so you wonder how to go viral on tiktok huh? well I don’t blame you! It’s the social media platform that everyone can’t stop talking about, and the app has seen tremendous growth since the quarantine began. It’s no longer a place where tweens do silly dances and lip syncs, but a community where people of all ages share a variety of content on everything from funny dog videos, to life as an astronaut, to how to change a hairpin. for a house any type of content can succeed on the platform, which is part of what makes it so much fun.
The first thing to know is that in its current state, tiktok is a meritocracy that gives each video a chance by showing it to a small audience on the page for you (fyp). Yes, even if you have 0 followers. if your video does well with this small group, tiktok will continue to show it to more people who they think will like it. because of this, you can usually tell within the first hour or two if you have a viral video on your hands.
Although I joined tiktok 3 months ago, I personally have had more than 14 million video views in the last 30 days, so I’m here to help you learn how to go viral on tiktok. I spent the last 4 years studying social media analytics and organic growth trends.
alright so how do you go viral on tiktok? here are my top tips:
1. start your video strong
tiktok is a fast-paced app where you need to grab people’s attention quickly before they swipe your video to see other content. if there’s no action until the end, most people won’t watch. sets the tone and theme of the video in the first few seconds so people understand what they’re seeing.
2. when deciding the length of the video, keep it as short as possible
Unless you’re telling a long story that actually requires a full minute of video, I suggest keeping your clips short and to the point. tiktok analyzes the average length of watch time compared to the length of the video as a method of evaluating quality. people are more likely to watch 8 seconds of a 10-second video than 48 seconds of a one-minute video.
3. record your own audio
listen, we all know our phones and apps have the power to hear what we’re saying and make decisions (ie show us ads) based on that audio. tiktok wants to show your content to the right audience and will use all the tools you provide to learn what your video is about and show it to the right people. You can do this in your headline or hashtags, which I’ll get into later, but by using a voiceover in your video, you’re giving them significantly more keywords and information about what your video is about so they can showcase your content to the audience. adequate.
4. use trendy music or sounds
Whether you decide to do a voiceover or not, it always pays to include trending music in your videos. You can certainly choose your own songs, but tiktok is a social platform where people feed on trends, so you’re much more likely to do well if you use the current trending songs. always layer a silent song in the background with a voiceover as well.
*pro tip* if you want to use your own song and tiktok doesn’t allow it, you can upload it with your own audio, select one song and set that second song to volume 0.
5. tell a story
yes, dances can go viral, but stories are more likely to. Let’s face it, unless you’re a wonderfully talented or seriously bad dancer, your dance videos probably won’t go viral on tiktok. for us regular folks who weren’t blessed by the rhythm gods, we’re more likely to go viral by telling an interesting and compelling story. the story can be anything. It could be something interesting that happened in your life, something random that happened during your day, a project you did, anything. just tell a story and keep the plot flowing quickly.
6. share hints, tips, favorite things
People love to learn on tiktok too, so if you have experience on a certain topic, create informative videos to help people learn more about it. Quick bullet videos work great for these, with on-screen text guiding the user through the mini-lesson. Similarly, people love to shop on tiktok, so sharing favorite products is also a surprisingly easy way to gain traction (and monetize).
7. always have a strong call to action
I think this is probably one of the most important things that will not only help a video go viral, but also help you grow your following. what good is 5 million views on a video if you only get 2000 followers from it? First of all, when tiktok sees a lot of people commenting, liking or following a video, they will naturally send it to more people. Because of this, it’s great to have a call to action in your caption and/or at the end of your video like “like for part 2”, “follow me for more”, or “don’t let this fail”. Obviously you need to have a compelling video for this to work, but adding a strong CTA on a video can be the difference between 2 million views with 2k new followers and 9 million views with 40k new followers. I suggest that your cta is at least a few seconds long so that people have time to follow you before moving on to the next video.
8. include random details for people to comment on
If I learned anything from my biggest viral video, it’s that people love to comment on random things on the video. The video is about crossing the border between the US. uu. and canada, but at one point i randomly mentioned bagels and got a lot of comments about the cream cheese and the quality of my bagels and where they were from. people love to see small details, which are not the main focus of the video, and comment on them. As I mentioned earlier, the more comments you can get, the more likely you are to go viral. so the more random details you can give people to comment on, the more likely you are to get comments. an easy one is to use something cool/weird in your video and everyone will ask where it’s from, but you can do it in many different ways.
