How TikTok Works: Using the Algorithm to Get Follows, Views, & More
With one billion active users spread across 154 countries, Tiktok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world. Unlike the more traditional follower-based feeds popularized by Facebook and later adopted by other platforms like Instagram and Twitter, TikTok’s feed takes a more algorithmic approach. Called the “For You” Page, TikTok’s dominant feed prioritizes boosting niche-related content to users who have shown repeated interest in that niche.
Because of this hyper-focused algorithm, it's easier to go viral on TikTok than any other popular social media platform today. Small creators and brands can grow to tens of thousands of followers seemingly overnight. Social media managers are asking themselves how they can make it happen.
TikTok trends are an approachable, and consistent way for brands and content creators alike to win the favor of the algorithm and consistently produce new, binge-worthy content in a formatted way. Keep reading to find out how to hack the TikTok algorithm and the trends that can help.
How Getting TikTok Views Works
You've probably heard about "the algorithm" when talking about social media. But how does it actually work? Algorithms are based on your interactions on the platform and accounts that might be similar to yours.
For example, when on their respective feeds, a 30-year-old mother might find content related to cooking, music, childcare, and clothing hauls, whereas female college students might also see content related to cooking and clothing hauls, but could also be shown more age-targeted content such as college memes or career growth opportunities. The key here being both of these women will be repeatedly engaging with the content of accounts they don’t follow, but have been pushed to their "For You" page due to the algorithm.
One way creators and brands are able to gain popularity quickly is through TikTok trends. According to TikTok, a Trend is “use(d) to describe the creative formats, ideas, and behaviors that get a lot of attention on TikTok, and in turn, influence what people do on the platform.”
There are two primary ways TikTok trends take shape: Sounds and Hashtags.
TikTok Trend: Sounds
There are four specific ways users can find and use TikTok Sounds to grow on the app.
- Scroll the "For You" page. Once you begin engaging on the "For You" page, you will naturally start to see certain sounds appear over and over again, these are likely trending sounds. When you find a sound you would like to use, tap the sound page and you'll be able to see how many people have made a TikTok using that sound. Tap “Use this sound” to immediately film a video, or choose “Add to favorites” to save for later.
- Explore the TikTok Sounds Library. The TikTok Sounds Library houses every song, sound clip, remix, and original audio that exists on the platform. It's organized by genre, popularity, and trends. To access the Sounds Library click the ‘+’ sign at the bottom of the page. Once the camera opens, click “Add Sound” at the top of the page.
*New Feature Alert: You can now easily switch between public use and commercial use sounds within the TikTok Sounds Library by tapping the drop-down arrow next to “Sounds” on the top of the page and selecting Commercial Sounds.
- Search in App for Trending Sounds. TikTok, more than many other social media platforms, is a search engine. This makes searching for trending sounds directly in-app much easier than similar platforms like Instagram. Search for trending sounds by tapping the magnifying glass icon on the top right corner of the "For You" page. In the search bar type “Trending Sounds.” From here a list of sounds will appear listed by relevance that you can pick from.
- Discover the TikTok Creative Center. The TikTok Creative Center is a page you should bookmark. It provides a list of the most popular songs on the app sorted by time frame and region. The list can also be broken down into a section labeled “Breakout” which is a ranked list of songs that are growing in popularity at a significant rate within the region and timeframe you selected.
From both the Popular and Breakout tabs a user can click into a song and see analytically expanded metrics about the song such as how long it has been trending, percentage of peak viewership, and audience insights such as age range and related interests. It also provides a more comprehensive list of the regions where the song is trending.
*Note: The Creative Center only features registered songs and not original sounds from app users.
TikTok Trend: Hashtags
Just like other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, hashtags help users share content and join conversations about topics that interest them.
To find trending hashtags in your niche click on the magnifying glass at the top "For You" page and then search your niche. On the top of the page tap Hashtags. From there you will see a continuous list of all of the trending hashtags featuring your keyword and the number of views it has garnered. Across all social media platforms, it is best practice to pick hashtags with a varying number of views, to best optimize for appearing in search results. On TikTok leaning into both niche and broader trending hashtags is key to landing your content in front of the most robust audience possible.
The TikTok Creator Center is also a great tool for sourcing trending hashtags. Within the page one can discover hashtag rankings, the number of posts and views, creators who have used each hashtag, and in-depth audience insights.
With more businesses leveraging TikTok in their marketing strategies than ever before, it is time you gain a competitive edge on the platform by optimizing your content for TikTok Trends.
Want to connect with a member of our team to talk about how we can help you succeed on TikTok? Reach out now.
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