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How to go viral on TikTok in 2021

There has never been a better time to go viral on TikTok. As things stand, it’s the most popular app in the world. It has over 1 billion monthly users, and more than 2.7 billion downloads. And yet despite its success, it’s still relatively new compared to the old hands of Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram.

But there’s another, more important reason to go viral on TikTok right now.

Organic reach.

Because TikTok is much newer than some of the other tech giants, it still rewards organic reach in a way that they simply don’t.

If you play to the algorithm, you can get rewarded with 100s of 1000s of followers, almost overnight.

In the not too distant future, TikTok will become like all the other apps, including Instagram, where you basically have to pay to play. Don’t believe us? Take a look at the chart below showing Facebook and Instagram’s declining organic reach over the years.

The Decline in Facebook and Instagram Free Posts Reach in 2020 and What to  Do About it?
Facebook and Instagram’s declining organic reach.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to go viral on TikTok right now. But the time things even out and hit Instagram levels, you’ll already have a huge following to make a lucrative living on the world’s biggest social platform.

Now is the time to go viral on TikTok.

Let’s go.

How to go viral on TikTok: the three key points

We’ll cut straight to it.

  • The first key to going viral on TikTok is to duet and stich other people content.
  • The second key to going viral is to make sure your watch time ticks the right boxes
  • The third key is to hop on as many trends as possible
  • The bonus tip is to be better at community building than anyone else – after all, it’s always your audience behaviours that will propel you to the top.

One: Stitch and duet content on TikTok

If you’re just starting out and the words ‘stitch’ and ‘duet’ sound a bit alien, don’t worry. Here’s a super quick overview:

Google search results – key snippet

As the explanation goes, it’s actually fairly simple.

Duet allows you to play your video alongside someone else’s, so you can piggyback on the pouplarity of what they’ve done. It might be doing the same dance, or interactive with their video through expressions. The point is, you’re using a popular video and adding your unique angle to it.

Stitch enables you to incorporate a few second of someone else’s video into yours, so you can be creative using a piece of viral content.

The stitch and duet buttons look like this:

How To Download TikTok Videos
Source: onlinetechtips

Find the most successful TikTok influencers in your niche and duet and stitch their content. This gives you a massive boost with TikTok’s algorithm, because you’re giving them content that they already know works.

Two: Look after your TikTok watch completion ratio

While it might seem a good idea to make your videos last as long as possible, don’t do it!

One of the most important parts of the TikTok algorithm is the watch time ratio. This tells the app whether your content is worth pushing on the ‘For You’ page or not.

Here’s a quick guide:

  • Under 15 seconds you want to be aiming for 100% watch completion
  • 15-30 seconds you need at least 75% watch completion
  • 30+ seconds you need 50% watch completion

Put simply, if you’re not hitting these kind of numbers, then the app isn’t going to push you viral, because it’ll find another channel that is.

TikTok Bonus information:

If one or more of your videos is getting poor watch time, then the worst thing you could do is delete it.

This might sound counterintuitive, since you’ll likely see it as ‘cleaning’ your channel, but if you look at it from TikTok’s perspective, then it makes sense.

If you suddenly ‘private’ or ‘remove’ a video, which TikTok had started to show, then you’ll seem like an unreliable channel. TikTok will be in no rush to reward your content ever again.

The last thing you need to do is get your account blacklisted by unexpectedly removing original videos.

Three: Hop on every TikTok trend

Don’t think that you’re being unoriginal by hoping on trends.

Instead, you’re literally feeding the algorithm what it already knows works.

Of course you should put your own take on it, but there is a lot of truth to the phrase ‘imitation is the most sincere form of flattery’.

One of the greatest tech influencers of all time put it even more simply:

Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal" Steve Jobs | Steve jobs quotes, Steve  jobs, Inspirational people
Good artists copy, great artists steal – Steve Jobs

What Steve Jobs really meant wasn’t to steal directly. You couldn’t simply repost a competitor and claim it as your own – that would be copyright infringement.

But you can be inspired by others.

It’s easy to see why TikTok loves this.

You’re giving the app content that is a guarantee to work. TikTok knows there is an audience for this content, since many other like it have gone viral, so it can reward you accordingly.

However, be mindful that TikTok trends move fast.

You’ll likely have just 24-48 hours to hop on the trend and show the world your unique take on a popular topic.

Hopping on trends isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s literally the blueprint for almost every successful company throughout history.

