TikTok’s organic reach is unparalleled when compared to other social media platforms.
Add to that the fact that 50% of the top brands do not have a presence on TikTok, and what you’re looking at, is a level playing field full of opportunity.
If you’re wondering how you can ride this organic wave and how to go viral on TikTok, we’ve got you covered! This article will tell you how the TikTok algorithm works, how to cash in on trends, structure videos and go viral!
Let’s get started!
What We Will Cover
1. How To Work With The TikTok Algorithm In 2022
2. How To Structure A Video For Virality
3. How To Use The Latest Trends To Your Advantage
4. How To Collaborate With Other Creators & Leverage Their Audience
5. How To Use Keywords
6. How To Sustain Your Viral Posts
7. BONUS: How to get featured on the For You Page
If you’ve only been focusing on likes, shares and follows, you’re looking at the wrong data. Here’s where understanding the TikTok algorithm is crucial for you to show up on the much coveted For You Page (FYP).
The key data you should be looking at is your average watch time. Your video length and the average watch time on that video determines how much the TikTok algorithm will push your video.
Let’s say people stay on your video for 3 seconds, the algorithm will show your video to a few people. If they stay on for 5 seconds, it will be shown to more. Your average watch time, compared to the length of your video, decides how many users your video will be shown to. The higher your average watch time, the better chance your video has to go viral on TikTok!
Getting featured on the For You Page also ups your chances of going viral but, featuring on this page depends on your average watch time, completion rate and the type of content you’re pushing out. All these factors depend on how you structure your video. So let’s cover that next!
Now that you know how the TikTok algorithm works, you’re probably wondering how you can increase your average watch time. It all rests on how you structure your video. You need to tell a convincing story to keep your audience engaged till the end. Before you create, ask yourself why your audience would stay till the end or watch this video. Here are a few strategies you can use.
A) Have A Strong Hook
Keep your audience hooked from the get go. The attention span of TikTok users varies between 1 - 4 seconds. That’s how much time you have to capture the attention of the viewer. You can do this by presenting a problem and then offering a solution.
For example, check out this video from @howtobasic that offers to show the easiest way to remove a security tag. While it doesn’t propose a valid solution, it intrigues the user to watch the inevitable outcome that results in more average watch time. It’s the 101 of how to go viral on TikTok. The video got around 8.5M views and 1.9M likes.
You can also share facts, tips or quick hacks - something your audience will be looking for. Alternatively you can also call out your audience with “Hey! Stop scrolling” or “I learned this XYZ trick you should know”. In fact, why not resolve an unresolved question like @neildegrassetyson does here:
B) Use Trending Audio or Voice Overs
The music or the sounds you use can help your videos get discovered by a wider audience. Spending some time on the FYP can help you identify what’s trending. Do some research to see which music is being used by popular creators and then use the trending audio tracks for your trends.
To find trending audio or music quickly, you can go to the discover page, select the ‘sounds’ option and TikTok will show you a list of trending audio.
Another way you can use audio is by employing the voiceover feature where you can narrate and get your story moving. It is personal and makes your audience feel like you are talking to them directly. More so, your own recorded audio can go viral!
If you use your own original audio and your video gets traction, there’s a possibility that other creators will use your original audio for their TikToks. The best part is, your original video is credited as the first, which means more views for you! As you can see with the example below, YamiRootz’ original audio has been used over 154.1k times with YamiRootz’ initial video being credited as the original.
This video is a perfect example of using a voiceover, text to intrigue the user and moving the content quickly to keep the user engaged. The video got around 3.7M views
ProTip: If you want to use your own audio or make your own sound on TikTok, follow this step-by-step guide.
C) Break Your Videos Into A Series/ Create A Playlist
If your choice of topic is vast, making a longer video might not be the solution as the longer your videos are, the lower the chances of hitting the desired completion rate that will make your video go viral. Instead, you can break it up into a series. The possibilities of creating a series is endless and you can create ones specifically for your niche.
For instance, when lockdown halted tourism, employees of Magdas Hotel based in Vienna created short videos using the same audio to show that business wasn’t booming and there’s no work followed by a description that read, “#wearebored Stay open minded. Stay with us”. One of those videos got 2M views
Furthermore, creating playlists and clubbing your videos together can save your followers the trouble of scrolling through your account searching for specific videos. For instance, if you have tutorials, part-two’s, explainers, etc. you can create themed collections. Once created, playlists are visible right below your bio.
