With billions (yes, billions!) of people accessing TikTok every month, the same question keeps coming up: How does virality work on the platform? Like any social media site, TikTok is ruled by a fickle algorithm, which means that some of the process of creating viral videos is outside of your control.
The good news? If you know what to do, there’s more of a formula for how to go viral on TikTok than it first appears. Let’s get into it!
The FAQs of TikTok Viral Videos
How Many Views Does it Take to Go Viral on TikTok?
Like anything on the internet, virality—and what it means to go viral on TikTok—is a relative term. Sure, there are some videos that become mega-hits and rack up millions of views. However, depending on the niche communities you’re trying to hit with your content, getting even just a few hundred or thousand views can make you an impactful influencer.
For example, if you’re recommending books in a video and catch the attention of the BookTok community, thousands of readers and authors may see what you posted. It may not be reaching everyone on the entire platform, but the people it does reach are those you probably wanted to get in front of anyway!
However, just remember that a single viral video doesn’t automatically make you an influencer, nor does it mean that you’ll immediately gain a larger following or are guaranteed more virality in the future.
How Long Does it Take a TikTok to Go Viral?
Here’s another quirk of TikTok: Virality happens incredibly randomly on the platform. Some people strike gold with their first-ever video, while others make dozens or even hundreds of videos before getting a bite. It could take you 10 seconds to whip up a video that sets the platform ablaze, or you could post for a year without truly going viral. So it’s important to be patient—and keep posting.
Ready to Get Started?
Mastering TikTok: Stop Scrolling and Post Your First Video
How to Go Viral on TikTok: Pro Tips
You may now be asking yourself: Are you doomed to just wait for the algorithm to notice you? Or is there a way to game the system and make your content more attractive to users and the platform’s programming?
Good news: There are definitely ways to increase your chances of virality.
Tip #1: Post Often
Understandably, one of TikTok’s main goals is to have users constantly—and consistently—uploading new content to the platform. To encourage this, the platform tends to give a boost to creators who post one or more times per day as opposed to folks who upload every few weeks or months.
This also makes sense from a simple math perspective: The more content your post for the algorithm to potentially pick up and push elsewhere, the higher your chances are of something sticking and going viral.
Tip #2: Post Content That Historically Does Well
While practically any type of content can do well on TikTok under the right circumstances, you’ll notice after you peruse for a bit that a few types often do better than the rest. Hopping on these trends is definitely not the only way to become a successful creator, but if you’re interested in these genres, they’re definitely worth considering:
- Cooking videos: If you enjoy showing off the food you’re making, consider creating cooking content on TikTok! It doesn’t matter if it’s a grilled cheese sandwich or an eight-course dinner; if it looks appetizing (or, on the flip side, if it’s just plain weird), people will definitely be interested.
- Relationship videos: People love love, so it’s no surprise that couples doing relationship-y activities or sharing their stories tend to do well on the app.
- Reaction videos: Stitch or duet a video on the platform and show how you genuinely feel about it. Believe it or not, there are creators who post solely reaction videos all the time—and gain a ton of traction doing it.
- Pet videos: It’s a universal truth that the internet adores pets, and TikTok is no exception! Tell your cat, dog, or goldfish to smile wide and get ready for stardom.
- Dance videos: TikTok’s origins are as a music-based app, so dance videos continue to do super well on the platform, and many of its biggest stars got their starts from dancing.
Tip #3: Use Popular Hashtags
As you’re watching your own For You Page (FYP), check out which sorts of hashtags keep popping up, especially once you figure out which niche you’d like to inhabit online. For instance, using the BookTok example, check out the #booktok hashtag on the app and then start searching. What other hashtags appear in book-related content? Include them in your content, too.
Tip #4: Try Well-Known Trends, Sounds, or Challenges
Related to hashtags, it also pays off to look at what’s doing well within a specific community on TikTok or on the platform at large. Is there a challenge you’re seeing all over the place or a sound you keep hearing? Use those as a jumping-off point to create your own videos!
Tip #5: Put Thought Into Your First Video
If you’re a brand new creator on the platform, TikTok is known to place a slightly higher value on the first video you ever post in the hopes that it’ll get some traction. So if you just created your account or you’re recording something for the first time, take a beat to consider what you’d like that piece of content to be. Who knows? You could be one of the lucky few who has a viral initial video!
Ready to Go Viral?
It may take a little while to get up and running on the site and find your niche, but by keeping an eye on trends, working on leveling up your content, and posting frequently, you’re much more likely to become a sensation like some of those other viral TikTok videos you’ve seen. It’s only a matter of time!
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