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How to go TikTok viral: Lessons from a successful experiment

An experiment on TikTok for plantable pencil company SproutWorld, resulted in more than 100,000 followers and tens of millions of views in just four weeks. If only the rest of us could produce such results for our businesses! 

Within the experiment, four separate posts went viral, with millions of views each. The outcome was produced with zero budget and 100% organic storytelling. So, what’s the secret? We will break down some highlights discovered from the experiment all of which are able to be applied to your own content. 

Most people don’t make it past the first three seconds so make those seconds engaging as possible. So, focus on creating a snappy and catchy intro – turn your cliff-hanger into a hook. A good tip is to create curiosity at the start by posing a question or statement: “You’re never going to believe what happens next”, or summarise the video in the first couple of seconds: “This is how you…”. Audio, music or text captions are the best way to achieve this.

Avoid making content that lasts longer than a minute. 15 seconds is a nice sweet spot but challenge yourself to tell your brand or product story in half that time. In fact, the experiment stuck to 8-second videos and only posted organically i.e. no paid spend. TikTok prioritises organic discovery, so tell a good story, and they’ll do the work!

If a video does seem to be taking off, you have a very limited timeframe (just a matter of days if you’re lucky) to capitalise on your viral success, so you need to have your marketing funnel and resources prepared. Create email sign-ups, dedicated landing pages, an email for incoming enquiries if necessary and ensure you have no broken links. If you’re an independent artist, make sure your linktree is working and clearly in your bio. Don’t forget to include any important launch dates in your bio either. 

Furthermore, on videos with high engagement, be sure to engage with the comments as soon as possible. This is because TikTok actually prioritises the comments that you give as a ‘creator’ answer, and these comments will rank at the top of your video.  

If there are comments that you want others to see (positive statements, questions etc), you should answer these as soon as they are posted. It helps to connect with users. Also, interacting with your audience will reinforce the brand’s identity and create a greater connection with your audience.

You can take this a step further in creating specific content in response to a video. This has the benefit of being a standalone piece of content but it also has the advantage of being shown as a video response under the comments section on the old video. This will generate more views for both videos – it’s a win-win. This was the case for our most successful post.

In regards to the quality of the content, TikTok prime content Is no longer as DIY and bedroom friendly as it used to be during the pandemic. At the same time, it does not require the glossy high finish that Instagram prioritises. we highly recommend somewhere in the middle and this also depends on the type of content you create. if you are a comedian more lo-fi content tends to work however if you are a music artist being just another bedroom singer at this point has less likely chance of succeeding. Try looking for artists that are somewhere between beginner and Rihanna and see what type of content does well on their account. 

When it comes to TikTok, avoid a corporate tone of voice, unless that’s your niche, then sure, stick with it. But either way, it’s a platform that works best for content that is inspirational, encouraging, positive, helpful and amusing.

Content and trends are something that changes daily on TikTok. Therefore, it is important to share a lot of content regularly to stay as relevant as possible. To create the greatest organic growth, share videos 2-3 times a day, about 5-6 times a week. Don’t give up on your TikTok video if they don’t take off at first. 

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