How to Use Twitter Trends for your Business

Twitter introduced Promoted Trends in 2010 to provide businesses with yet another avenue to raise the visibility of their brands on the platform.

The Promoted Tweets offering was added to Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts so that businesses could promote a hashtag to display in users' Trends list.

Twitter claims that there are nearly 240 million active users on the platform, so your Promoted Trends have the potential to reach a large audience.

Moreover, you can target your promotions to specific audiences based on gender, geographical area, interests keywords and hashtagged terms in users' timelines and similarity to followers. However, you can also use trending topics to promote your business for free, as well.

What Is a Twitter Trend?

A trend is a topic that is popular at any given moment on Twitter. Hashtagged terms, as well as keywords, can trend. Twitter users see their Trends list when they log in to their timelines. The Trends list displays the most active and popular hashtags and keywords on the platform in near-real time.

When the user clicks on a hyperlinked trending topic, a search results page listing posts that contain the hashtag or keyword opens.  Relevant tweets, media and users are displayed in the search results page.

How Can I Use Trends for My Business?

You can use trending topics for your business for free simply by contributing to a trending conversation with useful and interesting information, then including the trending hashtag in your tweet. Your tweet displays in your public timeline, the timelines of your Followers and in search results for the hashtagged term.

Keep in mind that Twitter users are particularly sensitive to excessive self-promotion, and if you over-promote your brand in your followers' timelines, you may find that many of your followers unfollow your account.

Build Relationships in Non-Traditional Setting

Many small business owners successfully utilize Twitter to promote their companies. The most successful are the ones who build relationships with their followers first, then mention their brand, almost in passing. After all, most people are much more interested in learning more about a business owned by a friend, than in some random Twitter user who keeps splashing promotional messages all over their timelines. Think about how your message is perceived on the platform. Join the Twitter community and use the platform as just a standard user before you attempt to promote your brand on the platform.

Engage with Popular Target Communities

A fictitious game with the name of "World of Warcraft: The Libertarian Invasion" may be tagged on Twitter as #WOWLI. You want to join the conversation, so you create an interesting, funny or insightful tweet, and then add the hashtag to your post. For example, after reading several posts containing the tag, you might create a tweet that says: "WOW: The Libertarian Invasion - They want to take over the world.... and then LEAVE YOU ALONE! #WOWLI." Users can favorite and retweet your posts, and users can also follow your account. Posting interesting content will gain followers and friends on the platform.

After you strike up a few conversations with other users, have a few tweets retweeted and favorited, now you can introduce your brand. Don't go overboard and remember that your relationships come first on Twitter. In addition, be generous about promoting others' brands, as well. As you promote others, they will be more likely to promote your interests.

What Is a Promoted Trend?

A promoted trend displays at the top of the targeted user's Trend list. If a user clicks on your trend term, a search results page opens to list all tweets, media and users associated with the term, and your promotional message displays at the top of the search results.

You can provide users with a short URL to a page or post that further describes your brand, or your Promoted Trend can promote your brand's Twitter account. Simply use your brand's account to create the tweet that will display when users click on your Promoted Trend.

You can target your Promoted Trends to users in your geographic area, if you choose. This feature is useful for brick-and-mortar businesses and companies that cater to a geo-specific customer base.

Okay, So How Does It Work?

It may be difficult to imagine how your brand might benefit from Promoted Tweets. Consider this scenario: You own a company that sells, services and repairs Motorola mobile phones. One day, Motorola rolls out an update that causes apps to fail and the phones to exhibit severe issues. Motorola quickly, but quietly releases a hotfix for the problem, but your shop receives calls every day from panicked Motorola device owners unaware of the update.

You take to Twitter and purchase a Promoted Trend hashtag that captures the information about the update, manufacturer or affected phone models. For example, if the fictional device, the Motoroid, exhibits the issue after the software update, your promoted hashtag might be "#MotoroidFix" or some similar term.

With your store's account, you create the tweet that will appear at the top of the users' trend search list. In the tweet, you tell users that an update is available to fix the issues, then include a short URL to a page on your site instructions for applying the update.

Purchase the hashtagged term, then specify your target demographic. Your Promoted Trend term will display in users' Trends list for a 24 hour period. You can track the users that respond to your Promoted Trends with Twitter business and analysis tools, as well as with third-party applications like TweetDeck. Track the users who are near your store for additional tweets, specials and promotions.

Benefits of Promoted Trends

One of the main benefits of Promoted Trends is that you can use the trends to cast a wide net with hashtags and terms that are widely used, or target your trends based on specific tags and user locations. Promoted Trends are often used when companies launch a new service line or product, a new brand enters the market space or to announce a new event.

Audience Targeting

You can specify your target demographic when you purchase Promoted Trends. Criteria including gender, age, geographic location and interests can all be used to create rules for reaching your target audience.

Real-Time Presentation

Your Twitter promotions appear in users' timelines in real time. Control costs by limiting the demographic on various dimensions.

Analytic Tools

Twitter offers the Promoted Trends dashboard for tracking the performance of your trend campaigns. However, you can use a host of other analytic tools, as well.

Your business can benefit from trends both by joining the conversation and by purchasing Promoted Trends. Remember that relationships come first on Twitter. Those who successfully utilize Twitter for promoting their brands have mastered this unique strategy.

Ideally, you should find a brand that successfully promotes on the platform, and then observe how the the brand uses Twitter over time. Identify the promotions that work, and those that do not work, then plan your campaigns accordingly. If your business is not yet using Twitter, open an account for your brand and join the conversation.