To create a playlist:
- Tap “Me” to go to your profile
- Tap “Sort videos into playlists” under your videos tab
- Name your playlist (15 characters) and add videos to it!
Alternatively, you can also go to the video you want to create a playlist with, tap the share icon at the bottom right or long press the screen and select “Add to playlist”.
Note that you only create playlists with videos that are public.
D) Use Strong CTAs
You can create the best video with the best practice but what do you want your audience to do once they’ve seen your video? This is where having a strong CTA comes into play. Ask your audience to share your video or hit the + sign to follow you. Direct them where to go once they’ve seen your content.
In fact, identifying and using a trending sound as your CTA, something as simple as a bell ring, can register in the user’s memory. Every time they hear that sound, it could redirect them to you! You could also incentivize engagement in the form of a shout out or a follow back or say something like “Hit the + sign for a part 2”. The possibilities are endless.
This TikTok by Robert Benjamin will let you know everything about including CTAs in your videos.
E) Use Text
Starting your video with a text overlay will likely entice users to spend more time on your TikTok reading it than just scrolling by. It also lets the viewer know what to expect. It can be the opening for a story, a direct call out to your viewers or it can be used as a hook.
Remember the #runawayaurora trend and how every creator hopped on it? That’s exactly what you need to do to go viral. Leveraging trends can get you the eyeballs you need to get rolling on TikTok.
Hopping on the trend train saves you the time and effort you’d have spent thinking of original content. While there’s no harm in creating an original concept, without a really high watch time percentage and engagement, there’s a less chance you’ll make it to the FYP if the content you create is not what people are looking for.
There are two types of trends you can leverage. One is specific to your niche, like maybe something related to football or food but these types of niches have very specific audiences which may limit your views. On the other hand, using broader trends might help you reach a wider audience. Broader trends can be used by anyone as they don’t cater to a specific audience like the ‘Bezos I - Bo Burnham’ trend we’ve covered below.
The question now is, how can you spot these trends and jump on them quickly? You can do this by screening through the discover page where you will find trending sounds, hashtags and challenges. You can also follow the top trending creators as they’re the first to jump on the latest trends. We did a little bit of legwork and have covered comprehensive, actionable ways in which you can find current TikTok trends.
Trends have a shelf life of about 5 - 7 days. During this period you need to identify a trend that works for you and keep using it. You need to know that there is no TikTok authority that will judge how many times you use the same trend. The algorithm judges your TikToks post by post.
Using a trend that works for you repeatedly can help you go viral. For instance, @elinameng used the #runawayaurora trend multiple times for best results.
Spend at least 15 - 20 minutes on the FYP and keep a close eye on sounds and hashtags that show up repeatedly. You don’t need to jump on every trend that is out there but be consistent and explore them fully.
Reaching out to other creators and influencers on TikTok is a great way to expand your niche. A collab with existing popular accounts can give your videos a lot of mileage. For instance, @starbucks partnered with a popular TikTok user @JillianSurfs to promote their new summer beverage.
As a brand, collaborating with influencers who are already popular can give you a push. Alternatively, you can also look at doing ‘duets’ with already existing trending videos. With the duet feature, you can create interesting content by posting your video side-by-side with another user’s video.
If you’re a singer, you can find a TikTok that has a trending musician playing a catchy beat and sing over it. This way, you can gain more visibility by tapping into their existing audience. Alternatively, you can also react to or share your opinion on existing videos using the Duet feature. Chef Gordon Ramsay uses the Duet feature to create hilarious reactions to trending cooking videos.
You can make a Duet easily! Just follow these simple steps:
Along with the TikTok algorithm, you also need to take advantage of keywords. TikTok is becoming highly searchable. You can easily find the content you are looking for from the Discover page. Say you’re an artist. By simply typing art or painting in Discover, you can access dozens of creators or videos by artists, some of which may be trending or viral already.
If you’re wondering how to go viral on TikTok using keywords, the answer is simple- A majority of people search TikTok using hashtags. Hence, including your keywords in your hashtags, description and text/speech is the fastest way to get discovered.
