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Do your posts have “the juice?” What’s trending on social media

Sep 13, 2022

Contributed blog by Ariana Donley, Web & Social Media Specialist at Government Social Media

Social media trends come and go, often with few clues about their origins or any obvious reason behind their success with social network algorithms. If you’re a government social media professional with various tasks competing for your attention and little resources, it can be tough to stay on top of ever changing trends and even more difficult to research where they came from and determine whether it’s safe to jump on the trend. 

Let’s help you fill in the gaps and explore some of the top trends on major social networks that have taken over your community’s news feeds in the last 30 days. 

TikTok

If you don’t have time to research trends on TikTok – ahem, scroll for minutes that easily turn into hours – the social network offers a great resource to help you do this quickly. TikTok’s Creator Center is a one-stop shop to browse trending hashtags, songs, creators and videos and you can filter results based on country, industry and time period (yesterday, last 30 days, last 120 days). 

For example, here are the top five trending songs currently listed at the time of publication of this blog:

  1. Sensual Seduction (Snoop Dogg)
  2. LoFi (Fluce)
  3. CUFF IT (Beyonce) 
  4. Mobbin (Brock)
  5. Ok Cool (CEO Trayle)

If you’re curious about a specific content item and whether or not it has placed in the top 100, you can also use a search bar. Also, keep in mind that videos circulate on For You Page (FYP) news feeds for approximately 90 days, TikTok’s Deena Woloshin told attendees during a breakout session at the 2022 Government Social Media Conference. 

Before hopping on any trend, it’s important that government agencies do their due diligence and learn about its origins – even for trending audio – to avoid unintentionally offending or isolating anyone in their communities. 

On TikTok, you can click on the audio and review all public videos and scroll to the very top to see the one marked as the “original.”

 

The above screenshot shows several video thumbnails depicting a record of TikTok videos that have used the trending audio titled: “Corn but it becomes a song and unites the world.” 

The “corn kid” sparked one of the most popular trends within the last 30 days. The trend originated from a young child’s interview about why they love corn (“it has the juice!”). Big brands and influencers hopped on the trend using the audio from the interview or remixed song versions to talk about why they love people, pets, places or products. 

Since the trend’s origin was about as innocent as it gets, it presented an easy option for government agencies to adopt and tailor to their own messaging. For example, the City of Minneapolis, MN (@cityminneapolis) used the trend to promote the city by showing visuals of the area matching the lyrics of the song. 

Jordan Gilgenbach, a digital communications coordinator and social media officer for the city, received the 2022 Social Media Leadership Award during the Golden Post Awards Ceremony at GSMCON2022 and had the following insight to share:

“Hopping onto trends can be super engaging when it both entertains and surprises the audience; especially in a space like TikTok, where government is still unexpected by many,” Gilgenbach said. “But participating in trends in a timely manner is equally important. Brands and government are far too often late to the party because there is too much bureaucracy, and their content doesn’t resonate because the content is too safe and watered down. Spaces like TikTok are not the places for safe, perfected and risk-averse content. Trendy or not, people look for authenticity.”

Note: According to a recent discussion in the Government Social Media Community group on Facebook, some government agencies who used the trending corn audio were later notified that the sound had been removed due to a copyright claim. You can check the interactive audio library database in TikTok’s Creative Center for pre-cleared audio (for ads and organic content). 

Remember the hold Stranger Things had on social media? Images and audio from the show were especially popular over the summer. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife has posted several TikTok’s with a variety of content material (including educational pieces) that have raked in thousands of likes and views, including this one in July which currently has more than 287,000 likes.  

Instagram

At this time, Instagram doesn’t have a comprehensive dashboard updated with trend information in real time; however, the official Instagram blog posts trend reports regularly with less guesswork for you. The reports describe the trend, provide the name of the audio/artist and may even tell you how the trend originated. Finally, the report offers a “pro tip” on each trend. 

Below is a quick summary of the August 31 report:

  • Back to School Outfits: This one is pretty self-explanatory! This trend is inspired by special outfits for the start of the new school year.
    • Audio: A trending song of your choice! 
    • Idea for socialgov: Clearly this is ideal for any agencies involved in education, but you may also be adaptable for agency training, first responder academy graduations or onboarding of new employees. 
  • It’s Corn, but it’s a song: You’ll notice that trending audio is often similar between Instagram and TikTok.  The Instagram Creators description encourages users to show clips of you and your friends “eating your way through state fairs, corn stands and your favorite food vendors!”
    • Audio: It’s Corn, but it’s a song - Gregory Brothers
    • Idea for socialgov: This could be a great opportunity to visit with local farmers, markets and, of course, the state fair.
  • I Am Born To Be Cute: This trend is all about self-love. It’s an opportunity to show the world any selfies or childhood pictures you’re proud of and even lip-sync.
    • Audio: Original Audio - @imaliltcup 
    • Idea for socialgov: This could be especially fun (and cute!) for an animal shelter or wildlife agency. It could also help you show your agency’s history in a unique way.

