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Charlotte Yorke

Charlotte Yorke
Wholehearted Social
April 1, 2022

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The Top 6 Ways to Go Viral on TikTok

Charlotte Yorke

April 1, 2022

From teachers and healthcare workers to actors, singers, and comedians, TikTok quite literally has it all. Unlike so many other social apps which depend primarily on social interactions and connections, this is an app designed solely for the creators of content in its purest form. So, it’s no wonder that with 1 billion monthly active users, it has changed the face of social media marketing.

“Ah, but the algorithm!” We hear you cry! Yes, admittedly TikTok’s algorithm can be pretty mystifying, and can seem to be quite random in terms of what content goes ‘viral.’ However, the more you understand the algorithm, the more you can make it for you rather than against you. First of all, let’s chat algorithm, and then we’ll let you in on our Top Six Ways to go Viral on TikTok.

First things first: What is the TikTok algorithm?

It’s one of the most highly sophisticated algorithms out there and creates a recommendation system (For You Page) based on your interests. 

This ‘For You Page’ algorithm will take several things into consideration:

  • Videos you’ve liked
  • Videos you’ve shared
  • Creators you follow and creators you’ve hidden
  • Comments you’ve posted
  • Longer videos which you watch all the way to the end
  • The content you create on your own account
  • Advertising content you’ve engaged with 

Now, the reason the algorithm is so sophisticated is that it not only decides what it will recommend to you but also what it WON’T. This will include things like duplicated content, anything it deems as spam content, potentially upsetting content, and content you have already seen.

As a brand, the best news about the TikTok algorithm?

TikTok doesn’t take the number of followers you have into consideration when recommending your videos to others.

This means that as long as you are creating great content that speaks to your target audience, then you have just as much chance to land on someone’s For You Page as TikTok’s current viral stars. 

So, now that we’re not scared off by the TikTok algorithm, let’s dive right on into our Top Six Ways you can go viral on TikTok!

1. Knowing Your Target Audience

As we mentioned above, TikTok is truly a place for everyone. Countless niches find their global community every day on the app, and your job is to be specific enough that you find your way into the For You Pages of the people within those communities. The more your content appeals to that community and niche, the quicker you will gain a following.

Now, social media apps are getting less and less fussy with what time we post nowadays. For instance, TikTok has been very open with the fact that the algorithm doesn’t take into account what time you post. However part of understanding your audience is knowing if and when they are more active on social media. For example; if you are a teacher and want to connect with other teachers, you obviously won’t want to post during school hours as teachers won’t be scrolling through their phones. 

TikTok is happy to post content that is months old onto people’s For You Pages…as long as it has been successful already. So this will be a trial and error stage of creating your account to see when your audience is most active to try and get your content in front of more people.

The time your audience is active won’t necessarily make you become a viral sensation with one video, but it can always help get it onto more For You Pages which is the key.

2. Keeping It Short And Sweet

Part of keeping the TikTok algorithm happy is how many viewers watch your content all the way to the end. And, I think we can all agree, that people’s attention spans are fairly small nowadays. So, keeping it to a maximum of 15 seconds is ideal. 

You can make videos of up to 3 minutes in length however, if people don’t get hooked in the first minute and scroll past, then it will end up on fewer For You Pages.

Pro Tip: Want to tell a longer story? Break up your content into multiple videos with a call to action like “Follow for Part 2!”

3. Hook People In

With short attention spans, you need something that will grab people’s attention in a matter of seconds, and keep them interested enough to watch your video through to the end. If there’s no action in the first few seconds, then people will scroll on past, and the algorithm will fade your video into oblivion.

Hooking your audience in also sets the tone and topic for your content. It’s a way of letting your target audience know why you have ended up on their For You Page - because you have something for them specifically.

If you have great content, but there isn’t action until the end? Use a call to action using some of TikTok’s creator tools such as stickers or text. Let people know that something big is going to happen by telling them “Wait for it…” or “You’re going to want to see this.”

4. Sounds Are The New Hashtags

While hashtags still play an important part in your TikTok captions, sounds are definitely one of the strongest ways you can strengthen your content’s discoverability on the app. The algorithm will always favour videos that use the current trending sounds. So how do you find the best sounds to use?

- Explore the For You Page. Check out the videos with the most views and see which sounds they used

- Even if a sound is used for the latest dance trend, hop on it because it means that it is trending 

- Sounds don’t just mean songs! Check out trending sounds with someone speaking. Caption the video with on-screen words and change one word to make it more relatable to your content

- Even if you’re going to use voiceover in your content, make sure that you use a trending sound in the background

5. Make ‘em Laugh

Humour is one of the main currencies of TikTok. No matter what your niche is, keeping it funny is something that unites every varied community on the app. As we mentioned above, keeping viewers on your videos until the end of the video plays a big part in the algorithm and a major way of keeping people's interest is if you are making them laugh. It keeps viewers engaged and may have them following you to keep up with your content in the future. 

Now it doesn’t mean you have to be the next stand-up comedy sensation, but it just means that if you keep your content light and entertaining then people will want to see more. Especially after the past 2 years, people want joy in their lives and this is definitely the content that we consistently see being the most popular on the app. 

6. Encourage Interaction

What’s the difference between a video platform and a social media platform? It’s how people interact with it. And, the beauty of TikTok is that they have designed the platform with interaction in mind so there are more options here than with any other platform to encourage that. Here are some of our favourite ways you can encourage people to interact with your content.

- You can ask for people’s thoughts on a topic, or have them guess an answer to a question by asking them to drop a comment

- You can encourage collaboration by using inviting people to Stitch or Duet your video to make a response video of their own

- You’re able to share TikTok content via a whole host of other social media platforms. You want your content to be the type of video that people think of someone else and need to share it with them right then and there

So there you have it! The Top 6 Ways to make your videos stand out from the crowd and go viral on TikTok. Everyone’s on an even playing field, which is a blessing and a curse, but by sticking to our recipe for success you can sweet talk the algorithm into working for you rather than against you.

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