In 30 seconds:
- Wondering how to go viral on TikTok? We’ve got you. We know the formula to take your brand to the next level.
- TikTok marketing works for everyone – even if you don’t have a huge following. As for how to go viral on TikTok without followers? We can help.
- As a TikTok agency, we know how to go viral on TikTok overnight. Read on for our breakdown of the best hacks to get you there.
It’s no secret that Gen Z loves TikTok. It’s this demographic‘s favourite social media platform. Knowing how to go viral on TikTok gives you access to a huge audience – and it’s only going to grow.
Yup, unlike other social platforms whose demographics are ageing, TikTok is only becoming increasingly relevant: TikTok will have 37.3 million Gen Z monthly active users in the US by the end of this year (compared to 33.3 million on Instagram). Globally, TikTok has surpassed 1 billion monthly active users – 60% of whom are Gen Z.
And all those Gen Z-ers have huge buying power. In fact, they account for 40% of global consumers. Making your brand go viral on TikTok means taking your brand global. But how do you do it? That’s where we come in.
How to go viral on TikTok
TikTok can be mystifying for new brands or creators navigating the platform. But it’s definitely worth decoding if you want a chance of winning the hearts of Gen Z.
Because there’s a third reason why you should try TikTok marketing. Yep, Gen Z is there. And yes, they’re valuable. But the important thing to remember is TikTok is different from any other social media platform, because you don’t need to be a huge brand to go viral.
Any brand can do it, no matter the size of their following.
In this article, we’ll take you through exactly how.
These are learnings that Fanbytes have gathered through our blockbuster campaigns for our clients, and concluded from our industry-leading TikTok analytics tool, Bytesights. To discover these exclusive hacks on how to go viral on TikTok, just keep on reading.
Viral hack #1: incite 'FOMO' In users
You know when the new iPhone comes out and everyone upgrades except for you? You’re left feeling like you’re missing out, and it really makes you want to go out and get that new iPhone.
You can recreate that motivation on TikTok. If you encourage users to easily replicate your content, take part in a challenge, or try your product or service, joining the trend becomes irresistible for other users – which is good news for brands.
An example comes from Little Moons, a mochi ice cream brand. They’ve achieved a 700% sales surge at Tesco stores thanks to TikTok! The formula for their success came from leveraging the right TikTok communities and viral sounds, combined with new organic hashtags.
Heard of ASMR? Plenty of TikTokers have. The ‘satisfying’ feeling you get when listening to squishing, cutting and the opening of packaging is what TikTok’s #asmr niche is all about. With over 200 billion views, it’s a great way to get your videos in front of a captive audience. That’s what Little Moons did.
Little Moons tapped into TikTok’s ASMR community by showcasing their products in videos that honed in on the ice-cream’s satisfying sounds.
By demonstrating how well they understood this community, Little Moons garnered thousands of views from an engaged audience, early on. And because the videos were clearly centered around their product, the videos (and ‘satisfaction factor’) were easy to replicate – by going out and buying it. Good idea, right?
The next step: viral sound. Working with TikTok influencers, Little Moons created videos with an original sound that included fun call-to-action lyrics – not unlike the game “Bop it” – that instructed users how to find, purchase, prepare and eat their ice cream. Not only were these videos easy to follow, but they were easy to replicate. This type of content leads to trends. It was only a matter of time before it became a viral success.
TikTok makes it easy for users to discover which hashtags are trending via the discover page, and which videos get the most views for that hashtag. Each Little Moons video included organic hashtags that were clearly linked to the brand.
Soon enough, #littlemoons (300+ million views) and #littlemoonsmochi (190+ million views) were gaining popularity, and users wanted to join the trend. They did so by replicating the best-performing videos. The best-performing videos… that showed exactly how to shop for the product.
Curiosity grew about this new product and users felt compelled to test them for themselves.
This bred huge FOMO (fear of missing out). TikTokers wanted a slice of the views from the trend, and they also wanted to try the product. The easy-to-copy videos created a snowball effect online – driving huge sales for the brand.
Sound like something you’d like to replicate? The key is understanding TikTok communities and harnessing the latest trends to drive people to your brand. You need to be up-to-date – and a connoisseur of the niche.
Luckily, we’ve made that easy. Sign Up To Our TikTok Trends Newsletter for weekly trend updates + tips on how to maximise their potential.
Viral hack #2: consider the 3-second rule
Knowing how to go viral on TikTok means understanding – and making use of – how the TikTok algorithm values and distributes content.
Once you’re aware of the key factors that go into the measurement of value in the algorithm, you’ll be one step closer to creating content that people want to see on their ‘For You’ pages.
The top piece of advice that our team of talented paid ads experts will give to you is that you need to know about the 3-second rule. What’s that?
As soon as you share a video on TikTok, the algorithm will always send the video onto users’ ‘For You’ pages, but only for a short period of time. The reason for doing this is so that the platform can identify whether your video is relevant and engaging for viewers (and if it is, it’ll show it to more people).
