Everyone wants to know how to go viral. But the truth is, that isn’t a good strategy for growth.
Focusing on going viral is tempting—hundreds of thousands of eyes on your content can’t be bad, right?
I’d say probably 98% of creators will fail if they go this route. And yes, you’re very likely in that group.
In this article, I’ll explore the strategies you need to take if you want to get followers from a viral TikTok.
Keep reading to learn the best way to grow on TikTok.
What Does it Mean to go Viral on TikTok?
In short: it means people—and as a result, the algorithm—liked your video.
A viral TikTok means that a video is performing exceptionally well on TikTok’s For You Feed. The algorithm has noticed that the video’s metrics are well above average—maybe it has an exceptionally long watch time, a high number of shares, or a significant view-to-comment ratio. Because of this, it is pushing the video to more and more users.
So if your video goes viral, it means that thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people are viewing it.
How to go Viral on TikTok
I’m sorry to tell you, but there is no guaranteed recipe for how to make a viral TikTok. Plus, the degree to which your video can go viral depends heavily on your target audience or niche.
For example, going viral for a dance trend is likely to see your video getting hundreds of thousands—even millions—of views. Going viral for a local or community audience will more likely result in tens of thousands.
This doesn’t mean you should only focus on going viral for a broad audience. Quite the opposite, actually. You should focus your viral strategy on your target audience. That way the algorithm continues to push your content to the people you want to follow you.
Here are a few general guidelines to follow.
- Follow TikTok best practices
- Adhere to TikTok’s guidelines
- Use a strong, compelling hook
- Tell an interesting story
- Give users a reason to share and comment
- Answer every comment, especially right after posting
- Use trending sounds
- Pick the right hashtags
Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Going Viral
Ultimately, your goal when creating a video should always be to make something valuable. If you do this very well, the video will perform well on the FYF and is more likely to go viral.
If the primary focus of your content strategy is to go viral, you’ll probably run into two main issues:
- If you’ve only focused on viral video strategy, you’re less likely to retain any followers you gain from your viral video.
- If you don’t have a follow-up strategy for going viral, you won’t be equipped to capitalize on the influx of viewers your profile is getting.
The solution: a content strategy that focuses primarily on catering to your ideal audience, not courting new followers. That way, if you do go viral, it will be with the right niche of users.
Going Viral on TikTok ≠ Sustainable Growth
First, let’s get this straight: going viral on TikTok doesn’t mean your account will succeed. Yes, you may well get an influx of followers overnight, but these followers aren’t likely to help you achieve your goals.
- These followers aren’t necessarily following you because they love and relate to your content
- They aren’t necessarily developing a connection with your brand or persona
- They are less likely to remember you and engage with your content
What You Should Do Instead of Focusing on Viral TikTok Strategy
So, focusing on creating viral videos isn’t the best strategy. What are the alternatives?
Content Strategy for TikTok Growth
When building out your content strategy, I recommend going with a 60-30-10 ratio:
- 60% of your content should be value-based content dedicated to your existing audience
- 30% of your content should be value-based content dedicated to new followers who’ve never heard of you (viral content)
- No more than 10% of your content should be explicitly promotional or sales enablement
That means if you’re posting ten videos per week (not an uncommon volume recommendation for TikTok growth), six will be curated to your existing audience, three will be attempts at “viral” videos, and one will be a sales enablement or promotional video.
Yes, you read that right—only one. Remember that TikTok circulates each video for a total of three months, so if you’re posting a high volume of promotional content, your followers could end up seeing way too many of these videos while they scroll. If the videos feel like ads, they’re likely to unfollow you.
Of course, there are exceptions to this. But it’s a good general rule to follow.
Develop a Post-Viral Strategy
Most creators and businesses are not prepared to go viral.
When you go viral, a high volume of people will flock to your profile. Some will follow you. Do you have a follow-up video strategy that will help you capitalize on that rapid growth?
Here are some things you should have prepared before posting a viral video:
- An optimized profile with a clear description and links to relevant sites and channels
- Your best-performing sales enablement video pinned to the top of your profile
- At least a month of high-value content dedicated to the needs of your target audience
- Playlists of high-value content that new followers can watch easily
- A follow-up content strategy with a week’s worth of high-quality content, including a sales enablement video
- Time to respond to comments (in the comment section or as new comment response videos)
- Time to respond to DMs
- Time to create another version of the viral video or create a series based on the viral video
Measure Social Media Success With Hire a Writer
Going viral shouldn’t be the whole cake—it’s more like the cherry on top. Yes, it can make a huge difference in your rate of growth. But that growth will only be effective if you’ve created a solid foundation of content and if you have a great strategy to deal with the influx of new followers.
If you want support with your TikTok growth strategy, contact the team at Hire a Writer. I’d love to help you reach your target audience.