How to go viral on TikTok

Wondering how to go viral on TikTok? This guide breaks down the key strategies and fundamentals you need to follow.
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Table of Contents

Everyone wants to achieve virality, but is there a way to guarantee it?

TikTok has emerged as a powerhouse platform for content creators and marketers alike over the last four or five years. With its unique algorithm and user-friendly interface, TikTok offers immense potential for individuals and brands to reach a global audience. But the question remains: how can one go viral on TikTok?

What does it mean to go viral on TikTok?

Going viral on TikTok is achieving widespread views on your content outside of the norm. It’s about capturing the attention of millions, sparking conversations, and leaving a lasting impression. While there isn’t a specific threshold for what constitutes virality in terms of views, it generally involves a significant surge in engagement beyond one’s usual metrics.

What defines virality can vary across industries and niches. A dance challenge might go viral within the realm of entertainment, while a cooking tutorial gains traction in the culinary community. The numbers attached to those may differ, but their virality within their industries and communities are still relevant. Understanding your audience and catering to their interests is crucial in crafting content that has the potential to go viral.

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How the TikTok algorithm works

The TikTok algorithm is a complex system designed to curate personalised content for each user’s feed. At its core, the algorithm analyses user behaviour, preferences, and interactions to deliver a seamless browsing experience. Understanding how this algorithm operates is paramount for anyone seeking to maximise their reach on the platform.

The TikTok algorithm primarily considers factors such as engagement (likes, comments, shares), video completion rates, and the relevance of content to the user’s interests. By leveraging these insights, content creators can tailor their videos to resonate with their target audience and increase the likelihood of going viral.

Tips to go viral on TikTok

Jump on existing trends 

Keeping an eye on trending hashtags and challenges allows creators to capitalise on popular topics and maximise their visibility. Trends on TikTok can emerge rapidly and spread like wildfire, providing an excellent opportunity for creators to ride the wave of viral content. By quickly identifying and participating in such trends, creators and marketers can significantly boost their chances of going viral. 

Although (most of the time) it’s impossible to plan for trending moments, you need a defined strategy for trends that lays a solid foundation to work with. There are certain trends that are evergreen – unboxing, day in the life, what I eat in a day, come with me to… etc. – whilst there are others you can forecast – Barbie movie, Taylor Swift’s new album, major award ceremonies. 

By planning these out ahead of time, it will allow yourself breathing space to then react in the moment for trends that no one saw coming – Roman Empire anyone? All of these trends offer a greater chance of increased reach and relevancy. 

Participate in TikTok Challenges

Joining viral challenges not only increases exposure but also fosters community engagement and collaboration. TikTok challenges often originate from a single user’s idea and rapidly gain momentum as others join in.

For instance, the “Renegade” dance challenge, which was initially created by a teenager back in 2020, became a global sensation with millions of users attempting to master the choreography. By participating in such challenges, creators can tap into a ready-made audience and increase their chances of virality through shared participation and interaction.

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Use hashtags

Strategic use of hashtags enhances discoverability and categorises content, making it easier for users to find and engage with. Hashtags play a crucial role in TikTok’s discoverability algorithm, allowing users to explore content related to specific themes or topics.

For example, a makeup tutorial creator might use hashtags like #beautyhacks or #makeuptips to reach users interested in cosmetics. By incorporating relevant hashtags into their content, creators can expand their reach and attract a broader audience, increasing the likelihood of going viral.

Use trending sounds

Incorporating popular audio clips and songs adds a layer of familiarity and relatability to your videos, increasing the likelihood of virality. TikTok’s vast library of sounds and music enables creators to add context, emotion, and entertainment value to their content.

For instance, lip-syncing to a trending song or using a popular soundbite from a movie can resonate with viewers and encourage engagement. By leveraging trending sounds, creators can tap into the cultural zeitgeist and enhance the virality of their videos. We do a monthly roundup of TikTok trends that often show the most popular sounds at the moment. 

Create your own trend 

Innovation is key to standing out on TikTok. Introducing new concepts or challenges can attract attention and spark creativity within the community. Creating your own trend is no easy task, we admit. For marketers attempting to do this, we suggest starting with the problem your product solves, and then thinking of fun things that can be done centred on that thought.

For example, if you make stretchy jeans, maybe the challenge is “all the crazy exercises you can do in jeans. Whatever the idea, by pioneering original ideas or challenges, creators and marketers can carve out a niche for themselves and inspire others to follow suit, ultimately driving virality through innovation and creativity.

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Create your own sound

Crafting unique audio snippets or music tracks can establish a signature style and encourage user-generated content using your sound. TikTok’s “Original Sound” feature allows creators to upload their custom audio, providing a platform for originality and creativity.

For instance, a musician can compose a catchy tune specifically for TikTok, encouraging users to incorporate it into their videos and contribute to its virality. For inspiration here, we would look at what’a already trending, research some of the more famous past trending sounds and then think of similar ones centred around that research. By creating exclusive sounds, creators and marketers can cultivate a dedicated following and amplify their reach through user-generated content.