The key metrics that TikTok measures here are watch time and completion rate. If your audience is only watching a few seconds of your 30-second video before scrolling to another one, the algorithm will stamp your video as boring or irrelevant, which is not ideal.
So how do you avoid this? You make sure that your video captivates your audience. And those first 3 seconds are the most important. After all, there’s so much choice of video content on TikTok, and it’s very easy to scroll to the next video. You need to make an immediate impact.
The longer people stay on your video, the better. So, you need to reel in your audience early on, then keep them hooked until the end. That’s how you’ll increase your average watch time and boost your completion rate.
The longer the watch time and the higher the completion rate on your video, the more TikTok will boost your post. So, if you’re wondering how to make a viral video, you should ask yourself “what makes a compelling story?”.
Start bold, captivate your audience, and be mindful of pace. Reveal a conclusion at the end, or serialise your content so people are intrigued to watch the next video to see what happens. Maybe leave them with a couple of questions, so they’re compelled to comment on your video to find an answer. The more you can encourage interaction, the better: you’re demonstrating to TikTok that your content is engaging, and people want more.
If you’d like to learn more about hacking TikTok’s algorithm for how to go viral, click here for an extended post.
Working out how to make videos that tell great stories (and get lots of views) is what we’re great at. If you’d like to learn more, get in touch with our Paid Ads Team.
Viral hack #3: become the ‘poster boy’ of your niche
One of the most effective ways we’ve seen creators and brands send themselves viral on TikTok is by identifying a niche and becoming their ‘poster boy’.
Identifying a trend on TikTok is the start point, but to increase your chances of your video being seen, you need to differentiate yourself from the other videos doing the same thing.
That sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it. But hear us out: yes, you want to tap trends, and trends come from replicating content with similar videos. But to go viral, you need to be co-opting the trend to say something original and valuable about yourself. You need to take ownership.
Here are a couple of examples to illustrate what we mean:
A TikTok influencer doing this well is @lubalin. He went viral by turning internet arguments into cinematic, musical experiences on TikTok. The Canadian musician racked up 3+ million followers over a short period of time, and he even sparked a trend where users recreate arguments soundtracked by one of his sounds. As people made their own version, many used hashtags to credit their inspiration. Currently, #lubalin has over 9 million views.
Internet drama was already a popular genre of social media content in itself, with various accounts on all social platforms dedicated exclusively to the niche. But Lubalin used his unique talents to create his own spin on the trend.
Lubalin explained: “You need a hook, then you need to deliver… I began wondering, ‘how can I take my skill set and apply it to that?’”
Another example comes from Sony Commercial Group, who we worked with to catapult George Michael’s song, Careless Whisper, as a TikTok trend. The track had organic meme appeal, and we wanted to place George Michael as the rightful poster boy of the trend.
We identified relatable videos as a key factor in spurring trends in TikTok, so we targeted macro influencers with unique viewpoints and high engagement rates to create videos with a simple storytelling twist – all soundtracked by a particular song from the @georgemichaelofficial TikTok profile.
We gave popular creators license to make these videos in their own personal style. It meant that their followers could easily join the trend by relating it to their experiences. As they did so, they used the track from Sony’s official channel. The account then shared original footage of George singing the track at a concert – garnering 2.5+ million views.
It gave ownership for the song and trend to George Michael, boosting awareness amongst a whole new generation of fans. It doesn’t hurt that it also drew users to stream the track!
Creating a USP and ‘distinguisher’ between you and other TikTok accounts is essential. A great way to do this is find something that you can own (be it a product, popular song, skill or viewpoint), and creating a series or trend out of it, so people keep coming back.
How to go viral on TikTok now
We’ve covered what kind of videos quickly go viral on TikTok. And the good news is that, even if you’re a new user on TikTok and haven’t built up your follower count yet, you can still go viral.
TikTok is different to other social media platforms in that the algorithm rewards high quality content – no matter the size of your following. So, if you follow these steps, you can see your brand’s reach explode. Can you go viral on TikTok with no followers? Yes. Absolutely. Do you need to have posted much content before? Not necessarily. The trick is creating the best video for a relevant TikTok community – then you’ll see the views – and the long-term audiences – stacking up.
The best part? You can get creative. Viral content is about bringing original ideas to the table. TikTok videos are a viral success when they harness the joy of TikTok. If you have a sense of humour, a compelling story, easy tips, or can get content creators to do something fun, you are well on your way to going viral.
These hacks are a great place to start. But unlocking your brand’s potential takes skill and hard work. Our team of TikTok advertising and TikTok influencer experts are dedicated to bringing you the insights you need to make a name for yourself on Gen Z’s favourite app. If you’d like to get in your inbox, sign up here for our general newsletter.
If you want to know what’s going viral on TikTok every week, we also do a weekly trends newsletter where we talk through what the trends are, why they’re trending and how you can leverage them. Sign up here.
However, if you think you’re ready to get serious about TikTok, we’re ready to chat to you. Simply fill out the form to speak to a TikTok expert and learn how we can utilise our insights for your brand.