At this point, it should be pretty clear that TikTok isn’t just for dancing videos.
It’s become one of the most popular social media platforms with a diverse range of content. In fact, one billion people use the app each month.
If you’re not including TikTok in your social media strategy, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers.
However, before you get started, you’ll need to know how the algorithm works and the top tips for how to go viral on TikTok.
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1. Capture Attention Immediately
Things move quickly on TikTok. This is why it’s vital to grab the user’s attention right away.
There’s no time for lengthy introductions. Always keep the three-second rule in mind: your goal is to get the user interested in your video within the first three seconds of it playing.
TikTok says that over 63% of videos with the highest click-through rates communicate their core message or product within this amount of time.
You can also consider beginning your video with a powerful emotion, such as surprise, to encourage viewers to stop scrolling and watch your video.
According to TikTok, videos that open with a powerful emotion saw a 1.7x lift compared to videos opening with a neutral facial expression.
Remember, if the algorithm notices people skipping your video in the beginning, it indicates that your content isn’t engaging.
If your content isn’t engaging, the app has no incentive to show it to more people. Check out this example from Oreo:
@theoreoofficial wow @eliottbrown, you really did that. 😦 #oreo #recipe #hack ♬ original sound – OREO
2. Keep Videos As Short As Possible
Originally TikTok videos could only be 15 seconds in length before expanding to 60 seconds. Now, TikTok videos can last up to three minutes.
However, just because you can make longer videos doesn’t mean you should.
By keeping your videos short and sweet, you don’t give the viewer time to lose interest. People will also be more likely to rewatch your video when the autoplay starts up.
Finally, short videos improve the chance of users watching your video from start to finish.
This metric is called your video completion rate. If your video completion rate is high, it indicates that your content is engaging.
When the algorithm sees your content is engaging, it will want to show your video to more people.
3. Learn What Types Of Content Perform Best
While TikTok has a reputation for being a platform for nothing but dance videos, it has grown to encompass lots of different kinds of content.
What type of videos you should create will depend on your brand, and you’ll learn a lot through trial and error.
It may be a good idea to play around with different kinds of content and see which performs best.
For example, you may consider creating videos with hacks and advice related to your niche.
However, if this strategy doesn’t seem to work for you, you may think about other types of content like behind-the-scenes footage.
4. Post Regularly
TikTok recommends posting one to four times a day, so get creative and try new things.
When you have a good idea of what works, you can start focusing more on producing similar kinds of videos.
If you find something that works really well, you may even consider using it for a Promote campaign, which allows you to turn an organic TikTok video into an ad.
5. Post content at the right time
As with other social media platforms, timing is critical when it comes to how to go viral on TikTok.
However, there’s no one magic time that’s going to be ideal for every user. Consider when your target audience is most likely to be spending time on the platform and post then.
If those times don’t work well with your schedule, try leveraging a social media scheduling tool to queue up content for future postings.
And if you’re looking to time a TikTok live post for optimal engagement, between 10 AM and 2 PM ET is generally the best window.
6. Know your audience well
Knowing your audience is crucial when it comes to creating any type of content, whether that’s a new informative article for your blog or what you hope will be your next big social media hit.
So understanding how to go viral on TikTok means understanding your audience exceptionally well.
What topics, issues, and concerns is your target audience most interested in? Are there any current TikTok trends that are a particularly great fit for your brand?
Knowing the answers to questions like these can drastically increase your chances of success.
The below video is from ESPN, a brand that positively dominates TikTok, and a great example of trendy content that shows this brand understands what its audience likes.
@espn Fun guy x Billie Eilish 😂 #fun #nba #kawhi #foryou #dance #billieeilish ♬ bad guy – Billie Eilish
7. Follow The Trends With Hashtags
One of the best ways to be relevant on TikTok is to keep up to date with the latest trends. In fact, 61% of users say they like brands better when they participate in a TikTok trend.
There are new challenges and jokes gaining popularity every day.
Take a look at the trending hashtags on the Discover page and see if you can make content that fits the trend.
You can even search for trending hashtags by region by going to the TikTok Creative Center.
It’s also a good idea to spend some time on your For You page and see what others are posting. This will show you how to create great content related to the trend, and discover new trends.
