Can Twitter Trending Topics Help Local BusinessesIf you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed the list of trends that appear to the right of your home page. Twitterers use trending words in their tweets because those words can introduce them to a whole slew of new followers who are using or looking for those same words.

Personally, Twitter’s trending words rarely have anything to do with my line of work. For example, recent trending words included “#fightingwords,” “Happy National Coffee Day” and “GO SIT IN THE CORNER.”

Now, if you’re a coffee company and you were unaware that National Coffee Day was happening or hadn’t thought to tweet about it, that’s probably helpful information. If you are not in the coffee business, it’s not. What I’m wondering is this: are trending topics helpful to small business owners?

In an attempt to answer my own question, I tested out Trendspottr. It’s a new platform that allows you to search for trending terms within a topic, so you’ll find results related to your business or interests.

To start, I typed in the word “smb,” which gave me these results for trending hashtags: #smb, #smallbiz, #smallbusiness, #b2b, #entrepreneur.

No real new information there. These are all hashtags I’m very familiar with and use often. That said, if I were brand-new to Twitter, they might be helpful.

Trending phrases from that same search include: “tile achieved 400%,” “fireclay tile achieved,” “innovation- fireclay tile,” “multiple file protocols” and “file protocols such.”

Um, OK. Now as a journalist I might have a sudden desire to write about fireclay, but as a small business owner, this probably doesn’t help you much. Unless, of course, you’re in the fireclay business. If so, jump on this bandwagon and promote yourself!

Next I tried an industry-specific search. Due to the recent success of our post “Facebook Content Tips for Auto Repair Shops,” I searched for “auto repair.” Results for trending hashtags included #auto, #car, #automotive, #coupon.

Now this is more useful. The first three were expected. I see and use those. But the fourth was interesting. Evidently, people in need of auto repair are also on the hunt for coupons. If I were an auto repair company, I might come up with a deal really quick and tweet it with the hashtags #auto #coupon.

Next up, I typed in “lawyer.” Not surprisingly, due to Amanda Knox’s recent release from an Italian prison, #knox was the second-highest trending hashtag. Clicking through to that hashtag on Twitter revealed that @LarryBodine at was tweeting every hour about the reaction to the Amanda Knox verdict. On the fifth tweet, he threw in one about online law firm marketing. So anyone on Twitter wanting to follow the verdict reaction was also going to get an introduction to It’s a smart way to use a trend to your advantage.

While Trendspottr results can be a mixed bag, you may be able to glean useful information to make at least an occasional search worthwhile. If you’ve used trending topics in interesting ways or haven’t found them useful at all, please tell us about it in the comments!

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