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I'm looking for a [trend] in [June]

Jun 05, 2024

Scrolling social media for trending content is one of my favorite new-age pastimes. I always get a rush of serotonin when a government account organically makes it to my personal newsfeed or FYP – or, a song like “I’m looking for a man in finance” gets stuck in my head.

Government social media communicators are in a unique position to not only take advantage of trends to entertain their online communities, but to also pair that entertainment with valuable information that could impact real world results. Whether it’s creating a positive interaction, correcting misconceptions, providing an impactful public service announcement or getting a new generation better acquainted with public service – the possibilities are endless and government accounts are doing a splendid job of rising to the occasion. 

But, let’s face it, researching trends can be time consuming and you may not have the bandwidth if social media is just one aspect of your job. Scroll this blog to get caught up on some of the latest trends and examples on some popular platforms (or use these links to jump straight to TikTok, Reels or X). 

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 and don’t forget to check out more content by visiting our GSM blog and subscribing to our newsletter. This is just a snapshot of recent trends, and we encourage you to explore our other online communities for more trend inspiration! Join the GSM Facebook Community Group or free GSM network.

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. Black Flowers by Castle Hearts
  2. Relaxed (Sped Up) by MC Mablo Dos Paredões (approved for business use!)
  3. Maxed Out by Bayker Blankenship
  4. Así Fue - En Vivo Desde Bellas Artes, México/ 2013 by Juan Gabriel
  5. Tired of healing. by Noah Henderson  (approved for business use!)

While trends can be humorous and entertaining, they could address content needed for a Public Service Announcement. Here’s an example from what appears to be from a couple of game wardens. If your agency is banned from accessing that link on TikTok, here’s a quick explainer:

It’s a photo carousel-style post featuring only two photos. The first photo shows a fishing line in someone’s hand by the water with text that says “How to fish without a fishing license >>>” encouraging people to swipe to the next photo. The second photo simply says “why’d you swipe?...” Government accounts could easily adapt this trend to address problematic situations relevant to their mission and add a more detailed PSA to the caption. 

Trends can also be a fantastic way to humanize your agency. One recent trend in particular can really show your coworkers’ personalities! It’s typically referred to as the “who you think you’re emailing” trend. Here’s a fan favorite example where the creator first shows a photo of their professional headshot (paired with classical music) and then abruptly cuts to a video of them dressed as the Rugrats doll Cynthia (paired with brief audio from SkeeYee by Sexyy Red). 

@ohmymarky This trend spoke to me #fypツ #fyp #viral ♬ original sound - Suzette

This trend can really showcase your coworkers’ personalities in a unique way and show potential job candidates that a job at your agency could offer them the work-life balance they’re hoping for. Think it’s too risky for your online community’s taste? Think outside the box! Here’s an example of how a K9 got in on the fun trend

@k9_raider Business professional. #fyp #lab #labrador #k9 #labsoftiktok ♬ original sound - Suzette

As with any trend involving audio you didn’t create - make sure you have proper permissions or licensing to use it and always review the lyrics carefully. The full lyrics for SkeeYee include some that are generally considered NSFW. 

Having trouble coming up with inspiration? Pro tip - the Symphony Assistant within TikTok’s Creative Center offers generative artificial intelligence tools that can help you write ad scripts or brainstorm ideas. Just make sure you review their terms of use.

Reels

Instagram periodically drops a trends report on its @creators account. Here are the details from the latest report, posted on May 9:

  1. I’m Working Late…‘Cause I’m a Singer: Lip-sync “Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter and show what keeps you at work late. Add a text overlay for more context!
  2. Prom Transition:  Transition from a casual outfit to prom attire.
  3. You Wouldn’t Last an Hour in the Asylum Where They Raised Me: Share a unique POV from the hit song “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?” by (you guessed it) Taylor Swift.

#1 would be a really easy grab for virtually any government social media communicator. It could also be adapted to various departments within your agency for a chance to involve other staff, humanize them and show your online community the hard work they’re putting in behind the scenes. 

The Utah Department of Transportation has a plethora of trend-inspired IG posts that could give you some inspiration (and some laughs!). Here’s a recent reel featuring a viral transition from a donkey having a clumsy moment to a UDOT worker sharing a litter program PSA

Not all trends involve short-form video. For example, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources adapted a popular Star Wars meme into a fire safety PSA on Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You).

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by WA Dept. of Natural Resources (@washdnr)

To get ahead of upcoming observances that may fit into a trend or just apply to your community in general, download our free, interactive 2024 Observance Calendar Roundup

UDOT (@utahtransportation) and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (@washdnr) both won Golden Post Awards this year for Best Instagram Presence. The winners and finalists are always a great source of inspiration and I highly recommend checking them out, along with a gallery of their submissions

X

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

  1. $SIMSOL
  2. #gametimebarstoolgiveaway
  3. #Starliner 
  4. #WorldEnvironmentDay
  5. #TheTraitorsUS

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

Number 3 could be a unique opportunity to feature any coworkers who may have a passion for space exploration. Number 4 could be an opportunity to share any local initiatives your agency has to protect the environment or show any images or footage from the field of your workers making environment-conscious decisions. Often, the key to successfully joining a trend is to do so naturally and not to force it. 

Also, keep in mind, the above trends are trending in the U.S. as of publication of this blog. You can customize your trends search for other countries too.

This is how we do it (or don’t)

Whether your agency joins trends or not, it’s important to be in-the-know about what’s popular. It will help you gain a more firm understanding of what social media users may want to interact with and how to potentially connect with them in a more meaningful and memorable way. 

That said, jumping on any and every trend could cost you dearly if you lose sight of your agency’s purpose and only chase views and likes from people outside of your community. 

Always carefully and thoughtfully research trends before jumping on the bandwagon. I also recommend reviewing the comment section on any trending posts to help you get the best understanding of how it could be received from your account or in case you missed any nuances about its true meaning. Staying on top of trends (or trending comments) could also help you provide better customer service since it can help you decipher the tone and intent behind certain phrases you may come across in DMs or comments to your agency’s page.

Want to be featured in a future trends blog? Send me an email at [email protected]

 

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.


Government Social Media empowers government professionals to achieve mastery in social media through conferences, online training, and professional association membership.

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