How To Go Viral on TikTok in a Few Simple Steps

Sep 15, 2023
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How To Go Viral on TikTok—Effective Tips and Hacks

Going viral is one of the most coveted recognitions on TikTok. After all, this is how the highest-paid TikTokers, Addison Rae Easterling and Charli D'Amelio, got their lucky breaks and became TikTok famous. But the answer to how to go viral on TikTok is not as clear-cut as one might think. Going viral can open many doors for businesses, helping them advertise their brands and monetize their efforts. For businesses that are new to the platform or haven't had their moment of TikTok fame yet, there are many marketing strategies to follow that can help in the pursuit of going viral on TikTok.

What Is Considered Viral on TikTok?

TikTok does not give defined guidelines on what makes a video go viral, but some conclusions can be drawn from analyzing content that has achieved that success. There is no official threshold, but videos that are labeled viral have hundreds of thousands or millions of views and also high engagement in the form of shares, comments, likes, etc. One of the most important factors that indicate whether a video will get viral is how fast the view count rises. It is not the same if one video accrues a million views in 2 years or 100,000 views in its first weeks. Content made by creators that usually post viral videos tends to get 1,000 to 2,000 views within the first hour after posting.That shouldn’t discourage small accounts, though. One of the biggest advantages of creating content on TikTok is that any video can blow up, regardless how many followers your profile has or when you started posting. TikTok’s algorithm favors quality and the appeal your video has for your audience.

How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?

The platform’s recommendation algorithm looks at the videos users usually engage with and considers factors like the type of content, hashtags, music used in the video, completion rates, etc.After it learns more about what videos a user likes or dislikes, the algorithm serves similar content on the For You page, even from TikTok accounts they might not follow. If the video performs well, it will be shown to an even larger audience, laying down the path for reaching viral status.The average watch time plays a crucial role in your content’s performance on someone’s For You page. This can be broken down further to two important conclusions:

  • Short means good. TikTok thrives on short content. The audience is more likely to watch a 15-second video until the end or even replay it several times—that means more views and better performance of your content in general
  • Quality can trump brevity. If you make a 3-minute video, it doesn’t mean it will fail automatically. If your content is valuable, entertaining, and engaging, it will catch the attention of your target audience, have them stick around until the end, and even get them to follow your account

What Else To Pay Attention To

Other factors that you should take into consideration if you want your content to play well with the algorithm include:

  1. User interaction—Besides completing and rewatching videos, user interaction involves likes, shares, and comments, and the recipe is the more, the better. If your content attracts a lot of attention, it will easily snowball into virality
  2. Subject matter—The recommendation system is based on initially defined user interests. If you’re posting about makeup, you probably won’t reach users interested only in sports and fitness
  3. User feedback—If a user doesn’t like a particular video that shows up on their For You page or finds it irrelevant, they can long-press on the video and select Not Interested to see less of similar content in the future
  4. Hashtags and captions—If you’re using hashtags and caption keywords that other users engage with, your videos will reach such audiences easier. Hashtags and captions also help the algorithm determine what your content is about and show it to people that will have more interest in such topics
  5. Used audio—Videos containing trending songs or sound effects reach more users
  6. Location and language—To make the recommended content more relevant, the algorithm usually shows users videos created in their country and in the language their app is in

How To Make Your TikTok Go Viral—Tips for Brands

There is always more a brand can do to make their content more appealing to the audience—and the algorithm—and go viral on TikTok.

Understand Trends

TikTok is hugely trend-driven, and users are constantly creating new trends. Some of them are popular for months, but some stay hot only for a few days.Trends are an excellent way for a brand to spread its message to a broader audience and go viral. Creators find original ways to make high-performing content around what sparks buzz at that moment, whether it’s a trending song, dance, or a new post format.You will have a greater chance of promoting your video and your brand if you are on board with one of the trends. Keeping an eye on and staying up to date with trends is crucial for a brand that wants to get into those front rows. Trends come and go, but there are also some content categories that constantly attract interest. The highest-ranking categories by hashtag views, according to InfluencerMarketingHub, are:CategoryViewsEntertainment535 billion Dance181 billionPranks79 billionFitness/Sports57 billionHome renovation/DIY39 billionBeauty/Skincare33 billionFashion27 billionRecipes/Cooking18 billionLife hacks/advice13 billionPets10 billionIf your brand can be related to any of these categories, your content will already be one step ahead. Still, businesses can benefit from thinking outside the box and finding a way to incorporate their brand in different popular trends to reach wider audiences, even if they’re not specifically in one of the industries that organically perform well on TikTok.

