TikTok is the number one platform for virality with the ability to turn a regular person into an internet sensation overnight — but let’s face it, overnight success on TikTok is like winning the algorithmic lottery. Being successful on TikTok definitely depends on being the right creator at the right time, but many other factors help more than pure luck!
As a social media manager who is also a creator, I’ve analyzed several “overnight TikTok sensations” and creators who have gained a significant amount of followers in a relatively short amount of time. I’ve uncovered some of the secrets to their success that they all have in common and I’m going to let you in on it!
6 ways to beat the TikTok algorithm and create content users want
Take a minute to think about your favorite TikTok creators and what they have in common. In most cases, you probably like them because of their personalities and opinions on specific topics or hobbies that interest you. They also provide some kind of value to you, either by giving you a recommendation that you can implement into your daily life, providing you with useful knowledge on a topic, or just giving you a mid-day laugh.
But what does this information tell us, and how can you channel it into your own TikTok success?
1. Talk to the camera
Speaking directly to your camera and making eye contact with your viewers can be a game-changer in the world of social media. It’s a no-brainer that forging a meaningful connection with your audience becomes infinitely more potent when they not only see your face but also hear your voice.
Why? Because when you share your story, thoughts, and opinions through spoken words, you’re inviting your viewers into your world. It’s a powerful way to humanize your online presence and create an authentic bond that transcends the digital divide.
Your voice is your unique instrument to convey emotions, passion, and sincerity. It adds depth to your persona and allows your audience to relate to you on a more personal level. When speaking to your viewers, also make sure to keep eye contact. It is a great way to make your audience feel like you are having a conversation with them, which keeps them engaged. Remember, you’re not just a face on a screen and you want viewers to see you as a real, relatable person with ideas, insights, and a genuine personality.
So, whether you’re sharing your expertise, telling your story, or simply engaging with your audience, remember that talking to the camera is your direct line to building a stronger, more profound connection with those who follow you. It’s a digital handshake, a virtual conversation, and the key to creating a lasting impression in the world of social media.
2. Post longer videos
A noteworthy trend we’ve observed in 2023, which is set to continue into 2024, is the performance of long-form videos in contrast to the earlier heydays of seconds-long, short-form content. What’s becoming evident is that today’s audiences are yearning for closer connections on social media as well as content that dives deeper into the topics that interest them. People are more willing than ever to seek out creators who create long-form content, whether it’s sharing their daily lives or passionately expressing their interests.
Longer, value-driven videos exhibit significant staying power, growing exponentially over time, particularly when the content pertains to evergreen subjects that maintain relevance long after it was posted. This marks a significant shift from the fast-paced world of viral TikTok trends, where sounds and trends rocket to stardom briefly before gradually disappearing into a sea of social media fads and formerly trending content. Even the platform itself is prompting users to post longer videos, stating that videos longer than 1 minute tend to get longer play time and increased engagement.
3. Use your hands and body language (but in a natural way)
Imagine someone talking to you in real life with a monotonous, uninspired tone — you’d probably find it a real snooze fest. We’ve all had that one professor who would drone on for hours as you struggle to stay awake. Now, the same principle applies to the digital realm. If you don’t grab your audience’s attention within those critical first few seconds, you risk losing them instantly.
The key here is to inject some excitement into your digital interactions. Begin by crafting a compelling hook and set the stage for what’s to come with an enthusiastic tone. Use your body language, gestures, and facial expressions to convey your passion and engage your viewers.
When it comes to body language, your hands are one of the most important aspects, especially if you create your content while sitting down and talking to the camera. You can use your hands to express emotion, your mood, and even emphasize certain points. Things like pointing a finger, shaking a fist, or even steepling your fingers convey vastly different messages. If you’re running through a list of different things, you can even use your fingers to help count along to add an additional visual aspect to what you’re talking about.
I’ve also noticed that some creators will do a task while they talk. This includes things such as doing their makeup, cooking, or eating, and it makes the content a bit more engaging as it gives viewers something to watch as they listen along. This can even help creators inject a “Get Ready with Me” angle to their content, and it can also make their audience feel like they’re getting a behind-the-scenes look as their favorite creator gives viewers a peek into their daily routine.
But, it’s important that your gestures and body language come off naturally. And if you’re not the most physically expressive person, it can be very helpful to watch videos of popular figures like comedians or politicians — pay attention to how they use their hands.
If you aren’t as physically expressive, there are other ways to grab attention. Other options include pop-up text, closed captions, sound effects, quick cuts, and other editing tricks. Closed captions are particularly helpful because it makes your content more accessible — not only for those people scrolling on mute but also for those who are hard of hearing.
A little enthusiasm can go a long way in keeping your audience tuned in and eagerly awaiting what you have to say next. But on the flip side, if it seems like you don’t care about what you’re talking about, why should your audience?
