Brent Barnhart
July 21, 2019

How to Spot Trends on Social Media

Get your brand on the pulse of the latest viral sensations with our guide to spotting trends on social media. From social listening to native tools.

Do you consider yourself to be a trend-chaser when it comes to social media?
If not, you totally should be.
Because in a day and age where millennials and Gen Z dominate the social space, trendy and topical content is key to standing out from the crowd.
The problem? Trends in social media move fast.
Like, crazy fast.
With thousands of pieces of content being shared every second on social media, the landscape is constantly evolving. Something that was share-worthy today might be considered a dead horse by next week.
From newsjacking and memes to which types of content your audience is sharing, it truly pays to have a pulse on the latest social trends.
Meanwhile, failing to do so could actually make your business seem out of touch.
Scrambling to figure out how to spot trends on social media? Don’t sweat it. 
In this guide, we’ll break down how to spot social trends in the wild and strategies to integrate those trends into your social campaigns.

Start with Social News and Subreddits

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, news aggregator sites like Reddit are the epicenter of shareable content.
For example, Reddit’s front page is a potential goldmine for marketers.
The latest memes? News stories? Off-the-wall factoids?
Yep. All of that and then some.
If something’s sitting atop a subreddit, chances are your audience either knows about it or would be interested to hear about it via social. 
For example, you can spot Sydney-specific memes and share-worthy stories in /r/Sydney
And if you’re laser-focused on humor and memes, look no further than /r/AusMemes (or /r/Straya if you’re feeling a bit edgy).
If nothing else, Reddit is a fantastic place to find out what’s going on with trends that you might not be on your radar. The popular subreddit /r/OutOfTheLoop can help you clarify everything from specific social media trends to memes and beyond.

Follow Accounts with a Pulse on Pop Culture

Listen: trendy content isn’t going to fall into your lap without a bit of legwork.
That said, you can make it easier to spot social trends depending on who you follow.
By following accounts that are focused on pop culture, you can open your eyes to what’s new and trendy without having to dig for it. 
Think about your target audience. What sort of accounts are they following? Who’s responsible for most of the share-worthy moments and memes on social media, anyway?? Some smart starting points in terms of who to follow include:
For example, brands can take a piece of pop culture and turn it into a brilliant social post. Check out how Chewy was able to capitalize on the latest season of Stranger Things.
And hey, check out how Hello Social did the same.
Trending TV shows, films, songs and other phenomena are all great source material for social content. How you adapt it is totally up to you, but following the movers and shakers of pop culture will make the process a lot easier.

Watch What Your Followers are Buzzing About

If you want to know what’s trendy, look no further than your own followers.
For example, what memes and stories are they sharing? How can you speak to their sense of humor or style?
Consider how beauty brands oftentimes use their own customer photos and user-generated content to highlight a trendy look or new product. Heck, brands like Frank Body manage to take something as simple as a follower’s song-lyric tweet and turn it into a highly engaged Instagram post.
See how that works?

Follow Trending Hashtags and Time-Sensitive Topics

Hashtags and social media trends go hand in hand.
Whether it’s daily news or event coverage (think: the Rugby World Cup), hashtags enable you to tap into real-time trends and the content surrounding them. For example, Twitter automatically aggregates trending hashtags based on your specific location.
You can likewise look into hashtags for specific events which might be ongoing such as #VividSydney. In short, real-world events represent an awesome opportunity to drive social engagement.
Also, consider how evergreen hashtags like #fallfashion can help you keep an eye on budding trends for a specific industry. 
Following industry-specific hashtags while also keeping an eye on trending ones gives you the best of both worlds for staying informed on what your followers want to see.

Step Up Your Social Listening

As we noted earlier, your own customers are arguably the best indicator of what’s considered “trendy.”
This speaks to the importance of listening to your followers’ conversations to better understand what they’d like to see from you.
Enter the world of social listening. Rather than just monitor your mentions, social listening digs into the reasons why people are talking about you.
Perhaps they’re totally in love with your latest product. Maybe they’re talking up your competitors instead.
Through social listening, you can uncover terms and mentions related to how customers feel about your business. Unlike monitoring alone, listening involves the emotions and feelings behind your brand. Here’s a snapshot of how social listening via Sprout Social works, enabling users to uncover relevant key terms related to their mentions.
With this data, you can see whether or not followers are happy with your content and products. The more positive your sentiment score via social listening, the more you know that you’re giving people what they want.

Look at What Influencers and Niche Bloggers are Posting

Finally, don’t neglect the insights you can gather from industry influencers.
After all, influencers live and die by their ability to build their audiences and keep their followers engaged. 
For example, influencers can clue you in on any combination of the following in terms of trends:
  • Popular productions and promotions
  • Emerging strategies to promote or hype up a product (think: Instagram Stories)
  • Unique captions and hashtags
  • New styles of posts or creative touches (think: photo filters on Instagram)
Whether it’s influencers you’re interested in working with or folks that your followers love, keep an eye on what they post and see what you can learn from their content strategies.
And with that, we wrap up our guide on social media trends!

Do You Know How to Spot Trends on Social Media?

No matter how you slice it, social media is totally trend-centric.
While keeping up with social trends might seem like a headache, it’s mostly a matter of knowing where to look and who to follow.
The tips above can help you tap into trendier content to engage your followers and attract new ones, too. Oh, and if you need assistance implementing the strategies above or just want to master the art of posting topical content, don’t hesitate to contact Hello Social today.

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