TikTok trends from A-Z for 2023
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You already know TikTok is the new “it girl” of social media.
TikTok is only eight years old and already has more than 1 billion monthly users, or more than one-eighth of the world’s total population.
You also know TikTok is the hottest marketplace for online window shoppers. Most recent stats show TikTok generated an estimated $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021. (If everyone on TikTok gave me $4…)
It’s uncontested. TikTok is where brands need to be to find new customers and make sales.
But winning on TikTok is easier said than done. Some brand accounts crush it, while others see no engagement at all.
So, what makes the difference?
Well, TikTok is the “it girl,” right? And if there is anything an “it girl” knows, it’s trends. Brands that ride the wave of the TikTok trends get the most out of the platform and see positive results. Brands that don’t flounder in cyberspace.
Lucky for you, I spend a healthy portion of my day researching TikTok trends, so you don’t have to. Here are the top 26 TikTok trends moving into 2023 from A to Z. (Let’s get cute about this…just like TikTok did.)
A is for Authenticity
If you’ve read any of my TikTok articles in 2022, you’re sick of hearing it. The overly-produced content that oozes out of Instagram doesn’t perform well on TikTok.
TikTok users are begging for authentic content. They like raw videos shot on an iPhone by people who look like you and me. Not Kardashians (more on that later).
B is for BeReal
TikTok may be king, but BeReal isn’t far behind. BeReal won Apple’s “App of the Year,” and TikTok users are now starting to post their BeReal content on TikTok.
“Everyone’s ‘For You Page’ has seen at least one BeReal trend. Users like to share the moment when they get the notification at the perfect time to get a shot with someone famous, or their different BeReals,” says Alessandro Bogliari, CEO and co-founder of The Influencer Marketing Factory.
“You can also find videos of screen recordings of the moment they take the BeReal and share it on TikTok.” Here’s what this looks like. Using BeReal videos may be an interesting trick for brands to hop on next year—especially if they can get a creator to collaborate.
C is for Creativity
Yes, authenticity is key, but that doesn’t mean brands should hire someone to roll out of their bed in the morning and drone on about the brand.
Above all, TikTok is an entertainment platform, and users reward creative content with eyeballs. Take the Washington Post, for example.
The Washington Post doesn’t tell stories broadcast-style. Instead, it adopts a creative and platform-specific approach using personification, creators, trends, and funny blurbs to tell stories.
D is for Duet
Here’s a little recipe for TikTok success that’s not going anywhere in 2023:
- Open your brand’s TikTok account
- Find a trending video
- Click on the share arrow
- Navigate your way down to the “Duet button”
- Click and create a Duet
A duet is a side-by-side video of another TikToker’s video, and they perform outrageously well. You’ll also want to enable your videos to allow Duets. This way, one of your videos could go viral.
E is for Entertainment
I’d argue that TikTok isn’t a social platform. It’s an entertainment platform. If you want to comment on pics of your friend’s kids, you go to Facebook or Instagram. If you want amusement, you pull up TikTok.
TikTok is all about entertaining audiences, and brands that get this are winning. A 2022 study by Dash Hudson and NielsenIQ showed that entertaining content drives sales growth, with brands leveraging entertainment as a content strategy growing sales 34% faster than those approaching the app with a traditional marketing mindset.
F is for #FYP
The ultimate TikTok goal is to get your content served on your target audience’s For You Page. This is how you capture the attention of new potential customers.
So how do you do it? Well, you gotta crack the code of TikTok’s algorithm (here’s what TikTok’s CEO said about this) and play by TikTok’s rules. This means you need to create excellent content, keep your videos short, use trending music or sounds, add popular hashtags, flesh out your descriptions and use captions, stay current on what’s trending, and engage with others.
G is for GRWM
Does your brand sell a product that would benefit from a “how-to” video? Buckle up your seatbelt because this trend is for you.
“The top TikTok trend that I’ve noticed is GRWM (get ready with me). These videos are highly engaging because they provide value to the viewer in two forms: entertainment and information,” says Michelle Tran from Online Optimism.