It’s all about making your online presence as captivating as an enthralling conversation with a friend.
4. Be consistent!
Most of the successful creators you come across on TikTok have honed in on one specific strategy: consistent posting. However, this doesn’t entail bombarding your audience with 50 posts a day, nor does it mean posting for the sake of it.
You can opt to share content 1-3 times daily, but it’s essential that your content remains valuable and you should endeavor to adhere to a specific niche.
Many creators have achieved success by sharing a variety of different videos, but in the initial stages, it’s far more manageable to expand your audience when you concentrate on a highly specific niche and stick to a singular theme. An inventive way to maintain a niche while covering various categories is by establishing a distinct video style that resonates with your viewers.
For instance, some creators create content spanning different subjects such as health, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and more. Yet, they ensure cohesion in their content by maintaining a consistent aesthetic and video style, allowing them to explore a broader spectrum of topics that still feel on-brand.
5. Foster intrinsic creativity
We’ve noticed something pretty common among novice creators just starting out in the TikTok scene. A lot of times, they try to copy what popular creators are doing. And sure, that might work in some cases, but more often than not, it can hold you back on the platform because you’re not really standing out.
So, here’s a thought: instead of always looking at what everyone else is up to, take a moment to consider what they’re NOT doing. You know, those moments when the best ideas hit you out of nowhere — maybe at the gym, during a walk, or right before you hit the hay. To ensure you don’t forget those lightbulb moments, keep a running list on your phone or jot it down in a good old notebook.
It’s totally fine to get inspired by others, but the trick is to brainstorm ways to put your own spin on things, making it uniquely yours. That way, you’re not just following the crowd but adding your own flavor to the mix.
A great example of this is reaction content and how different creators approach it. Some creators will merely watch other people’s content while barely reacting at all. This doesn’t add any value and it can even lead to them getting accused of stealing content. On the other hand, some creators provide commentary or analysis, which adds their own thoughts and opinions to transform the content into something new and interesting.
6. Have a captivating hook
We briefly mentioned the importance of hooks, but now we will dive into what makes a good hook, and also provide you with some examples — pulled straight from some of TikTok’s most viral videos!
Infuse your message with a sense of urgency, such as exclaiming, “You absolutely need this in your life!” or saying, “Folks, I’ve stumbled upon the perfect solution.” Statements like these trigger the fear of missing out (FOMO) while piquing people’s curiosity and making them eager to learn more.
Remember, the tone and delivery of your message are crucial as we’ve emphasized before; they should align seamlessly with your captivating hook. If your introduction is monotonous, it may bore the audience but enthusiasm can be infectious.
Make bold statements
Kickstart your content with a bold statement or opinion, instantly drawing your audience in and leaving them hungry for more, especially if you’re calling out a commonly held belief.
For example, imagine you were watching a TikTok about a morning beauty routine, and the creator started by saying, “Everything you know about your morning routine is wrong.” Doesn’t that instantly hook you and make you curious about why it’s wrong and what they will say next?
One important thing when making bold statements is to make sure you can prove or back up what you say, or else it can come off as disingenuous or clickbait-y, which can ultimately impact your audience’s trust in you. Sometimes, it’s an extremely fine line between grabbing someone’s attention and being pure clickbait.
Engage your viewers directly by addressing them during the conversation. Involving them in this way makes them more inclined to continue watching and discover how the information will benefit them.
Using “you” and variations of it like ‘your’ and ‘yours’ in YOUR content (see what I did just there) also creates a sense of intimacy, like you’re having a conversation with the audience, and it’s another effective tactic to use when you’re talking to the camera.
10 viral hook examples
For inspiration, here are a few effective ways to hook your audience from the get-go:
1. If you wanna achieve X then you need to do Y
2. Want to know the secret to X? I’ve got just the solution for you
3. X things I would have done sooner to become Y
4. The truth about X
5. Stop doing X
6. This is your sign to X
7. Come with me to X
8. Help me pick X
9. What if I told you…X
10. Here’s the only video you need to watch to understand X
Other hooks, like “One weird trick” or “Doctors hate this one trick” have become so common that they’re practically memes at this point, but they were (and sometimes still are) highly effective ways to grab attention and pique curiosity.
TikTok success: More than just luck
Diving into the world of TikTok may seem like a shot at winning the lottery for overnight success, but the reality is, it involves more than just luck.
In the dynamic world of TikTok, success is a blend of strategy, authenticity, and creativity. So, go ahead, speak to the camera, post longer videos, be dynamic, create compelling hooks, be consistent, and let your intrinsic creativity shine — because the journey to TikTok stardom is not simply a game of chance but a well-crafted, strategic adventure.