Work with creators 

Collaborating with creators introduces your content to their followers, expanding your reach and fostering cross-promotion. Partnering with influencers or content creators who share a similar audience, or are even part of your target audience, can expose your content to new viewers and enhance its virality.

Creators know the platform, algorithm, their audience, and the wider community they’re a part of better than anyone. Brands can tap into this knowledge by working together with them. By leveraging the existing fanbase of other creators, brands and individuals can amplify their message and increase their chances of going viral. On top of this, brands could work with creators to join in on their Challenge, trend, or sound, to gain momentum. We’ve got a guide on building out your influencer marketing strategy for TikTok for more on this. 

Work with unexpected creators

Diversifying your collaborations with creators from different backgrounds or industries can bring fresh perspectives and broaden your audience. Sometimes, unexpected partnerships can lead to surprising results and viral success. For instance, a fitness enthusiast collaborating with a cooking influencer to create healthy meal prep videos might attract viewers interested in both health and culinary content.

By thinking outside the box and exploring unconventional collaborations, creators can tap into new audiences and spark viral moments through unexpected synergy. On top of this, you could collaborate with creators that are completely out of the ordinary for your industry. The famous Bentley ASMR video is a great example of a brand working with a creator that is part of a totally different niche and creating viral content because of that. 

Use social search optimisation   

Optimising your profile bio, captions, and content for relevant keywords improves your chances of appearing in search results and attracting organic traffic. Just like search engines, TikTok’s algorithm relies on keywords to understand and categorise content. By incorporating popular search terms and trending topics into their profiles and captions, creators and marketers can increase their visibility and attract a wider audience.

Furthermore, by searching popular terms to do with your industry or niche, you can research what is already trending and what conversations are already very popular and take this as inspiration for your own content.  Ultimately, optimising their content for social search, marketers can improve their discoverability and enhance their chances of going viral on TikTok.

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Fundamentals to good TikTok videos

Everything up to this point has been specifically about attempting to create virality. However, whilst aiming for this achievement, you shouldn’t forget to stick to the fundamentals of creating impactful TikTok content. So, let’s take a look at what those fundamentals are. 

Make the first 3 seconds captivating

Grabbing viewers’ attention from the outset is essential to prevent them from scrolling past your video. In the fast-paced world of TikTok, users are inundated with an endless stream of content, making it crucial to make a strong impression immediately. Creative techniques such as intriguing visuals, catchy music, or compelling storytelling can hook viewers within the first few seconds.

For example, a cooking tutorial might start with a mouth-watering close-up shot of the finished dish or a DIY project could begin with a captivating visual of the final result. By capturing attention early on, creators can increase the likelihood of viewers watching the entire video and engaging with the content.

Post regularly 

Consistent uploads maintain momentum and creators and marketers who establish a regular posting schedule are more likely to maintain visibility and relevance in the platform’s algorithm.

By consistently providing new content, creators keep their audience entertained and eager for more. Additionally, frequent posting signals to the algorithm that the creator is active and invested in providing value to their audience, which can positively impact visibility and reach.

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Post at optimal times

Timing your posts when your audience is most active increases visibility and engagement rates. Understanding the peak hours when your target audience is online allows you to maximise the impact of your content. TikTok’s analytics tools provide valuable insights into when your followers are most active, enabling creators to schedule posts accordingly.

For instance, if your audience consists primarily of young adults who are active in the evening, posting during these peak hours increases the likelihood of your content being seen and shared. By optimising posting times, creators can ensure that their videos reach the widest possible audience and generate higher engagement rates.

Make the length suitable to the topic 

Tailoring the duration of your videos to fit the content ensures that viewers remain engaged without losing interest. While TikTok allows videos up to 10 minutes long now, the optimal length can vary depending on the nature of the content. For example, quick tutorials or comedic sketches might thrive in shorter formats, while in-depth educational content or storytelling may require more time to unfold.

By striking a balance between brevity and depth, creators can deliver content that is concise yet impactful. Additionally, keeping videos concise and focused helps maintain viewer attention and encourages them to watch until the end, increasing engagement and shareability.

Entertain, inspire, or educate

Providing value to your audience through entertainment, inspiration, or education fosters a deeper connection and encourages sharing. TikTok users primarily seek content that entertains, inspires, or informs them in some way. Whether it’s a hilarious comedy sketch, a heartwarming personal story, or a useful life hack, content that resonates with viewers on an emotional or practical level is more likely to go viral.

By understanding and catering to the desires and interests of their audience, creators and marketers can create content that not only captivates but also leaves a lasting impression, driving engagement and virality on TikTok.

Mastering the art of going viral requires a combination of creativity, strategy, and adaptability. By understanding the intricacies of the TikTok algorithm and implementing proven techniques, content creators and marketers can unlock unprecedented opportunities for growth and engagement. 

Get started on TikTok with Vamp 

With Vamp, an influencer marketing platform that streamlines the collaboration process between brands and creators, achieving viral success on TikTok is within reach. By leveraging Vamp’s comprehensive suite of tools and resources, marketers can navigate the complexities of TikTok influencer marketing with ease and efficiency. It’s time to unleash your creativity and make waves on TikTok with Vamp by your side.

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