Being behind a trending hashtag is seen as the holy grail of social media marketing. It’s vindication that your marketing efforts are working; that so many people find your topic worthy of talking about that it makes it into the top conversations online.
But trending on social media is the domain of presidents, blockbuster movies and natural disasters, right? You’re the owner of a trendy, if small, café or bar. How will your little hashtag ever make the trending list?
The first thing to realise is that trending topics can be localised to a specific area. You don’t have to make the national news in order to make it – you just need to get a bit of traction in your state, city or suburb. Secondly, trending topics like those listed on Twitter are somewhat individualised for each user, taking into account their likes, dislikes and social behaviour. This means that you’ll require even less tweets or posts to make it onto certain users’ trending lists.
So how do you do it? Here are six quick tips to help get your café or bar on trend.
1) Select Your Hashtag
Your hashtag choice can make or break your effort to trend. You need it to accurately and succinctly convey your message, and do so in an entirely unique way (if your hashtag has been used before, the chances of it trending drop dramatically).
Feel free to use acronyms, but be aware that this may cause confusion, with users not knowing what the hashtag is about. If you use full words, be sure to capitalise the first letter of each to make it readable, and never make the hashtag more than three words long.
2) Team up with Influencers
While the ability to create a snappy hashtag way be within your reach, many will fall down when it comes to spreading the word. The truth is that you need good distribution channels in order to get your hashtag to trend – social media influencers who are happy to tell their large followerships about your topic.
Identify influencers within your sphere (checking the accounts that your own followers tend to follow is a good start), and then ask whether they’d be interested in giving your hashtag a plug. Some may be happy to help, others may ask for remuneration.
3) Find a Captive Audience
While your influencers do their thing, it’s best that you do all that you can to create a conversation too. A captive audience such as one at a conference, a webinar or in your café/bar can give your hashtag the kick-start it needs. Offer a reward to anyone who tweets or posts using your hashtag, like a free coffee, to get the ball rolling.
4) It’s All in the Timing
There are certain events that can make getting on the trending topics list exceedingly difficult. A big election, a major sports final, an Apple product launch; thankfully all of these sorts of things can be planned around ahead of time.
Choose a date and time to trend your hashtag that doesn’t clash with any major event. This minimises your competition for airtime.
5) Creating a Hashtag Peak
The key to getting a hashtag to trend is to create a peak – an upsurge in conversation around a hashtag that is far greater than it usually is. This ‘peak’ concept explains why drawn-out events, such as the #OccupyWallStreet protests, found it so difficult to trend. The slow upsurge in conversation over months meant there was never a peak time that stood out. A whole heap of tweets, but no trend.
That being the case, organise with your influencers and your captive audience to tweet and post at a very specific time, in order to create an upsurge that gets noticed.
6) Maintaining that Peak
Once you see your hashtag breaking into the top 10 trending topics locally, it’s time to push even harder – the only way that your hashtag will maintain or raise its position is if you get more tweets or posts on it per second.
Because you’re the source of the hashtag, you have the power to provide updates that no one else can offer. Plan these updates strategically, to spur conversation on around the topic and continue its march up the list.
If you’ve managed to do all of these things, and do them well, you should now be the proud owner of a trending topic on social media. So no, they’re not just for the big end of town – if done right, any café on the corner can become an online conversation.