Trending superstar tells all

4 min read

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When you trend on Twitter, you’ve struck a nerve that reverberates throughout your audience and beyond.

The goal is to trend well, which starts with good content. A journalist would know that, which is why Rose Horowitz is on call as a content maven. Besides her reporting skills, she founded #WomenToFollow and manages content, social media and public relations for businesses and nonprofits. 

Horowitz talked with digital marketing expert Madalyn Sklar and Nick Martin of the social media management company Hootsuite about creating valuable content that drives trends on Twitter. 

Good things happen when striking Twitter gold. 

“Your feed explodes,” Horowitz said. “People start retweeting you, responding and tagging colleagues and friends. It keeps snowballing.”

She recalled after a class at the YWCA, she read a tweet she couldn’t believe about how men dominate social media.

“I responded with a hashtag I created: #WomenToFollow,” Horowitz said. “The tweet had legs. Analytics on the hashtag showed a reach of 12 million in two weeks.”

In a blog for GenderAvenger, she wrote about how the #WomenToFollow hashtag launched a movement.

Smart women tweet

This was an example of how to engage with an audience on a surprisingly large scale. Being active on Twitter likely boosted Horowitz more than pure chance. 

“Regularly share content for your audience to see,” Martin said. “Ask yourself, ‘Who is my audience? What are they looking for from me? What is my personal brand?’

“After you have answers to those questions, you’ll know what content to share,” he said. 

Such basic knowledge brings power. 

“When you know your audience, finding the content they’ll find valuable and interesting is easy,” Martin said. “Hop into Google and ask questions your audience would ask such as, How can I be better at Twitter?”

With that, a whole host of content will be there to share.

“Make sure you hop in and engage, too,” Martin said. “No one wants to follow someone who is all publishing but no engagement.

“Join chats such as #TwitterSmarter and #HootChat — or whatever is most relevant to your audience and your personal brand,” he said.

For more insight, Hootsuite has published an article, “Twitter Marketing: The Complete Guide for Business.” 

Tough to crack 

To start a trend on Twitter, speak from the heart about what you do or want to share. However, if you set out to create a trend and make it work, you’ll be the first person to crack the code. Horowitz offered her pro tips:

  • Be current. Follow interesting people and trends on Twitter and news sites so you’re smart enough to see what’s worthy of your attention.
  • Focus: The Twitter universe is huge. Pick five areas that intrigue you. 

“The payoff is you’ll soon know enough to comment wisely,” she said.

When trying to create a trend, use your power for good. It’s easy and weak to go negative for the sake of click bait. Horowitz abides by these guidelines:

  • Never retweet anything you haven’t read. You don’t want to start a trend with false information.
  • This is even more essential when you don’t “know” the person. 
  • Be sure to check people’s Twitter profiles and read five to seven tweets. Credibility is everything.

A brand trending on Twitter is great, particularly if it’s good news. That’ll stand out among trending topics where most of the top topics are unpleasant. 

“Trending is invaluable,” Horowitz said, “#WomenToFollow launched a movement to amplify women’s voices on social media. I’ve heard April Reign tell the story of how she was the first to tweet #OscarsSoWhite during the 2015 Oscars. That had a tremendous impact.

“Consumers increasingly care about issues and values of brands,” she said. “When Citi found its female employees earned 29 percent less than their male counterparts, it started a conversation with #ItsAboutTime.”

Sklar’s firsthand success with trending hashtags started with #TwitterSmarter to publicize her weekly one-hour chats.

“It attracts more people,” she said. “That’s a big plus.”

Everyday pro tips 

Without trending, those on Twitter can increase their reach by being active, available and giving great value to their audience. Sklar refers to her Twitter secret sauce:

  • Be consistent.
  • Tweet every day.
  • Go through notifications daily and respond.
  • Use Twitter lists.
  • Participate in Twitter chats.
  • Engage. Engage. Engage.

Horowitz drew her guidance from social media expert Sree Sreenivasan:

  • Be generous. The beauty of Twitter is that it’s democratic. To do well, share valuable content. You’ll be rewarded by people sharing your tweets.
  • Follow interesting accounts.
  • See who those accounts follow and follow them.

Jump on existing trends if they fit your personal or professional brands. Don’t jump into trends for the sake of it without knowing where the sharks swim. 

Shark crossing sign

“Have something relevant to share,” Sklar said. “Joining a trend is a fun way to meet new and interesting people.”

Procrastination is a trend killer.

“Jump in early,” Horowitz said. “There’s a mushroom effect. Find another angle on the trend. Zig when everyone is zagging.”

She recalled when the Academy Awards news that no women directors were nominated for best director trended, she looked at more entertainment publications.

“I found this news: Four out of five films nominated for Best Documentary were co-directed by women,” Horowitz said. “I checked facts, handles of women nominated, their nationalities, took screenshots of art for each film and tagged 10 people. My tweet has had 45,700 impressions.”

Pose questions 

The secret formula to writing a trending tweet of article is still a secret. You’ll hurt your head — and usually be wrong — guessing which posts will hit or miss. 

“Be compelling,” Sklar said. “Ask a question. You want to encourage conversation.”

If anything, do your best until lightning strikes. 

“You’ll be poised to trend if you collect and generate good content, show news judgment and are savvy about what’s trending,” Horowitz said. 

“In writing articles or blogs, discover something no one else is covering,” she said. “Do an interview with an author, and live stream.”

Whether or not a tweet or article trends, be sure to thank people for retweets. Reply to comments to let people know you’re there and care. 

“Stop what you’re doing right now and audit your Twitter profile,” Sklar said. “Is your biography compelling? 

“Do your profile and cover image match you and your brand?” she said. “You need to have the most awesome profile so when you do trend on Twitter, you’re already capitalizing on it.”

When fortune smiles, take action. 

“If you hit it right and start a hashtag trend, run with it,” Horowitz said. “Invest in what you started. See who has liked and retweeted you. 

“Show them your love,”she said. “It’s a great way to find out about new people. Luck happens, engagement is work.”

Continuing engagement brings continuing rewards. 

“If you find a tweet on other people’s feeds that’s worthy of a like, retweet or comment, do it,” Horowitz said. “You might end up with a whole new community that’s interested in you and what you are writing about or promoting. Engage.”

Jim Katzaman Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services. A writer by trade, he graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He enlisted in the Air Force and served for 25 years in public affairs – better known in the civilian world as public relations. He also earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Public Affairs. Since retiring, he has been a consultant and in the federal General Service as a public affairs specialist. He also acquired life and health insurance licenses, which resulted in his present affiliation with Largo Financial Services. In addition to expertise in financial affairs, he gathers the majority of his story content from Twitter chats. This has led him to publish about a wide range of topics such as social media, marketing, sexual harassment, workplace trends, productivity and financial management. Medium has named him a top writer in social media.

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