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October 9, 2020

How to Go Viral on TikTok: A Blueprint for Success from Influencers

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TikTok came, it saw, and it conquered the world of social media big time. This app pretty much disrupted the digital space overnight and created quite a number of top TikTok influencers that are making mainstream media headlines.

But even as the app continues to create stars, many are still struggling with how to go viral on TikTok.

TikTok, which is also referred to as a lip syncing app, is arguably one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world with an estimated over 800 million active users worldwide and growing, according to Wallaroo.

To put TikTok’s popularity in perspective, let’s look at some statistics that will most probably knock your socks off!

Image Source: CNBC

  • In Q1 of 2019, it was the most downloaded app on the App Store accounting for over 30 million downloads.
  • Forty-one percent of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24 making it the ideal tool to use to reach a young demographic.

Image Source: BloggingWizard

  • TikTok users have been known to spend an average of 52 minutes on the app per day.
  • Last, but definitely not least, TikTok has the highest social media engagement rate per post.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is just a tip of the iceberg of just how powerful TikTok is and why most businesses, brands, and influencers are flocking to the app today trying to go viral.

As a free social media application that lets you watch, create and share videos mostly to a soundtrack of popular music or even audio clips straight from your smartphone, TikTok has singlehandedly created the status and the popularity of some of the most notable content creators we have today.

Most of the popular influencers that are reportedly earning up to US$1 million per post today got their big break when some of their creative videos went viral on TikTok.

Image Source: Business of Apps

However, just like other popular social media applications, not every video posted on the platform is guaranteed to be an instant hit. Ask any influencer and they will tell you that originality and consistency is what will help you go viral. That is the main answer to the ever-present question how to go viral on TikTok.

On social media, going viral is a podium finish not just for brands but for budding influencers as well. Getting to the top is not a walk in the park but with the right attitude and strategy, your content can go viral on TikTok.

So, let’s get right to it and have a look at how to go viral on TikTok and at what some top influencers have been doing right and why you should emulate them.

The 8-Point Guide on How to Go Viral on TikTok

Everyone has their own secret ingredient to what made them viral in the first place. However, there are some common ingredients most TikTok influencers are leveraging:

1. Keep an eye on trends

TikTok is overflowing with trends, with new and quirky ones emerging almost every day. These trends can include dances, food, phrases, or mini-tutorials. TikToker Charli D’Amelio went viral after posting a video of herself dancing to ‘Renegade’ and the dance quickly caught on. Many people hopped on the Renegade trend and, needless to say, they garnered more than a few views and likes for themselves.

Image Source: Highlark

To discover these trends, you can check out the discover page and find the hashtags that are used the most. There are even videos that go with the hashtags so you can get an idea of what the trend is about.

Scroll on your “for you” page and find the most common trends that you can jump aboard of. Remember to give credit where credit is due, be it a dance, a phrase, or a joke. This rule doesn’t apply, however, if you do your own take on the trend.

2. Post lots of videos

To go viral anywhere, you need followers, lots of them. Let your personality out to breathe. Post a lot of videos with different routines, but make sure each of them are unique and that they let your personality show and shine. From there on, you can see what viewers like the most and focus on that.

Kapwing started out with more than twenty videos in two weeks. These videos went on to gain more than 600 followers and more than 20,000 likes in two weeks.

There is no single specific kind of video that gets you followers so let your creativity take charge and let the people decide what they like. Don’t be afraid to be quirky and weird sometimes with your videos. TikTok is available to people everywhere and you can never know who will relate to your videos.

3. Use hashtags

If you go to the search page on TikTok, you will see the most popular trends. These trends almost always have a specific hashtag. You can discover loads of trending hashtags on the discover page.

Using hashtags will go hand in hand with the trends that are blowing up at the time. One of the most used hashtags has been #blacklivesmatter or the #blm movement hashtag.

Most celebrities, from Lizzo, Kareem Rahma, Ruba Wilson, and many others used the platform to raise awareness. 

4. Have an approachable profile

People are always more drawn to open individuals. Don’t be afraid to spice your profile up. Be careful when picking out your username, personal information, and profile picture. Your username should not be so long that people can’t remember it.

Try using the same name on all your social media pages so that people can reach and follow you easily. You also have a personal information column, which has 80 characters.

You can use this part to let people know a little bit more about you, what you like, what you’re about. You can also link to your other social media profiles like YouTube and Instagram for people to follow.

Image Source: CNN

Childhood star and TikTok influencer JoJo Siwa has a link of her YouTube channel on her TikTok profile which has helped her garner more fans on both platforms.

5. Make your videos short

The average attention span of an internet user is about 12 seconds. For people to watch your videos, maybe even more than once, you need to make them short and sweet.

TikTok gives you the ability to share videos that are up to a minute long but most of the videos you will find are 15 seconds long, sometimes even less. You can post longer videos should you choose to, of course.

Buffer, for instance, has a guide on how you can create engaging short videos for social media that you can use to spice up your TikTok videos.

6. Use original content

There is no one clear trick on how to go viral on TikTok so branching out on your own is also something you can do. Instead of riding on the coattails of already famous trends and challenges, you should create and share original content.

This is a scary venture because you don’t know how people will react but it is worth a try.

Musician and TikTok influencer Jason Derulo caught people’s attention with his incredible dances and out of this world recipes that got people hooked.

Image Source: Insider

Find your niche and don’t be afraid to explore it. Remember to keep your videos short and entertaining and to post lots of content for it to work.

7. Collaborate with other TikTok influencers

The beauty of TikTok is that it has a ‘react’ and ‘duet’ feature. These two features give you the ability to either duet or react with an influencer. Now, this may not guarantee that you will get their attention but it’s worth a try.

React is a neat feature that lets you record your audio and video as the clip plays. Duets basically allow users to create content featuring an initial video, with both videos appearing side by side on screen in a square format.

Image Source: Tech Crunch

Collaborating with these influencers gives you the push you need to be noticed by their audiences. Creating content with an influencer through dueting or reacting to their videos will let their audiences see your personality.

Popular duets including some done by the famous twins Lisa and Lena have gotten a ton of likes and gone viral.

8. Tell memorable stories

Storytelling is another effective tactic to use if you want to go viral on TikTok. You can grow your account and go viral very easily if you tell authentic and relatable stories.

There are many success stories of TikTokers who used storytelling to grow their accounts. One of my favorites is from blogger Helene in Between. Many others share their stories and experiences.

To make this work, you need to make sure you focus on your strong points to make the story as authentic as possible. Some fashion celebrities tell their stories by showing how to style different outfits, others use their accounts to show how to DIY different things.

Some even use the platform to tell actual stories, maybe about their day or some things they have gone through. Tell your story your way. Find something exciting and relatable and open up to your audience. This will not only get you the much-needed views and likes but also followers.

Engage with other TikTokers and celebrities, post regular videos, and engage with your followers, no matter how small a following you have. Participate in trends, challenges, and competitions, use trending hashtags, and duet with influencers to broadcast yourself to different people.

There’s no single tactic or strategy on how to go viral on TikTok instantly but if you follow the above guidelines, inject some originality and creativity, you will be on your way to eventually become a TikTok sensation.


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Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and copywriter, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the Owner and Founder of Idunn. In October 2019, she also launched Copywritech, a digital marketing agency that provides copywriting, SEO content writing, and strategy services to companies in the tech industry.

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