How to Become a Trending Topic on Twitter

by David W
Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency

Hitting a trending topic can certainly have a boost for your profile, website or brand – so how can you get yourself trending on Twitter?

Become a magician?  The latest of Derren Brown’s events is on tonight, the show is called “How to be a psychic spy”, apparently in the show he is going to use some kind of psychic powers in order to project an image into our minds. The interesting thing about Derren Brown’s recent series is how the search trends on Google and Twitter have differed and how he has managed to hit the trending topics every friday night:
Google Insights


So obviously Google is great for gaining a user base and Twitter seems to be the thing that maintains it. The advantage of gaining a large userbase is that you can eventually become a trending topic, but just how many tweets or followers do you need, roughly, to be a trending topic? And how can you influence your ability to become a trending topic?

  • Include a call to action to RT (retweet), and use the word please
  • Leave room for RT – if you have a long username, then make your tweet smaller to compensate
  • Don’t start it with an @ sign!
  • According to this article RT normally have a depth of around 2, so the initial tweeter and their re-tweeters. In order to get more RT’s users need to be subjected to two or more RT’s on average – so try and get people to tweet out in a particular niche – with a lot of similar followers.
  • Buzzgain think around 1900 RT’s should get you trending, but the problem is that this number will constantly increase as Twitter’s userbase grows
  • According to Danzarrella:
    “Here we see that while most users had an RTpF of under 1% in my dataset, some users showed much larger ratios, possibly indicating that there are a class of users who are more "ReTweetable" than others.”
    Which means that 1% of your followers are likely to RT what you say – I imagine this figure decreases as you have more spam followers (if they follow 5000 people it may be hard for them to catch your tweet). This is why the golden ratio is so important – as user is more valuable if they follow less people and have a good twitter ratio than follow 5000 people and have 3000 followers.
  • You need to include a #hashtag so that it focuses the tweets to create a trending topic

So if we take the  statistics – 1% of followers RT a tweet, a RT has a depth of around 2 and 1900 RTs are needed to hit the trending topic – that means your first tier tweet (not retweet) needs to hit 190,000 followers, then your trending topic will appear within the hour.

Perhaps I’m concentrating on RT’s too much, perhaps to start of a trending topic it is best to use a hashtag and to discourage re-tweets, this way you should increase your depth as users can customise the tweet to their own tastes. The best way to encourage this is to use a hashtag and invite people to discuss it in the Tweet.

Has anyone had one of their tweets spark off a trending topic?

Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency
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