How to Go Viral on TikTok: 6 Tips for SMBs
TikTok is becoming an increasingly important platform for companies looking to expand brand awareness and increase their customer base. Learn how to go viral on Tiktok and grow your audience.
In late 2021, a new report revealed that TikTok users now spend more time each month watching video content than YouTube users, marking a major shift in how people consume content.
Additionally, TikTok’s user base is expected to continue to grow, making it a more significant platform for small businesses looking for the best way to reach their audience — especially if they’re trying to target Gen Z and other young demographics.
However, most small businesses still prefer to advertise on YouTube than TikTok, showing a disconnect between companies and their customers.
In order to keep up with digital marketing trends and expand their brand awareness, some small businesses — particularly in the fashion, beauty, home, food, and toy industries — may benefit from TikTok content.
To get the most out of their investment, these businesses need to create fun, engaging content that can go viral. This will get their brand name, products, and social media content in front of more viewers. Learn how to create viral content with this article.
Not sure if you should use TikTok as part of your marketing strategy? Consult with a top digital marketing or social media company to determine if it’s the right fit for your business.
How to Go Viral on TikTok
- Create an audio strategy
- Add captions
- Partner with influencers
- Post regularly
- Use hashtags
- Keep up with Trends (but don’t be afraid to branch out)
1. Create an Audio Strategy
What was the last song that was stuck in your head? Music and other audio has a way of weaseling its way into your mind and sticking there. This makes audio a great tool for brands looking to expand their name recognition.
According to TikTok’s Evolution of Sound Series, audio is becoming more important for growing brand awareness and increasing engagement.
Compared to slogans and logos, brand linkage and recall increase by 8x when audio is leveraged in ads, resulting in a 120% lift in brand awareness.
Unlike many other social media platforms, audio is an essential part of TikTok — 88% of users say sound is vital to the TikTok experience. In addition to engaging users, audio trends can catapult your videos to popularity.
Consequently, brands need to be able to create new audio and leverage trending audio.
Chipotle has done a great job leveraging trending TikTok audio to capture users’ attention and promote new products.
For example, they were able to gain 3.3 million views when they used a trending sound of a woman screaming wow and paired it with a video of one of their customer favorites — a quesadilla.
@chipotle NEW QUESADILLAS ARE FINALLY HERE BB!! Only avail online and in the app #chipotle #quesadilla #cheese #oddlysatisfying #simpscream #fyp ♬ original sound - Chipotle
Showcasing the perfect cheese pull, this video almost guarantees that viewers’ mouths will water, making them want to drive to their nearest Chipotle to get a quesadilla for themselves.
Paired with this trending audio, the video is also funny, lighthearted, and likely to pop up on a potential customers’ feed.
To create an audio strategy, companies need to determine the sounds of their brand. Like brand colors, audio needs to reflect your brand’s image. From there, companies need to look for ways to leverage sound strategically and implement it in their TikTok campaign.
How to create an audio strategy for TikTok
- Use the discover page to find out what’s trending
- Pick music that reflects your brand sound.
- Narrate what’s happening in a video using the “voiceover” option from the top-right menu
- Use original audio so users can reuse it in their own videos. Try to start your own trend by creating a viral sound
By creating your own audio strategy for TikTok, you’ll be able to gain more visibility and increase your brand’s likelihood of going viral.
2. Add Captions
Captions can help users understand content even if they can’t hear it.
Imagine that someone is standing on the train on their way to work, scrolling through TikTok when they come across a video from their favorite brand. However, they can’t understand the message because they’re unable to turn on the sound in a public space. Rather than interacting with the video, they’re likely to keep scrolling.
Captions resolve this issue by helping users understand what the TikTok video is trying to convey without the use of sound.
More importantly, captions can also improve accessibility for those who are hard of hearing. In addition to improving inclusion efforts, captions help brands connect with a substantial audience and improve brand perception.
Nike does a great job of using captions to engage with their audience, even without sound. Often, they create how-to videos for different activities. In addition to describing how to do something, they use captions to break down the steps for viewers.
For example, they partnered with Solomon Snowden, a dancer known for their rollerskating moves, and created a how-to video that explained how viewers could do a solo slide turn on their own.
@nike @Iskate_solo is real smooth with the Solo Slide Turn. Let’s #BreakItDown and keep it rolling🛼 #rollerskate ♬ original sound - Nike
Even without audio, a user could easily understand each step, meaning that all 30.6k viewers would be able to (theoretically) do this on their own.
The good news is that it couldn’t be easier to add captions to your videos, thanks to TikTok’s features. Here’s how you can do it on your own.
How to Enable Auto-Captions to TikTok Videos
- Create your TikTok video
- Tap the captions button
- Let it process
- Tap the pencil the corner
- Add or edit captions
Read more, ‘How to add TikTok captions and watch videos with captions.’
3. Partner with Influencers
Social media influencers, like celebrities, help brands stand out and grab attention from potential customers. According to recent data released by Visual Objects, 22% of consumers find new social media content through influencers.
Consequently, partnerships with influencers can help companies go viral and expand their reach.
