Let’s admit it, it is TikTok’s world, and we are just living in it. The viral app has marked its presence in everyone’s phones worldwide, from boomers to Gen-Z. There are pop stars, doctors, teens, policemen, actors, singers, and literally everyone on the app — and why not? It’s fun, it’s easy to use, and once you get the hang of it, lord knows it’s such a task to stop scrolling. The charm and popularity of the app have got every youngster wondering, “Is it possible to make it big as an influencer? If so, how to go viral on TikTok?”
However, its popularity is a double-edged sword. With so much content being uploaded to the app every second, it is a difficult task to make yourself stand out in the public eye. Sounds scary? Don’t worry, it isn’t nearly as overwhelming as it sounds. In fact, you have chosen the best time to go viral on TikTok. With the new algorithmic update, it’s easier than ever to gain more visibility. Moreover, in this day and age, becoming an online content creator is actually becoming a desirable career path for many. In the last few years, influencer marketing has seen a boom. According to research, businesses who utilised influencers for marketing have gained impressive returns and in turn, the influencers have started making big bucks — sometimes more than a whopping $100,000 per sponsorship.
In addition to minting more money than what a desk job offers, influencers have also made it big on other media platforms. TikTok’s biggest creators — the Hype House have recently bagged a Netflix deal, the D’Amelio family are set to star in a reality series with Hulu and Addison Rae has announced an exclusive Spotify podcast. If that wasn’t enough, the mega-popular Charli D’Amelio — who is TikTok’s most popular content creator — and her sister, Dixie D’Amelio have recently partnered with Morphe for a makeup line.
Whew, that was a lot of information. The point is that mainstream celebrities like Will Smith are becoming TikTokers and TikTokers like D’Amelio are becoming mainstream celebrities. Lines are blurring, and it is just the beginning. Even though your parents might find it hard to believe that content creation can pay your rent if you have decided to take the plunge and you are ready to risk it all.
Here is how to go viral on TikTok
1. Manipulate the algorithm
If you are looking to make your TikTok go viral, we sure hope you are good at math. (Don’t worry, we won’t make you solve trigonometry sums). Because going viral is all about algorithms. Let us explain how TikTok’s algorithm works. The algorithm works towards pushing the right videos to the right users. This depends on the videos the user has previously liked, shared or commented on and the audio, as well as, text description and hashtags on the video. So what happens is, if a user likes cat TikToks with a particular song in the background, the algorithm will try to narrow down their preferences and push those specific videos to the user. Now that you know how the algorithm works, it is time to manipulate it for your benefit and go viral on TikTok.
Keep up with the trends
Viral trends on TikTok rake up millions of views every day. Naturally, as a budding content creator, it should be your number one priority to get on these trends to increase your visibility. You could either wait until you stumble upon a new trend or work smart and spot it early enough to be called a trendsetter. Going viral on TikTok is starting to sound like a lot more work than you had thought? To be honest, it is a lot of hard work but here are some shortcuts on how to ride the first wave of a trend.
- Use the Discover page to know people’s tastes and preferences beyond your personal choices. Use this information to spot trends and discover new directions.
- Take some time out of your day to figure out what kind of content is being made on TikTok. You will start recognising patterns in which content is being made.
- Lastly, be active on other social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter because what is trending there might likely be transformed into a trend on TikTok. Follow popular creators, teen stars and influencers.
Use popular songs
Not very long ago Megan Thee Stallion’s song ‘Savage’ was sweeping across TikTok. The ‘Hot Girl Summer’ singer herself had taken to grooving to the ‘Savage’ choreography that 19-year-old Keara ‘Keke’ Wilson popularised on TikTok. Wilson’s video now has over 50 million views and everyone who uploaded videos of them doing the choreography was raking up thousands of views. The same goes for ‘Say So’ by Doja Cat, ‘Supalonely’ by Benee feat. Gus Dapperton, ‘It’s Tricky’ by Run-DMC, ‘FACK’ by Eminem and ‘Yucky Bucky Fruitcake’ by Iamdoechii among others.
The lesson you need to learn from this is that people freaking love popular songs — and once popular on TikTok, it is only onwards and upwards for both the artist and content creator. If you use a popular song for your TikTok, you are automatically going to be exposed to more people, wider audiences and receive more engagement.
The best part about songs is that you could use them in the background for any kind of TikTok — it doesn’t have to be only for choreographies. Use it for a challenge, for a comedy video or put your own creative twist on it!
Learn the popular dances
Okay, so this is for people who want to use popular songs strictly for dancing — make sure you know the choreo, girl. Remember the wildly popular Renegade from last year? From James Charles to Charli D’Amelio — everyone was doing the Renegade and it was hard to find someone who wasn’t. So if you love dancing and want to be viral on Tiktok, just dance! (but make sure to do the viral choreographies).
- Some popular TikTok dances right now are Cut the Check, Out West, Boss B*tch, To The Back among others.
- If you are someone whose TikToks are mostly about dance — make sure you take some time out of your day and practice dance moves to really perfect them. One of the most prominent appeals of watching dance TikToks is how smooth the moves look and how effortlessly the dancer pulls them off.
- If you are feeling confident then let no one stop you from creating your own choreography to a song you might think has viral potential. You do you!
Use a lot of hashtags
Having a strong hashtag strategy is key to going viral on TikTok. Using hashtags is the easiest way to go viral on the app, boost your reach and get more followers.
- Go to the Discover and For You pages and check the hashtags that are trending the most.
- Depending on the content you are trying to market, use relevant hashtags.
- Scour through what’s trending but also lookup which hashtags your competitors are using.