“Viewers are not only learning about how this particular creator gets ready but also learning about whatever they are talking about, whether it’s funny, educational, or serious. These videos allow viewers to feel as if they are part of the creator's life rather than watching from the outside.”
H is for Hop on Trends
Part of TikTok’s charm is all the different variations creators can make of a particular trend. You’ve seen a million “one thing about me” videos, captured recordings of kids reacting to parents lip-syncing to Taylor Swift, and people dancing and pointing to words.
TikTok rewards creators and brands who hop on these trends with exposure. Track all the TikTok trends and participate as soon as you can. Remember, TikTokers like raw content—don’t be afraid if it’s not produced.
I is for Intermix
There are two types of ads on TikTok. The first type is what you see when you first open TikTok. TikTok serves up a highly-produced ad that…well…looks like a traditional ad. I’m not sure about you, but unless Chris Hemsworth is in the ad, I scroll past these ads immediately.
The second kind of ad doesn’t look like an ad. It’s sneaky. It looks like all of the other videos on TikTok. These ads are raw, underproduced, and usually feature creators. Shoot to create ads that look like all the other TikTok content. Need help? Hire a creator.
J is for Just Do It
If you’re waiting for the “perfect video or the “perfect time” or the “perfect idea,” you’re missing out on opportunities to grow your following and capture new customers.
TikTok content doesn’t have to be perfect—it only has to be. So, instead of creating and editing a highly-polished video that takes a week to make, post seven videos that each takes an hour. You’ll get more content, and it will perform better.
The best part of the “just do it” strategy? You’ll learn more from the algorithm about what works and doesn’t work by posting more content.
K is for KPIs
TikTok is still young and what works well depends on your brand, the kind of content you post, your audience, and the changes TikTok makes to its platform.
The best way to find out what works for you is to examine your KPIs closely. The excellent news is TikTok has built-in analytics for business accounts. You can access analytics in your “Business suite.”
L is for Loops
Ready to game the algorithm a bit? Consider creating Loops of your videos to improve views and engagement.
“I’m seeing a lot of creators using perfect TikTok Loops. This is when the end of a video transitions back to its beginning seamlessly, creating an ‘endless loop’ effect that makes people watch the same content over and over,” says Milo Cruz from Freelance Writing Jobs.
“It involves a bit of planning and editing, but pulling it off successfully can tilt the algorithm in your favor and increase viewership.”
M is for Micro-influencers
Did you hear what happened at the Marketing Brew summit? Amanda Goetz from House of Wise told the audience that every Kardashian posted her product on Valentine’s Day. Guess how many sales she saw?
What’s even more shocking is how well content from micro-influencers is performing. Stats show micro-influencers have an average engagement rate of 3.86%. Mega-influencers see only 1.21%
N is for “Nearby”
TIkTok is tearing a page out of the Google playbook and doubling down on boosting its search capabilities. TikTok has already increased its caption length to help with its search algorithm. It also reads text on videos to figure out how to share it.
Now TikTok is testing its version of local search called “nearby” content. While this testing program is only currently running in Southeast Asia, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the game and start localizing your content and captions.
O is for Overlay
TikTok is becoming more than an entertainment platform. It’s also quickly turning into a search engine—especially for younger generations and people searching for advice, tips, and recommendations.
Like Google, TikTok is a machine that runs on algorithms. If you want TikTok to understand your content and serve it up to the right audience, you have to optimize it. Overlays let you add text and graphics to your videos. TikTok can read your overlays to understand your content better.
P is for Partners
Maybe you’re a brand with all the intentions of crushing it on TikTok, but you don’t have the time or expertise to dive in.
Don’t worry. TikTok has got your back. TikTok revamped its Marketing Partners platform. You can choose from 186 excellent providers to help you with your marketing. TikTok’s partners can do anything from creative and campaign management to sound and visual effects and measurement.
Q is for Quotes
While people go to TikTok for entertainment, they also go there for inspiration, advice, and recommendations. As a result, some brands are pulling inspirational quotes or customer reviews to expand their reach.
