Everything you need to know about TikTok trends and how they shape internet culture

By Alma Fabiani

Updated Feb 14, 2024 at 04:35 PM

Reading time: 7 minutes

TikTok is one of the world’s most popular platforms. On the one hand, it’s known for short-lived viral trends that die out just as fast as they became popular. On the other hand, the platform has also accelerated cultural change in ways that can’t be ignored.

For this reason, staying on top of TikTok can be difficult. TikTok trends this week might be outdated by next week. The good news is that, in the midst of so much change, there are some current TikTok trends that have shown some serious staying power. This guide will discuss those trends so you can stay on top of the latest social media buzz.

Stay in the know with the latest TikTok trends

In February of 2023, TikTok announced that the platform had amassed 150 million users across the United States alone. That’s nearly half the population of just one country using the app on a daily basis. Around the world, TikTok has reached a whopping 3 billion downloads.

With so many users, how can you make sure your content stays trending?

Expert tips for TikTok trending

The large number of TikTok users has naturally led to intense competition between content creators looking to grab their attention. As a result, it can be incredibly challenging to become a TikTok trend or go viral on the platform.

Yet people are still doing it every day. If you want to be among the lucky few who find success, you’ve got to commit to putting in the work. If you’re wondering exactly what work you should be doing, here are ten ways that brands and creators are taking on TikTok trends right now.

Bring the entertainment

TikTok has always been an entertainment-first platform. Statistically speaking, that is what most users have in mind when they log on. According to a 2022 study conducted by the TikTok staff, brands committed to putting out funny or entertaining content were rated 25 per cent higher for “brand love” and 15 per cent higher for “purchase intent.”

If you want to expand awareness of your brand or you’re an influencer looking to gain new followers on TikTok, you’re going to have to move away from traditional advertising tactics and be willing to step out of the box. Consider hopping on a funny viral trend or using TikTok trending sounds to appeal to your audience.

The social search engine

When you think of the words “search engine,” what sorts of images come to mind? For most, it’s images of a search box and rankings pages. However, that’s not quite the case for gen Z. Younger audiences are now turning to social media for news and information.

While it’s not necessarily time for content creators and businesses to abandon their SEO strategies, it is a good idea to start incorporating social media into that strategy. This means that you’ll need to start using keywords in your name, handle, and bio. You’ll also want to start researching and using hashtags that can help people find your content, as well as placing keywords in your caption and using subtitles in all of your video content.

Dare to be different

The TikTok platform has been busy rolling out a lot of new features to compete with other platforms rising in popularity, such as BeReal. Until the platform figures out exactly what it wants to be, content creators and brands are going to need to roll with the punches. This will involve trying out every single new feature to see what resonates with your audience.

While most of the features or the trends that come with them may not last, you never know which ones will. Consequently, it’s worth experimenting alongside TikTok and trying out these features while they’re available. Take the TikTok Shop for example, one of the app’s latest and most popular features.

#Relatable

There is little doubt that the social media world has made a significant shift away from mega-star influencers. In this day and age, users are looking for relatable content that actually reflects their personal values and ways of life. Content creators and brands that focus on real people and experiences will be the ones most likely to gain followers.

While it’s much easier for solo creators to produce authentic content and share their passions and interests with their audience, brands can do it, too. If you’re a business looking to increase followers, consider posting some behind-the-scenes content featuring some of your staff members. You might also think about encouraging your followers to post user-generated content that shows people what it’s like to use your products in real life.

What do you meme?

Trending on TikTok will require you to become fluent in TikTok speak. Unfortunately, the language of the platform changes often, and it can be difficult to keep up with which words are out and which ones are still going strong.

You will likely need to spend a lot of time studying funny TikTok trends, news-related trends, and other content on the platform, and you’ll have to conduct this research often. However, if you want to reach users on the platform, being able to speak the language is vital.

Brands need to get personal

Ultimately, TikTok is a platform where young people go to connect with others. If you’re a brand looking to connect with people online, you have to give them more than products and tips. Consider questions such as:

– What personal connections have you made with your products? 
– Do you have a skincare line because you have struggled with acne? 
– Do you make sustainable clothing because you care about slowing climate change?

Don’t be afraid to share your personal mission with your audience. This is how they will find, connect, and engage with you.

Help people make a change

The Great Resignation wasn’t just for adults in the workforce—it was for gen Z, too. Many young people on the app are looking to reinvent themselves and find a new path forward in life.

As a brand or a creator, how can you help them accomplish this goal? This is a good time to work on making actionable content. While it still needs to be entertaining in some way, you should think about sharing your journey of becoming who you are today.

