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How can you engineer virality on TikTok?

The average TikTok user spends around 89 minutes on average each day on the short-form video app. As of October 2020, TikTok had 732 million monthly active users. 

Music Business weekly puts these astounding figures into perspective – 732 million active users is more than double Spotify‘s global monthly active user base as of the end of 2020 (345 million), but less than half the 2 billion-plus logged-in monthly active users YouTube pulls in around the world.

The number of users, coupled with their engagement, has led the platform to become an instant favourite with content creators and artists who want to increase their global audience through virality. 

While going viral may come across as mere serendipity, there are ways and means of making your music blow up on TikTok. 

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring various tactics that you can use to increase your chances of going viral. 

Why virality is more possible on TikTok than on other platforms

TikTok’s magic virality concoction lies in the fact that its intuitive algorithm creates a unique content feed for each user – the famous For You Page (#FYP). The For You Page becomes more tailored to the individual as the user interacts with the platform. 

Users can also create similar videos to the ones that they see on the For You Page. Copying is actually encouraged, as it creates a chain of similar content. This chain increases the chances of a challenge or a song snippet going viral. 

Why are TikTok videos unique?

TikTok’s short-form videos have proved to be a hit with users. They’re so popular that other social media platforms, in particular Instagram, have copied the formula in an attempt to bring users back to the platform. 

What makes TikTok videos different?

  • Authenticity is more important than perfection
  • TikTok’s user-friendly yet powerful editor enables users to edit separate videos together
  • Music is used to amplify visual content
  • The 15-second limit pushes creators to convey their messages in a quick manner

5 ways to engineer music virality on TikTok

Use your catchiest tracks

Your tracks have to be catchy and relatable for TikTok’s Gen Z user base. Choose a track with a great hook or riff as your foundation, and build visual content around it. The 15-seconds sound clips for viral hits such as Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, Doja Cat’s Say So, Lizzo’s Truth Hurts and Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road work because they showcase each song’s most memorable part. 

Create a TikTok Challenge

A lot of artists go viral when their music is associated with a particular challenge or contest. Memes, lip-synchs, dances and costume changes usually work well on the platform. 

Create your very own song challenge for your next release. Make sure that it’s simple enough for it to be imitated by other users. 

Use hashtags

Like any other social media platform, hashtags enable TikTok users to find topical content and join conversations. 

Include a mix of specific and general hashtags in your posts to ensure that they have a bigger chance of reaching a wide pool of people. 

You can get a general idea of what users are looking for by checking which hashtags are currently trending in your country or region. 

Follow other TikTokers

If you want to go viral, you need to build a long-term networking strategy. Follow TikTokers that are creating similar content, and hit them up for potential collaborations. 

TikTok thrives on collaboration. By connecting with other creators, you can cross-pollinate your audiences, push each others’ challenges and generate ideas for new content. 

Share best-performing videos to Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels has made it easier for content creators to re-purpose TikTok content. 

It also enables them to target two different user bases, as TikTok is primarily targeted at Gen Zers, while Instagram’s biggest age group’s the 35 to 44-year-olds. 

Final notes

It’s important to keep in mind that, like any other marketing strategy, a TikTok music strategy requires a lot of patience, not to mention trial and error. 

Given the immense volume of users, and the even bigger volume of content that’s churned out every day, analysing current trends and what works and what doesn’t ensures that you’re playing the long game. Ultimately, this is important if you want any degree of virality to lead to long-term success. 

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