In a world where there seems to be a new social media platform popping up every day, it can be difficult to know where to focus your attention and which ones to leave to the side. But whether you’d like to build your personal brand, grow a small business, or just have some fun online, TikTok is here to stay. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of learning how to use yet another new channel (particularly one that’s centered on video content), we’re here to show you one simple way to stand out. By hopping on the bandwagon of already-popular content using TikTok trends, you’ll see your views and follower numbers going up in no time.
What Are TikTok Trends?
What exactly do we mean when we talk about what is trending on TikTok? Trending happens on all social media platforms—and it’s really just a quick way to describe something that’s gaining significant popularity.
Trending on TikTok doesn’t necessarily have to be a single video, although it definitely can be. Audio clips can go viral and encourage responses or duets from other users. Hashtags can take on a life of their own (#BridgertonTheMusical, anyone?) and spread to all corners of the globe. If you’re looking to get involved in a TikTok trend, following this type of content and making it your own is one of the best ways to be seen by a large audience.
In most cases, a trend will only be notable for a short period of time—and, on the internet, we all know how short that time period can actually be. You can be trending on Twitter for only an hour, or a hashtag could take off on Instagram and be trending for weeks or months. The algorithms are programmed to show users popular content—and how (and how quickly) that content spreads throughout the platform is ultimately what determines how long something stays a trend.
On TikTok, the vast majority of single videos may only be trending for a day or two. With the amount of content being uploaded and shared within the platform, it’s hardly surprising that people move on at a rapid clip. But a trending theme—whether that’s a piece of music being used over and over again or a particular dance that everyone is replicating or a certain hashtag being shared—can take over the platform for weeks or months.
How to Find New TikTok Trends
When it comes to video content on platforms like TikTok, trending is crucial. In fact, over half of the content being shared on TikTok is based on trends, thanks to the main screen breakdown between content you follow as a user and content that’s being recommended for you based on accounts you follow and videos you’ve liked in the past (that’s what you’re seeing on the “For You” page or FYP, by the way).
The first way to find new trends is your FYP, but remember: The longer you use the app and the more information TikTok gathers on you, the more specific this page will be. It can be easy to miss certain trends in the jumble of other videos that you’re being shown based on your own likes and interests.
Spending time on TikTok will give you more familiarity with the platform and make it easier for you to spot trends early, but there’s also the potential for limiting your exposure to new content if you stay on your FYP and only watch videos being suggested to you. But when you’re getting started, this is the best place to begin.
One of the easiest ways to find global trends is on the “Discover” page and scrolling through the currently trending hashtags or sounds. This will show you the topics and interest areas that users all over the world are enjoying right now and goes beyond the algorithm-based content that you see on your FYP.
Then there’s always good old pop culture. Keeping an eye on which celebrities are always in the news, what influencers are talking about on other social media platforms, and any songs that are storming the charts are great ways to stay on top of, or even ahead of, the curve when it comes to knowing what will be trending on TikTok next.
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How to Trend on TikTok
Step 1: Find Your Niche
If you plan to use your TikTok for building a business, establishing yourself firmly within a niche is a great way to become known for something specific. That doesn’t mean you can’t jump on trends like dance challenges or viral songs (Chipotle does a great job with blending business and fun content!), but it helps you to stand out in a crowded space and lets your audience know what to expect from you.
Step 2: Be Selective With Your Audio
TikTok makes it incredibly easy to add audio to your videos, especially if you’re looking for popular music or an audio clip that’s already trending. They have deals with most major record companies, which allow you to use up to 15 seconds of music without running into any copyright issues. You can add audio while you’re filming your video or in the editing stage, whichever is easier for you.
If there’s a particular clip that you have in mind when you’re planning your content, click on another video already using it then click on the audio track name at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to a page that features all of the videos also using that same sound clip. It’s a great way to find inspiration or to replicate videos that are already popular.
Step 3: Interact With Other TikTok Users
Like other platforms, TikTok is first and foremost a social network, so spending time interacting with other accounts and users is crucial. Not only is this a great way to build your own following by befriending other TikTokers, but your content will be promoted more frequently on the “For You” page if you’re also engaging with other content.
Collaborating with other users can also help you expand your reach and increase your chances of having a trending video, particularly if the person you collaborate with already has a large audience. But remember, you don’t have to work with only established influencers. Partnering with anyone who you feel represents you or your brand, or is someone who’s a part of your niche, is both fun and rewarding for everyone involved.
