How To Go Viral On TikTok – 10 Basic Steps

How to go Viral on TikTok
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Are you trying to tap into the amazing viral growth on TikTok?  Many people are jumping onto the platform and attempting to understand exactly how to go viral on TikTok.

Perhaps you have an Online Business or Affiliate Marketing business and want to drive more traffic to your sales funnels? Or perhaps you are just trying to grow your followers.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that TikTok has fast become a major platform in the social media space.  Even a 50 something year old bloke like me has had to take notice!

I am an Affiliate Marketer, so my venture into TikTok was firstly as an experiment and secondly to understand what this platform was about and how it could be used in the Affiliate Marketing space.

What I found was an amazing platform that, unlike others such as YouTube or Instagram, you didn’t need to have a massive following to gain traction.  Even newbies could create a viral TikTok post that would reach thousands, and possibly millions of people!

If you are trying to understand how you can leverage TikTok for Affiliate Marketing then check this out.

So how can you go viral on TikTok?  And exactly what type of content do you need to create?  What steps are required to reach that magic 10k, 100k or even 1m views?

Well let’s find out…

Why Do You Need To Go Viral?

What a silly question you might say!  Doesn’t everybody want to go viral?

Well yes and no…

Going viral means that you are receiving a huge number of views, which can lead to increased followers, and as a business more sales.

Well that last part may not actually be true, as I will show a little later!

But yes, if your aim is to get your message in front of as many people as possible, then going viral is cool.  And yes it can be a means of increasing your followers the fastest.

Just remember that going viral doesn’t always give you the results you may be looking for – especially if you are a business.  Check out ‘Keep Your Audience in Mind’ below for what I mean.

If you are still trying to get your first 1,000 followers on TikTok, then creating a viral post can change that quickly.  Check out my article here for tips on getting your first 1,000 followers on TikTok.

Live The Laptop Lifestyle...

Affiliate Marketing can provide the freedom to open up a world of lifestyle choice.  It doesn’t require huge money to start, and can be done in your spare time, around your existing job.

So What Type of TikTok Content Goes Viral?

That’s easy, just jump on in a bikini and do some dance moves!  Now before you ping me saying how sexist that is, unfortunately this is still the truth.  

And it’s for very good reason;

  • The bulk of the audience on TikTok is still very young
  • The whole platform was built around trending dance moves
  • Anyone in a bikini will usually grab your attention and have you watch longer (more on why watch-time matters later).
Going Viral on TikTok

But it’s not just dance videos – posting about the crazy things your cat does, or lip-synching comedy acts will do it too.  After all, people are on TikTok to be entertained!

The funny thing is, these types of videos are the ones that are likely to go viral and attract followers anyway.  It is the more ‘business’ related accounts that will struggle with the right content (at least at first).

So if you are into Affiliate Marketing, e-commerce or some other form of Online Business, and you want to attract the right audience and go viral, then you are going to have to work a bit harder.

You Need to Get on the “For You” Page

One key thing that needs to be remembered is that to ‘go viral’ you really need to be on the For You Page (FYP).  

Going viral means to be viewed by a huge audience, much larger than the one you may naturally already have.  Therefore you need to be shown to new people, by getting on their FYP.

The good news is that a wide range of content has the chance to go viral, if you follow a few simple steps.  But first we need to have an understanding of the actual TikTok platform…

Understanding the TikTok Platform

How To Go Viral on TikTok

The key thing here is that first and foremost TikTok is an entertainment platform.  That is it’s background and that is why people go there in the first place.  

So as a business, or an affiliate marketer, you are trying to jam content in front of people that opened the app to be entertained.  You must remember this when you are creating content – boring will get you nowhere fast!

Just like watching Free To Air TV, with ads (remember that for those streaming only types?) – how much do we hate the ads that rudely interrupt our favourite binge show?

The other thing to remember is that TikTok as a platform is itself a business.  It is making money from advertising which means it needs people to stay as long as possible on the app.

Any content that doesn’t help TikTok achieve this will be dropped very quickly and receive little to no views.

No one likes a copy-cat as much as TikTok!

Now something that is a little more specific to TikTok is the “copy-cat” nature of the platform.  

Remember that this platform originally started with trending music, sounds and dance moves.  Everyone was effectively encouraged to copy the latest trend.

So to create a viral TikTok video you are best to stay awake to the latest trends – including ‘modelling’ (not copying directly) what is already working in your space.

That juggle between modelling similar content and creating original content is really blurred on TikTok – which is something very different for most content creators.

Then There’s The TikTok Algorithm…

As with all social media platforms, TikTok is driven by an algorithm that decides what gets shown and to who.  There are people now who are making a living teaching other people about the algorithm, what it is doing and how to beat it.

My view is simple – no one really knows what the algorithm is trying to do.  And it will change at any time without any notice – so stay awake!  What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.

