Keeping up with trends: The importance of media monitoring

From the celebrity capers at the 2015 Oscars ceremony to the bullying of Australian politicians, trending topics can highlight the important issues being discussed by average consumers across the country and the globe.

Trending topics are those stories being talked about the most. While primarily considered an online media function, it is possible for these popular stories to be published in newspapers, talked about on television and spread via other mass media channels.

PR professionals can learn a lot from online and offline media trends.

For businesses, this is an invaluable source of information. PR professionals in particular can learn a lot from online and offline media trends, and potentially join the conversation to keep their company relevant and in the loop. 

Keeping on top of trending topics 

Staying aware of mentions of your brand the moment they appear is critical for anyone working in PR, but even more can be done to proactively get your company's name in the media. Rather than just monitoring social media for direct mentions of a business, consider having strategies in place to track trending topics and proactively launch your brand into the conversation.

However, when reading and responding to social media trends, there are a few important tips to keep in mind:

  • Understand the trend - Incorporating trending topics in your strategy can backfire if you misunderstand the meaning and publish a post that is offensive, misinformed or off trend.
  • Optimise your responses - Choose the right keywords and time to ensure your replies are as visible as possible. Stay mindful of trending hashtags and incorporate phrases that will get your content noticed.
  • Leave room for responses - If posting a reply or statement on a trending topic on Twitter, try not to use all 140 characters. This will ensure your followers have space to add their replies and thoughts when sharing your message.
  • Don't wait, lead the pack - For a more advanced strategy, try starting your own trending topics. Posting on Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Twitter is a good place to start, if your posts are optimised for virality.

By tracking trending topics, companies can associate their brands with important issues or even just establish a connection with popular culture, as demonstrated by the tweet below. When popular social networking site Facebook crashed in 2014, consumers took to Twitter to express their distress. As the hashtag #Facebookdown started trending, a number of businesses used the occasion to promote their brands. 

#WhenFacebookWasDown They must have wanted a KITKAT! #HaveAbreak #facebookdown. pic.twitter.com/6wzAgXTByp

— KITKAT (@KITKAT) June 19, 2014

While your company may not associate directly with the outage of a social media platform, there are still lessons to be learned from this trending topic. Even the confectionery company KitKat was able to get involved by connecting the trend to their brand, so try thinking outside the box and seeing where social media trending can take your business.

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