Understand Your Audience

When defining your audience on TikTok, try finding a niche and sticking to it. Doing this will help your brand reach the right people that will engage with your content and eventually convert into loyal customers. Create videos that correspond well with your audience’s interests and use hashtags that clearly link your videos with a certain subject matter. Business account owners and regular users can track the activity of their audience to figure out the best times to post on TikTok. Knowing the ideal timing to post can certainly help get content out to the target groups that will relate to and engage with your videos.

Use Humor

Although more serious and educational videos can go viral as well, entertainment is still the number one currency on the platform. Humor is an excellent way for brands to attract views and help their content go viral overnight.It also increases the odds of a viewer watching the video from beginning to end, which is a strong indicator of interest for the algorithm.

Use the Right Hashtags

Source: Artem BeliaikinIncluding hashtags in video descriptions makes it easier for the algorithm to present the videos to appropriate audiences. Here are some guidelines on how to use them:

  • Research trending hashtags on the Discover page and try to build your next video around those that make sense for your brand
  • Using generic hashtags like #FYP in every video should be avoided. It will only throw the videos in an even bigger pool of random content. Making hashtags video-specific will increase the video's chances of reaching the target audience
  • Too many hashtags can work against the algorithm that won’t know where to place your content. Three to five hashtags should be a solid number to get the video recommended to the right audiences and help it go viral

Use Trending Songs

Music is essential to most TikTok videos, and the same songs are used quite frequently. You can see what songs are trending on the Discover page as well. Before you use the latest earworm in your videos, check out how other brands incorporate the song in their content and then try to one-up them.

Embrace TikTok Challenges

Another great method for going viral on TikTok is taking part in trending challenges or creating original ones. Challenges are engaging, interactive—and fun—so TikTok users love participating in them. Typically, participants need to complete a task and use the challenge's hashtag. The best videos are usually given prizes by brands or get featured on the brand’s account.Inviting followers to join your challenge is a way to increase the video's potential to go viral on TikTok. Using other social media platforms is another way to invite followers and fans to participate, reaching a wider audience. You also have the option of responding to challenges made by other brands or creators, especially with the Duet and Stitch features.To create a successful TikTok challenge, a brand should use a catchy song and an original, preferably branded hashtag. Some of the biggest companies in the world have used TikTok challenges to promote their brands. Take a look at these famous examples:

  • Walmart’s #DealDropDance challenge encouraged users to share their thoughts on Black Friday savings at Walmart stores. This challenge generated 4.1 billion views
  • McDonald’s started a #BigMacTikTok challenge where users recorded a simple dance to music created specifically for the challenge. All participants received free Big Macs and a chance to win a cash prize. The challenge got over 15.5 million views

Interact With Viewers

For anyone who wants to go viral on TikTok, interaction is more relevant than it seems, and this applies to brands as well. Replying to comments is a great way to interact with the viewers. By answering questions and interacting with the target audiences, brands can build more trust and a better reputation.TikTok's algorithm rewards community interaction, and you should encourage this in your video. Asking the viewers and followers to comment and share, making Q&A videos, or doing livestreams are just some of the ways to increase engagement.

Use All the Tools That TikTok Comes With

TikTok offers an array of effects, filters, sounds, and editing tools. These can help you make engaging videos that will showcase a brand in a flattering way and help it stand out. The options are endless—from funny effects with animals to holiday-themed filters.A unique and recognizable approach to creating videos can help you build a loyal audience, and using trending sounds and filters can make your videos more appealing to the algorithm. Your content is more likely to be shown to users who have already engaged with the same sounds and filters in other videos.