Trying to double guess what the algorithm is and what it wants is too hard in my view.  Just keep testing to see what works and stay awake – as it is guaranteed to change.

TikTok Shows You More Of What You Watch

Just like all the other platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, TikTok is trying to increase watch time and make you stay.  TikTok will typically keep showing you videos that you are interested in.  

So the more videos you watch right through, engage with, comment on or share, the more of that type you will be shown.

You need to keep this in mind when you are creating your own content.  You need to have people;

  • Watch your videos to the end (or multiple times).
  • Leave comments
  • Share it with others.

And if you are still trying to grow your TikTok audience then check this out.

What Makes a ‘Viral’ TikTok?

It’s important to have some idea of what may make your TikTok go viral.  This will help you build your audience and followers faster.

But just keep in mind if you try and ‘game’ the system it can hurt you in the long run.

Also, with all the changes in the algorithm the ability to ‘go viral’ has changed recently.  12 months ago brand new accounts could smash out viral TikToks, and almost guarantee which ones would take fire.

More recently things have slowed down – with fewer TikToks going viral.  The trade off is that content is staying relevant longer – TikTok suggests that quality videos will continue to be shown for 90 days plus.

But what are the key points that you need to get the most views and potentially go viral?

  • Watch-time:  That is the length of time people stay and watch your TikTok on average.  This is a critical factor and needs to be high. The shorter the TokTok the higher that required watch time needs to be.
  • Engagement:  Are people taking the time to comment on your TikToks?  Are you asking them a question or proposing something a little controversial, to stimulate conversation?
  • Share:  Whether people are sharing your content or not.  This is a great indicator to TikTok that people like what you are saying and want to share it with others.

Whenever you are planning your content you need to think about these three things.  

  • What are you doing to hook someone, and make them stay to the end?
  • Have you asked a question or stimulated a conversation?
  • Have you provided value that someone wants to share?

Remember, we are trying to get onto the FYP, but we need to have our current followers and audience engage with the content first – that’s just how the algorithm works!

10 Basic Step to Going Viral on TikTok

Ok, let’s cover some simple basics that you will need to focus on, to help you crack that viral TikTok post.

You Need to Post a Minimum of 5 Times per Day

This might sound like a lot, but it is necessary to get things moving.  It will let TikTok know what your content is about and the best audience to show it to.

Remember that not all of your TikToks will get the views you want.  It is often very hit and miss.

So the more that you make, the more chance you have of going viral, gaining views and followers.

Once you have momentum, you can drop this back.  But anything less than 1-2 posts a day will lose momentum and you may struggle to go viral.

Watch-Time is Key

As I mentioned earlier, the platform wants people to stay.  So content that meets this objective will get the most views – simple as that.

To say that watch-time is key is an understatement!

TikTok Watch Time

People on the platform suggest they will decide to scroll past a TikTok in the first second or two.

This is why engagement on your content is also key.  When someone is typing in a comment the video is still repeating in the background – which adds to the watch time recorded.  

Some people create deliberately controversial videos, or content that will be divisive. This tends to drive up the comments, and drive the watch-time up. 

Often content like this goes viral – but just make sure that it is inline with the overall theme of your channel.  There is no point having a viral TikTok if you’ve just pissed-off or alienated your primary audience.

Make an Immediate Impression

Remember that people are on the platform to be entertained, and are usually just casually viewing.  So you need to make an immediate impact to catch their attention.

People scrolling their FYP usually decide in the fist 2-3 seconds to skip a video or not.

So you need a really good hook to catch that person’s attention.  This can include;

  • Asking a question.
  • Hinting at an answer you will give at the end.
  • Movement on the screen to wake them up.
  • Bold statement in Text on the screen.
  • Use of Special Effects (see below).

The ideas are really only limited to your imagination.  Just remember the 2-3 seconds!

Always Have a Strong Call to Action

If you are into any form of online marketing this is something that you should be familiar with.  It will not only give your video a great chance of going viral, but will increase your followers as well.

Think of things like;

  • Asking them to comment on something – like “Type ‘Show Me’ to find out more….”
  • Create a multi-part series so there is a call to follow and come back for more.
  • Telling them to “Follow for more tips like this” etc.
  • Asking them to comment if they ‘agree’ with what you said.

Again, it comes down only to your creativity and imagination.

Use Trending Sounds and Music

Riding the wave of trends is super important with TikTok.  This goes back to the roots of the platform and the type of content it tends to promote more.

The use of trending songs and sounds will also gain attention.  See what songs or hashtags top creators are using, and save the ones you like to your favourites so they are ready to go.

A great way to find the trends is to check out the hashtags on the Discover page.  The app even shows you which videos are trending.  Once you’ve found one you like, go look at the videos that are using it for ideas to include in your content.