Finally, be sure you are staying up to date on the latest trends.
Things change quickly on TikTok, and you don’t want to be creating videos for played-out trends that were popular months ago.
8. Follow The Trends With Music And Sounds
Not only do hashtags trend on TikTok, but so do music and sounds.
To find what music and sounds are trending, just tap on sounds on the Record Video page.
From there, you can incorporate what is popular into your content and boost your chances of being seen by a bigger audience.
Conveniently, TikTok also allows you to see what music and sounds are trending with your specific audience.
To find this, just go to TikTok analytics and navigate to your follower tab.
By creating content related to what your audience is into at the moment, you increase the probability of your audience engaging with your video.
Since TikTok will show videos with higher user engagement to more people, this means creating content tailored to your audience should boost your reach as well.
9. Record your own original audio
By now, everyone knows their smartphones and go-to apps can (and do) listen to what they’re saying, the better to suggest ads and other content that fits their interests and needs.
TikTok’s algorithm uses similar technology to analyze your content and decide who else on the platform might like it.
So record your own original audio and voiceovers whenever it makes sense to do so. Be sure to use any specific keywords you’d like to rank for in your audio, as well.
In cases where you’re not using your own audio, look for other ways to help your videos stand out and convey your message accurately.
10. Be Authentic. Be Original. Tell Your Story.
While you do want to stay on top of the latest trends, you should do so in an original way.
One of the best tips for creating awesome content is simple: be yourself! There’s no need for expensive equipment to go viral on TikTok. All you need is your phone.
Tell your story and let people get to know you. Talk about things you love and express who you are.
Is there something relatable or inspiring about you and your brand? Then you should share it.
Even if you have a controversial opinion on something, it can be good to post about it.
In fact, controversy can lead to some heated debates in the comments, driving more user interactions.
11. Use humor to connect with an audience
Everyone loves to laugh and is looking to inject a little more humor into their lives, so humorous content always does well on social media, including on TikTok.
It helps that humor gels well with lots of different topics and content types, whether you’re a lifestyle brand, a fitness enthusiast, or something else entirely.
The video from TurboTax is an excellent example of how any brand can use humor to its advantage. After all, it doesn’t get much more serious than doing your taxes correctly, but with a bit of creativity, even a tax filing service can be funny and engaging.
@turbotax There are only a few days left — we are once again asking you to file your #taxes and get that #RefundGlowUp ♬ baby fufu – Official Sound Studio
12. Write A Great Caption
Captions on TikTok can only be 150 characters, and that includes your hashtags.
In your caption, you want to include a hook to get people to interact with your video more.
You can do this by creating curiosity for the viewer or including a question that entices people to comment on the video.
By writing a caption that encourages the viewer to watch your video for a longer amount of time or leave a comment, you can boost your user interactions.
When you boost user interactions, your video is more likely to show up on the For You page.
13. Revisit your best-performing ideas
If you’ve already been on the platform a while, one of the better ways to figure out how to go viral on TikTok is to look at what’s already worked for you in the past.
Then create additional content that piggybacks off of those original ideas or builds upon them in an entertaining way.
Even on TikTok, users love following compelling or exciting stories, so don’t be afraid to let your TikTok content tell a little bit of yours.
You can encourage people to shoot you a follow or otherwise watch for new content offerings from you by working in series, answering questions your audience may have, or otherwise building upon the fantastic foundation you’ve already created.
14. Learn your way around TikTok’s tools
Like many of today’s most popular social media platforms, TikTok comes attached to an entire suite of handy tools and editing resources that simplify the process of creating awesome content people will love.
And, of course, the better your content, the higher your chances of going viral.
For instance, you get access to an impressive library of sound effects, audio clips, filters, and popular music to use in your videos.
Using these tools to create your content doesn’t just make it easier, either.
Using trendy filters and audio options triggers TikTok’s algorithm to show your content to others who’ve engaged with the same ones.
It also helps give your content a style that users recognize and that does well on the platform.
15. Engage With Other TikTok Users
As with all social media platforms, engaging with other users is key to your success.
Replying to all of your comments is one easy way to interact. However, TikTok offers some unique ways to engage with other users.