“Simply turn a positive customer review or a funny/inspirational message into a quote with an attractive background, and post it on TikTok and other social media channels your audience likes to frequent. Doing this regularly will help you build social trust and an online community around your brand,” says Lisa Richards, creator of the Candida Diet.
R is for Repurposing
Performing well across social media requires different strategies. But that doesn’t mean you have to create new content for every platform. You simply need to tweak it a bit.
“One of the most important things about TikTok content is repurposing it. So many other channels are trying to cash in on the TikTok/vertical video craze. You might notice that if you're a B2B brand, your TikTok content isn't necessarily going to get in front of as many people unless you run your account more like an individual person,” says Kate Erwin, head of content at Contractbook.
“Adding the video (natively) on LinkedIn can help get in front of the right audience. And if you remove the watermark and add it to Reels (Facebook, Instagram, or both), you can make money on the views through their bonus program.”
S is for Stitch
We already discussed creating a Duet of popular videos, but a Duet isn’t the only video editing trick TikTok has up its sleeve.
Stitches are another TikTok creation tool you’ll want to use next year. Stitches allow you to combine another video on TikTok with your brand’s video. You can stitch popular videos to boost your engagement, and allow other TikTokers to Stitch with your video. Both popular. Both favorites.
T is for Timing and Testing
Even though people are watching TikTok day and night, that doesn’t mean you should post your content anytime without a strategy.
Later’s social team did a deep dive into what the most optimal times were to post. The team found the most optimal time to post was Monday to Friday at 1pm PST.
Naturally, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every brand, especially considering different audiences are online at different times. But it does show that brands should test to find out when they get the most exposure and then develop a pattern.
U is for Unboxing
There’s one trend that doesn’t seem to get old—no matter what platform you’re advertising on. The trend? Unboxing videos.
Unboxing videos perform particularly well for CPG, DTC, and fashion brands, and consumers love them. In fact, # unboxing already has 53.3 billion views since 2018. If you’re looking to show your brand off, send your products to some niche creators and wait for the magic to happen.
V is for Varied Content
If you’re doing the same sketch repeatedly, your audience will get tired of your account and unfollow you. Try different hooks and switching up the content a little.
Make sure your posts are varied enough to keep your audience on their toes the next time they see your page. If you surprise them enough, you’ll win new fans.
W is for Watch Metrics
Another way to game the algorithm a bit is to increase the watch times of your videos. The longer people watch your videos, the more TikTok will serve it up to other viewers.
“TikTok is all about watch metrics. The algorithm benefits those pieces of content with the highest watch times. This means that a video that's been watched 10 times all the way through will be pushed more by the algorithm than a video that's been seen 100 times, but only 20% of the video,” says Mireia Boronat, senior content marketing executive at The Social Shepherd.
“This is why we jumped into a trend to add a very short video clip (we used a 6-second clip) and then add a lot of text on the screen that will take longer to read than the length of the clip. This way, users will inevitably watch it all the way through several times. The watch metric will be very high, and the fact that the video loops will benefit you even more.”
X is for…Xylophone
This one is a biiiiiiig stretch, but let’s roll with it anyway: xylophones make sounds. And if you’re not taking advantage of sounds and songs on TikTok, you’re missing out. A lot.
So, what’s the best way to know what sounds and songs are trending? Use the app. Consume content. When you find something you like or something you think could be good to use for your brand, use it.
Y is for You Must Consume TikTok Content
Let’s pretend you’re at a steakhouse for a fancy dinner. You ask your server for a recommendation on the best steak. And they reply, “I don’t know. I’m vegetarian.” Yikes. (Y is also for Yikes)
If you’re serving steak, you have to know what it tastes like. And if you’re trying to make content on TikTok, you have to know what content is on TikTok.
Spend time scrolling. Look at trends. Get comfortable with the app. The more you consume and apply what you’re learning, the better your content will be.
Z is for Gen Z
Google is terrified of Gen z. Why? Gen Z searches on Google are down by 30-40%. (ouch)
TikTok has replaced Google as the search engine of choice. Meaning if you’re not there, you could be invisible to a demographic that LOVES spending money on brands they connect with.