TikTok’s incredible rise since its launch in 2016 has been well documented. Today, not only is it one of the most popular social networks in the world, but it’s also set to be the fastest-growing social media platform in 2022. Having said that, one question all brands should be asking is: how to go viral on TikTok?
Given its ability to boost brand awareness and sales, knowing how to make a video go viral on TikTok is coveted knowledge for many businesses. However, what may work for other social networks may not prove effective on TikTok.
That’s because, unlike many other social media sites, TikTok’s algorithm does not recommend videos based on the number of followers an account has. In other words, just about anybody can go viral on TikTok—even a brand new account with zero followers.
While the level playing field is helpful, getting a video viral will still require having a good strategy and approach. Whether you’re trying to learn more about how you can work with TikTok’s algorithm or even how to go viral on TikTok overnight, here are some useful tips that can help to guide you along.
Table of Contents
- Keep Up With the Latest Trends
- Use Trending And Relevant Hashtags
- Hop on Trending Audios
- Create Your Own Audio
- Post Consistently and Regularly
- Post at the Right Time
- Interact With Your Followers
- Interact With Other Users And Posts
- Collaborate With Other Content Creators
- Keep Your Videos Short
- Start Strong
- Be Funny and Relatable
- Be a Little Controversial
- Cross-promote Your TikTok Content on Other Platforms
- Upgrade to a TikTok Business Account
- How To Go Viral on TikTok: Summary
1. Keep Up With the Latest Trends
As one of the most trend-driven social media platforms, one of the most important ways to know how to go viral on TikTok requires you to keep up with the latest trends. Knowing what’s currently hot among users can inspire you to create similar content, whether it’s a specific dance, audio clip, video format, or topic.
Fortunately, finding out what’s trending on TikTok isn’t difficult. Simply hop on over to its For You page, which is a personalized feed of curated content, and you’ll be greeted with endless videos and ideas. As you browse through them, identify a trend, consider whether it’s relevant to your niche and if so, jump on it and create your own video.
Note that TikTok trends don’t tend to last more than a few days. So if you have an idea that has the potential to get you viral, it’s best to jump on it right away.
If you’re serious about going viral on TikTok, try to dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to simply browsing through the For You page to stay in touch with what’s currently popular and inspire new (and potentially viral) content ideas.
2. Use Trending And Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are a key ranking factor on TikTok and allows TikTok’s algorithm to categorize your content. So if you want to know how to go viral on TikTok using hashtags, you need to know the right ones to use.
You can search for what hashtags are trending in your niche within TikTok itself. Enter a keyword in the search bar (without the hashtag) and once the list of results is loaded, tap on the “hashtag” column and you’ll find a list of trending hashtags and the number of views received by videos with these corresponding hashtags.
Helpful as they may be, try not to overload your post with hashtags. As a general rule of thumb, three to five hashtags per post is sufficient to guide the algorithm.
You’ll also want to avoid using hashtags that are too generic as competition for them is extremely fierce. These include #FYP and #foryou, which have a total of 37 trillion views between them.
3. Hop on Trending Audios
TikTok is huge on audios. The entire library of music and sound clips available to creators alone is a testament to how much they value audio in their videos.
When looking through your For You page for what’s trending, you may want to consider paying close attention to the music, sounds, and songs used in the videos you come across.
Incorporating them into your TikTok content can take you one step closer to virality. That’s because the platform’s algorithm actively recommends videos containing trending audios to other creators who have previously engaged with the audio, making a great way to increase your reach!
Here’s the best part: TikTok makes it extremely easy for creators to jump on trending audio clips. All you have to do is select any TikTok video with the audio, tap on the name of the clip used (usually located below the post’s caption and next to a musical note icon), and you’ll see an option to “use this sound.”
4. Create Your Own Audio
If you’re feeling particularly inspired, consider creating your own audio.
As many as 88 percent of TikTok users say sounds are “essential” to their experience on the app. That said, creating your own audio plays right into TikTok’s algorithm, which considers originality and the audio used as ranking factors and uses them to boost a video’s visibility.