To get a more in-depth understanding of how you can utilize hashtags to grow on TikTok, check out this video by TikTok expert Joseph Todd
Now that you have all the necessary tools and info to go viral on TikTok, what do you do next? How do you sustain that push? Remember what we said about TikTok wanting its users to spend more time on the app? That’s what you need to focus on.
Post regularly and be consistent. You can also supplement the video that went viral by going live at least 1-2 times a week. Thank your viewers or do a follow up video. Ideally, you can also repost the viral video to see if it can get you even more views than the last time.
While reposting, keep in mind that the repost needs to be 72 hours apart from the original post. You can also tweak the description, modify hashtags, post at a different time and see which areas you can improve on.
When your videos do well and go viral, respond to all the comments. You can also reply to comments with another video. For example, a creator account, @igreatnessss replied to a comment by @ashymoostashii with a video.
To go viral on TikTok, a majority of your views need to come from new users on the For You Page as it indicates that a newer, much larger audience is viewing your video. The traffic you get from the For You Page needs to be higher than your personal profile or following. You can get this data by clicking on the 3 dots on the bottom right of a video and selecting “analytics”.
If you see that the traffic from the For You Page is low, there might be a few reasons for that. Let’s take a look at what they are and how you can fix them.
- Not Hitting The Right Metrics
The content you’re creating isn’t hitting the average watch time or the completion rate required to feature on the FYP. Usually when users start seeing a drop in their numbers, they begin posting more videos a day but that’s not a valid solution as you may end up creating lower quality content that lacks the required structure to be picked up by the TikTok algorithm.
- Limitation On Your Profile
In case of a violation of guidelines or T&Cs set by TikTok, there could be a limitation on your profile. For instance, if you mass delete 5-10 videos at the same time or delete a video that is seeing traction, repurposing branded, copyrighted content like sports highlights or if your TikTok is getting mass reported.
TikTok is quite clear about its copyright rules and if you’re in violation of those rules, your content could be removed, your account could get suspended or even worse, terminated.
- Having a Restricted Element In Your Video
A restricted element could be anything from a banned hashtag to a copyrighted audio where your video will be muted and not promoted or using a keyword that TikTok does not promote. For instance, using a word like “suicide” will make TikTok restrict your videos. Similarly, anything that promotes violence or bullying will not be pushed.
These are the top 3 reasons why you might not show up on the For You Page. Instead of just looking at 1 video, take a look at your past 5-10 videos and check if your numbers are consistently low on all. If the numbers are consistent, here’s how you can fix it:
A. Recreate Your Top Performing Videos
Go to your profile and see the kind of content that has worked for you in the past. Identify what in that video made it go viral or get higher views than the rest of your video and recreate that. You need to identify what has worked for you, be it a trend, a sound, a feature - you need to push more content like it. COMMENT
Creator @yssadelara creates quick sketches with plot twists using similar elements with similar characters that have worked for her in the past.
B. Posting At The Right Time
Posting at the right time can make the world of a difference. Let’s say your content is specifically created for teenagers. Posting it at 8 am will not make sense as your audience is probably asleep. Identifying the right time is crucial to getting your content on the FYP.
If your target audience is broader, these are the best times to post
Do not post back to back or else your video might not feature on the FYP.
C. Stick To One Niche
Do not try to diversify your content too much. Stick to one niche or one idea that works for you. Let’s say you post different types of content across different niches and one of them goes viral and you get a ton of followers.
But keep in mind that those followers only came because of that one video you created and when you don’t follow it up with something similar, you will see a decrease in your engagement as you aren’t posting content that got you those followers in the first place.
Experimentation is necessary and you have to explore other options but don’t stray too far from your niche.
While Creator @FTBL is all about football, they don’t mind experimenting with their content while still keeping a large part of it about football.
Now that you know everything you need to know about How To Go Viral on TikTok in 2022, all that’s left to do is use these tips to create TikToks that will get you the views you desire!
If you found this article useful and are looking for more ways to tap into the most recent TikTok trends, check out these 26 Viral TikTok Trends that you should be creating in 2022.
And if you’re a marketers/business owner looking to understand how you can leverage TikTok for your brand/business, you’d definitely want to check out our TikTok Brand Marketing Report where we studied more than 650 videos across 350+ top brands to learn how they are using TikTok.