How to use trending TikTok sounds for more engagement

Smartphone with the TikTok logo sending music notes flying toward another smartphone

In the summer of 2022, it was impossible to get on TikTok without seeing a rendition of Lizzo’s “In a Minute.” This TikTok song was a snippet of Lizzo’s latest hit single “About Damn Time,” and Lizzo made it go Tiktok viral by choreographing dance moves to go along with it. The result was that TikTok was virtually swarming with users doing the choreography, and just putting the audio track in your video was enough to boost it in the algorithm and get eyeballs on it. 

That’s the beauty of trending sounds — the more people use them, the more the algorithm seems to bless their videos, similar to the way popular hashtags are used. The trick to trending sounds is to find a way that relates them back to you or your brand. An audio clip of someone screaming “Chrissy wake up!” may have zero bearing on your life, but with a mini-brainstorming session you could use that audio for something relevant to you or your brand. 

Here are the basics behind trending TikTok sounds and how to make them work for you.

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What are trending sounds?

Trending sounds are audio clips that are currently going viral on TikTok videos. They can be anything, from a funny movie quote to a sound effect made by a TikTok user (known as an “original sound”) to a remix of a Beyoncé track turned into a trending song. 

One of the easiest ways to find the top TikTok sounds trending right now is to just scroll through your FYP, or “For You Page,” which is the home page full of trending Tiktok videos that the app recommends you. If you see a viral video with a trending sound you’d like to try, you can click the audio banner at the bottom, which will take you to a page full of other videos that used the exact same sound. By hitting “Use this Sound” on that page, you can make your own video with the same sound. 

Many trending sounds are “transitions,” or viral sounds that content creators use to show before and after images. Makeovers, glow ups, house renovations — transitions can include anything and everything that shows great change. Transitions are also a great place for newbies to get started with trending sounds.

How to build your workflow

The next time you’re scrolling through TikTok, be sure to favorite any videos that have audio you think you could use later. To favorite a video, click the bookmark button in the bottom right corner of your screen. That way, the next time you’re ready to record, you can open your bookmarks to see a collection of the trending sounds you’ve been thinking of working with, kind of like a visual playlist. Many influencers will just favorite a bunch and then batch-record trending sounds to upload throughout the week. Filming for an hour or two and saving your videos to drafts to be uploaded later can get you enough content to last you over several days. 

By using these trending sounds, your video will automatically be boosted, leading to more viewers and hopefully, more engagement. 

Am I copying?

You may be worried that by using a trending sound, you’re just copying someone else’s video.  But the beauty of trending sounds (and TikTok in general) is that everything is made to be remixed and repurposed. That said, if you’re a business or brand, you do have to be careful to use only sounds that have been licensed. 

By choosing the “business” option on your profile, you’ll automatically be limited to licensed music that you have permission to use. For individuals, everything else is fair game. 

The bottom line

If you’re intimidated by TikTok, trending sounds are a great place to start. I’ve definitely noticed my own videos perform exponentially better with trending sounds, getting way more views than my original content. By being savvy and saving trending sounds, you can begin to build your Tiktok presence fairly quickly with little time investment than if you were focusing solely on original social media content.

FAQ

What is a trending sound?

A trending sound is an audio clip that is going viral on TikTok. If you are scrolling through your For You Page and keep hearing the same sound over and over, it’s a trending sound.

How can I use a trending sound?

When you see a video using a sound you’d like to use, go to the bottom of the audio banner (the text that goes across the bottom of the screen like a news ticker) and click it. That will lead you to a page that has the “Use this Sound” button. 

Where can I find trending sounds?

Typically, the easiest way to find trending sounds is to comb through your own feed, but third party sites like Viral 100 claim to have their finger on the TikTok pulse as well. 

How can I favorite a video?

To favorite a video, click on the ribbon-shaped bookmark icon on the right of your feed. You can also visit your favorite videos by clicking your profile icon in the bottom right corner then hitting that same ribbon icon above your grid. 

How can I make sure the sounds I use are licensed? 

If you are a brand or business that can only use licensed music, change your profile to a “Business” profile, which will automatically restrict which songs you can and can’t use. For license-free music, check out TikTok’s audio library. 

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