How to Go Viral on TikTok: Decoding the Algorithm for Success

by Novie Dizon
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How to Go Viral on TikTok: Decoding the Algorithm for Success

Short-form vertical videos are now the easiest way to catch viewers’ attention. Since everyone is on mobile and it's easy to scroll through videos, TikTok has become the leading platform for this type of content.

TikTok has taken the world by storm. Now, over a billion people around the world are glued to these short, catchy videos. By the end of 2024, that number is expected to hit a whopping 1.8 billion! With so many creators and brands vying for attention, standing out from the crowd can be tough.

TikTok is used by 18% of global internet users aged 16 to 64 (GlobalWebIndex). Outside of China, TikTok’s largest markets are the US, Indonesia, and Brazil.

Understanding and leveraging TikTok’s algorithm is crucial for standing out in this dynamic environment. In this blog post, I will guide you through the essentials of cracking the TikTok code to achieve viral success just like how I grew mine (Check out my TikTok account).

If you are an e-commerce business owner, digital marketer, or content creator like me, aiming to boost your online presence, this article is for you. Whether you're new to TikTok or looking to enhance your current strategy, understanding how the algorithm works can significantly impact your reach and engagement.

For those looking to transform TikTok engagement into real business results, Sharelo's Shoppable Video is the ultimate solution for any e-commerce company. Sharelo allows you to import TikTok videos, embed interactive links directly within your content, and seamlessly integrate them into your website. This powerful feature enables you to convert viewers into customers effortlessly, enhancing the shopping experience and driving sales directly from your social media content.

Ready to unlock the secrets of the TikTok algorithm and boost your e-commerce sales? Keep reading to discover how you can make your videos stand out and achieve viral success.

Understanding the TikTok Algorithm

Have you ever wondered why your TikTok feed feels like it reads your mind? It's all thanks to TikTok's smart algorithm that curates your For You Page (FYP).

What is FYP or ‘For You Page’

According to TikTok, the For You page algorithm is described as:

“A stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love … powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

This isn't just any recommendation system. Think of TikTok's algorithm as a savvy matchmaker that gets to know your tastes and shows you content you'll enjoy. So, while you might be exploring personal finance tips, your sibling could be discovering new recipes, and your brother might be all about DIY home projects.

Key Components of the Algorithm

  1. User Interaction: The more you interact with TikTok—liking, sharing, or commenting on videos—the better the algorithm understands your preferences and refines its recommendations.
  2. Video Information: The algorithm also takes into account the details of each video, such as captions, hashtags, and sounds, to categorize content and match it with user interests.
  3. Device and Account Settings: User preferences and settings, like language and location, can also influence the visibility of certain videos.

The Role of Machine Learning

Machine learning is essential for the TikTok algorithm. It analyzes everything a user does within the app, including the accounts you follow, the types of videos you watch, and the amount of time you spend on each video. This continuous learning process allows the algorithm to deliver increasingly relevant content tailored to each user's interests.

By understanding and leveraging TikTok’s algorithm, you can optimize your content strategy to increase visibility and engagement. Whether you're a content creator or a business looking to reach a wider audience, mastering the TikTok algorithm is key to achieving viral success.

How to Make the TikTok Algorithm Work for You and Go Viral

This Zach King's TikTok video has 2.1B views

Engagement is key on TikTok! The algorithm prioritizes content that sparks conversation and interaction.

Zach King currently holds the title for most viewed TikTok video of all time, with a whopping 2.1 BILLION views. Watch it down below.


They rejected my application to Hogwarts but I still found a way to be a wizard. 🧹#illusion #magic #harrypotter

♬ Zach Kings Magic Broomstick - Zach King

TikTok was first known as a top entertainment platform, but now it's also a powerful tool for informing, educating, and showcasing brands. Many brands have successfully leveraged TikTok to boost their presence and achieve significant success. For example:

  1. Gymshark has used TikTok to share workout routines and fitness tips, growing a massive following.
  2. Fenty Beauty has showcased makeup tutorials and product launches, driving high engagement and sales.
  3. Chipotle has created viral challenges and behind-the-scenes content, enhancing its brand visibility and customer engagement.

Here's how to craft videos that get noticed and talked about in 2024.

1. Create High-Quality Content Specific for Your Niche

Focus on a specific niche! The algorithm loves creators who consistently deliver content within a well-defined area. This increases your chances of landing on the FYPs (For You Pages) of users genuinely interested in what you have to offer. In my case, I focus on Personal Finance, Freelancing, and Productivity videos so that my content is shown to people who frequently watch this type of content.

Think about it this way: studies show that a big chunk (30-50%) of a user's FYP is based on their past interests. People tend to see content similar to what they've already liked and interacted with.

Here's how you can leverage this for your content strategy:

  • Identify your niche: What are you passionate about creating content for? Is it travel, cooking, gaming, or something else entirely?
  • Become a community hub: Tap into an existing community of enthusiasts by creating content relevant to their interests. Research popular hashtags and trending topics within your niche.
  • Content inspiration: Look at popular content within your niche and adapt it to fit your unique style and voice. Don't just copy, put your own spin on things!

By focusing on a niche, you become a trusted resource and build a loyal following. This translates to increased visibility and ultimately, the potential to grow your audience and engagement.

