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TikTok Trends: Should You Follow Them Or Avoid Them?
TikTok is everywhere; there’s no escaping it even if we wanted to. Everyone, from Taylor Swift to your next-door neighbor, is doing their thing on TikTok, and if you can’t beat them, join them, right? Of course, we are speaking very broadly; we don’t want any angry emails if your neighbor isn’t on TikTok or if you live next door to Taylor Swift! The point is TikTok is entangled with most aspects of popular culture these days, and if you’re trying to build a brand or promote a project, you have to pay attention. So, whether you are a company/brand, musician, filmmaker, influencer, or anyone else trying to reach an audience, it’s time to get the most out of TikTok.
What is a TikTok Trend?
OK, most of you might already know what a TikTok trend is, but it never hurts to cover the basics.
When something is trending online, whether it’s a YouTube video or Twitter hashtag, it generally means that it has been shared and viewed a massive number of times.
At least more than most other things that day, week, or whatever period is being measured.
With TikTok, it’s the same principle but typically comes with more individuality.
Rather than sharing someone else’s video/post, or a text-only hashtag, a TikTok trend often involves creating and sharing your own version.
TikTok trends typically come in the form of a particular sound/song, effect, hashtag, dance, or video format.
Video format could mean many things, so here are a few examples:
A seamless transition is connecting two videos seamlessly for a single post.
A typical example of this technique is when people want to display an instant change of location or outfit, like going from a lazy day to party mode.
But, it could be anything.
Common transitions include swiping your hand, snapping your fingers, or flipping your hair.
Seamless transition videos are often among the most popular on TikTok, so it’s a good idea to know the best transitions.
This video format is perhaps a more serious side of TikTok; unfortunately, it brings out the best and worst of the internet.
As technology evolves, each generation seems to live life in the public domain more than the last.
The pressures of everyday life can sometimes weigh heavy, and this video format is about sharing your feelings openly.
A kind of “it’s OK not to be OK” theme, to put it simply.
The person posting the video can relieve some pressure by sharing, and hopefully, some people watching find comfort in knowing they are not alone in their struggles.
Some posts are pretty lighthearted; others are very emotional and take some courage to post, so if you ever comment on any, make it a positive comment; the internet can be a cruel place.
A TikTok Duet is when you post a video side-by-side with another video.
The videos will play at the same time, and you can only duet with videos that have been posted on a public account.
Family TikToks are great!
If there’s one thing that platforms like TikTok are guilty of, it’s keeping young people glued to their screens rather than engaging in the real world.
We maybe shouldn’t say that since we’re talking about getting the best out of TikTok, but everything in moderation.
Family TikToks are great because they get parents, grandparents, kids, brothers, and sisters together to have fun.
It could be a family dance or a comedy sketch like “My dad is so embarrassing because…….”
Businesses shouldn’t ignore this format because it could easily be a work-family theme.
Similar to family TikToks, this format focuses on the relationship of best friends.
The content is often a timeline of adventures and misadventures, showcasing a strong bond.
Creating Your own Version
There are different levels of creating your own version.
For example, if you are recreating a trending dance, you’d likely repeat the steps as accurately as possible.
But, other trends are more story-based, which involves adding your personality or personal experience.
For example, the trend could be answering the question, “How does your family make you happy?”; your post would be entirely based on personal experience.
TikTok’s Biggest Trends
The best way to fully understand TikTok is to check out some of the biggest trends to date.
Trends like the ever-present lip-syncing, tell me without telling me, and I’ll never forget you.
Why are TikTok Trends Important?
Trends, in general, are important because they indicate the interests of different age groups, and that’s marketing gold.
Social media trends are more volatile than real-world trends because they come and go so quickly.
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform in the world, with over one billion active monthly users.
TikTok users account for around 20% of all current internet users.
The rapidly-expanding platform looks set to end 2022 with somewhere around 1.8 billion users.
We mentioned TikTok being entangled with all aspects of popular culture, but it might be more accurate to say TikTok often drives popular culture.
TikTok tends to be closer to the cutting edge of what’s hot and what’s not than most other social platforms.
TikTok stays ahead of the packs because it’s more in tune with daily life, and many trends are based on human experiences.
It’s also incredibly quick and easy to use.
If you want to grow your online presence and stay on your audience’s minds (screens), there’s no better proving ground than TikTok.
How to Identify a Current Trend
Now that we’ve discussed TikTok trends, it’s time to learn how to identify them.
You can take a few steps to stay up to date with the latest trends.
Step One: Get a TikTok account; we’re assuming you’ll already have one, but just in case!
Step Two: Open the Discover tab; here, you will find a selection of current trends, sorted by type (sound, effect, etc.), with video examples of each.
Step Three: Follow the hashtag #trendalert (widely used across all regions to identify new and potential trends).
Step Four: Follow, and pay close attention to the most influential TikTok accounts.
Not all trends come from well-established TikTok accounts, but influential accounts can sometimes start trends with seemingly little effort.
You can choose to pay more attention to influencers who are specific to your niche; music, dance, cosmetics, etc.
But, it’s a good idea to take more of a macro view as trends can be adapted to fit your personal goals.
Step Five: Check your “For You Page” regularly.
The For You Page is a personalized feed of content recommended for you based on your recent activity.
TikTok’s algorithm selects content based on users’ actions, like what they like, share, and view multiple times.
The For You Page is a great place to find variations and inspiration if you’ve been checking out a particular trend or video format.
It’s also considered prime TikTok real estate, and one of the best ways to reach new fans is to land on their For You Page.
That’s why #ForYouPage and #FYP are two of the platform’s most popular hashtags.
You should get to know some of the most used hashtags on TikTok.
Follow the Trend or be a Trendsetter?
Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash
It’s always best to be a trendsetter, right?
That’s generally the correct answer, but it’s slightly different with TikTok.
If we look at another social platform like Twitter and let’s say Jay Z tweets about his new album, and it’s trending.
What’s going to happen is most people will retweet his original tweet or copy any defining hashtag he might have used.
Ultimately, whatever users do in that situation, all roads lead back to Jay Z’s profile.
With TikTok, if you can be the trendsetter, generate millions of views, and reach hoards of new fans, that’s perfect.
But, let’s say you see a post that has generated five million views, and you decide to have a go at it yourself.
There’s nothing to say that your version, posted later than the original, can’t reach 10 million views.
Unlike some other platforms, you won’t be flooded with comments saying someone else did it first and you’re just a copycat because that’s what TikTok is all about.
When it comes to TikTok, there’s very little harm in being a sheep and going with the crowd.
The important thing is that you are very near the front of that crowd.
Timing is Everything
Timing is everything is a phrase that applies to most things in life (if only every terrible drummer out there would listen, huh).
As we mentioned already, social media trends are volatile; they can be the biggest thing in the world one day and a laughing stock the next.
The last thing you want to do is jump on a trend the day after it stopped being cool.
You’ll be met with the internet version of Nelson from The Simpson’s pointing and saying Ha-Ha before walking off to leave you on your own.