How to make your brand go TikTok viral without paying banner

How to make your brand go TikTok viral without paying

Is your brand looking for a new and exciting way to market?  With over 2 billion downloads, it is no wonder why social media app TikTok is the platform everyone is talking about.  Originally, the app was populated with lip-sync style videos but it has quickly evolved and now presents itself as a marketing tool that brands can use to create viral content.  The app allows users and brands to reach a global audience of 689 million active users by simply sharing unique short videos.  Now, your brand has the potential to jump on TikTok’s tremendous growth and success and reap the benefits. 

And what’s even better?  You can do it for free.  Here’s how.  

1. Become familiar with TikTok

TikTok is a one-of-a-kind app, so it is essential that you acquaint yourself with the app’s features.  Unlike other social media platforms and forms of digital marketing, Tiktok consists entirely of videos.  Appropriately, TikTok users watch and listen when on the app.  This is highly advantageous for marketers and a key difference to be aware off as most other platforms are used without sound.  

By spending some more time scrolling through the app you will discover the range of effects, sounds and hashtags that appear on the TikTok ‘For You Page.’  Take note, as these features can reveal what is trending and popular. 

A final suggestion before launching yourself into the app is to research the TikTok algorithm.  Your search may not lead to exact answers but as a marketer, it would be responsible for you to try and learn as much as you can. 

Consider checking out this post on the TikTok algorithm: How the TikTok Algorithm Works in 2021 (and How to Work With It)

2. Set up a business account.

After conducting your background research on the app and how it works, it is time to download TikTok and create a profile for your brand.                                          

Once TikTok is downloaded you can switch your standard account to a business account by clicking the three lines in the top right corner of your profile.                                                  

Then, click on manage account and select switch to business account, as directed in the images below.                                                                                                 

This easy move can allow you to add extra information for users, such as your website URL and contact details.  Furthermore, a business account has access to exclusive sounds, as well as insights and engagement statistics.                      

Simple and free.

tiktok business-account

3. Authenticity

It is time to create that viral content for your brand!  TikTok users are not looking for the most polished content that might be more suited for Facebook or Instagram.  Users are likely to skip past videos that appear too polished because they don’t fit in with the TikTok style.  Instead, users want to see authentic and personable videos, allowing them to form deeper connections with brands. 

Did you know?  A study conducted by Nielson, a data and market measurement firm, found that TikTok ranked the highest among social media users for being more authentic. 

In order to provide more ‘authentic’ content, your brand might consider showing the faces and processes behind products, typical ‘day in the life’ videos at the office, product demonstration videos etc.

One business that has experienced TikTok virality is Emme Essentials.  The online candle shop, based in New York, shared their business story on the app as well as videos detailing how they make their candles.  Close to one million TikTokers viewed their most popular video and the flooding support earned the business over $11,000 in one week, after the brand struggled to gain a steady flow of orders for months.

TikTok is bursting with hashtags, sounds, challenges and music, so as a marketer it shouldn’t be too hard to spot a viral trend on the app and join in.  Participating in trends can give your brand great reach and see you appear on more users For You Pages, building brand awareness.  Additionally, it enables your business to build a community by staying up to date and joining in on the popular conversations.

A good starting place to find trends is the Discover tab, as shown below.


When part-taking in trends or challenges, don’t forget to make the most of hashtags.  Popular ones include #fyp and #foryoupage, as well as tagging the relevant trend or challenge, as demonstrated below.


Brands also have the power to create their own challenges.  One brand that has experienced great success through challenges, is the American food chain Chipotle.  In the lead up to National Avocado Day, the brand invited users to show their dance moves in the #GuacDance challenge that was paired with the “Guacamole Song” audio.  In six days, the challenge had over 250,000 participants on the app and on National Avocado Day over 800,000 sides of guac were served in Chipotle stores, the most ever.  This demonstrates TikTok’s power to generate viral content that can drum up brand awareness and positive conversation.

5. User-generated content

It cost $10 per 1000 views to have an ad on TikTok.  Similarly, influencers charge brands for any collaborations so despite the benefits of influencer marketing, it may not always be the most cost effective route for your brand.  But never fear because you can make the most of user-generated content, a winning strategy.   

User-generated content is anything created by users that shares their experience with a particular brand.  It is comparable to word-of-mouth marketing and is extremely beneficial, as people value and trust the opinions of others.  Maybe even more so than the paid TikTok influencers part-taking in branded content. 

User-generated content can be encouraged through the use of hashtags, giveaways or challenges.  TikTok also has a special feature that allows you to ‘duet,’ using existing videos to make new ones.

You might have seen this user-generated content yourself.  Last year, juice brand Ocean Spray benefited from TikToker Nathan Apodaca filming his skateboard ride to work.  The video features the brand’s Cran-Raspberry beverage and is accompanied by Fleetwood Mac’s music.  Within one month, the TikTok had over 12.6 million likes and the brand didn’t even have to do a thing to receive the publicity. 

TikTok provides businesses with a unique marketing opportunity that differs other platforms.  The content is entertaining, humorous and relaxed, appealing to many users. 

What’s better?  It is simple and doesn’t need to cost a dollar.  Just download the app, get creative and remember these key points.

  • Understand how the app works.
  • Use a business account.
  • Be authentic and show raw footage.
  • Take part in the trends or make your own challenges!
  • Leverage user-generated content.

Give it a go!

Lauren Powell
Lauren Powell

Lauren Powell is a third year student at the University of Melbourne.  She is studying a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing.  Outside of pursuing a career in marketing, Lauren loves to scroll through her social media channels, cook and do Pilates.