HOW TO: Create Trending Topics and Success Stories Over Twitter

Everyone realizes that Twitter has recently become a source for breaking news. People tweet something interesting for others who – instantly- pick up, retweet and move it forward – demonstrating a new form of a modern word of mouth -. Eventually, and if a story is picked up by many people, it goes viral and becomes a trending topic that appears at the right side column of every Twitter homepage along with many other websites which follow Twitter trends. It also becomes an interesting topic for bloggers and news publications to cover. One of the best web portals that covers Twitter Trends – which I personally like the most – is “What the Trend?“. It shows trending Twitter topics along with when they have became trending, how long have they been trending, and why they are trending. The “Why” part is left for people to fill in a wiki-style.

If you take a look at the trending Twitter topics over time, you will realize that most of them are in relation to big blockbusters, big brands names as well as breaking news. It is not common, and not easy either, to come up with an idea and push it up to become a trending topic if you are not already big, but then again, the beauty of social media, in general, and Twitter, in particular, is that they leave a good space for small players to innovate and hit big.

Which Drink Are You? - A simple quiz that made Twitter's trending topics

Which Drink Are You? - A simple quiz that made Twitter's trending topics

Moonfruit, Mpora… and Macbook Pro

Moonfruit is an online website building utility, while Mpora is Europe’s largest Action Sports website. Both have successfully come up with marketing campaigns over Twitter where they offered free Macbook Pro notebooks for people who add their hashtags #MOONFRUIT and #MPORA to their tweets. Of course, people love free giveaways, especially when it costs them nothing to be part of the competition. This lead many to jump in and help promote those brands. I am also positive that the fact that the prize was a Macbook Pro had also attracted more people to join in. Who doesn’t want a free Macbook Pro? I know that I want one!

Some people do argue that while Mpora has been successful in creating some buzz over Twitter, they have also harmed their brand by being too “aggressive” in promoting it. They came up with a rule that gives more chances to people who tweet more about their brand, and kept on sending continuous updates to their followers. I know that such behavior can be so annoying – so be careful when you execute your own marketing campaign!

Amnesty International, NHS, and human causes…

“Each year, around 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence”. That is the tag line of Amnesty International global campaign in preparation for International Women’s Day. They asked people to tweet the same message with the hashtag #oneten. Aside from free giveaways, one thing that would catch people’s attention and mobilize them to act is fighting for a good cause. Amnesty International built on that and successfully managed to make violence against women a Twitter trending topic.

#WeLoveTheNHS – That was the reaction of the British citizens over Twitter to Fox news’s claim that the NHS is a “breeding ground for terror.” Fox’s Neil Cavuto jumped to conclude that because Britain’s National Health Care system pays physicians low salaries, it results in a shortage of doctors and forces the country to recruit from foreign countries which is a breeding ground for terror! According to Neil, recruiting from foreign countries means bringing terrorists to Britain! British people were appalled by Fox’s claim and jumped into tweeting about how much they love their National Health Care system, thus making it a Twitter trending topic.

WeLoveTheNHS Twitter Trending Hashtag

WeLoveTheNHS Twitter Trending Hashtag

Which Drink Are You? Twitter Quiz

#whichdrinkareyou became a Twitter trending topic because it is attached to an online quiz that came to be popular between Twitter users. The quiz is really silly. It asks you very few questions and then posts the results over your Twitter account. It builds on people’s curiosity about finding out which drink they are. I, myself, turned out to be Whiskey! That must say something about my character, no?!!!


May it be free giveaways, human causes, or a kind of quiz, joke, or game, one can attempt to create a Twitter trending topic by providing value to his followers in an interesting, worth-sharing manner. People tweet what is interesting and what triggers something inside them. Remember that as with most marketing strategies, consistency is the key to success.

Can we derive any lessons from the above case studies? Do sweepstakes always work? How can we maximize people’s engagement in our marketing strategies? Do you have other examples to share with us? Let us know in the comment section.

Comments and Reactions

  • Beiruta

    I like trending topics and I think we are smart enough to not let highly impact our thinking, purchasing decisions and in turn the way we conduct our lives.

    Speaking of trending topics: let's try to make #tweetloss a trending topic… Someone needs to keep insisting so action will be taken!

    Great post @FadiPick!

  • TripleM

    And that's when I take it out on Arab tweeples for not managing one successful Trending topic. See “Trending topics are a lot like fishing. Sometimes you get a bite and sometimes you don't. I've had my share of unsuccessful attempts.” First with #ArabicFriday (Arabic: الجمعةبالعربية), and recently with #RamadanKareem as Trending topics.

  • Layan

    how can I know what is the trending topic in my country or city even though it is not listed in twitter site? is there any provision of listing trending topics for all countries, like Google trends???

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