Sadly, there is no magical method, lotion or potion on how to go viral on TikTok. If anything, it gets harder and harder as the days go by and the traffic increases. Gone are the days of “post the same video 3 times a day for 3 months and you’re 50% likely to viral”.

Instead, we have jotted down our best tips and baby strategies to implement in order to maximize virality on TikTok as a US based creator in 2024. 

The first thing to consider is the algorithm.

The TikTok algorithm is a recommendation system that determines which videos will appear on your (unique and highly personalized) For You page.

No two users will see the same videos on their For You page, and the videos you see might change over time based on your viewing preferences and even your current state of mind.

TikTok defines its FYP (For You Page) algorithm as such;

“A stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love … powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”Social platforms originally kept their algorithms secret.

This makes sense since the recommendation system is a proprietary technology that helps make each social network unique.

However, as people have become more skeptical about the inner workings of social networks, most platforms have revealed the basic workings of their algorithms.

TikTok’s Ranking Signals

The following elements are signals that TikTok flags in a video, encouraging the algorithm to continually push your video out to more and more people.

Belong to a subculture

It’s important to find existing communities to engage with on all social platforms. But the nature of the TikTok recommendation algorithm makes this an even more important step on the app.

That’s because unlike on other social networks, where people spend much of their time engaging with accounts they already follow, TikTokers spend most of their time on the For You page. And 70% of them say they feel like part of a community on the platform.

If you can tap into an existing community—or subculture—you’re more likely to be amplified to the right audience.

Fortunately, TikTok subcultures gather around hashtags (more on those later). Some of the top communities on TikTok in 2022 were BookTok, CarTok, CrotchetersofTikTok etc. 

Maximize the first moments

Your video needs to make someone stop scrolling. Think about when you’re on the app, what makes you stop to watch 60-100% of a TikTok? Is it a satisfying action (think milk being poured into cold brew) accompanied by an informative voiceover? Is it a quick-paced talk to the camera?

Grab attention and show the value of watching in the first seconds of your TikTok. Specifically, the first two seconds are critical for recall and brand awareness.

SEO Search 

TikTok SEO is the new buzzword, and the TL;DR is that you want to make content for keywords and hashtags that people are searching for.

This allows you to get your content in front of people who are actively seeking specific content on the platform, rather than just scrolling through the FYP.

TikTok recently expanded the maximum length of captions to 2,200 characters. That extra real estate gives you plenty of room to work with keywords that will boost your TikTok SEO. Start looking for trending keywords by region and industry in the TikTok Creative Center.

Of course, your caption’s not the only place to include keywords. TikTok can also pick them up from your voiceover or text overlay.

Create high-quality videos specifically for TikTok

This doesn’t mean hiring out a production team. A good phone, good lighting and good communication can still mean filming from your bed.

I’ve had a video I filmed in my PJs form my bed reach 1.3 million accounts because I articulately and passionately gave my opinion on plastic surgery in film recording on a good phone with a working mic and some quick edits and transitions to keep the content moving.

Design your videos to be played with the sound on. 93% of TikTokers use the platform with sound on, and 88% said sound is “essential” on the platform.

And be sure to use TikTok’s built-in features like effects and text treatments. According to TikTok: “These native features help keep your content feeling native to the platform which can also help get it on more For You pages!”

The Washington Post might not seem like the most obvious brand to experiment with TikTok effects, but they’re killing it by using green screen backgrounds and quick cuts to make complex news stories easily digestible.

Engage with other TikTok users

21% of TikTokers said they feel more connected to brands that comment on other people’s posts. Keeping on top of the comments on your own videos is also key: 76% of users say that brands that post or reply to comments feel like part of the TikTok community.

TikTok recommends a “react, respond, and remix strategy”:

  • React to trending content
  • Respond to trending questions or prompts
  • Remix trending ideas with creators

Duets, Stitch, and video replies to comments are great ways to engage this strategy.

Stitch is a tool that allows you to clip and integrate moments from other TikTokers’ content into your own. These are a great way to react to other opinions and activities within your niche.

In many cases, creators put the caption “Stitch Incoming” on top of the original clip. That way, if the viewer has already seen the stitched clip rather than scroll because they’re already seen it, they’ll stay in anticipation for your reaction.

Use trending sounds and music

Two-thirds (67%) of TikTokers said they prefer brand videos featuring popular or trending songs. And, like we’ve already said, participating in any kind of trend is a good bet when aiming for the For You page.

So, how do you find out which songs and sounds are trending?

You can often get a sense of the latest trending sounds just by keeping an eye on your For You page.

Be real – and have fun

buttoned-up, overly polished content.

  • 65% of TikTokers say professional-looking videos from brands feel out of place
  • 44% want to see “fun or entertaining” content from brands
  • 71% say creator authenticity has motivated them to buy a product
  • 64% prefer seeing everyday people in TikTok ads instead of celebrities
  • 75% say brands’ TikToks should feel like a view into the brands’ and employees’ daily lives
  • 77% like it when brands give a look behind the scenes or reveal more about themselves

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