Step 4: Use Relevant and Trending Hashtags
Hashtags can become trends themselves, so jumping on these where you can is also useful. But don’t simply throw a million hashtags on every video in the hopes that someone will notice you. Like with Instagram, the most popular hashtags will be saturated with content, so it’s really only worth using these if it’s incredibly relevant to what your video is about or if you can get ahead of the popularity curve before the hashtag is flooded with posts.
Don’t be afraid to add hashtags that are outside your core niche, though. Look for areas of crossover opportunity, whether that’s a trending challenge that you could participate in (remember when everyone and their dog was doing the Ice Bucket Challenge?) or using hashtags from other niches that could be relevant to something in your video. For example, a video of you baking a book-themed cake could use hashtags from both the #BookTok community and cooking or baking communities.
Step 5: Include Your Pets or Kids
Who doesn’t love a video of a cute toddler doing something hilarious or a dog in a bizarrely human pose? The internet is full of pet and baby videos, but that’s for a good reason: people can’t get enough of it.
That said, when you’re thinking about including your family—furry or otherwise—in your videos, remember who your audience is. TikTok skews towards a younger, Gen Z user base, so they may not be as interested in your kids as they are your pets. But it’s not just the under 25s who are on the platform, so that’s certainly not a hard-and-fast rule.
Step 6: Recreate a Popular Video
A good proportion of TikTok’s best trending content comes from users recreating a viral video. Dance challenges and lip syncs are some of the most popular, but that’s not the only type of video that you could borrow a few ideas from.
Of course, it’s never a good idea to steal content from anyone, and you want to make sure you’re always giving credit to the original source where you can. But there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to see what’s working well and what users like to engage with, and grab a few suggestions for how you could make your own content more appealing.
Some of the Biggest Trends on TikTok
We’re all busy people, and finding the time to cook a hearty yet satisfying dinner can be a real challenge. Well, baked feta pasta has entered the chat. Created by Finnish blogger Jenni Hayrinen in 2019, this simple and delicious dish started trending on TikTok in early 2021.
All it involves is a few cherry tomatoes and a whole block of feta cheese sitting on top of cooked pasta, then baked until you’ve achieved gooey perfection. Users quickly started replicating the dish, with daring chefs adding their own ingredient variations from shrimp to vegan alternatives.
While TikTok’s shopping and ad functionality is still limited to a handful of brands, the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is one that’s constantly trending but features different products every day. One of the biggest success stories has been a $26 pair of leggings by French brand SEASUM.
But why did a pair of inexpensive leggings become so popular? One simple reason: they accentuate all of your best features, no matter your shape or size. Really, it’s true! The so-called “booty-lifting” leggings now have their own hashtag (#TikTokLeggings), and even Lizzo is a fan. Videos started popping up all over the platform, with women trying on the leggings and walking out in front of their partners while filming their reactions, creating a whole side trend of its own.
Tell Me Without Telling Me
You’ve probably seen a number of these videos circling the internet, from Hollywood A-listers to Olympic athletes. Essentially, the idea is to reveal details about yourself that fit with whatever you’re being asked about, without explicitly referring to that subject. There’s quite literally an endless number of possibilities that you could use this trend for. Still a little confused? Take a look at these examples:
When you see a trending video, you never really expect it to change someone’s life. But that’s exactly what happened with TikTok sea shanty singer Nathan Evans. His video of “Wellerman” racked up millions of views over the course of a few months, with users all over the world dueting with him and posting their own renditions of the song. Nathan’s version went to the top of the charts in the UK and led to him getting a record deal. Now that’s what we call a viral hit!
The Chopping Dance
If you’ve spent any time on TikTok recently, there’s no way you’ve avoided seeing this trend. Using an audio clip from Vietnamese artist Hoàng Read, users record themselves answering questions while making chopping motions with their fists along to the beat of the song. JoJo Siwa, Meghan Trainor, and even members of the US Olympic team have all had a go at making content with this soundbite.
Learn on TikTok
YouTube may have the upper hand when it comes to tutorials and how-to videos, but TikTok is quickly establishing itself as a firm rival when it comes to teaching people new skills. You can find out how to do almost anything on TikTok these days, from parallel parking to cleaning hacks. Yes, TikTok is mostly about entertainment, but there’s still plenty of educational content that’s fun to watch. And it might end up teaching you something new!
If You Can Do It, You Can TikTok It
As you can see, there are hundreds of different ways that you can follow TikTok trends and start creating your own trending content.
There’s no one “right” way to do this, which makes it a little scary, but also incredibly exciting. The world really is your oyster when it comes to the type of video content you want to make. So go out there and do what you do best!
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