- You could use hashtag finder tools like TikTok hashtag generator or re
Conquer the Completion Ratio
Making 60 seconds TikToks might seem harmless at first but it is not. Don’t do it! Your visibility hinges on something called the Completion Ratio. The TikTok algorithm recognizes the percentage of viewers who finish the video. On the basis of this, the algorithm decides whether to push the video to more viewers or not. Keeping this in mind, make sure your videos do not exceed 10 to 15 seconds in length.
- In addition, videos that are seamless loops will be viewed by audiences again and again on repeat, boosting your completion ratio.
- Identify prime times you receive the most engagement. This will depend on your time zone. Post only in these time slots.
2. Identify your niche
All of us are better at something more than other things. The key to going viral on TikTok is to identify what you are good at. It can be singing, acting, modelling, poetry, rapping, art, pottery, makeup and so on. But it doesn’t have to be performance art. You could make videos on weird science facts, medical advice, literature, research (#PhDlife), math, politics, baking — simply anything that interests you. Making content will be fun for you and your audiences if you take passion in the content you put out. Make sure your TikTok content is an extension of your interests. How to go viral on TikTok can be a daunting question, but if you know what you want to do, feel confident and are passionate — you’re ready to make moves.
- Be clinical about the process of finding your niche. Ask yourself important questions, like What are my interests? What do I like to do in my free time? If I were to be invited as a speaker, what would I speak on? What kind of TikToks do I like to watch in my past time that is included in this niche? Does someone else make the same kind of content as I want to make?
3. Make your editing pop
TikTok lets you edit videos within the app but seasonal influencers know that to make your content really stand out, you’ve got to edit your videos outside of the app. There are literally hundreds of applications to choose from — some paid, some not. If you are just starting out, you don’t need to go all out and purchase expensive software to edit — just like you don’t have to buy a ring light or a DSLR for your first TikTok.
These third-party editing apps are answers to your question of how to go viral on TikTok. Some popular applications are Beecut, Filmora and VEED. These apps, among others, are user-friendly and are designed to ease the process of editing. Even if you have never edited videos before, with these apps it is going to be easy-peasy. Third-party apps have a wider range of editing tools, effects, filters, animations and an extended audio library to choose from.
This sub-point derives its name from the infamous drama between YouTube beauty community stalwarts Jeffree Star, James Charles and Tati Westbrook. If you know, you know. Now, influencers break up and make up all the time, and even if you don’t care about them, the views that drama rakes up are absolutely bonkers. James Charles’ ‘No More Lies’ video stands at 55 million views as of date. Trisha Paytas’ TikToks gain thousands of views in seconds for a reason. There is one thing we can be sure about — drama sells.
Use the drama
It’s time to take some lessons from the beauty community on YouTube. Want to know why Trisha Paytas’ TikToks are always blowing up? It is because she’s always ready to spill the tea and keep it a hundred percent real. Depending on what kind of TikToks you make, drama can get really handy. There are a couple of ways you can go with using drama — you can either use shady clips from famous celeb drama or RuPaul’s Drag Race and lipsync to those or you could just become a drama channel. Drama and update channels everywhere on social media have massive fan followings, and their engagement is through the roof. So, if you are passionate about celeb drama and are full of opinions about it — this is your calling!
Get yourself a mentor
It is likely that if you are a consistent and truly talented content creator, a more experienced influencer will discover you and give you a shoutout. Just like James Charles mentors Charli D’Amelio, this influencer could be your to-be-mentor. Don’t be a people pleaser or change the way you are just to fit in with other people. But if you are wondering how to go viral on TikTok, a sure shot way is to constantly form strategic ties and be on the lookout for a mentor who can guide you to fame.
Make friends with other content creators:
Even if you aren’t big on drama, you should always go ahead and make friends with other creators and influencers. Ideally, have a large group of friends from the same platform, somewhat like the Hype House. We aren’t advising you to use these friendships to go viral but, likely, your friends’ audiences will also check you out when you collab for a TikTok or post a snap of you both grabbing brunch on Instagram.
- Here’s a pro-tip: make friends with creators who do not share the same audiences like you. If you are a dancer then collab with a singer, or an actor! If you are a science guy, collab with a comedian — doing so will expand your avenues and help you gain more visibility and go viral.
5. Community building
Ask any expert of the industry about how to go viral on TikTok and most of them would emphasize the notion of community building. Here’s what you should do:
Engage with audiences
As a content creator, your work isn’t over once your video is done uploading. You must constantly work towards trying to engage your audiences. Ask them a question and tell them to sound off in the comments below, take a fun quiz, ask them questions, let them rate your outfits — the list goes on. Once you have a sizable audience, you could even go ahead and christen them with a sweet little fandom name.
Don’t be discouraged
It is easy to feel low when you just don’t hit the target you would have liked to. Going viral isn’t something that happens in a day. Keep persevering, keep hustling and you will find yourself where you want to be.
Be kind, honest, and real
No matter what kind of content you make, post and are known for — audiences will only connect with you if you are honest with them. Authenticity is key to making it big on any social media platform. Don’t be afraid to talk about your fears, insecurities and struggles. Show your audiences that you too can have acne, you too can struggle with your weight and so on. Not only does it humanise you but also shows audiences that you are a real, grounded person just like the girl next door.
It’s all math when it comes to going viral on TikTok. But, you know what — there’s no one foolproof way to go viral. What works for someone else, might not work for you. At the end of the day, even now that TikTok is a viable career option, make content because you enjoy it and want to make sure people have a good time and not because you want to drive a BMW or land a Netflix deal. Just like any other celebrity, famous TikTokers will tell you glamour and fame aren’t the end of the world. Do what you do because you like it! Now, now, enough pep talk, go hit the record button! The hustle never stops.