11 Actionable Steps to Stay Ahead of Social Media Trends Without Being an Expert

[Updated July 7, 2023]

Being active on social media is crucial to understanding what’s relevant to your audience, but what if you’re not a social media expert? This article provides 11 actionable steps to help you allocate your time effectively and stay on top of social media trends.

Social media is a dynamic and ever-changing landscape, where new platforms, functionalities, viral memes, and trending conversations emerge constantly, making yesterday’s news seem outdated in an instant. While it’s impossible to predict the next viral trend, there are strategies you can employ to stay ahead of the curve and create relevant content.

In this article, we will explore some helpful tips that can put you at the forefront of social conversations and help you navigate the fast-paced world of social media trends.

1. Be Active

Being actively engaged on social media is one of the most efficient ways to understand what is relevant to your consumers. However, it’s important to manage your time effectively to avoid getting lost in the social media rabbit hole.

We recommend allocating at least 10 minutes each day to explore your brand’s social media feeds, engage with your followers’ conversations, and identify potential trends that can enhance your brand’s image. By staying consistently active, you can gather valuable insights into your target audience’s preferences and behaviors.

2. Subscribe to Social Platform Blogs

To stay well-informed, one of the best approaches is to subscribe to social platform blogs.

Major social media platforms have their own official blogs where they share the latest updates, developments, and tips for optimizing content. Even if you don’t typically use certain platforms, subscribing to their blogs can help you understand emerging consumer trends and gain insights from different perspectives.

By staying connected to the official channels, you can stay ahead of the game and adapt your strategies accordingly.

3. Stay Up To Date With Explore Pages

When it comes to tracking trending topics, it’s crucial to go straight to the source.

Explore Pages, available on various social media platforms, provide a curated selection of popular content and trending conversations. By regularly checking these pages and bookmarking them for easy access, you can ensure that the content you create remains relevant to real-time discussions.

4. Monitor #Hashtags

Hashtags and keywords are powerful tools for tracking and participating in social media trends.

Keep an eye on trending hashtags relevant to your industry or target audience. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram prominently display trending hashtags, allowing you to join conversations and gain exposure.

For instance, Twitter’s “Trending” section serves as an essential starting point to join trending hashtags and participate in conversations as they unfold. It’s important to be discerning and choose only the hashtags that are truly relevant to your brand and target audience. A

Additionally, tools such as Google Trends can provide insights into the popularity and search volume of specific keywords, helping you identify emerging topics and tailor your content accordingly.

By incorporating trending hashtags and keywords strategically, you can increase the visibility of your content and align it with ongoing conversations.

5. Keep a Social Media Calendar

Maintaining a social media calendar is an effective strategy to stay at the forefront of social conversations.

By planning and generating content around national, international, and social media/hashtag holidays, you can align your brand’s messaging with ongoing discussions and capitalize on trending moments.

However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and conduct thorough research before posting on social media days associated with specific communities.

Being mindful of cultural sensitivities and understanding the context of each occasion will help you avoid potential missteps and build a positive brand reputation.

You don’t require a paid calendar plan solely to access lists of social media holidays. Industry-leading social media management tools, like Hootsuite, provide articles that include social media holiday lists.

Top Social Media Calendars

Sprout Social Holiday Calendar

  • Comprehensive: Sprout Social covers major holidays, ensuring you don’t miss important events.
  • Trending Content: It provides fun observances and trending topics, helping you create relevant and engaging social media posts.
  • Learn more about Sprout

Loomly Social Media Calendar:

  • Trending Hashtag Insights: Stay current with real-time trending hashtags to join popular conversations and boost your brand’s visibility.
  • Content Inspiration Library: Access a diverse range of creative ideas, including trending topics and engaging content formats, to keep your social media strategy fresh and relevant.
  • Learn more about Loomly

Hootsuite Social Media Calendar:

  • Diverse Holidays: Hootsuite includes both popular and niche holidays, allowing you to tap into various themes and engage different audience segments.
  • Hashtag Recommendations: It provides relevant hashtags for each holiday, increasing your social media reach and enabling participation in trending conversations.
  • Learn more about Hootsuite

6. Follow Accounts That Inspire You

Surrounding yourself with inspiring accounts can greatly contribute to your social media success.

Whether it’s following a brand you aspire to emulate or monitoring your competitors’ accounts, integrating competitive analysis into your feed-monitoring routine can provide valuable industry insights.

By analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of other brands, you can create informed and purposeful content that resonates with your target audience.

Additionally, many accounts focus on consolidating social trends, such as Instagram’s @creators account.