If you’re an entrepreneur, how did you make the leap from a 9 to 5 to a full-time business owner? And if you’ve overcome a mental health challenge, what are some things that helped you along the way? Sharing these stories will help you build as well as establish trust and connection with your audience.

Choose joy

If 2022 was all about self-care, the coming years will be all about creating moments of meaningful, authentic joy. While many TikTok users are more aware than ever that people still struggle with stress, they’re looking to combat it with little moments of happiness in the hopes that their best moments will lift someone else’s spirits.

The good news is that you don’t have to be struggling to participate in one of the top TikTok trends. You can simply share a moment of gratitude about something you’re thankful for or even tell a funny story. Anything that can bring joy to someone’s day is fair game and will be embraced.

Find your niche

While this feels like age-old marketing advice, it still bears repeating: you need to find your niche. Close-knit communities aren’t a relic of a past life—it’s just that they have officially changed locations. Now, people are building their own communities online via social media as they connect with others from all over the world.

As a content creator, it’s not in your best interests to try to appeal to everyone. Find your niche community, and you’ll be rewarded with loyal followers who want to hear what you have to say because they appreciate who you are.

Ads are the way to go

Organic content is great for online branding, but ads can really help your business stand out from the crowd. TikTok ad spending is up nearly 15 per cent year over year. But what does this mean for your brand? It means that TikTok users are consuming ad content at unprecedented levels, and brands are starting to notice and respond.

If you’re a business and you plan to incorporate TikTok into your advertising strategy in the near future, it’s important to remember that you must treat ads the same way you would your organic content. You’ll need to add a little flair to it while still aiming to provide value to the audience. This is what TikTokers expect, and you must deliver if you expect your ads to perform.

7 powerful TikTok trends you need to try right now

Now that you’ve learned about the trends that have shown some staying power, it’s time to have some fun and talk about a few of the most popular TikTok trends right now.

1. Barbie movie

The global success of the Barbie movie has been bolstered by a number of TikTok trends that millions of users have gotten involved in. In one, users lip-sync dramatically to an original sound by IBN in which Barbie’s boyfriend Ken sings about being number two in Barbie’s life. In another, they reveal what they do for a living by stating what kind of Barbie they are, such as a flight attendant Barbie or office manager Barbie.

2. Girl dinner

To get in on this trend, you’ve got to use the My Girl Dinner filter and this sound. You’ll then make a video reacting to whatever foods the filter shows you. You might even make the video with a family member or a friend and dare them to eat whatever shows up on the plates. You could even make it a surprise meal for someone and film their reaction to it.

3. I love the way it feels to be a hater

Do you like trends that really make people think? If so, this one’s for you. You can use ‘Hater’s Anthem’ by Infinity Song to make a video explaining a scenario in which you definitely wouldn’t mind being thought of as a “hater.” This trend is a great way to drive engagement and start conversations about any issue you’re passionate about.

4. Girlhood

Users are posting nostalgic videos using the song ‘Home’ by singer Billie Eilish. In addition to posting their childhood home movies, some women are using the trend to describe an emotional moment in which they realised something profound about what womanhood or girlhood means to them.

5. Put that down

This is a trend all about the things that people don’t want. Using this audio, users are filming themselves picking up items that they don’t like, only to reveal that they would tell someone to “put that down” if they ever saw them holding it.

There’s also a plethora of videos simply using text overlay to name situations where users would tell someone to put something down. An example is your mom picking up an outfit and saying that you would look cute in it.

6. Zepotha 1987

One TikToker recently created an entire horror film in her head and then shared it with the world. She wanted others to tell people they encountered that they look just like (a completely made-up character) from Zepotha. TikTok answered the call, and the Zepotha 1987 trend was born. If you want to get in on it, you have to film yourself doing the same thing.

7. Viral pet trend

This trend is a whimsical one. It involves picking up a pet or a loved one and twirling them around, preferably while playing this audio in the background. Some users have also filmed their own little moments without anyone or anything else present. This trend is a prime example of finding little moments of happiness and joy to share with the world.

Trend on TikTok with SCREENSHOT

TikTok trends are about more than just funny and heart-warming videos. While entertainment will likely always be front and centre, it’s important to dig deeper and truly connect with the generation driving both the latest TikTok trends and emerging culture in our greater society.

If you need a place to keep up with the latest gen Z news, culture, and entertainment, SCREENSHOT has you covered. As one of the only gen Z publishers and media companies on the scene, SCREENSHOT is dedicated to offering high-quality content to the next-gen audiences who crave it.

From AI news to global politics and wellness, the SCREENSHOT team is here to make sure you have what you need to stay connected.

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