2. Keep It Short Enough to Watch and Long Enough to Captivate

The TikTok algorithm loves videos viewers watch all the way through. I usually create videos between 30 seconds and 1 minute for informative topics, and longer than 1 minute for more complex topics. Here's how to find the sweet spot:

  • Short and Sweet: Capitalize on the algorithm's preference by creating concise and engaging videos that grab attention quickly and keep viewers hooked. This boosts completion rates and increases your video's visibility.
  • Don't Be Micro: But there's a catch! Super short videos lacking value or entertainment might get skipped.
  • Consider Creator Rewards: While brevity works, keep in mind TikTok's Creator Rewards Program favors longer content (over 1 minute).

The key is to find the perfect balance between keeping viewers engaged and providing enough substance to be worthwhile. Experiment with different lengths to see what resonates best with your audience.

3. The Hook: Grab Attention in the First 3 Seconds

On TikTok, you have a three-second window to grab a viewer's attention before they scroll on by. With endless content competing for eyeballs, a captivating hook is essential. Viewers’ attention can easily get lost if bored, so I usually start with a question to hook them in.

Think of it like a movie trailer. You want to spark curiosity and leave viewers wanting more. Once hooked, the goal is to keep them engaged until the very end. High completion rates are like gold on TikTok, increasing your video's chances of landing on the coveted For You Page (FYP), exposing it to a wider audience.

Crafting a Killer Hook:

  • Start strong! The first 3 seconds are crucial. Use humor, surprise, a thought-provoking question, or a visually stunning scene to grab attention.
  • Keep it concise. Focus on a single, clear message to avoid overwhelming viewers.
  • Highlight your value proposition. What makes your video worth watching? Tease the content or benefit viewers will gain.
  • Match your brand voice. Maintain consistency between your hook and your overall content style.

But simply watching isn't enough. You want viewers to actively engage with your content. Encourage them to like, comment, share, or follow your profile. These actions not only boost your video's performance but also build a deeper connection with viewers, potentially turning them into loyal fans or even customers.

4. Find Your Peak Posting Hours for Maximum Reach

Imagine crafting the perfect TikTok, only for it to disappear into the abyss. Posting at the right time is crucial for maximizing exposure. Here's how to find your sweet spot:

  • General Best Practices: While research suggests early mornings (6-10 AM) and evenings (7-11 PM) are high-traffic times, these can vary.
  • Know Your Audience: Utilize TikTok analytics to understand when your followers are most active. This data is gold! Align your posting schedule with their peak activity for maximum reach and engagement. I usually post around 9:00 AM, noon, 5:00 PM, or 8:00 PM

By strategically timing your posts, you significantly increase your chances of getting discovered and going viral.

The key to standing out on TikTok? Speaking the language of the platform. Here's how trending audio and hashtags can supercharge your videos:

  • Trending Audio is Your Ticket to FYPs: The algorithm loves videos that use popular sounds. Incorporate trending audio to tap into a pre-engaged audience and increase your chances of landing on coveted For You Pages (FYPs).
  • Hashtags are Like Search Engine Magnets: Carefully chosen hashtags make your videos discoverable by users searching for specific content. Research relevant, trending hashtags within your niche to attract viewers actively looking for your type of content.

Become a trendsetter, not just a follower. By strategically using trending audio and hashtags, you open the door to a wider audience and explosive growth.

6. Build a Community: Foster Two-Way Engagement

The magic of TikTok isn't just one-way communication. Engaging with other users is a powerful strategy to boost your visibility and build a loyal following. Here's how to join the conversation:

  • React, Respond, Remix: Follow TikTok's "react, respond, and remix" approach. React to trending content, answer viral questions with informative videos, and remix popular ideas with your own creative spin.
  • Native Features Are Your Friends: Utilize TikTok's built-in features to foster interaction:
    • Duets: Collaborate with other creators on challenges or tips.
    • Stitch: Clip segments from relevant videos and add your commentary.
    • Video Replies: Respond to comments with personalized content, building a community around your brand.
  • Embrace User-Generated Content (UGC): Repurpose positive UGC showcasing real users' experiences. This authenticity resonates with viewers and strengthens your brand connection.

To foster a thriving TikTok community, I actively engage with my audience by replying to comments and answering their questions. This creates a space for connection and growth.

From Viral to Valuable: Turn Your TikTok Hits into Sales with Shoppable Videos

Imagine your most engaging TikTok video, but with the power to convert viewers into customers instantly. That's the magic of Shoppable Videos!

Here's why Shoppable Videos are a game-changer:

  • Effortless Shopping Experience: Seamlessly bridge the gap between entertainment and purchase. Viewers can click directly from your video to product pages, eliminating friction and boosting sales.
  • Own Your Data, Own Your Success: Track video metrics and customer behavior directly on your website. Gain valuable insights into what resonates with your audience, allowing you to refine your content and maximize your return on investment.
  • Repurpose Your Best Content: Breathe new life into your viral TikTok videos! Leverage your existing content on your website, maximizing its reach and sales potential.

Stop sending viewers on a journey across platforms! Shoppable Videos create a smooth path from discovery to purchase, turning your TikTok fame into real business growth.

Ready to unlock the true power of your viral content? Look no further than Sharelo's Shoppable Video platform. Sharelo allows you to import videos directly from TikTok, add overlay links, and publish them on your site with ease. This way, you can leverage the engagement power of TikTok while keeping your customers within your own sales ecosystem.

Explore Sharelo's Shoppable Video solutions today and turn your viral moments into lasting customer relationships!

Boost your sales with engaging video conversations