Here’s How to Make a Viral Video for TikTok
Viral fame on TikTok is everything a social media manager desires. The internet is full of tales of TikTok changing lives, taking someone once unknown and making them an overnight sensation. Viral videos can lead to follows, leads, and lots of business opportunities.
Some brands are killing it in the TikTok space. Language app Duolingo’s social media manager goes viral almost weekly thanks to provocative and hilarious videos. Meanwhile, Irish airline Ryanair has amassed over a million followers with the account admin pretending to be a plane.
Both of these companies have created strong brand loyalty through their accounts, ensuring that people have positive associations with the company. It means more customers, too.
So, how can you replicate this virality with your business? TikTok might seem impossible, but here are some ways you can increase your chances of hitting that coveted viral status.
First of all, it’s vital to understand that TikTok is an app primarily about trends. It’s this format that initially made it popular with Gen Z users, who copy trends from other creators.
Trends can come in the form of audio but also the content itself. One trending audio might have a few trending videos. For example, a viral song might have a trending dance, but it might also have a comedy trend based on the lyrics.
Trends move quickly, so staying on top of things is essential. Some trends might be gone in just a few days.
When jumping on a trend, you should always put your own spin on it. Nobody wants to see the same video a hundred times, so make it specific to your company and niche.
Hooking your ideal audience within the first few seconds is vital because users are likely to just scroll away.
Typical hooks usually include text like:
- How to…
- Did you know…
- Most people don’t realize…
- This might shock you…
- 3 ways you can…
- 5 secret tips for…
There are hundreds of other possibilities. Make sure the text is on the screen, whether you’re reading it aloud or not. Plus, you can try TikTok’s text-to-voice feature to read it out for you if you don’t want to do it yourself.
Transitions are an excellent visual hook, too. People will rewatch the video to see the transition, increasing your views.
Humor is a winner on TikTok. Even serious brands are using humor to find a way to their audience’s hearts, so try to incorporate it in some way or another.
Returning to the Duolingo example, their videos are hilarious, but their comments are even funnier. When followers comment on the videos, Duolingo responds in a way that mirrors stand-up comedians and hecklers. It’s a daring move to mock your ideal client, but in this case, it works (just ask their 4.2 million followers).
Humor will extend beyond a one-time like. If a viewer really finds you funny, they’re likely to follow you. Congratulations, you’re now one step away from making a sale.
Like many other social sites, hashtags are the virtual currency on TikTok. They signal to the algorithm what your niche is and what your video is about, making it easy for TikTok to show your video to a relevant audience.
Avoid generic hashtags with billions of uses – your content will get lost. Instead, use 3-5 niche hashtags that give a firm idea of what your video is about.
Initially, TikTok videos could last up to 60 seconds. There is now a 3-minute option, and some creators even have access to 10-minute videos.
However, it’s not advised. Sure, longer videos have their merit. Sometimes, subjects require longer explanations, and if it’s interesting enough, viewers will stick around.
But if you’re attempting your first viral video, it won’t be a TikTok lasting over one minute. In fact, you’re much more likely to hit a million views with a 7-second clip.
Short videos get more views because the user doesn’t have time to lose interest. Instead, they’re more likely to watch it on a loop, especially if there’s text on the screen or if they’ve headed to the comments while the autoplay feature keeps rolling.
Not only that, but by being concise, you’re likely being more creative and improving content quality.
We’ve already talked about hooks, but what about closers? A call to action is essential if you want viewers to take action. Try the following:
- “Make sure you like this video for more!”
- “Follow for more videos on….”
- “Comment your opinion below.”
TikTok also has some exciting Stitch and Duet features, so you can ask your audience to Duet and show you something.
The keyword in social media is “social”; it should be about interaction. Inciting interaction is one thing, but you also need to engage in return. Reply to comments, look at your tagged videos, Stitch other creators, and comment on accounts in the same niche.
Pro tip: If you see a creator in your niche has just posted a video (in the last half hour), comment on it before it blows up. Any newcomers to the video when it takes off will see your comment, and they might check out your profile.
What’s the easiest way to get people talking? Controversy.
To be clear, this means tasteful controversy. Hateful opinions will get you nowhere, but inconsequential controversy might get you some viral acclaim.
For example, if you work in the food niche, talk about a food everyone loves that you hate. Or, if you work in fashion, review some MET Gala looks and explain why you love that dress everyone else was hating on.
This kind of controversy will incite a friendly conversation that will get you more engagement.
Going viral is not an exact science; it’s far from it. Although this might not be what you want to hear, sometimes it’s a case of luck.
Trending audios are awesome, but as mentioned earlier, sometimes trends get flooded and forgotten about within days. It can sometimes take a little luck to hit a trend at the right time.
Other things can also play a factor in your success. You might have created an amazing video, but if you post it on a day where it’s sunny, and your target audience is outside and not on their phones, they might not see it. The TikTok algorithm is astounding, but it isn’t perfect; sometimes, you won’t hit the right For You Page.
However, you can increase your chances of going viral by showing up consistently. Nothing will improve your chances quite like consistent posting, even when it feels like no one’s listening.
Use your insights, too. What videos are people responding to most? What time of day (and day of the week) gets the best engagement? Check out the Creator Tools page on TikTok to make use of these valuable insights.
Chasing a viral TikTok is a worthy cause if you’re aiming for a more engaged audience and better sales, but all that is useless if you’re posting “off-brand.”
Let’s say someone sees your viral video, and they love it. They head to your profile and find a bunch of other totally boring videos about an entirely different subject. They’re not going to follow you, and you won’t get your business in their head.
It’s key to be consistent in terms of content, too, which means posting with a clear brand voice about things in your niche.
Above all, be yourself on TikTok. Audiences can spot fakes a mile away, so it’s vital to let your (brand) voice shine through.