The popular app TikTok was created by a Chinese company, ByteDance. The app is designed to allow its users to create short videos that showcase the creator’s talent, rewarding originality with more visibility and better responses. This makes it more appealing to viewers.
The app does not require much effort to navigate: simply launch the app, scroll through, and you can see videos from thousands of different creators. More and more people are discovering TikTok, every day, as a community of celebrities and other social media influencers use the app to make videos within their own niches.
Because of the added focus on its growth, brands and companies are finding new marketing opportunities with TikTok’s active user base. This can be achieved by launching paid marketing campaigns on TikTok and using the app’s influencers to promote their products and services.
While TikTok is still relatively new, influencer marketing is not. This form of marketing has been used since the early days of YouTube and, over the years, has ratcheted up in popularity. Followers trust the people they follow and brands will pay top dollar to get those followers to buy their goods. It’s an effective technique and has migrated over to Instagram, where it’s enjoyed big success. From here, influencers on Twitter and Facebook also adopted it, too, as well as Pinterest and other social media platforms.
Now, it seems, it has become popular on TikTok, as well. Not only that, but the popular new platform has been shown to yield higher conversion rates than any other social media platform.
We got in touch with a digital marketer, Ako Stark, a successful presence on TikTok, and had him outline his approach to creating video content. In just a few weeks, he was able to consistently create trending videos that garnered thousands of views, every time. While other TikTok and social media influencers make it obvious that their videos are sponsored by brands, Ako Stark works differently. Creating natural videos that incorporate brands, Stark is cornering an exciting new market on digital promotions.
The numbers don’t lie: the 23-year-old is gaining over a thousand followers a day, consistently. His videos on marketing and business tips use an interesting approach to promoting user-oriented websites which specifically avoid being, in any way, salesy.
So what do you ask this man when you get him alone for an interview? “How to go viral on TikTok,” of course.
“Perfection is not the key to success on this platform or really any other social media platform. Want to be perfect? Go make video ads for television. This is a platform for people who can relate to each other’s everyday life in a fun and entertaining ways.”
You don’t need a marketing plan to go viral. According to Stark, creating videos you think will perform well almost always leads to disappointment. “Don’t focus on which one is going to do the best. Focus on creating content and staying consistent.”
In order to go viral on TikTok, you have to first understand how virality works on this app. It is a combination of tags, likes, comments, shares and video duration. You need to use #fyp, #foryou, or #foryourpage to have a chance of getting featured on TikTok’s homepage, which is the equivalent of Instagram’s explore page, where you find most of the trending content currently being shared.
And don’t forget, this is a song-oriented app. Stark suggests using songs that are currently trending since TikTok has several deals with notable music artists. They have to ensure these songs get heard, making this an influencing factor on virality.
The formula works this way: if your video gets 50+ likes within the first hour and you have incorporated the tags given above, your video has a chance to trend. Comments help, but they are not as important as on other platforms. “What’s really big is the shares,” says Stark. “The more shares you have, the more positive an indication it gives TikTok’s algorithm to give your video more exposure. Shares are life.”
As with any other social media promotion, understanding the best times to post on TikTok will help you gain more visibility. Stark has created various TikTok accounts within specific niche industries to split tests which times are the absolute best for creating TikTok posts. According to him, anywhere from 8 AM to 11 AM are the magic hours.
Another great tip is to keep your videos short. Stark says, “People’s attention span is very short, so you don’t want to bore them. Even though 60 seconds is pretty short, when you are in the process of building a loyal fanbase, you’ve got to keep your videos short and quick while keeping the energy of the story high.”
Stay consistent, and you might end up going viral. When this happens, Stark noted that “People will criticize your work. This comes with fame. If you listen to the critics, you will fail and give up. It is important to ignore what others think and do what you are doing and what is working for you. The idea, here, is to get people talking and, once they talk, accept the criticism that comes with that. Remember, the more they talk, the more your video will trend.
Another point Stark covered was the importance of the TikTok profile. He said, “The profile is what makes people follow you. If you can’t sell them, why should they follow you? They won’t. It’s their choice and, if you don’t tell them to follow you, they will skip your page and go to someone else’s. Your username, profile photo, and bio can all leave a powerful impression on first-time visitors. Make sure you stand out from the crowd and are not just another TikTok account.”
Another great way to go viral is to participate in viral TikTok challenges. TikTok is famous for keeping users active in what’s currently trending, and there is a new trend hosted almost every day. Anyone can participate. The impact this kind of competition has on your visibility can never be overemphasized. Some challenges might involve dancing, singing or other interactions. So, if you can leverage trending TikTok challenges, your account will gain more exposure and generate new followers.
Discussing different ways to go viral and Stark’s secret ingredients. “Going viral on TikTok is something that requires consistency and persistence, a unique presence, and constant innovation. If you can offer videos that your audience can relate to, target the correct hashtags, and ride viral challenges, your videos will most likely get featured on the “For You” page.”