How to Make the TikTok Algorithm Work for You

tiktok algorithm

TikTok has taken over the social media scene due to its ability to make any post go viral. Similarly to most social media platforms, the TikTok algorithm is based around hashtags, time of posting and engagement rates.

Whilst TikTok’s algorithm isn’t fully understood, there are certain ways you can use it. Here’s how to increase your chances of going viral and get your content noticed.

How Does The TikTok Algorithm Work?

The main difference between TikTok and other social media platforms is the For You page, similar to Instagram’s Explore page. This is how TikTok judges your video quality and chooses who to show it to.

There is no real evidence that getting featured on the For You page is the key to going viral. However, most users claim that this is the way to do it.

But, how exactly does a video go viral? The most popular theory is:

  1. Once you upload your video, TikTok shows it to a small number of users in between two popular videos
  2. TikTok measures the views, likes, comments, shares and downloads that your video gets
  3. If the video receives good engagement, TikTok will show the video to more people. The algorithm works in waves, so if you suddenly get lots of engagement you will, in turn, get shown to more users

As you can see, TikTok judges each video individually rather than using your whole online content. This means that you only need one good video to go viral. However, it also means that it’s easy for one video to do amazing and your next video to “flop”.

#ForYouPage

If you’ve spent hours scrolling through TikTok you’ll have noticed that a lot of captions include #ForYouPage or #fyp.

There is a theory that using these hashtags will increase the chances of being shown on people’s For You Pages.

Some users say these hashtags help their videos get seen. Others say that using more relevant and specific hashtags help them.

Engagement Bait

This is a popular method for trying to get around TikTok’s algorithm. Users create videos like this in order to get more engagement. This ‘cheats’ the algorithm by showing your video to more users.

Examples of this include posting two videos using different sounds and saying “comment which video you see first”.

Again, it’s not known if this will affect the algorithm. However, it is an easy way to get more likes and comments on your video.

Incorporate Trends and Challenges

If TikTok’s algorithm is based around engagement rates, it’s important that you’re creating content that people find entertaining.

If there’s a specific trend going around, hopping on board will increase the likelihood of your videos getting engagement. Some of these trends include the “what I’d wear if I was a character in…” or “put a finger down if…”

You could even create your own challenge in order to promote your brand. Chipotle did this by creating the #ChipotleLidFlip challenge to promote their new free delivery deal.

Use Popular Sounds and Music

From dancing tutorials to lip syncing, music is a key feature of TikTok. Videos that use popular background sounds are more likely to get higher engagement rates.

How do you know which sounds are popular? Scroll through your For You page and you’ll see multiple videos that use the same music and background sounds. If you find a popular video, click on the sound they use at the bottom. This lets you see how many other videos are using this sound.

Interact With Others

Liking and commenting is the easiest way to interact with other accounts. Although, TikTok allows you to interact in more creative ways.

Duet, Use This Effect and Stitch are all features you can use on TikTok to incorporate a video into your own creation.

Some accounts have made popular videos simply by using the Duet feature to review other posts. This is seen with Brad Monda who creates “Hairdresser Reacts To…”.

Use Influencers

If you want to be featured in popular videos, influencers might be the way forward.

TikTok is known for its Gen Z demographic. If you want to get your brand in front of this generation you might want to start thinking about utilising this platform.

Like with any other social platform, you need to think carefully about which influencers to use. You also need to produce a creative influencer strategy.

Think about your audience – are they interested in dance videos or makeup tutorials? No matter what your audience is looking for, there’s an influencer out there.

There are many tools for finding influencers, such as Upfluence. With websites like this you can easily find and contact the perfect influencer for you campaign.

Suzie Letts
Hey, I’m Suzie! I’ve recently finished my undergraduate degree at King’s College London and currently work as a Social Media Marketing Officer for an international music summer school. As a musician, I love writing and performing everything from classical to musical theatre. I specialise in social media marketing in the arts, specifically music and I can’t wait to see where my journey in marketing takes me!