set of data.

Key points:

  • Normalised values rather than raw data
  • Compare different dates, countries and cities
  • Index data up to 100, which is the highest search interest for that specific time and place
  • You can re-index the time-period for just a month
  • Percentage increase in popularity – up to 100
  • Spike – a sudden acceleration in the interest of a search topic

Facebook’s trending topics


Trending topics are interesting subjects that have gained a ton of engagement on FB.

Main points:

  • Based on topics FB users are talking about most
  • List of recently popular topics
  • Determined by the number of publishers posting articles about a topic
  • Also based on the engagement level said articles are receiving
  • Where to find Facebook’s Trends

On the computer, you can find the Trending topics to the right-side of the newsfeed. Whereas, on mobile Trending topics show when users tap the search bar.

5 categories:

  1. Top trends
  2. Politics
  3. Science & technology
  4. Sports
  5. Entertainment

Instagram’s Hashtags 

Main points:

  • Hashtags categorise content
  • Hashtags are word or phrase, symbols, numbers and/or emoji’s
  • Clicking on a hashtag takes you to all the posts that use said hashtag
  • Allow users to discover your account and content by using hashtags
  • Exposes your brand to a bigger audience
  • Attracts new followers, more likes/shares and increases engagement

Simply Measured found that there’s a 12.6% increase in engagement when posts include a hashtag, compared to those without.

You can read more about using Instagram’s hashtags, here.

Twitter’s Hashtags and trending topics


Twitter trending topics are like Instagram and Facebook’s trending topics. Key points:

  • Find under Trends section of the explore tab on mobile
  • Find on your home timeline, notifications, search results and profile pages when on computer
  • Tailored to you, based on who you follow, your interests and location
  • Twitter bases their trend data on subjects with high engagement currently
  • You can choose to see trends in a specific location
  • Option to turn off tailored trend suggestions
  • Hashtags are there to link relating topics together

How to decide on relevant trending topics and hashtags to use on social media channels:


  • See the hashtags your competitors use and how much engagement they’re receiving
  • Look for the hashtags influential people within your industry are using
  • Search for related hashtags to include 
  • Use Google Trends

What not to do: 


  • Stuff your posts with tons of hashtags – looks like spam and goes against user guidelines
  • Use irrelevant hashtags 
  • Use very broad hashtags such as #marketing or #selfie

What hashtags and trending topics have you created content around? Share your experience and results of using trending topics. You can get help with your digital marketing plan by contacting us, today.