Source: TikTok

Be Slightly Controversial

Doing or saying something slightly controversial will make people want to get involved and comment. As engagement is essential for going viral, getting a conversation started with something slightly provoking is a perfect way to increase the number of views, comments, and shares. People love sharing opinions and experiences and will not be able to look away if a video mentions something they agree or disagree with. There is no need to go too far or cross any lines, though. Chipotle, for example, poked fun at Boomers for not being able to pronounce the name of the brand. The video was obviously made in good fun and has earned almost 10 million views.

Source: Chipotle

Don’t Forget the 3-Second Rule

TikTok is fast, and you can’t count on users’ wide attention span, especially if you wish to expand your account and reach new audiences. Your videos should have a hook and captivate the viewers within the first three seconds. Once you have them, don’t let them go. Starting off with a bang is great, but make sure your content stays engaging and entertaining throughout so your completion rates don’t suffer.

Can Influencers and Creators Help Businesses Go Viral on TikTok?

As a big part of any social media platform, influencers (and especially creators on TikTok’s Creator Fund) have the power to attract your target audience. Using influencer marketing has proven to be a winning strategy for going viral—especially if your brand aims for Gen Z engagement.Too Faced, a makeup brand, regularly works with TikTok influencers, and for one of their product launches, the company had them use the hashtag #TFDamnGirl. Creators made videos of themselves applying the brand's mascara, and the campaign generated a whopping 821 million views.Influencers can be of great help to businesses thanks to their exceptional creativity, established following, and knowledge of what works well on this fast-paced platform.

How To Go Viral on TikTok—Strategies for Businesses That Struggle With Their Socials

Evidently, a lot goes into making it on social media platforms. For businesses tackling TikTok on their own, this might turn into a lot of work and even frustration when they keep failing at getting their desired results. Good TikTok campaigns demand resources, innovative strategies, and high-quality content production. You may have a social media manager or even a small team, but it takes a village to develop a campaign that will stand out and take your brand to the top. That’s why brands that wish to take their social media presence to the next level hire professional social media agencies.

A Social Media Agency That Keeps Pumping Out Viral Content

The Kubbco team knows how to help you succeed on TikTok and go viral. We are a forward-thinking social media agency that has an individual approach to each client. As an official TikTok advertising partner, Kubbco can help you develop original TikTok campaigns from inception to execution.Our process starts with a detailed analysis of your brand, and then we move on to brainstorming, testing different ideas, strategizing, and taking care of community management or paid media campaigns to supplement your organic growth. Our team of writers, photographers, video producers, editors, animators, and graphic designers will create original, high-performing content for your brand. Here is what Kubbco can offer you:

  1. An innovative and impactful social media strategy
  2. End-to-end social media management services that focus on expanding brand awareness
  3. Original and customized content—from videos and photography to graphic design and written content
  4. Paid social media for more reach and brand engagement with a data-driven approach with constant monitoring of the campaign’s performance and key metrics

You can also benefit from our take on the latest trends and innovations in the world of social media. Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and tips on everything TikTok in your mailbox.

Don’t Take Our Word for It—See What We Did for NATURLI’ Foods, Matas, or essence cosmetics

More and more brands are looking to get on the TikTok gravy train—and rightfully so, as its influence is undeniable. Your brand might need more views, more creative ideas, or a viral video. Whatever the case is, Kubco will prepare a customized plan to get your TikTok presence where you want it to be in no time. We have collaborated successfully with many brands on improving their TikTok strategy and producing viral content. In just eight weeks in 2021, our team helped Matas, Denmark's largest beauty and personal care brand, achieve some incredible results with a carefully thought-out campaign:Total ViewsInteractionsNew FollowersNumber of VideosVideos Over 10,000 ViewsViral Videos Over 300,000 Views5.6 million209,00013,50025258

Source: MatasThere are many more brands whose TikTok presence thrives because of their collaboration with Kubbco. If you want to step up your TikTok game but don’t really know what it takes, touch base with our team of experts and find out what fresh ideas we can offer to your brand.

Featured image: Cristian Dina

Caroline Dan
TikTok Specialist & Content Creator

I create viral TikToks for brands.

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