The Complete Guide to Conquering TikTok Memes

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So you want to elevate your TikTok game and start dominating those viral memes? You‘ve come to the right place. I‘m going to walk you through everything you need to know to crush the meme game on one of the most addicting apps around.

An Introduction to the Wild World of TikTok Memes

In case you‘ve been living under a rock, TikTok has taken over the world. The short-form video app lets users create and share 15 to 60 second videos on any topic and has become one of the main sources of internet viral content.

TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users and was the most downloaded app of 2022. Its explosive growth has been fueled by its algorithmically curated For You page that serves users an endless stream of personalized videos. But nothing spreads across the platform faster than a TikTok meme.

A "TikTok meme" is any concept, joke, or idea that goes massively viral among TikTok users. These memes often rely on sounds, effects, dances, challenges and video formats that get reused and reinterpreted endlessly. Participating in the latest TikTok meme trend is the perfect way to hop aboard the internet zeitgeist.

As a TikTok connoisseur myself, I‘ve seen hundreds of memes erupt from this app over the years. In this guide, I‘m excited to walk you through everything you need to know to master TikTok memes for yourself, including:

  • What traits make a meme go viral
  • How to spot emerging trending memes
  • Step-by-step instructions for creating a hit meme
  • The most popular types of meme formats
  • Pro tips from elite TikTokers

I‘ll also showcase some of the most legendary viral meme moments in TikTok history. If you want to laugh yourself silly and get inside the minds of the meme masters, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in!

The Anatomy of a Viral TikTok Meme

So what elements fuse together to create a viral TikTok sensation? The platform‘s magical algorithm plays matchmaker, but a meme needs the right ingredients to catch fire across the app.

Crack the Code of the "For You" Page

The secret sauce behind TikTok‘s addictiveness is its "For You" page. This endlessly updating feed shows each user a nonstop parade of short videos tailored to their interests.

The "For You" page relies on advanced artificial intelligence to determine what content to serve up next to maximize engagement. If you‘ve ever wondered how TikTok seems to know exactly what you want to watch, the "For You" algorithm is how.

So for a video to go viral, it first needs to resonate with users the algorithm determines are a good match. Then TikTok starts recommending it to more and more people with similar interests. If viewership and engagement keep climbing, the meme can reach millions.

Cracking the code of what tickles the "For You" algorithm’s fancy is key.

Traits of a Viral Meme

Whilevirality involves some luck, certain characteristics give a meme the best odds of taking off:

  • Humor – Funny memes get shared more. Lean into comedy and entertainment value.

  • Simplicity – Straightforward ideas spread more easily. If it‘s hard to recreate, it likely won‘t trend.

  • Relatability – Memes people identify with seem tailored to them. Tap into universal experiences.

  • Creativity – Putting a new spin on an existing meme freshens it up. Novelty helps stand out.

  • Shareability – Does your meme incentivize shares, duets, stitches? Leverage crowd participation.

  • Timeliness – Linking your meme to current events or pop culture makes it feel buzzworthy and relevant.

If you can hit several of these elements in a single video, you‘ll catch that viral wave and ride it straight to TikTok fame.

Paying close attention to emerging trends is essential for any aspiring meme creator. You need to know what’s hot to base your own content on. Here are the best resources for staying on the pulse of the freshest TikTok meme trends:

Scan Your “For You” Page

Since it’s tailored to you, your personal “For You” feed highlights memes aligned with your interests. Make note of any formats, sounds, effects you see repeated in different videos. Those are likely upticking trends.

Keep tabs on trending hashtags like #TikTokTrends and #viral to see the meme formats amassing views. TikTok also curates selected trending hashtags on its discover page.

Consult Compilations

Search “TikTok meme compilation” on YouTube to find lengthy videos showcasing recent top trending memes. They aggregate the most contagious content spreading across the app.

Follow Meme Accounts

The likes of @tiktokmemes and @dailymemes repost the latest and greatest viral memes. Their entire feeds are memes, all day, everyday.

Look up rising Google search queries like “TikTok dance” or “TikTok challenge” to see what memes are capturing mainstream attention. Search spikes signal going mainstream.

Track the Top Creators

Big name TikTokers like Charli D’Amelio and Bella Poarch stay on top of trends. Watch their recent videos for meme inspiration.

Notable Viral Meme Moments Throughout TikTok History

Part of understanding the hottest current trends is looking back at the meme crazes that put TikTok on the map and paved the way. Here’s a quick highlight reel of some of the biggest viral meme events on TikTok over the years:

  • The Renegade – This 15-second dance to K CAMP’s “Lottery” by Jalaiah Harmon spread like wildfire in late 2019, pioneering TikTok’s viral dance craze. It was attempted over 50 million times.

  • The Skullbreaker Challenge – This dangerous meme involved two people kicking someone’s legs out from under them mid-jump. It led to serious injuries before being banned.

  • The Flip the Switch Challenge – Drake’s song “Nonstop” prompted this meme where people flipped roles, outfits and all, when the lights switch off. It amassed over 10 billion views.

  • The Wipe It Down Challenge – TikTokers wiped down mirrors and other surfaces to reveal outfit changes once cleaner sprayed. It became a showcase for clever editing skills.

  • Sea Shanties – This unexpected musical trend saw TikTokers remixing old sailor songs into catchy tunes. It brought sea shanties into the mainstream.

