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Grab a sandwich and scroll! Catch up on the latest social media trends

Apr 11, 2023

Contributed blog by Ariana Donley, Social Media Manager at Government Social Media

If your FYP is anything like mine, capybaras and Pedro Pascal may have taken over your social media news feeds for an unusual amount of time; however, those weren’t the only trends that have dominated the online social scene lately. Let’s get caught up together! 

Note: This blog is part of a series. For previous supplemental guidance on how to discover trending content on various social media platforms, visit our first blog in this series.

TikTok

TikTok’s Creative Center is interactive and allows you to browse trending hashtags, songs, creators and videos and filter results based on country, industry and time period (last 7 days, last 30 days, last 120 days). 

Note: Previously, “yesterday” was the most recent available results you could pull; however, that’s been replaced with “last 7 days.”

Below are the top five trending songs from the last seven days (currently listed at the time of publication of this blog):

  1. Glorious Day - Radio Version by Passion and Kristian Stanfill 
  2. VETTE SUM (SHANNONGRAM) by BBY GOYARD
  3. Has to Be (new wave) by CapzLock & 33col3 & Rosesleeves
  4. Goofy Ahh Beat by Obma (approved for business use)
  5. RUNNING OUT OF TIME by Tyler, The Creator

I mentioned earlier that my FYP has been filled with Pedro Pascal memes – some NSFW – but others can be safe for government pages, for example, a clip of the actor eating a sandwich (OK, now the title of this blog makes sense, right?). The City of Las Vegas  (@cityoflasvegas) used this trend to show the irony of complaints about construction cones to mark areas where the city responded to road repair requests. 

Another popular trend featured the actor, alongside fellow actor Nicholas Cage, in a scene from the 2022 film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. The City of New Braunfels (@cityofnewbraunfels) hopped on this trend to promote its public library.

I realize not every U.S. government agency can have a TikTok account right now due to the platform’s legal troubles with Congress. Influencers flooded the app in March 2023 with messages in support of it, and clips of the congressional hearings spread rapidly — with one clip in particular even becoming a new trend. 

In the clip, TikTok CEO Shou Chew was shown a video that seemed to pose a threat to the House Energy and Commerce Committee; however, TikTokers transformed it by replacing the video with comical ones. Appropriate for government agencies to hop on the trend? Maybe not (you know your audience best), but here’s an example of how the trend poked fun.

As any socialgov knows, having a backup plan is always a good idea. So, does TikTok have one? According to TechCrunch, Instagram rival Lemon8 (from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance) is rising to the top of U.S. app downloads. Only time will tell if Lemon8 alters the social media landscape as much as TikTok. In the meantime, GSM professional association members can weigh in on this post and we’ll keep you updated with the latest news.  

Reels

Reels trends typically have a lot in common with those on TikTok. As I mentioned in February’s trends blog post, it’s been quite awhile since Instagram’s Creators blog has shared a text-based trend report. Lately, it seems the @creators Instagram account is the best place to check for updates. Here are the highlights from their latest report, posted April 5:

  • Vexed - Photo Dump: Use photos you already have in your camera roll for a fast-paced photo dump using the audio ‘Vexed’ by @memba.music

    • Instagram’s Pro Tip: Mix in video at beat pauses to increase movement 

  • But I’ll Know: Share old and new photos of yourself and write the lyrics from ‘Roar’ by Christmas Kids.

  • BFF Lip-sync Challenge: Stand back-to-back with a friend to sing the chorus of Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together.’

    • Instagram’s Pro Tip: Use @brookemonk’s audio from a post on March 25.

Vexed-Photo Dump seems like the low-hanging fruit since you can use content you already have and don’t need to start from scratch. The last trend, BFF Lip-sync Challenge could be a fun opportunity to highlight any Swifties at your agency. It could also be an interesting take on a traffic, parking or safety PSA if Taylor Swift happens to have a concert coming to your area. The possibilities are endless! 

Below is a quick summary of the March 22 trends report for some more ideas: 

  • Fruit Roll Up and Ice Cream: Try out a viral recipe that’s as simple as this trend’s name (hint: the ice cream goes inside of the fruit roll up). 
    • Instagram’s Pro Tip: Remix @dudeperfect’s Reel to give your followers some context. 
  • Bombastic Side Eye: Use @nancysaraane’s audio from February 6 to mimic @lmfaomal and depict situations when a side eye fits an uncomfortable or odd situation 
    • Instagram’s Pro Tip: Add text to your video for more context.
  • You ok? Yeah I got my girls: Highlight the people you “can’t live without” using audio from @angelaliggs posted March 6. 
    • Instagram’s Pro Tip: Use positive clips with natural/clear lighting and action.

