The Truth about Twitter, Trending Topics and Your Business

Are Twitter trends fixed?
Twitter Trends - fixed?

The wikileaks fiasco has revealed an ugly truth about social media marketing via Twitter – their top trends may not be ‘the top trends‘ after all.  Marketers assumed that top tweets and trending topics were based on actual Twitter user activity, but according to Twitter – this is not true. When users raised questions about the omission of tweets about wikileaks in Twitter’s list of trending topics and top tweets, the company was forced to admit that “Twitter favors novelty over popularity…” and that the company is  in full control of what topics make their lists.

“The Trends list captures the hottest emerging topics, not just what’s most popular. Put another way, Twitter favors novelty over popularity…”
Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner

So,  is there still hope for marketers wanting to gain traction and generate referrals through Twitter? Yes – and here are three ways to go about it:

1. Start an “emerging topic”
Express the value of your products or service in new ways – and with new keywords. Focus on the various ways your customers  value your company and use their voice to present your company in a new way on the network. Surveying is a good way to get at this information.

2. Join an “emerging topic”
Take a look at Twitter’s list of trending topics and tweets. Can your company identify with anything on the list? Let’s say you are a dentist and the current trending topics include ‘Mastercard‘, ‘Nobel Prize’, and ‘Prince Charles’. It might be in your interest to generate a series of tweets on one of those trending topics if you know your target audience care about that issue, personality or product.

3. Value popularity
Popularity is not the only variable determining “trending topics” on Twitter – but it’s still an important variable. “Trending Topics” is a cool feature, but it’s not clear what percent of seasoned Twitter users use it as a guide to navigate the network. It’s still worth it to build a following around your brand so that people searching for what you have to offer can find you.

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