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POV: You’re a socialgov researching current trends

Feb 07, 2023

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

You may be able to buy yourself flowers, but as a government social media professional you should also know what’s trending on social media and how to look for it. If you read that and thought “that’s an odd way to start a blog,” then this blog on current trends is perfect for you. 

Trends often take inspiration from pop culture, like TV shows, movies or songs. Both the audio and visuals from “Flower” by Miley Cyrus overtook countless social media news feeds following its release as creators adapted the lyrics to their own lives or swapped theories about hidden messages in the music video.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s buy you some metaphorical flowers and get you caught up on what else is trending to help you blossom into the social media professional who is always in-the-know!

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 week (currently listed at the time of publication of this blog):

  1. Are You Ready by AHMAD (approved for business use!)
  2. Naughty by Alisha Weir and The Cast of Roald Dahl
  3. 528 Hz the Dna Healing Love Frequency Tuning Fork by Sound Love Alchemy
  4. Rockhardt by Carbon!
  5. Heavy Rotation by Shakeback Gang and Rio Da Yung Og

With that being said, below are the most recently available top five trending hashtags (at the time of this publication):

  1. #china
  2. #balloon
  3. #dumbwaystodye
  4. #pinkpantheress
  5. #spy

Number 3 refers to the trend that depicts “Dumb Ways to Die” – often with a bit of comic relief as the video freezes right before a painful or dangerous moment. Here’s an example from the MLB on Fox baseball account (@mlbonfox).  

This trend could be an opportunity for a unique Public Service Announcement dealing with safety measures. That being said, it’s important to know your audience and understand your relationship with them to know if jumping on a trend like this would be well received or considered “off brand” and confusing — or worse, offensive. 

Curious to see a government account using trends? Milwaukee Public Library staff have adapted many trends to their own needs and appear to know their TikTok audience well as the account has received positive news coverage for their viral videos. 

You may remember last summer, the Netflix hit series Stranger Things inspired many TikTok trends. Actor Finn Wolfhard, known for his portrayal of Mike Wheeler in the show, inspired the recent finger snapping trend. It’s an easy trend for government agencies to adopt, as Milwaukee Public Library did to illustrate the evolution of the Hoan Bridge – transitioning from what appears to be a black and white historical photograph to modern day. 

The library has also hopped on other recent trends, like the Wednesday Adams dance (inspired by Jenna Ortega’s choreography for the character in another Netflix hit “Wednesday”) and a scene from the movie Zoolander

Despite its immense popularity and reputation as a social media trendsetter, TikTok is banned for many U.S. government social media professionals who are prohibited from downloading the app on government-owned devices due to concerns about data security. Members of the free GSM network can access the January 5, 2023 recap of #GSMChat: Latest News on TikTok and Government

If you’re trying to reach a certain audience on TikTok, the Creative Center can help you gather insights about not only what’s trending, but who it’s trending with. When you click on a song, you can view audience insights including related interests and age ranges. 

To revisit our earlier mention of “Flower” by Miley Cyrus, here is a look at how TikTok says the song is performing with different age groups using the platform: 

  • Audience age insights:
    • 18-24: 56%
    • 25-34: 28%
    • 35 and up: 16%

Want to stay ahead of the trends? Check out TikTok’s What’s Next 2023 Trend Report which includes advice on tracking trends.

Reels

Reels trends typically have a lot in common with those on TikTok. It’s been awhile since Instagram’s Creators blog has shared a text-based trend report. The most recent one is a short-form video posted to the @creators Instagram account with examples on January 25:

Below is a quick summary:

  • Hey, Mickey Transition: This trend is meant for showing off a makeup look while lip-syncing “Hey Mickey” by @imbabytate. Creators switch into a new look when they reach the lyrics “Oh Mickey you’re so fine.”  
  • Lifelong Treasure of Destiny: Using the audio with the same title from @usefulforme you can share your favorite memories so far in 2023.
  • Why Wouldn’t I Be Confident: The goal of this trend is self-love either using or lip-syncing to audio from @lukefranchina and Instagram’s pro tip is to add selfie videos to showcase your personality.

Depending on how comfortable you or your colleagues are lip-syncing, the Lifelong Treasure of Destiny trend may be the easiest trend to jump on since you’d likely already have some great recent memories already stored away! 

Instagram’s previous trends report from January 11 also offered a couple opportunities for government agencies to adapt, specifically: 

  • You Can Change Your Life: Creators can use this trend to share positive videos about hopes and goals for 2023 and add inspirational text.
    • Song: Original audio from @lifestyle.by.lea 
  • POV (Point of View): I Walk in the Room: Creators can use this trend to exhibit their personality. Here’s how it works: Walk into a room and film reactions from others. You can use text to add a description. 

You Can Change Your Life and POV: I Walk in the Room seem like wonderful opportunities for government agencies to be on trend while generating positive feelings and informing others.

For example, You Can Change Your Life can help educate people in your community about positive initiatives and programs your agency offers and encourage involvement online or offline. Have a co-worker with a bubbly personality? You could adapt the POV: I Walk in the Room trend to showcase that and maximize their potential as a brand ambassador for your agency! The trend could also be a chance to create a unique hiring campaign. 

Reels are a great way to connect with younger audiences, especially if your agency is not allowed on TikTok. Members of the free GSM network can access the January 19, 2023 recap of #GSMChat: Reaching Younger Audiences on Social Media.

Twitter

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

  1. Grammys
  2. Turkey
  3. Cam Thomas
  4. #WWERaw
  5. Hogwarts Legacy

While none of the current trending items immediately jump out as easy opportunities to join the conversation, they are a great opportunity to think outside of the box and get creative. For example, have any coworkers who know a lot about music, wrestling or Harry Potter? It may be appropriate to snap a candid photo of them at their workplace and let your community know more about how they serve your agency. And who knows – you may even discover a new “brand” ambassador in the process! 

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

A lot has changed on Twitter since Elon Musk purchased the platform last year. Members of the free GSM network can access the December 15, 2022 recap of #GSMChat: Twitter - What Now for Government?

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. You can also download GSM’s interactive 2023 Observance Calendar Roundup for a birds-eye view of the rest of the year and customize it with your own notes and plans. 

Gov’t uses for trends 

Trends are a great way to keep your agency’s content relevant and timely for your current audience and could even maximize your reach to gain new followers. It’s easy to feel burned out coming up with new ideas daily on top of all other tasks you’re obligated to juggle and trends can help you find new inspiration! 

If you ever need a space to get feedback on an idea or insight on a trend, it’s helpful to have other government social media professionals who understand your unique profession and the expectations. You can join the free GSM network or the Government Social Media Community group on Facebook to connect with other socialgovs.

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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