Following or subscribing to curated social media e-newsletters and turning on notifications for top influencers in your industry can ensure that you receive the latest trends directly to your feed.

7. Utilize Social Listening Tools

In addition to actively engaging on social media platforms, leveraging social listening tools can provide valuable insights into the conversations and trends happening within your industry.

These tools allow you to monitor keywords, hashtags, and mentions related to your brand, products, or services.

By analyzing the data collected, you can identify emerging trends, understand consumer sentiment, and tailor your content strategy accordingly.

Social listening tools also provide competitive intelligence by tracking the activities and engagement of your competitors, giving you a deeper understanding of the market landscape.

Top Social Listening Tools


  • Advanced Analytics: Powerful analytics with sentiment analysis, demographics, and trend tracking.
  • Wide Data Coverage: Extensive coverage across social media, news sites, blogs, and forums for comprehensive insights.
  • Learn more about Brandwatch


  • Real-time Monitoring: Track brand mentions, hashtags, and keywords in real-time for timely engagement and trend identification.
  • Competitive Analysis: Monitor and compare online presence with competitors for benchmarking and strategy refinement.
  • Learn more about Awario


  • Content Insights: Analyze content performance, discover popular content, and identify key influencers.
  • Topic Monitoring: Track industry trends and discussions for content opportunities and thought leadership.
  • Learn more about Buzzsumo

8. Engage with Influencers and Micro-Influencers

Influencers play a significant role in shaping social media trends. Collaborating with influencers who align with your brand values and target audience can help amplify your message and increase your reach.

Stay informed about influential figures in your industry and actively engage with their content. By building relationships with influencers, you can gain insights into upcoming trends, participate in their campaigns, and leverage their expertise to create authentic and impactful content.

Additionally, micro-influencers, who have a smaller but highly engaged audience, can provide niche insights and help you tap into specific segments of your target market.

9. Analyze Social Media Metrics

Monitoring and analyzing social media metrics is crucial for understanding the success of your content and tracking trends.

Pay attention to key metrics such as engagement rate, reach, impressions, and click-through rates.

By identifying patterns and correlations between your content and audience response, you can determine which types of posts and trends resonate most with your followers.

This data-driven approach allows you to optimize your content strategy, create more targeted campaigns, and stay ahead of evolving trends.

Top Social Media Analytics Tools

Sprout Social

  • Standout Feature: Robust social media management combined with comprehensive analytics capabilities.
  • Key Benefit: Seamless integration of social media scheduling, engagement, and analytics in a single platform.
  • Learn more about Sprout Social Analytics

Hootsuite Insights

  • Standout Feature: Real-time brand monitoring and sentiment analysis for immediate insights and response.
  • Key Benefit: Data visualization and reporting features that enable actionable decision-making based on social media data.
  • Learn more about Hootsuite Insights


  • Standout Feature: Enterprise-level social media management and analytics solution for large-scale operations.
  • Key Benefit: Advanced analytics and reporting features suitable for managing multiple brands and high-volume social media activity.
  • Learn more about Sprinklr Insights

10. Attend Industry Events and Conferences

Attending industry events and conferences provides an excellent opportunity to network with industry experts, thought leaders, and fellow professionals.

These events often feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops focused on the latest trends and advancements in social media.

By actively participating in these events, you can gain valuable insights, expand your knowledge, and establish connections with individuals at the forefront of social media trends.

Networking with like-minded professionals can also lead to collaborations and partnerships that further enhance your social media strategy.

11. Experiment with New Platforms and Features

The social media landscape is constantly evolving, with new platforms and features being introduced regularly (Threads, a new social platform, was just launched by Meta this month).

To stay ahead of the curve, be open to experimenting with emerging platforms and exploring new features offered by existing platforms. For example, when Instagram introduced Reels, a short-form video feature, it quickly gained popularity and became a trend in its own right.

By embracing new platforms and features, you can adapt your content strategy to align with the latest trends and reach audiences who are early adopters of these innovations.

Take your Social Media to the Next Level

Staying on top of social media trends can be daunting, but very possible with an active and diverse approach following the actionable steps we shared above.

Embracing these strategies will enable you to anticipate trends, engage your audience effectively, and create content that resonates in the ever-evolving world of social media. 

And for those who want to save time and rely on experts, Embark offers social media management services to help you navigate social media trends effortlessly.

With our trend-finding skills and content management expertise, you can focus on other aspects of your business and mission while we keep you at the forefront of social trends. Schedule a complimentary consultation with us to discover how we can support your social media goals.

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