If you didn’t make up dances with your friends, did you even have a childhood?

I have vivid memories of hosting sleepovers with my friends where we’d either choreograph our own dances to whatever was on the radio, or copy moves from the music videos we saw on TRL. 

The first song we had to master was of course, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back). Then we moved on to Oops, I Did it Again, I’m a Slave 4 U, Bye Bye Bye…. all iconic choreography.

britney-spears-oops

Anyway, leave it to me to go down a fangirling rabbit hole… 

The reason I bring this is up is I wonder if my friends and I would have been viral sensations if we performed our dances in the age of TikTok — one of the newest and most downloaded social media apps. Its users are celebrities, brands, and especially young audiences. Generation Z dominate the platform — 60% of users are 16 to 24 years old.


Want TikTok Success? As Lady Gaga Would Say, Just Dance

Even if you don’t have TikTok, you’ve probably seen some of the viral dance challenge videos lighting up social media. Here’s a compilation of one of my favorites, #TheGitUpChallenge


Although the song and choreography for each dance are the same, the fun is watching how each person adds their own personality and flair. In #TheGitUpChallenge, you have kids dancing through the halls, men wearing Daisy Dukes, maintenance workers taking a dance break… There’s something special about the way TikTok unifies diverse audiences through the same dance. 

Celebrities are also jumping on the TikTok dance floor. Courteney Cox, Mark Cuban, Gordon Ramsay, and many others have done choreographed dances with their children. And one of my favorite people, Alfonso Ribeiro, challenged the world to do his iconic Carlton dance from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

 

As for me, any natural dance coordination I once had left my body the day I turned 30, so I think this tweet is a novel idea:

 

TikTok’s Bingeworthy Secret

You might be thinking… it really can’t be that simple. You can’t just make dance videos and expect your audience to fall in love with you.

And you’re right, there’s a bigger TikTok takeaway here.

Moreso than on any other platform, you can’t be boring on TikTok. If your content isn’t direct, entertaining, helpful, or interesting, you are irrelevant. This isn’t just my opinion, it’s the algorithm.
 
According to HypeBot, the TikTok algorithm uses machine learning to evaluate the quality of every video uploaded. Then the video is shown to a small set of users in between other popular videos. The algorithm measures engagement such as likes, shares and downloads, as well as how much of the video is actually watched. If the video performs well during this test, the algorithm is triggered to show it to more audiences. 

This strategic delivery system is why people are so addicted to TikTok right now. There’s little room to waste our time or attention on videos that don’t compel us. The For You Page hooks us in with tailored content that creates a seamless, binge-watching experience. 

 

More than Dance Videos: Why We Love TikTok

From the outside looking in, TikTok might just seem like fun and games, but it deserves much more credit. It really sets the bar high for content creation. 

Here are some things I think TikTok does better than any other social media platform:  

  1. It promotes creative expression. Finally, a platform that rewards you if fearlessly share your personality, quirks, and talents with the world! If you want to crush it on TikTok, you can’t hide behind your brand — you have to step out of your comfort zone. And that might mean dancing like everyone’s watching.

  2. The robust editing tools help your video shine. For starters, you have an entire library of songs and soundbites to dance to, lip sync over, or to complement your content and storyline. The recording options make it simple to record and layer clips, add transitions, text, filters, and trim your content all natively within the platform! Add a caption and some hashtags and you have a video that’s packed with personality.

  3. To succeed, you have to put your audience before yourself. Some of you might think that cute pictures of your dog or your lunch might be fun to share with friends on Instagram, but this type of content would fall flat on TikTok. Instead, ask yourself how you can make your content interesting for the viewer. Show us a funny video of your dog doing a trick (check out #TheSnootChallenge) or teach us a lunch recipe in an engaging way. 

  4. It’s just fun. I love Instagram, but sometimes there’s pressure to have professional photos or super polished branding. On TikTok, you don’t have to take yourself too seriously. Rather than feeling the pressure to impress your followers, strive to make them laugh, learn, or smile. The world needs a little more of that anyway!

So my challenge to you is to call your childhood friends and invite them over for rehearsal because it’s time to brush up on your dance moves!  If you haven’t already, download TikTok and start finding your voice. But above all else, just be yourself.