Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you likely know what TikTok is and how fast its popularity has grown. The social media platform is an evolution of the retired Musical.ly app and grants users the ability to post clips — up to 3 minutes — with background music or original sounds. But how do you go viral on TikTok? The answer is not exactly easy to answer, but here are some tips for making great videos for your followers.
The thing that made TikTok initially alluring were the many dance trends that were floating around on the app. With songs from artists like Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion playing in the background, users would make up dances and challenge others to try it on their own profile or add their own flair along the way. The important thing to consider when making a video like this is ensuring that the song and dance are still up-to-date, as many things on the app can fall into obscurity very quickly. As of late, there aren’t as many dance trends due to white influencers co-opting Black dancers without giving credit. If you want to participate in a dance trend and get major TikTok credibility, be sure to find the original creator and tag their profile in your caption.
Tapping into the nostalgia of millennials and Gen Z users is a great way to get some traction on your profile. Many users will poorly reenact movie scenes in a way that makes them enjoyable to watch, simply due to their low quality. On the other hand, some creators produce film-quality clips that have many jokingly commenting, “I didn’t know I had TikTok Premium!” Reacting to older songs and seeing if your friends recognize them via a “blind react” is another way to get people to take a ride down memory lane and press that “Like” button.
Cooking and DIY
As many users are navigating adulthood, unique cooking and DIY videos have taken TikTok by storm. Many users will share cleaning or various household tips, with commenters pointing out that no one had ever taught them things like that in their life. Cosplayers also display their cool outfits and designs. If you’ve got a special skill, think about taking advantage of it on TikTok to help others and gain some followers. Cooking videos have also become favorites on the app, either as gently narrated soothing distractions or because some people simply can’t fathom doing so much work just to eat something in a few minutes. Combo videos of cooking and nostalgia, like an account that makes food from childhood cartoons, do exceptionally well on the app.
Situational comedy is one of the most relatable forms of media and it does really well on TikTok — as long as you can keep users’ attention. If you’re planning on telling jokes, you’ve got to keep people on your video. It’s easy for someone to lose interest and continue to scroll on their “For You Page,” so it’s vital that you’ve got a good hook and a hilarious punchline. Just be aware that you may get called out by commenters if your content is very similar to another joke they’ve seen on the app. While these instances are coincidental most of the time, some users take advantage of those with very few followers and will steal jokes to capitalize on their creativity.
Tips and tricks
Before recording anything, be sure that you have the proper tools to do so. Commenters will be quick to call you out if your phone is constantly shaking; get a tripod or figure out a way to stabilize your camera. Lighting is also crucial for a successful video, as a grainy, dark video is much less appealing than a well-lit scene. Do some test shots to check out the sound, too. If there is a lot of background noise or you can’t be heard because of your phone’s microphone, your video probably won’t do well. The last tip is to stay connected with your audience, whether it’s replying to and liking comments or creating follow-up videos for questions people may ask.
Going viral, for good reasons, and continuing that success can be quite a challenge. But if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next TikTok star.