Appeasing the Algorithm: How I Went Viral on TikTok
Content Creation

Appeasing the Algorithm: How I Went Viral on TikTok

By Alyssa Zinar

A little over a year ago, I had a brush with TikTok fame. An eight-second video set to the soundtrack of Taylor Swift’s “Lover” racked up 14.3 million views and scored me nearly 4,000 followers. What did I do that was worthy of viral status you might ask? Well, I did what any good maid of honor would do – I fluffed my sister’s wedding dress.

@alyssaz12 Maid of honor stuff #iykyk #wedding #weddingtiktok #BillboardNXT #bride #FlauntItChallenge @aezinar14 ♬ Lover – Taylor Swift

I chalk my TikTok success up to one thing: the algorithm.

Algorithms aren’t just for mathematicians and high school algebra classes anymore. They are a driving force in the success of social media accounts. A social media algorithm is a behind-the-scenes sorting mechanism that pushes content it thinks you want to see to the top of your timelines based on your online behaviors rather than just showing posts in reverse chronological order.

You may have noticed that your posts aren’t generating the same engagement they used to, you can thank the algorithm for that. Or maybe you’re not seeing posts from certain people in your timelines anymore, you can thank the algorithm for that, too.

Not only does the algorithm think it knows best what you want, it also has its own agenda, which often involves pushing ads or content that utilizes its new features.

Here are a few tips to help develop and plan content that will appease the algorithms – so you or your enterprise can have your own brush with social media fame.

Create Native Content

Try to create your content in the platform you intend to post it on, and use the tools they’ve designed for you. For example, Instagram’s founder has said many times that the company will focus on video content, and that’s increasingly evident with the promotion of Reels. So, using the tools within Reels, such as trending music, effects and text options, to create your videos can result in better organic performance for your posts. The same goes for TikTok. Simply put: TikTok wants your videos to look like other videos on TikTok. Editing outside of the app to add graphics and music is not recommended.

Pay Attention to Your Timing

While each platform’s algorithm is different, many of them prioritize early post engagement. If you want your content to be pushed far and wide, your best bet is to serve the content to your audiences when they are online. The more likes, comments, shares and saves you get in the first few minutes of your post being published, the more likely it is to perform well and get pushed into feeds beyond your followers.

There are a lot of great tools now, especially within scheduling programs, that allow you to see when the best times are to post. When preparing a social media editorial calendar, take these times into account to make sure your messages are reaching your audience when they are active and most receptive to them.

Develop Relevant and Relatable Content

The algorithms pick up on the posts you like and try to serve you more of that specific content, which means that people can get funneled into a certain category and end up mostly seeing posts that line up with their previous engagement. Fully embrace your organization’s niche and create content that your audience will want to reshare with their friends and followers.

This is one way I found success on TikTok. While preparing for my sister’s wedding I was liking and watching a lot of videos about weddings, from money saving hacks to beautiful décor options, and I noticed that there was a big audience for wedding-related content. Then when I posted the video of me fluffing my sister’s wedding dress, it was pushed to people on the wedding side of TikTok, earning a spot on many people’s feeds. It also was relatable to brides who want a picture-perfect moment for their dress, which prompted them to like, tag and share the video with their maids of honor.

So, if you’re in the market to switch up your social media strategy, develop more original content or just looking for someone to fluff your dress, I’m your gal! Send me a note at

Devine + Partners is a public relations agency based in Philadelphia. We offer a full range of communications services – from message and content development and media relations to issues management and employee and community engagement.

Alyssa Zinar

Alyssa Zinar

In her role as Associate Vice President and Senior Digital News Producer, Alyssa provides client strategy and support, manages social media pages, and engages in media outreach, strategic communications, event planning, in-depth research and video content creation.