Engage Your Audience

Engagement is a key metric that the platform is looking for – so the more you can engage your audience the better. 

This means responding to comments, and encouraging discussion.  Be bold, ask tough questions, or make controversial statements that people simply must comment on.

You can also create a video response to a comment or question – which is super easy to do right in the app.  The person who left the comment is notified to come back and watch it – and it adds another video to your content list.

Using TikTok Effects

TikTok Effects

Using the effects right in the TikTok app is a great for two reasons;

  • These effects usually grab people’s attention and make them want to stay and watch.
  • TikTok promotes the use of new and trending effects – so if you use one of these you are increasing your chances of being shown to more people.

Keep an eye on what TikTok effects people are using and the new effects just released.

Keep You Videos Short

While you can make videos up to 60 seconds long, this makes it harder to hold people’s attention.  So often it is the shorter videos that will get more traction.

With the TikTok algorithm you not only want people to watch your video all the way through, but watch over and over again.  Shorter videos make this much more likely.

Keep your content message as short and succinct as possible.

If your videos are under 30 secs you also have access to a much wider range of trending music and sounds!

What HashTags to Use

TikTok Hashtags

Hashtags have become really tricky on the platform – and there is a lot of conflicting advice as what to do and how they work.  There are those that swear by them, and then some believe that they have little effect.  

To prove this last point there are a number of TikToks that have gone super viral with no hashtags being used.  So I tend to think that it is more to do with the content quality and less with what hashtags you use.

Having said that I would still include them 🙂

Try and aim to use no more than 5 hashtags per TikTok.

  • 2 should be broad – covering broad topic of the TikTok
  • 3 should be more specific and niche – with no more than 100k views.

A good tool you can check out is, where you can research which hashtags are getting what volume views etc.

Just remember that hashtags take up valuable screen space.  So the more you use, then more your video post may be impacted with writing sitting on top of it.

And BTW, sticking  the hashtag #FYP does NOT get you onto the For You Page!  It just takes up space from other hashtags and/or screen space.

Bonus – Use Looping Videos

The trick is to create a video where the end aligns perfectly with the beginning of the video.  Even better if you can get the words you are saying to make sense this way – with the last sentence running straight into the first sentence as if it was the same one.

By doing this, people don’t know when the video has actually ended, and will tend to watch it a few times over – increasing watch-time.

If you do it right and make it interesting people will watch it multiple times just for the fascination of how you achieved it!

How Does TikTok ‘Release’ Your Posts?

The process that TikTok goes through to release your video to the ‘wild’ is important to understand.  If you miss this, then it makes going viral with a TikTok post that much harder.

Firstly, TikTok is regionally based.  This means that TikTok posts will be shown to an audience in your geographic region first before it is shared more broadly.  

TikTok releases your video to a small audience in your region to start.  This often includes your existing followers (which is a very important point for later).  Depending on how these people react to your video will depend on whether it’s shown to a wider audience.

If the key metrics are met (watch-time, engagement and sharing), then it will be promoted to a wider audience.  This is what we want, as it is shown to new people we can potentially attract as followers.

Your video will shift from just being on peoples ‘Following” page, to being on their For Your Page.  It will also shift from being shown in just your country/region to other countries.

Keep Your Audience in Mind

TikTok Followers

Finding the right audience for you, that will resonate with you, is a must.  It is something that most people overlook, and don’t think about when they try to ‘go viral’.

Yes, it is possible to create a TikTok that goes viral.  You can simply copy the latest dance trend, or post something controversial that attracts lots of comments.

But if your viral video attracts an audience that is not aligned to your usual content, then this can have a massive impact on your future videos.

The algorithm shows your usual TikToks to this new audience, who swipe straight past as that’s not what they’re interested in.  This indicates that the posts are low quality and they get dropped.

So be careful to always keep your target market and audience in mind!

Final Tips…

Ok, I hope that helps and gives you plenty of ideas to play with.  

Just to finish off, here are some final tips;

  • Many people watch with the sound turned off – so include a text hook on the first screen.
  • For the same reason, captions can help increase watch time.
  • Model what others are doing and ride the trends!
  • Don’t post back-to-back – leave at least 45 mins between video posts.
  • Engage with your audience whenever you can – and use video replies.
  • Don’t delete your old videos (even the ones that bomb).  The TikTok algorithm doesn’t like it!

And most importantly HAVE FUN!  

The crazy thing is when someone does get a video to go viral they are usually surprised by it.  It is often the post they least expected to go viral.

So have fun, enjoy the process and don’t give up!

And if you are trying to understand how you can leverage TikTok for Affiliate Marketing then your should definitely check this out.


Steve Floyd

Live The Laptop Lifestyle...

Affiliate Marketing can provide the freedom to open up a world of lifestyle choice.  It doesn’t require huge money to start, and can be done in your spare time, around your existing job.