Now, this doesn’t (necessarily) mean producing your own music from scratch. You can make your own audio by editing and customizing existing sounds from TikTok’s sound archive or recording a separate voiceover for a video. The latter can help TikTok understand what your video is about and in turn, know what types of audiences to promote the video to. Alternatively, simply recording a video is also a way to create your own audio.
5. Post Consistently and Regularly
One factor TikTok’s algorithm looks at is the amount of activity (comments, likes, shares, etc.) a particular video receives. It does not consider whether a user has had high-performing videos in the past.
What this means is going viral on TikTok pretty much boils down to basic math. Since each video stands an equal shot at going viral, the more often you post, the higher your chances. Plus, as the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect,” and you can use every video opportunity to hone your TikToking skills.
That said, you don’t need to be posting every hour, nor every two. A good guideline is the lifespan of TikTok trends, which recent research puts at three to five days.
One key consideration when creating a TikTok strategy is to follow a posting schedule that’s more or less predictable. The goal here is not to hit a certain number of posts in a period of time but to be consistent. For instance, posting two videos a day for a week and then going silent for a month isn’t a good tactic. All you’ll achieve is confusing your followers, who may not hesitate to click that unfollow button if they haven’t seen new content from you. This, in turn, is counter-productive to your efforts to go viral.
6. Post at the Right Time
Aside from posting frequently, doing so at the right time is also important. After all, going viral means getting as many eyes on your TikTok video as possible, which means you should be posting when the majority of your target audience is active on TikTok.
You want your post to be published during peak usage hours as that’s when you’re most likely to get views. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, which analyzed over 100,000 TikTok posts, there are several time slots throughout the day that can result in high engagement rates.
In particular, Tuesdays at 9 AM, Thursdays at 12 PM, and Fridays at 5 AM are the three best times to post on TikTok as the content published during these hours tends to generate higher engagement.
However, keep in mind while these are great guidelines to go by, the best time for you to post will ultimately depend on factors like your niche market, your target audience’s location, and when they’re most likely to be browsing through TikTok.
7. Interact With Your Followers
Knowing how to go viral on TikTok also requires understanding the importance of interaction and engagement. If you’re serious about going viral on TikTok, your efforts should not end with the “post” button. Social networks are a great place for interaction, and TikTok’s no exception.
Apart from posting videos, you also want to engage with your followers and encourage them to interact with you. Replying to comments you receive on your videos can create a sense of community and increase the chances of your content going viral as TikTok’s algorithm rewards interaction.
You can also encourage engagement by including a call to action within your videos. For example, you can sign off your videos by asking your followers to leave you a comment, share their thoughts, share your video, follow your account, or even respond with a video of their own using the Stitch or Duet features.
8. Interact With Other Users And Posts
Aside from interacting with your followers, you’ll also want to engage with other videos and content creators. This is especially helpful for new accounts or accounts trying to gain TikTok followers.
Here, you’re essentially doing what you want your followers to do for you. This entails interacting with other TikTok videos and reacting to them, preferably ones that are trending and have the potential to go viral.
Basic interaction includes liking and commenting, but if you want to go the extra mile, you can create your own Stitch or Duet videos in response to another user’s trending video.
9. Collaborate With Other Content Creators
Another way to help you go viral on TikTok is to partner up with popular content creators. A good partnership leads to a win-win situation for both, as it helps both parties expand their reach and increase their content’s visibility.
When looking for TikTok influencers to work with, consider whether they’re relevant to your niche, as this ensures that you get the right attention.
If you’re new to TikTok, it may be difficult to find a content creator who might want to work with you immediately because of your low follower count. But don’t be discouraged. Start by following the influencers you may one day want to collaborate with, understanding their style, and interacting with their posts. Once you’ve built up a solid following, reach out to them with a collaboration proposal.
10. Keep Your Videos Short
Another way to increase the chances of your TikTok content going viral is to keep your videos short.
When TikTok first launched, users were only able to publish videos up to 15 seconds long. Over the years, it’s added 60-second and three-minute options, and more recently, ten-minute long videos.
Despite this, TikTok users seem to still prefer bite-sized videos, and experts recommend creating videos of nine to 15 seconds for maximum impact.