  • The Silhouette Challenge – Using creative lighting and editing, this trend had TikTokers transition from fully clothed to wearing silhouetted lingerie in a striking visual effect.

  • The Corn Kid – A video of a boy excitedly sharing fun facts about corn went hugely viral and led to the enthusiastic "Corn Kid" making high-profile media appearances.

  • The Adult Swim Challenge – Users created surreal videos in an aesthetic mimicking Adult Swim‘s absurd TV bumpers. Its nonsensical humor resonated widely.

Some of these memes were hilarious, some confusing, and some downright dangerous. But they all left an imprint on the cultural zeitgeist.

Step-By-Step Guide to Making Your Own Viral Meme

Alright, now that we’ve gotten inside the psychology of memes, let’s walk through how to make your own. Follow these steps for TikTok fame:

Take inspiration from currently trending meme formats you’ve seen circulating. Put your own spin on it. For example, you can use the same sound or effect but do it in a way nobody has seen.

2. Perfect Your Video

Attention spans are short, so make sure to hook viewers immediately. Trim clips down to their most engaging moments and ensure good lighting, framing and editing.

3. Use Relevant Hashtags

Leverage trending hashtags and challenges to increase visibility. The right hashtags can get your meme seen by millions.

4. Post at Peak Times

Experts recommend posting TikToks between 5-8 pm when engagement peaks. More viewers are likely to see and interact with your meme during primetime.

5. Promote Across Platforms

Share your meme videos on your other social profiles like Twitter and Instagram to drive external traffic to your TikTok page. Cross-promotion expands reach.

6. Collaborate with Other Creators

Making memes with popular TikTokers taps into their built-in audience. More people in a video multiplies share potential.

Capitalize quickly when a new meme format starts trending by putting out your own version fast. You increase odds your post gets traction.

8. Analyze Performance Metrics

Pay attention to which memes get the most views, likes and comments from your audience. Give them more of what they engage with most.

Executing the balancing act between latching onto trends while putting your unique stamp on the meme will set you up for success.

10 TikTok Meme Formats to Try

To get your creativity flowing, here are 10 of the most popular and versatile TikTok meme formats to try making for yourself:

1. Dance Challenges

These showcase dances set to trending music or audio clips. Examples include the Renegade and Moto Moto dances. Dance challenges are easily replicable and fun to try.

2. Hashtag Challenges

Hashtag challenges encourage users to create response videos around a central theme. #HurtMyFeelings and #MakeItCinematic are examples. They necessitate community involvement.

3. Green Screen/Effects

TikTok’s green screen and array of AR effects allow you to place yourself into absurd situations. These tools enable seemingly endless unique interpretations.

4. POV Videos

Creators act out amusing fictional scenarios from a specific point of view. POV memes like “Five Stages of Going Back to the Office” entertain through immersive storytelling.

5. Reaction Videos

Capture authentic reactions to unexpected twists, gross-out reveals or cringey content. The raw responses make for engaging viewing.

6. Outfit Transitions

Videos that use editing tricks to switch up outfits and looks seamlessly in creative ways. Often paired with music drops or lyric timing.

7. Try Not To Laugh Challenges

Users film themselves reacting to an onslaught of jokes/memes and trying not to crack up. The contagious laughter draws in viewers.

8. Relatable Ranting

These memes show funny yet relatable exaggerations of frustrating everyday experiences we all face. Highly identifiable themes/emotions.

9. Following Tutorials Gone Wrong

Attempting to follow how-to videos or DIY tutorials with hilariously bad results. Fails are funny and familiar.

10. Pranking and Scaring

Prank videos showing people getting scared or fooled by friends/family with jump scares or pranks. The authentic freak-outs connect.

The variety of formats is endless, so don’t limit yourself. Part of the fun is coming up with a new twist nobody has seen before.

Pro Tips from Elite TikTok Meme Makers

I talked with some experienced TikTok creators known for their viral meme skills to get their insider expertise on finding success:

@tiktokpro advises: “Don’t try too hard. The memes that take off most feel natural. Lean into your genuine reactions and personality.”

@viralqueen says: “Pay close attention to timing. You want to ride the momentum when a meme is just picking up steam but before it’s oversaturated.”

@toktik recommends: “Dueting and stitching other creators is a great way to put your own mark on an existing meme. It develops a virtual collab.”

@memelife reveals: “Don’t be afraid to try formats that counter your natural instincts. Surprising your audience can score big.”

@jaykay insists: “Perfectionism will only slow you down. It’s better to post consistently. You’ll keep getting better over time.”

As you can see, keeping it authentic, understanding timing, collaborating with others and not being afraid to experiment are key to unlocking meme mastery.

Closing Thoughts on Conquering TikTok Memes

If you made it this far, you now have all the tools you need to kill it in the TikTok meme game. You understand what launches a meme into the stratosphere, where to look for the best new meme inspiration, and how to strategically create viral-worthy content.

The meme realm represents the pulsing heartbeat of TikTok culture. It brings communities together through shared comedy and creativity. Approached thoughtfully, memes can be an extremely rewarding way to flex your humor chops, participate in trends and potentially attract a larger following.

So start watching those viral hits, brainstorming new formats and analyzing the data to determine what works. You’ll be churning out the next big TikTok meme sensation in no time. The Hall of Meme Fame awaits. Go get ‘em!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.