Twitter Trending Topics: Secrets for Using Them


Secrets to Using Twitter Trending Topics

Secrets to Using Twitter Trending Topics

When most people think of trending topics, they think of Twitter. But there are trending and popular topics across other platforms, too. If you’re just getting started on Twitter, here are ways to use Twitter as a listening tool. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter all have trending and popular pins and articles. There’s too much about trending topics for just one article, so it will be a series.

Catch a Trending Topic

Catch a Trending Topic

Catch a Wave

Trending topics can be like a wave. You might see one coming and decide to catch it. It’s not the most evergreen of content, but something that’s here one minute and probably gone the next. If that’s part of your strategy, it can lend an air of spontaneity to your posts. If most of your posts are scheduled and carefully crafted, having some spontaneity can add an element of fun.

Real-Life Trending Topics

Real-Life Trending Topics

Real-Life Examples

Above are trending topics, from my own Twitter account. The top one, about Amazon’s Prime Day, could be used by anyone selling something. You could say something about a July sale that isn’t disappointing. If you’re in music, you might want to comment on Neil Young pulling his catalog from streaming service. If your audience enjoys science, you could jump on the Charon (Pluto’s moon) trend. For someone in the social media arena, Kim Kardashian’s buying likes could be a major failure, and a good topic of conversation.

If Your Audience Enjoys Science, You Could Tweet about Charon

If Your Audience Enjoys Science, You Could Tweet about Charon

Find a Trend for Your Audience

You might not want to pick just any trend to post–decide based upon what your audience would like to see. For instance, I tweet about startups, leadership, and social media, so I’d want to make sure that those were the trending topics I posted. If you post about cars, look for trending topics around automobiles, tires, car safety, etc., which are fairly common.

Twitter’s New Detailed Trending Topics

As outlined in the Wall Street Journal, Twitter has recently added descriptions under its trending topics to give them some context. Previously, Twitter had a Discover tab (missed dearly by some of us old-time Twitter fans). Supposedly, these new and improved trending topics will add context to appeal to Twitter newbies. For anyone, having some context could be useful.

Check The Number of Tweets About a Trending Topic

You can also see how many tweets there are about a trending topic, although I wouldn’t base my decision to jump on a trending topic wave based solely on the number of tweets. For instance, the #GrowingUpUgly hashtag would probably not appeal to my audience, despite its 104 thousand tweets.

Local Trending Topics Can Be Useful

Local Trending Topics Can Be Useful

Change the Trending Topic to a Nearby City

The trending topics can be changed to another city. For instance, since I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, I could switch from tailored topics to San Francisco to see what’s different. Just click at the top left (on desktop) to switch back and forth.

Trending Topics Change Per Region

Trending Topics Change Per Region

How Do You Use Trending Topics?

Do you pay attention to them at all? Or just ignore them? Leave me a comment!








  1. I don’t. Maybe I should. :(

  2. I’ve jumped onto a few trends because they resonated with me and hopefully with the people I’m connected to as well.

    I don’t do it too often and generally only if I think I have something to add to the conversation. I’m not put off by the more controversial topics either as long as I can bring a balanced view to the topic.

    I think it can be a little dangerous for people to jump into a trend without understanding the context, so I’m glad they’ve added a description. I miss the discovery tab too!

    • Hi Kittie,
      Some trends are so big and affect so many, that everyone is talking about them. Others are local trends and those, too, deserve some attention.

      I like your comment about bringing a balanced view to the topic. Sometimes I’ll see streams of tweets that are only trends, and you have to wonder what their business is!

      i’m starting to like the visual way the trends are laid out before logging into Twitter on desktop. It may be a good substitute for the Discovery tab!


  3. Great advice! I’ve always been very wary about jumping on these topics—I don’t want it to look like our brand is just jumping on the bandwagon or being opportunistic, but I see from your article that it doesn’t have to be that way if we genuinely have something to add to the conversation.

  4. This has given me a lot to think about, Carol. While I can’t see me using a “pop-culture” trend too often in my blog articles, there are probably industry-specific trends that others are talking about that I could build content around. Thanks!

    • Hello Tess,

      I think a person would have to be really fast to capture a trend and ride that wave. Longer-term trends, such as “Top Ten Construction Trends for 2016” might be very popular. It would be fun to write one at the beginning of the year and then revisit it at the end of that same year, to compare.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Thanks for sharing this, Carol! It’s always a balance trying to catch a trend without being too late or too random

    • Hi Jessie,
      Some people have an easier time riding a trending topic than others. And yes, looking too random could be an issue. I see that all the time on Twitter. Utter randomness!
      Thanks for commenting,

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