This may be difficult to achieve, especially if you’re new to the platform and have been publishing primarily on YouTube. But fret not, inspirations are aplenty on TikTok. Simply look at what the top TikTok influencers are doing and how they craft their viral videos.
11. Start Strong
With shortening attention spans and most TikTok videos lasting mere seconds, you’ll need to have a strong start to your videos to grab viewers’ attention. There’s simply no time for a lengthy intro before getting to the main point of your video.
The hook needs to be established in the very first few seconds—if not frames. Research has shown that videos that start with powerful emotions lead to a 1.7-times higher six-second view rate than those opening with more neutral expressions.
12. Be Funny and Relatable
In terms of content, there’s no one single type that’s guaranteed to go viral. But if you want to raise those odds, being funny and relatable in your posts can definitely help.
Humor—especially dark humor—goes a long way in TikTok. This is largely thanks to Gen Z, which makes up 60 percent of TikTok users. This group of users appreciates and finds amusement in ironic, self-deprecating, and sometimes even embarrassing video content.
TikTok is also all about authenticity, with 64 percent of users saying they can be their true selves on the platform. If you want to cater to the TikTok crowd and go viral—be relatable and authentic.
13. Be a Little Controversial
Controversy is a double-edged sword. When used tastefully in your TikTok videos, it can be the nudge you need to go viral. Though this isn’t a method that’s specific to TikTok, it’s one that has been tried and tested over the years and has a high chance of working.
Controversial posts drive engagement because they’re sensitive in nature, which stirs up powerful emotions like annoyance, amusement, and even rage. These drive people to want to react.
Should you decide to use controversy as a tool to go viral, you want to be extra cautious and sensitive. Stick to safer (even silly) topics and avoid strict no-gos like religion and politics. The goal here isn’t to offend but to offer your opinion and inspire people to reflect and react while perhaps causing just a touch of indignance.
A recent controversy that’d be great to jump on would be Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars. Reactions to it fell into two camps, one for and one against his actions, with even some celebrities divided on the matter.
Of course, you’ll also want to pick a topic that’s relevant to you. For example, if you’re in the plant niche, you could talk about your watering preference and whether you prefer to water your plants top-down or bottom-up. If you’re in the tech niche, go ahead and ruffle some feathers by comparing two popular mobile devices and what you prefer.
14. Cross-promote Your TikTok Content on Other Platforms
Though this may sound counter-productive, cross-promoting your TikTok content on other platforms can actually increase your chances of going viral.
Short and punchy videos are now trending across social media, especially Instagram and Facebook, and this is largely because of TikTok’s influence. By promoting your TikTok videos on other social networks, you’re increasing your reach, getting more eyes on your content, and at the same time, driving traffic back to your TikTok channel.
15. Upgrade to a TikTok Business Account
TikTok introduced its Business account in 2020, and it’s one thing brands definitely should be making full use of as it can help with their efforts to go viral.
Using a TikTok Business account and the TikTok sales channel on your Shopify store, you can monetize your videos by selling your products via TikTok Shopping. The Shopping tab appears right in your profile, meaning viewers can turn into customers with just one swipe. You can also tag products in your videos, letting users arrive directly on your product page with just one tap.
Having a Business account on its own has no direct bearing on the chances of your content getting promoted by the TikTok algorithm. What it does do, however, is provide you with greater visibility into your content’s performance, audience behavior, and more. This, in turn, allows you to understand your followers better, how they’re reacting to your content, and ultimately fine-tune your TikTok marketing strategy for success.
How To Go Viral on TikTok: Summary
There you have it—15 ways to help you go viral on TikTok. There’s no one method that will guarantee virality. Instead, the more of these you do, the higher your chances of going viral, and the easier it will be to sell on TikTok.
Here’s a quick summary of how to go viral on TikTok:
- Keep up with the latest trends
- Use trending and relevant hashtags
- Hop on trending audios
- Create your own audio
- Post consistently and regularly
- Post at the right time
- Interact with your followers
- Interact with other users and posts
- Collaborate with other content creators
- Keep your videos short
- Start strong
- Be funny and relatable
- Be a little controversial
- Cross-promote your TikTok content on other platforms
- Upgrade to a TikTok Pro account