Again, if your agency is not on TikTok but is creating Reels, many of the same trends are popular on both apps – despite a recent trend on TikTok joking that Reels users are behind. So if you see something you want to try out one one app, search the other to see if the audio is available there, too. 

As you scroll through Reels, you may notice an arrow icon (↗) next to the audio. That means the audio is trending! Click on the audio to view more information about it, such as the number of Reels that have used it, watch the other Reels and save the audio for your own future use. 

For example, this reel from Laguna Beach Police Department (@lagunabeachpd) using trending audio Jump around sickmix to relay congratulations to an officer on completing field training. 

Unfortunately, trending audio may not always be available to government agencies, since many are set up as business accounts. This is due to agreements between the social network and artists to avoid copyright infringement. Before switching to a creator account to expand your audio library, it’s best to check with your agency’s legal counsel. 

  • Members of the GSM network can view the transcript of GSMChat: Solving Your Copyrighted Content Concerns.  

Aside from scrolling through video after video across platforms, you can also explore trending content that’s specific to your agency and mission through searches. In the search bar, you can run queries on keywords to view related Reels or hashtags to view the amount of posts mentioning the hashtags and see similar suggestions that may have more mentions. 

Facebook

During GSMCON2022, Meta reps advised diversifying your content and crossposting Reels on Instagram and Facebook. Aside from crossposting Reels, staying on top of trending topics of conversation and posts can help you expand your audience and drive more engagement. 

If you have Facebook Access with the New Pages Experience, you’ll be able to switch between your personal profile and your agency’s profile and have separate news feeds. This means your agency can follow other pages of interest and easily jump in and comment on popular and/or relevant posts from those pages or share them (with or without additional commentary).  

Under the “Watch” tab, you can also click “Explore” to view trending hashtags and their trending videos. Creator Studio also offers inspiration for posts and Reels, with suggested creators, posts and videos.  

Additionally, in Meta Business Suite, the planner area prompts you to create content for upcoming holidays and observances. You can also download GSM’s interactive 2022 observance calendar for a wider look at the rest of the year.

Twitter

As Twitter’s Lauren Devoll noted during a keynote session at GSMCON2022, timeliness and relevance go a long way, as does joining a conversation. 

Under the #Explore tab, click Trending to regularly monitor the latest conversations and hit that sweet spot of being both timely and relevant to your target audience. You can also adjust your settings by clicking on the gear icon (⚙) to filter your results by your current location or by another specific location.

 The above screenshot shows the Explore settings option to filter your Twitter search results by location. 

As of the time of this publication, here are the top five trending topics in the United States:

  1. Godard
  2. #inflation
  3. #tuesdayvibe
  4. Jimmy Kimmel
  5. #weatheringwithchan 

Number three (Tuesday vibe) immediately jumps out as the easiest for government agencies to jump on since it provides an opportunity to be timely and relevant without spending days on planning. 

While it can be tempting to add trending hashtags to expand your reach, Lauren advised using them to raise awareness about a cause or during live events. 

What government can take away from trends

Participating in trends can help your government agency stand out, reach new audiences, embrace authenticity and have fun, when appropriate.

Even in a perfect world where every trend is OK to participate in, the reality is that many government agencies just don’t have the bandwidth to join in every time. This is where crossposting can really help you get more mileage out of the content you are able to make time for. 

If you don’t have other social media staffers at your agency to bounce ideas off of, joining the free GSM network or the Government Social Media Community group on Facebook can help you connect to a support system that understands the highs and lows of work as a government social media professional and weigh in on any questions or concerns you may have about current trends.  

Meet the author


Ariana Donley

Web & Social Media Specialist – Government Social Media LLC

Ariana graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Human Rights. She spent several years in the TV news industry and also served the Birmingham Police Department initially as a Crime Prevention Officer and later as the first Public Relations Manager. She is passionate about GSM’s mission and enjoys the positive and supportive team work environment. 


 

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