If you’re trying to promote your business, it can be useful to comment on the latest social media trends. However, in order to do this, first you have to learn how to identify them.

A good part of any social media marketing strategy is to comment on a trending topic that’s relevant to your industry, or go one step further and use those social media trends to market your business. Doing so gets your company involved in a busy discussion, so your brand name gets seen by a much wider audience.

However, spotting these trending topics can be difficult, and it can be hard to get involved with them if you don’t know they exist. Quite often, jumping on the bandwagon too late can have little to no effect on your marketing, as your voice gets drowned in the sea of other commenters.

So how can you make sure you’re at the forefront of your industry trends? Here are some good options to ensure you’re at the forefront of these important conversations, rather than lagging behind.

Check Tumblr and Reddit

If you’ve seen some kind of humorous post – or a compilation of them – on sites like Buzzfeed, chances are it was originally from Tumblr. This means the site is a great place to go to if you want to see the jokes that the whole internet will be laughing at in a few days’ time, letting you get ahead of the social media trends.

Similarly, Reddit is where a lot of news stories gain initial traction before they explode across the web, especially in areas like technology. Checking relevant subreddits can lead to you learning breaking news stories before everyone else, allowing you to comment on them as they are just taking off in popularity.

Look at trending topics regularly

Online, everything can change in a heartbeat. Someone can make a pertinent comment, become a social media darling, and become ostracised due to an unsavoury past in the space of an hour. That’s why it’s essential to check the trending topics on Twitter and Facebook as regularly as possible.

You shouldn’t need more than a few seconds to see if anything relevant is trending, but it’s important you do so in order to not miss the next big thing. It’s also a good way to find out if the latest internet darling has become controversial, as this will allow you to jump off that particular bandwagon.

Learn the difference between broader trends and fads

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? It was an amazing campaign, working fantastically for the ALS Association that created it. You might be thinking that it was a social media fad that only lasted for a short period of time, and you’d be right. However, it only existed because the ALS Association recognised the broader trend of challenges.

At the time, it was popular for people to complete challenges like eating a spoonful of cinnamon, film themselves doing so, then upload the result to social media. While jumping on the bandwagon of any individual challenge would have been a good idea, realising that challenges as a whole were a longer-term trend allowed the ALS Association to create one of the most successful marketing campaigns of recent memory.