Last January Facebook announced Facebook Trending. Designed to take-on a perceived Twitter strength, Trending lists topics and hashtags that have recently spiked in popularity on Facebook. However, with 703 million mobile daily active users on average, bringing Trending to mobile devices is an important update and one that warrants a renewed look at how to use Facebook Trending to further your mission.

According to Facebook, “Trending shows you a list of topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The list is personalized to show you relevant stories based on a number of factors, including Pages you’ve liked, your location and what’s trending across Facebook. For each trend, posts from verified sources or from people or Pages that you’re connected to will appear higher in the trending feed.”

Given this definition, here are four strategies that have the power to increase the reach and engagement your content enjoys on Facebook.

1. Generate content ideas:The Trending feature can give great insight into what people are talking about and what they’re interested in. However, not only can you see what topics are trending, but what kinds of content are trending. Facebook organizes Trending content into five categories:

  • Articles:  how news organizations are covering a given story
  • In the Story:  posts from people who are part of the story
  • Friends and Groups:  what people in your network are saying
  • Near the Scene:  posts from people near where the story is unfolding
  • Live Feed:  a real-time stream of reactions from people around the world

Remember that this content is limited to public posts and posts from your network, such as updates from friends or groups that you belong to.  The key in using Trending to effectively generate content ideas is to look for patterns. Are there subjects or themes that keep trending over time? Is it usually news stories or videos? Find and use these patterns as they can give you a better idea of what content resonates best with Facebook users empowering you to reach and engage more people, which will only benefit your Facebook goals.

2. Join the Conversation:Share trending content that matters to your organization and ask your audience for their thoughts. If a subject is already being talked about, why not bring that conversation to your page? This is likely to increase your page’s reach and audience engagement. It could also connect your audience to each other, strengthening your supporter network. When doing so pay attention to what hashtags are being used around the topic and be sure to use the right ones. Hashtags connect your post to the larger conversation.

3. Know when NOT to chime in: Just as importantly, it’s important to know when it’s better to sit one out. Take for example DiGiorno Pizza who didn’t adequately research a trending topic before joining the #whyistayed hashtag. As Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post points out, there are plenty of other examples of marketers who managed to use trending topics adversely. Don’t join their ranks. Instead, make sure you do your homework on a trending topic before diving in and ensure that it’s a good match for your audience and mission.

4. Use Trending Content in your Social Actions:  Actions, such as signing a petition or joining a newsletter, on trending topics and current events tend to perform really well, reaching and engaging a greater number of people. If you notice a trending topic that relates to your cause, be sure to create an appropriate action around it.

This strategy is particularly time sensitive; to get the most bang for your buck, try to create and post the action as soon as possible as trends can come and go within a day or two.  To facilitate speed, have a list of brainstormed actions prepared ahead of time that you can use a starting block to help shortcut part of the process.

Facebook Trending on Android

With social as the leading mobile activity, it is terrific that Facebook recently extended the Trending feature to Android users in the US. While service for iOS and other countries is reportedly on the way, it’s not too soon to begin using Facebook Trending strategies to further your mission by bolstering your social reach and engagement.

mobile trending