It’s Twitter Tip Tuesday — every Tuesday we’ll focus on one Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy. This week we recommend that you get ahead of Twitter Trends in order to make a bigger impact when the Trends actually unfold.

In a previous article on Sprout Insights, we told you why it’s important to pay attention to Twitter Trending Topics — now simply referred to as “Trends.” Of course, by the time a topic becomes a Trend on Twitter, millions of tweets will have already been published on the topic in question. While this is generally a good thing, sometimes your posts on that Trend can get lost in the sea of related tweets.

Why not get ahead of the Trends that you can predict in advance? Here’s how you can generate buzz, carve out your niche as a subject matter expert, and get a jump on your competition before trending topics go mainstream on Twitter.

What Are Trends?

At any given time, Twitter lists what it determines are the top 10 topics (or Trends) that people are talking about on the social network. You can even tailor your own Trends based on your location and who you follow. This can be a great way to follow and join conversations already in progress.

Twitter lists Trends in a column on the left side of your Twitter home page. You can click any of the Trends to see every tweet, in real-time, that mentions that particular topic. Trends can be hashtags, keywords, or phrases, and can represent content from humorous, to political, and all topics in between.

Trends often emerge based upon breaking news stories around the world, although sometimes they appear for no logical reason at all. For any content you encounter through social media, however, you should do your due diligence to make sure a topic is legitimate before commenting on it or passing it along to your networks.

How You Can Predict Trends

Here’s an example of how you can predict (and leverage) a Trend before it happens. In just about two weeks, millions of North American businesses and workers will be celebrating Labor Day weekend. For many, it’s the last holiday of the summer season.

In advance of the holiday, countless people will be shopping for outdoor supplies, camping gear, beverages, food and so on. And many of those people will be tweeting about their plans (and maybe even your brand) in advance of the day off. In fact, even though it’s not an official Twitter Trend yet, people are already tweeting about everything related to #LaborDay.

If your company caters to this market in any way, or deals with businesses or individuals that do, you already know in advance about a popular topic that will likely evolve into a North American Twitter Trend. Take advantage of that knowledge by tweeting about the holiday in advance.

You don’t need to be spammy about it, of course. Perhaps you’d like to reiterate your company’s culture by acknowledging the political significance of a workers’ holiday. Or maybe you can research your competition to see if they are talking about the holiday, or if potential customers are engaging with them. That way, when this topic expands into a Trend in a couple of weeks, you’ll already know the best angles to tweet about in order to generate the best bang for your buck on that topic.

Oh and by the way, if you don’t have any affinity for the camping gear vertical, keep your eye on another likely Trend. After all, it would be hard to find a business that can’t benefit in some way by engaging with people talking about “Back to School“.

What do you predict will be a Twitter Trend in the next month or so? Leave your prediction in the comments below, then be sure to come back and comment again if your prediction was right!

[Image credit: Ed Schipul]