For example, this tech blog isn’t a new idea. It gives useful tech walkthroughs, just like many other sites. What we try to do is to execute to a higher standard.

Before each piece of content we ask ourselves – could we explain that in a simpler, better way than already exists. If we feel we can, we go for it.

You need to ask yourself the same question – can you hop on a trend and give your unique take on it?

Can you come up with something funnier, more dramatic or shorter?

Can you get a better watch completion time by offering people a better incentive to watch until the end?

Go viral by getting ahead of TikTok trends

If TikTok is starting to sound like a lot of effort, don’t worry, there are plenty of other shortcuts to success.

One of these is to keep your eyes and ears open on other platforms.

Instgram is the best one for this.

There are a lot of similarities between Instagram and TikTok, and one of these is that they often replicate and swap trends with each other.

If a big video trend is beginning on Instagram, there’s a good change it’ll transfer over to TikTok.

It’s likely TikTok knows this too, so if you jump on big trends from Insta, then you might be ahead of the game when it hits TikTok a few days later.

Keep your quality high on TikTok

A body of work matters.

While you need to jump on as many trends as possible, don’t follow the ones that simply don’t work for you.

For example, if there’s a piano playing trend and you can’t play at all, it’s likely that the quality of your content will be lower than everyone else’s.

This could lead to lower watch time, which will have a knock-on effect for your channel. Be as creative as you can and follow trends when it makes sense.

but don’t force the issue too hard. Sometimes it’s better to sit one out.

If you can get on top of 25% of niche trends, then you’ll be doing 1-2 videos a day.

That’s pretty good.

Three final tips on TikTok viral trends

The three simplest ways to make sure you’re noticing all he right trends are:

  1. Browse the Discover page as often as possible.
  2. Look for patterns in trends, like video length and style. This applies for both broad trends and niche trends.
  3. Follow the big guns on the platform, as they are usually right on top of trending content. In fact, they will have people helping them look for it, so influencers with millions of followers are a great benchmark for content ideas.

Study success on TikTok

Aside from hopping on trends, one of the best ways to improve in TikTok instantly is to follow people who are enjoying incredible success in your niche.

  • What lighting do they use?
  • How long are their videos?
  • What fonts are they using?
  • How do their cover graphics look?
  • What is their editing pattern?

If you want to find it, the blueprint for success on TikTok is already on every channel.

Give people a reason to follow you

The best case scenario for your TikTok video is that people watch all the way through and then click to follow you right at the end.

To get this right, you have to incentivise people to hit that follow button.

This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Holding something back until the end but telling people watch
  • Building to a crescendo through music or editing
  • Getting on the For You page, since people usually watch and follow what the app is serving to them

If you can execute all of the above points, then you’ll have given yourself every chance of cracking TikTok before organic reach starts to fall in the years ahead.

Build a TikTok tribe

Every social media app is designed to reward popularity and community.

That’s why people spend hours and hours commenting, liking and sharing other people’s content. The app is designed in that way to ensure they do!

TikTok is no different.

Therefore, it makes sense that community is a big part of success.

Make friends with other content creators so you can riff on what each other is doing, and push each other’s videos higher.

If you collaborate over videos, then your friend’s audiences will also check out your content, which can send you bigger as a result.

Engage with different audiences

As well as engaging with your own audiences (which is so obvious we didn’t feel the need to write it), you should also engage with other people’s.

This will help to grow your content organically, as well as giving you ideas for what will work in the future.

People are your greatest source of inspiration.

Stay true to you

Whenever you put out content, you’re representing who you are, and what you believe.

You don’t want a million people to see you being a jerk, so don’t be controversial for the sake of it. Do what you believe and act in a way that’s true to your beliefs.

Don’t give up

Guess what most successful people have in common?

They never give up.

Sure, everyone fails, and that’s fine. Just do something different and try again.

If you don’t go viral straight away, it’s no big deal. Keep going and work even harder!

How to go viral on TikTok: a conclusion

Going viral on TikTok isn’t rocket science, although there is a fair amount of science involved.

It’s all about giving the algorithm what it wants, since it still rewards organic reach beyond all else.

The keys are:

  • Duet and stitch high performing content
  • Maintain a high watch completion rate
  • Jump on viral trends

By staying on top of viral trends on other platforms, you’ll also be able to keep pace with the speed of change. Continue to look after your followers, build a community and engage with people to maintain your presence and achieve long term success.

Remember, as big as TikTok already is, it’s still at a much earlier stage than the other tech giants.

The time to go viral is now – good luck!