Influencer Marketing 101

How to Make a TikTok Go Viral

What does it take to make a TikTok go viral? Try these tips, tricks and secrets to boosting impressions, likes, and loops.

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Since the introduction of TikTok, brands and creators alike have wondered how to make TikTok to go viral.

TikTok itself has released some information about its algorithm, but many users have taken to filling in the gaps even further and identified factors that do — and don’t — impact a TikTok’s success. 

While becoming a viral sensation isn’t an exact science, there are some key ways to adjust your marketing strategy to increase your chances of going viral on TikTok, and we’re breaking them down below!

What Factors Contribute to Going Viral on TikTok? 

Unfortunately, there’s not a secret formula to TikTok fame; however, you can still narrow down a few factors that tend to get results. For TikTok in particular, these include:

  • Video Length: Shorter videos require less time and attention, resulting in more viewers watching your clip all the way through. As an added bonus, shorter clips help you better leverage the autoplay feature: TikToks automatically play on loop, so while consumers are reading the comments or sharing your video, your clip will continue to play in the background.

    Shorter clips will be able to loop more often than longer videos – starting from the beginning every few seconds – and can therefore give you higher playback numbers. This increases your views and signals to TikTok that other users are enjoying your post, making them more likely to add it to others’ For You pages.

  • Engagement: Comments, loops and likes matter, but only in regards to the specific video you’re monitoring (not your account in general). In other words, your newly published video has an equal chance of being seen on the For You page as any other account’s, but the first few folks to see it have a large bearing on its success. If early viewers watch it all the way through, give it a like and comment on it, your video is likely to continue reaching new audiences. If they don’t, however, TikTok interprets this as your video not being interesting enough, which can stunt its growth.

  • Relevance: TikTok decides what content to show to whom based on their interests, content they’ve liked in the past, and more. So, if you want to go viral, you have to consider who you’re trying to reach with your content and what appeals to them. Once you have that down, you can incorporate relevant hashtags into your caption to give TikTok (and other users) context as to what your video is about.

    This is where you may get caught in one of two traps: creating content that appeals too widely, or too narrowly. You may think that using tons of massively popular hashtags will help you reach more For You pages, but while those trending tags are indeed far-reaching, they’re also incredibly competitive. Similarly, only including hashtags that are super niche may help you reach your desired audience, but your impressions could stay low. The trick is to strike a balance between niche tags that will help you find your community, and larger ones that will help you open the door to a wider audience.

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What Factors Don’t Help You Go Viral on TikTok?

TikTok certainly has some commonalities with older social networks like Instagram and Twitter, but its algorithm tends to work very differently. Here’s a list of a few (potentially surprising) things that actually don’t have a lot of bearing on TikTok success:

  • Follower Count: Believe it or not, TikTok has said that follower count really isn’t a factor in going viral on TikTok. Since neither follower count nor having a track record of high-performing content increase your chances of going viral, small creators and even brand new accounts can go viral on TikTok without amassing a large following. A recent standout example of this is the brand new TikTokker who almost single-handedly sold out skincare giant, Peter Thomas Roth’s, Instant FIRMx® Eye Temporary Eye Tightener — with just one video. 

  • Previous Engagement Rates: Similarly, an account’s previous engagement rates have little to no bearing on the attention their next video receives. TikTok doesn’t utilize these types of metrics nearly as often as its social media counterparts, so up-and-comers may stand a better chance of going viral here than elsewhere. Think of every video as an opportunity to start fresh.

  • Logging On 24/7: This one feels a bit counterintuitive, but one popular tip to passively increase engagement is actually to close the app for a little while. This doesn’t mean to post less frequently — it just means stepping away for a few hours. The theory behind this makes sense: apps like TikTok want you to stay plugged in, so they’ll do their best to give you new notifications that will rope you back in. TikTok may notice you offline for a while and put your videos in front of more eyeballs, helping you get more notifications and hopefully get you back on the app.

    TikTok itself has not addressed this claim, and it does run contrary to other popular social media tips that promote staying online as often as possible to both garner community and note trends. While those are good practices, it may still be worth giving this low-effort idea a try and recording your results.

How Can You Increase The Likelihood of Going Viral on TikTok?

In a more general sense, there are also ways you can adjust your content to increase your chances of going viral on TikTok. While specifics will undoubtedly depend on your niche, there are certain practices that can benefit you no matter what your content looks like, such as:

  • Take Risks: One of the many pluses to TikTok’s unusual algorithm is it supports content that takes risks. Since your previous engagement rates aren’t taken into account, one flop of a video isn’t going to sink your future content. Following trends may help you get in front of more eyes, but standing out from the crowd is important when garnering genuine attention and interaction, so making unique, different or generally “out there” content can pay off big.

  • Practice Authenticity: TikTok’s community, even more so than other social platforms, is built on authenticity. A hallmark of the app is its typically unpolished, informal, authentic content. Formal, sales-y videos won’t do very well on TikTok — the company itself tells brands: “Don’t make ads; make TikToks.” This doesn’t necessarily mean all your content needs to be off-the-cuff; just create content that is genuine and inspires a true connection with your audience.

  • Create Interactive Content: TikTok thrives on community, conversation and interaction. Creating interactive content is a good goal on all social media platforms, but the plus to TikTok is you can leverage features such as Stitch and Duet to accomplish this.

    Stitch allows users to begin their own TikToks with a snippet of yours, while Duet allows them to film side by side with your original video.

    Both features give credit and offer an easy click back to the original creator, so if someone Stitches your video and they go viral, your original clip will gain extra traction as a result. You can utilize this feature by creating some sort of challenge or reaction video and ask followers to Duet or Stitch you to keep the trend going. If Stitch and Duet sound tricky, you may also choose to create your own custom audio on TikTok to encourage others to use in their own clips. Similarly to Stitches and Duets, other TikTok users can use your original audio when creating their own content, which can draw more eyes to your brand’s account. 

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Whether you’re just starting out or have been on TikTok for years, brands looking to up their TikTok game can also consider partnering with creators. By leveraging their engaged audiences and content creation abilities correctly, you can gather even more of a presence for yourself. Ready to get started? Reach out to our consumer-to-consumer marketing experts today to find out how we can help you take TikTok by storm.

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