For example, social media creators Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos have partnered with brands such as Anthropologie, Revolve, and Mango to promote their products to millions of followers.
@denisemmercedes Just dancing 💕 wearing @Revolve with the bff @mariacastellanos_ri #revolveme #stylenotsize ♬ What once was(guitar ver) - blackdoe
The duo became famous for their #stylenotsize videos — a body-positive campaign in which they showcase the same outfit on two different body types. Appealing to women of all shapes and sizes, they help fashion brands reach new audiences.
As a result, they partnered with Macy’s to create their own line of loungewear — called The Style Not SIze for Jenni Collection — and encourage audience members to shop at the department store.
When looking for the right social media influencer to partner with, companies should consider their audience and budget. Look for influencers who connect with your ideal audience and reach out online. Many have contact information in their bios.
To learn more about how small businesses can partner with social media influencers read, ‘5 Types of Influencers for Social Media Success.’
4. Post Regularly
To go viral, small businesses need to boost interaction and increase their following. To do that, they must post regularly and consistently.
Like any social media platform, companies need to create a regular posting schedule for TikTok.
While it may seem difficult to plan ahead, especially if companies want to stay on top of current trends, there are a few tricks that can help companies create a posting schedule.
TikTok for business recommends that brands use holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, and events like spring break, to inspire their TikTok content.
Brands can also change up their content by scheduling TikTok challenges, curating guest content, or hiring TikTok creators to come up with their own inspired content.
Rather than planning exactly what will be included in each video, companies can slot in their future partnerships with influencers and allow them to create trending content. After all, they’re experts and driving engagement.
Brainstorm ideas for your TikTok calendar with this guide.
5. Use hashtags
Hashtags are used to find content, so they’re a helpful tool for small businesses looking to go viral. Users search for content they’re interested in and build communities using hashtags.
As a result, they’re a key aspect of gaining visibility on TikTok. By using trending hashtags, new brands are more likely to be discovered by their ideal audience.
However, brands can also expand engagement and increase visibility by creating their own hashtags.
Branded hashtag challenges, or hashtags that encourage other TikTok users to post a video of themselves, are a great way to boost awareness, drive engagement, and increase a brand’s following.
According to TikTok for Business, branded hashtag challenges are more effective at fostering ad recall and brand awareness, resulting in a huge increase on their return on ad spend (ROAS).
Source: Branded Hashtag Challenge: Harness the Power of Participation
Dance-offs, transformation videos, and product placements are commonly used for hashtag challenges, but companies can get creative with new ideas that can engage their users.
For instance, PhotoSi, a company that turns snapshots into prints, photos albums, and other products, challenged users to recreate childhood photos and share it on TikTok.
@nahiaraamartiinezz #ReviveconPhotoSi lo he intentado😜🤩 me ha encantado revivir ese momento tan peke #ReviveconPhotoSi #parati #esperoooquelesguste #masamormenoshate ♬ Dispara, Imprime, PhotoSì! - PhotoSì
They received over 380,000 submissions and racked up over a billion views.
Small businesses looking to create similar success for their own challenge should follow these tips.
7 Tips for a Branded Hashtag Challenge
- Provide parameters for the challenge, but allow room for creativity
- Think about what your audience would like to share
- Prioritize sound
- Place your brand at the center of the challenge
- Include the product or brand name in the hashtag
- Keep it fun and simple
- Partner with creators
A well-executed campaign can get a brand in front of the eyes of millions of users and increase engagement, creating a viral marketing campaign.
6. Keep up With Trends (But Don’t be Afraid to Branch Out)
According to Evan Horowitz, the CEO of Movers+Shakers, trends are important for brands looking to increase their viewership, “[Trends allow] You to tap into the algorithm, and also, it gives you that credibility, like you get the conversation on TikTok, and your brand fits in really natively.”
Companies can take advantage of existing trends to grow their own brand awareness.
For example, who could forget when this video of a man riding a skateboard and drinking Ocean Spray went viral.
@420doggface208 ♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) - Fleetwood Mac
TikTok creators quickly jumped on the bandwagon and recreated the video on their own twist.
Ocean Spray quickly joined TikTok, started their own page, and shared the original video and spin-offs alike.
Having earned 85 million views to date, Ocean Spray’s sales skyrocketed shortly after the video aired, showing that TikTok trends impact consumer decisions.
Other brands, such as Gatorade and Hennessy, recreated the video featuring their own products as well. Companies can jump on viral trends to increase their viewership.
Do you have a hard time keeping up with TikTok trends? Follow The Later Blog’s weekly recap on what’s popular on the app.
Viral TikTok Videos Can Expand Brand Awareness
TikTok’s growing popularity makes it an asset for businesses looking to connect with their audience, grow brand awareness, and promote their products. However, creating engaging content that users want to interact with can be challenging.
To create viral content that appeals to viewers, companies need to utilize trending audio, hashtags, and influencers. They also need to post regularly and set their own trends in order to stand out and cultivate their following.
In doing so, they will create fun content that appeals to consumers.
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