Stitch allows you to cut and integrate pieces from someone else’s video into yours.
Duet allows you to record yourself commenting on someone else’s video as it plays next to yours in a split-screen.
Video replies allow you to create new videos based on comments from your previous posts.
Clearly, interaction is an important part of TikTok, so you should utilize the tools they provide.
16. Be a little bit controversial
One easy way to have a post catch fire on just about any social media platform (or online, in general) is to create something provocative enough that it makes it nearly impossible for people not to engage.
So if you really want to know how to go viral on TikTok, generate a little controversy.
But brands also need to be careful of hurting their carefully cultivated reputations, so it’s essential to court controversy in a tasteful, relatively non-offensive way.
One great example is the video from Chipotle that plays off of the difficulty Baby Boomers sometimes have pronouncing the brand’s name.
@chipotle Pt.2 y’all are comedy @jebdal @odorussell @alyssa.pustilnik @biblepainter @lilli.spada @alexa_gargano #chipotle #fyp ♬ original sound – Chipotle
17. Include A Strong CTA
Going viral on TikTok won’t be worth much to your brand if users aren’t taking action after they watch your video.
This is why it’s vital to include a call-to-action (CTA) in your video or caption.
Your CTA will depend on the goals of your brand. For example, if your goal is to build your audience, you may include something like “follow for more hacks.”
On the other hand, if your goal is to sell a product, you may want to direct your viewers to click on a link to your product.
18. Promote your videos across your other social media accounts
The popularity of short, snackable video content is by no means limited to TikTok.
Spend much time on Facebook, Instagram, or any other popular social media platform that supports video content, and it’s only a matter of time before you see similar options.
So one secret as to how to go viral on TikTok is to cross-post your videos everywhere else you have an audience or are building a following.
More eyes on your stuff add up to better reach and a significantly higher chance of going viral.
19. Post your content and leave
TikTok thrives on its users’ constant, continuous attention, so it will do just about anything to tempt you into coming back and spending more time there once you’ve left the app.
You may even have noticed that the longer you’ve been away, the more push notifications it tries to generate to get you to open the app back up and see what’s new.
One highly effective way to entice users back is to put their content in front of more people so they’ll be tempted to watch their numbers skyrocket on a moment-to-moment basis.
So try posting your content, immediately shutting the app, and walking away from it for a little while. You’re more likely to come back to lots of views and engagement.
What kind of content will go viral on TikTok?
One of the awesome things about TikTok is that just about anything has the potential to go viral there, including excellent branded content.
Although teens tend to go straight for the dance videos, TikTok’s audience is diverse and has a wide range of interests, including animals, beauty, art, travel, and cooking.
So if your content’s well-made and engaging, it has a chance to make it big on TikTok.
How many views does a TikTok video need to be considered viral?
Although there’s no magic number a TikTok video needs to accumulate before being considered popular, you can safely consider it viral once it exceeds 500,000 views.
However, many viral videos go on to score view counts in the multiple millions, as well as countless likes, shares, and comments.
What are the 3 TikTok Ranking Signals?
The TikTok algorithm considers three main categories of ranking signals when deciding what content to show users.
1. User interactions
The first category of TikTok ranking signals is user interactions.
This includes things like the number of comments on your video, the number of times your video was liked, and your video completion rate.
User interactions indicate how engaging your video will be. The more engaging the algorithm thinks the video is, the more TikTok will want to show it.
2. Video information
The second category is video information. This includes things like captions, hashtags, and sounds.
This category helps TikTok determine how relevant your video will be to particular users’ interests.
If the algorithm thinks your video is relevant to the interests of users in a particular niche, it will be more likely to show your video to those users.
3. Device and account information
The third category is device and account information. This includes things like users’ language preferences and location.
These settings also indicate the relevance of a video for particular users but are largely out of your control.
This is why you’ll want to focus on the first two categories: user interactions and video information.
Frequent posting on TikTok not only helps you discover what works and what doesn’t but also gives people more opportunities to interact with your brand.
By planning out your content in advance, you ensure you are posting the amount you need to.
This is why you should use our marketing calendar! By utilizing it, you can make sure you are posting consistently so you can go viral on TikTok.