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What the TikTok?! Takeaways from Going Viral””

Ummmmm…had a weird weekend over here. Why? I threw some old GoPro footage on my TikTok Friday night and went to bed. I woke up to half a million views. WHAT?!

A day later, it was almost 2 million. And it just keeps climbing.

While that’s not anywhere near Charli Damelio (the TikTok queen), for someone who wasn’t really trying, it’s pretty insane.

How did this happen?
It’s kind of a happy accident. I actually got an account to understand the platform for work. With a billion users, it was time to educate myself on this teen-driven app. It was time to learn what makes the Tok tick (groan).

For the last month or so, I’d played around with it. I added a few old travel videos on it here and there. I watched a few trending videos. I left a few comments. Honestly, I kind of forgot about it for a couple of weeks. Then last Friday, Jeff and I were working on Creative Arcade content and I started playing with it again. That evening, I uploaded my hummingbird video.


300k+ likes and almost 500 comments later, I’m still scratching my head.
What did I do right?

Here’s my theory:

  • Eye-catching content
    The actual footage is pretty awesome. That sounds braggy, but as the person who experienced it, the real moment was a pretty insane experience. You don’t see a hummingbird hang out on a person’s finger every day. It was unique. It must have stood out amongst the dancing videos and trends of the day.
  • Intriguing Headline
    My post copy was simple: I still can’t believe this happened. I wrote from the heart. I CAN NOT believe that moment happened in my life. But I’m finding out now that type of language is super useful on TikTok. It draws people to watch the whole video. The longer people watch, the more TikTok shows off your video.
  • Strategic Hashtags
    I’d done some research for work so I knew a couple hashtags to throw in there: #foryoupage and #fyp. This shows TikTok you want to be on the For You Page, which is the main page people see when they open the app. I even had a few people leave “For you page” in the comment section. Thank you!
  • Converse with Commenters
    Before I went to bed, I noticed a few comments on my post. I quickly answered them all back. The next day I had to do that tenfold. While it takes some time, it helps boost your post. Even more so, it’s a nice thing to do. People are taking time to ask you questions and compliment your content. Return the love.
  • Song Choice
    I usually just throw in one of my favorite songs. This time, I went through my list with a little more intention. I found a song that had lyrics that somewhat matched the scene. If the song can help tell the story, all the better.

Well, there you have it. I’m not totally sure how it happened, but it’s pretty neat. I hope these tips help you as you explore TikTok. You just never know what will happen. As far as me, I’m going to keep playing around with it and be grateful for even a few views.

P.S. I also learned one more important lesson from this whole thing. Do not give hummingbirds red dye sugar water. The dye’s not good for them. Plain sugar water works just as well.