9. leave some questions unanswered
this is key to getting feedback, which in turn will help you go viral on tiktok. If you’re posting a video and can think of an obvious question people will have, don’t explain it. this will generate a lot of comments and help your video perform well.
10. do something slightly controversial
again, commenting builds virality, so if you can have something controversial, this will help. people honestly love to do their bit on things on the internet. You don’t need to be doing anything wrong, but if there’s an issue people are particularly divided on, like how much cream cheese is appropriate on a bagel, is ketchup on eggs acceptable (literally little nonsense!) they will jump and comment their opinion about it. at the end of the day – accept your enemies & love them, they will make you viral on tiktok.
11. be relatable, aspirational, or hateful?
If your video is one of these three things, it will inevitably get people talking about it.
12. make some parts of the video need to be watched again
While this may seem counter-intuitive, there are benefits to having a video where some parts are too fast for someone to read, see, or understand on first viewing. For example, if the text is too fast to read, someone will likely rewatch the video to reread the text and perhaps pause at that point. when they do this, they spend more time on your video and tell the algorithm that it’s a better video, which in turn will make tiktok show it to more people.
13. have text in the opening video frame
When you start your video with text above the first slide, fyp viewers are likely to spend a few seconds reading this, and therefore naturally stay in the video a few seconds longer than a video without text. This is not only good for average watch time in the algorithm, but you’re also more likely to retain some of these viewers if you have a compelling story.
14. do not use #fyp, #foryou or other generic hashtags
I’m not convinced that hashtags are always beneficial or not, but I’m sure #fyp, #foryou and other wildly generic hashtags won’t do anything. use niche tags, or don’t use any at all. If you have a super niche video, niche hashtags can sometimes help tiktok get your video out to the right crowd. however, if you’re posting something that would appeal to a variety of people across the platform, it’s best not to pigeonhole it with hashtags and let the algorithm do the trick and decide who it should be shown to.
15. reply to all your comments
The more comments there are on a video, the more likely it is to go viral. this works especially well if you can interact with the commenters and get them to continue commenting on your video. However, if you have a video that is going viral on tiktok and you are replying to comments, don’t go too fast or you will get blocked. i was blocked from commenting on any video for more than 24 hours when i replied to comments too fast and this became very frustrating as i love my haters and wanted to reply to them?
16. post frequently
at the end of the day, going viral on tiktok is a numbers game. the more often you post, the more likely a video will go viral. don’t skimp on quality, but if you push yourself to consistently post videos, not only will your videos probably get better, but one of them will be more likely to go viral on tiktok.
17. don’t stick to a niche right away
on tiktok, anything can go viral (even a cutting avocado video) and if you focus too soon, you’re pigeonholing yourself into an audience on tiktok. I suggest you do a variety of content when you start out, playing around with different formats and themes. when you figure out what people like to see and what you like to do, then double that! even after that, you can continue to try new types of content and see what works.
18. if you’re talking about a specific product, don’t link to it right away
If you’re reviewing a product and trying to monetize your video through affiliate links, I know it’s especially tempting to put the product link in the comments right away. however, by not dropping the link, people are more likely to comment asking where you are from or requesting the link, which in turn will help the video gain traction and go viral on tiktok.
19. spend at least 15-30 minutes a day watching videos on the fyp
While it can be tempting to be efficient and only go to tiktok to post your video before heading out to do other things, I think it’s important to spend a little each day watching videos on the fyp. this will help you get new ideas and keep up with current trends, which are highly relevant to staying on top of it and creating high-performing content.
20. keep it up!!
I think it takes most people at least a month to figure out their tiktok style and how to make videos work well, so if you don’t go viral right away, don’t give up and keep trying!
alright, that’s all my tips on how to go viral on tiktok for now! thanks for coming to my tedtalk lol. I’ll share updates here as I discover new things that work ???? let me know if you agree or have any other ideas in the comments!