Facebook Launches Trending: Social Marketing Meets Real-Time

post by: Mark Williams

Facebook is rolling out a new Trending feature that shows users the most popular topics being discussed on the social network. Unlike Twitter’s trending feature, the Facebook version will show the user hot topics tailored to their individual interests, as well as the most popular topics on Facebook overall. Most users in the United States can expect to see the feature on their Facebook page by the end of February.

Trends will display in the upper right corner of the page, replacing the Sponsored Stories ad unit that Facebook will mothball at the end of March. A 1-2 line description gives more color to the trending topic to entice your click.

Facebook also added a nice upgrade over the Twitter version by aggregating all stories around the topic, rather than just a single conversation.

What It Means For Social Marketers

Facebook trending is an opportunity for some marketers to move toward more real-time marketing by listening and participating. Tracking trends leads to insights, and joining trends at the right moment can lift sales and collect social capital. Everybody loves a brand that’s up-to-date.

It’s important to note, however, that brands need to approach trends as conversational opportunities first, and sales opportunities second. Smart brands are learning to be more personal in their listening and responding, and know that an “always selling” attitude turns people off in social channels. Add to the conversation, and sell only if appropriate.
Facebook does not offer paid Sponsored Trends for marketers yet, but you can be sure that they will find a way to add that in the next few months. As always, if you’re going to pay for attention, it behooves you to have killer content to make it worth the users while.

What do you think of the new trending feature? Will you be joining the popular conversations – or creating them?

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