Successful businesses know the significance of following current trends. Monitoring the latest trends plays a critical role in almost every aspect of marketing. It helps a business stay relevant and establish a relationship with consumers. But, rapidly changing interests can make keeping up with trends pretty difficult. A decade ago, businesses needed access to expensive resources to track consumer trends.
Today, we have access to the same type of resources that rival their predecessors in not only cost, but in content and relevancy as well. Today’s resources give access to present-day trends on a daily or even hourly basis. What’s more, they’re a simple click away. Twitter’s trending topics is a prime example resource. Through this free resource, you can instantaneously identify what’s buzzing around both the nation and the world through the hash-tag or the “Trends” box.
As of this writing, the current trends are #RuinANurseryRhyme, #WhatJayZSaidToSolange, #MentionPeopleYouWillNeverForget, and #replacesongtitleswithpoop. If your company catered to a market that obsessed over any one of these things, you would have had a field day interacting with a bigger market and adding new data to your existing, marketing database. Here’s how to do the same for the next trending topic and your own target market.
Study What’s Going On First
Study the trends and consider which ones are relevant to your business. You’ll learn the proper way to break out of that restriction a little later on. For now, it’s best to take a look at what’s available and consider how you could ethically speak about a subject without directly advertising your business. Never jump on a trend that isn’t remotely related to your business. You’ll suffer a huge backlash and be accused of spamming — especially if you represent a nationally known establishment.
Consider the company that makes a statement within a trend that’s mourning a nationally known death. Although you may feel the same sentiment that’s shared in a trend, companies are not welcome, in particular, when that sentiment may be biased. Your participation may inadvertently indicate a position and support for something that you had no intention on supporting.
Master the Twitter Chat
Know how to jump in on a trending conversation and know how to keep up. (Seriously, you may need to practice this part.) A simple remark just isn’t enough to capture the interests of today’s tweeting masters. Trending conversations are way too fast for that, and if you’re not quick enough, you’ll fall behind what’s being said and respond to a conversation that ended a thousand tweets ago.
Click on over to Twitter right now and watch a current trend to see for yourself. Watch how fast those tweets go by. Type like grandma and you won’t stand a chance in there. Type like a teenager, and you *might* keep your head above water.
Make Important Events Last Forever
Have a process ready beforehand to capture potential relationships. As you respond to trending conversations, you’re bound to capture the interest of a fellow tweeter or two. So prepare to capture that tweeter’s account information for a follow up and save the resulting collection into a file somewhere. Before a trend runs its course, you’ll have a nice database of new prospects.
Never solicit tweeters with whom you didn’t establish a rapport. That’s spamming, and not allowed. You could even lose your account over it should enough people complain.
Exercise Extreme Tact
If you want to invade a topic not related to your business, do it with extreme tact. Never advertise unless appropriate. The online community, although ironically bombarded by advertisements everywhere they click, does not like to see the same on Twitter. So resist the temptation unless you’re absolutely sure your presence in a trending conversation is relevant.
A good example of an appropriate presence is when GoDaddy’s competitors participated in a trending whine-fest over the company’s horrifying blackout. If you remember that event, you’ll remember that although it admittedly lasted only 24 hours, dissatisfied GoDaddy costumers were literally begging for better alternatives. You’ll also remember that GoDaddy’s competitors were more than happy to oblige.
Don’t Forget to Advertise
GoDaddy’s competitors didn’t just participate in that trending topic. Some of them bought Twitter’s advertising as well, so that whenever anyone clicked the topic at hand, they saw a promotion on top of thousands upon thousands of anti-GoDaddy rants. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
Prevent Media Embarrassments
Surely, you’ve heard brand name companies get chastised on the daily news for a rude or offensive tweet. As a business, your tweets have a bigger impact than others. People expect professional and courteous behavior from a company even if it’s online. So don’t be ignorant, rude, or offensive.
Think of any celebrity, politician, or corporation who tweeted an offensive joke or insulted a group of people. You certainly want publicity, but not that kind. Public outcries don’t pay the bills or increase profits!
Schmooze Outside of the Twitter Domain
Use software that works with the Twitter service if it’s easier. As we mentioned before, Twitter is fast. But using it from a browser may not be as convenient as using it with a third party add-on. A lot of these utilities improve Twitter’s already simple interface, and simplify tweeting in a manner that you might appreciate.
Some of the more popular programs are HootSuite, SproutSocial, and TweetAdder.
Bring the Party To a 3rd-Party
Speaking of off-site interaction, try consulting third party websites that monitor, store, and organize Twitter’s trends. These websites focus on trending topics and trending topics only. They cut out all the other junk so you can immediately zero in on what people are buzzing about.
Some of these sites additionally record (store) them for later retrieval. You can’t interact with them, but you can run them through a spreadsheet and get a sweet stack of opinions complete with pertinent demographics and all.
You can get in on this strategy right from Twitter itself, on the left hand side of the feed.
Re-tweet For Immediate Results
Encourage the re-tweet, especially to tweeters with a large following. Fellow tweeters with a large following have a lot influence. So asking a Twitter star for a re-tweet is a smart way to spread your message. Should one oblige, you get a simple message (with your business logo and URL attached, mind you), blasted to perhaps a hundred thousand or a million other people at the speed of light.
If we’re to believe the one percent rule, that is, the rule that says at least one percent of an audience will respond to a message, that simple little re-tweet could reach a thousand to ten thousand people in under a second. That’s “catching fire” in action, which, if you’re not careful and tweet something offensive, can damage you just as quickly as it can turn you into an over-night sensation.
If you’ve been waiting for a way to know what’s popular without having to incur high expenses and wade through old-fashioned financial predictions, Twitter Trends is, undoubtedly, the solution. All you need to do is spend some time on it, and look to see what’s trending and join the conversation. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.
Featured image a screenshot taken May 2014. Twitter image via Flickr user Spencer E Holtaway