A few days after releasing that report, the @creators account also dropped this vid with a list of new and trending songs for you to try out. Anytime a social network pushes a new feature or idea, there’s a good chance that taking them up on it and trying it out can help give your agency an algorithm boost (if appropriate, of course). 

I could see each of the Reels trends mentioned above on government accounts. For example, the “Fruit Roll Up and Ice Cream” trend could be fun and fast on a rainy day, as long as you have a good sense of whether your community would engage with more carefree content (and after “reading the room” so to speak on current events). 

“Bombastic Side Eye” could be another unique way to show your agency’s personality — or even push out a PSA with a bit of comic relief! Finally, “You ok? Yeah I got my girls,” could be just the right opportunity for an easy lift to use content you already have stored in your phone in a new way and highlight great people and moments at your agency. 

Want to up your game with Reels? The 2023 Government Social Media Conference has got what you need! During a special workshop, Instagram 201: Beyond Chasing Trends and Posting Photos, you’ll learn about best practices, boosting engagement and even practice creating a Reel from start to finish.

Twitter

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

  1. #TheMarvels
  2. #NationalPetDay
  3. #PortfolioDay
  4. yeonjun
  5. Sunday Ticket

For more detailed instructions on how to check trending topics regularly and filter by your location, take a look back at this previous trends blog

Does your agency have any K9s or service animals? Feature them with #NationalPetDay! Depending on your agency’s social media voice and tone, it may also be a great opportunity to put the call out for some cute pet photos from your coworkers. On the hunt for a new creative for your team? #PortfolioDay may help you (or HR) track down the right candidate. 

It can be difficult to hop on trending observances the same day they’re happening. Planning ahead can help reduce stress and ensure quality content. Want a birds-eye view of the rest of this year’s observances? Download GSM’s interactive 2023 Observance Calendar Roundup

Facebook

Remember when Facebook used to display trending topics at the top right of your newsfeed? The platform has undergone many updates since then. 

You can subscribe to Meta Foresight for curated updates on consumer trends and Hot Topics. Otherwise, scrolling your newsfeed and following accounts with similar objectives or audiences can help you stay in the know about trending topics on the platform. Google Trends can also be helpful in researching topics by region. 

Late last year, Meta announced that Creator Studio tools are moving to Meta Business Suite. You may have noticed, the planner area of Meta Business Suite prompts you to create content for upcoming holidays and observances that can help you stay on topic in that regard. 

When trends go wrong (for gov’t)…

While trends can help your agency stay relevant and humanize your workforce, sometimes they don’t hit quite right with your audience. It’s always important to practice social listening and monitoring to know how people feel about your agency and to also be on top of current events in your area and nationwide. 

If you try a trend and it receives negative attention — from followers or supervisors — the knee jerk reaction typically is to delete it (or hide it, if that’s an option); however, it’s very important to remember that government social media professionals cannot react the same way a brand or a creator would.

Socialgovs have a responsibility to protect people’s First Amendment (1A) rights to free speech and deleting posts could violate that. Transparency is always a best practice. If a trend you tried turns out to be inappropriate, a best practice can be to apologize and remind your followers you’re listening and learning. 

GSM network and professional association members can review important 1A resources below: 

For even more legal training for socialgov, look out for these sessions at the 2023 Government Social Media Conference in May: 

By the way – GSMCON2023 is now less than 25 days away! You can join in-person as long as you register by April 21 and virtually by April 17. 

Sessions will be at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno and there are so many fun things to do not just at the resort, but also in and around the city! If you want to stay at the venue, book by April 14 so you don’t miss out on a special discounted rate under the room block. 

More than 1,300 participants have registered (including me!) and you can explore the full schedule here. Need more information to take to your supervisor or budget office? This one page event guide may help! 


Meet the author


Ariana Donley

Social Media Manager–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 and enjoys the positive and supportive team work environment.


Best communicate with the public you serve and get connected with fellow socialgovs by registering for the 2023 Government Social Media Conference happening in Reno-Tahoe, Nevada! Join our free network for bi-weekly Government Social Media Chats or professional association for member-only webinars. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on training, events and more.

We support the largest network of government social media professionals in the U.S. by guiding government agencies through complex social media issues. Government Social Media helps you successfully communicate with the public you serve, protect your agency and keep public trust while finding your support community. 

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