Around the Web there’s a story about a customer service experience that trended on social media. While processing a customer’s reservation at a Florida hotel, the agent inquired about the purpose of the trip. The customer responded that it was a birthday treat for his son who was about to celebrate his fourth birthday. Perhaps the hotel was trying for publicity via social media trending – or not. In any case, the hotel staff responded by providing a banner, a treat bag, gifts and cupcakes for the birthday boy, all stashed in the room for an arrival surprise. The overjoyed dad shared a photo of his happy son on Imgur, a social photo sharing site. Soon enough the story was voted up to the point that it was trending on Reddit, receiving more than four million views in four days. Obviously, all were ecstatic, especially the hotel that was part of the trending topic. Wouldn’t be nice if all brands could figure out a way to ‘trend’ on social media? And obviously many acts of great customer service don’t ever make it as a social media trend. Social media trending is a curious type of animal. But there are strategies that might help, though nothing is ever guaranteed. An ABC television host recently attempting to get his cat video to go viral discovered that getting mentioned on mainstream media really moved the numbers up, especially as other media outlets picked it up. Topics trend on social media when many people Tweet or vote, as opposed to a few people Tweeting often. Time of day is very important and it turns out that India in the afternoon is a great time to start a topic you wish to trend. Getting influential social media folk on board is also useful. Make it fun for outsiders so that it gets outside your circle. And if all else fails, offer free stuff. But there are no guarantees.