Trending Topics: 4 Ways to Seize The Marketing Moment

Remember when the sparrow landed on Bernie Sanders’ podium?

Within hours, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were flooded with trending topics about #BirdieSanders, including this video from Bernie 2016:

You can’t predict what will go viral

If I told you that a sparrow would literally perch herself on Bernie’s podium and light up the Internet, you’d think I was crazy.

That’s the rub with “viral videos”. You can’t create them because you can’t predict what will make people go gaga.

But you can leverage trending topics about your cause.

4 Ways to Seize Trending Topics When They’re Hot

Here are four tips for leveraging trending topics:

1. Keep your ear to the ground

The first step to taking advantage of any trending topic is to be listening for them.

You can monitor trending topics with tools such as Buzzsumo and Mention.

2. Stay on message

Bernie’s response framed the sparrow as a symbolic, stating that the bird was a dove asking us for world peace. Obviously his response wasn’t planned. But it was totally and completely on message.

Matthew Inman, creater of The Oatmeal, was also on message:

little bermaid

The lesson here? Come from your mission when framing a trending topic.

And don’t force a connection between a trending topic and your cause if it doesn’t feel natural. That will make it awkward for everyone.

3. Seize the moment with content marketing

Very soon after Bernie Sanders started trending, Bernie 2016 published their YouTube video with a call to action prompting viewers to visit

big fat url at the end of the video

The lesson here? When something trends, you’ve got to be there first.

Make sure your communications staff has the autonomy to publish stories quickly. Give them clear brand guidelines and the ability to put you on speed dial.

4. Seize the moment with native ads

If Bernie 2016 was smart enough to act fast with their content, they probably put some native ads behind the opportunity. The content organic content went viral native ads with that content was most likely accepted and consumed.

The lesson here? Make sure your communications department has a budget for Facebook ads.

What’s your big tip to leverage trending topics?

Post your idea in the comments below.

John Haydon