TikTok trends come and go so quickly it’s hard to keep up. If you are an aspiring influencer, or a brand just dipping its toes into TikTok-land, the platform can be a little like quicksand. You want to make sure your content is part of the conversation that’s hot right now, not three weeks ago.
To help guide you, we put together a list of the hottest trends on the platform, including a bunch of super-current challenges and memes along with a few hashtags that aren’t so perishable.
As you set out to make your next TikTok video, not every single trend on this list will be right for you. (But hey, that’s life.) Just remember to align your content to your overarching goals. And let your successes, no matter how small they might be at first, guide your content going forward.
P.S. Have we missed anything?
If we forgot any of your favorite trending TikTok challenges or memes, let us know. Give us a shout on TikTok, tweet at us, or even send us a note via carrier pigeon. We aren’t picky.
Flamin’ hot TikTok trends
TikTok works on trends and trends work quickly. When you try out something new on the platform, the name of game is loosey-goosey. Throw out all your preconceived ideas and overly-planned content schedule and get ready to have some fun.
If something is popular on TikTok today, it might be gone tomorrow. So have fun with your content and don’t overthink it. And above all, stay agile. Get ready to pivot, change, and try new things.
As a starting point, here are some of the hottest TikTok trends making the rounds right now.
This is a dramatic and ultimately indulgent trend where TikTokers show off how symmetrical their faces are — or are not. It’s also a great way to get the face of your company in front of the camera.
In the original, SickSick’s remix of the Bruno Mars’ track “Somewhere Out There” (or sometimes “Deja Vu” by Olivia Rodrigo), counts you in so you can lean back and flip your face.
In evolving TikTok duets, people with asymmetrical faces duet with people that have symmetrical faces and laugh at the comparison:
Top tips: Make sure your lighting is right. Lopsided lighting only intensifies asymmetrical faces.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: a solo-preneur who wants to get their face out there — literally; a brand that can poke fun at themselves; a business that owns a chill cat. (This one works well with animals.)
Tell me without telling me has taken over TikTok recently, and it’s easy to see why. It applies to just about anything. The crux of this challenge is to tell (or rather, show) something without saying it in words.
“Tell me your mom is dramatic…without telling me your mom is dramatic. I’ll go first” Cue the mom falling over and shrieking at the slightest fright.
This is a great trend for everyone because it lets you show your insider knowledge of your TikTok audience. Try something you know they will respond to, and get the conversation started.
But before you dive headfirst into this trend, make sure you spend some time on the hashtag. This meme showcases a very specific type of observation. Exploring what others have already done is the best way to understand the gist of it.
Top tips: Stick to one punch-line per video. You might have a bunch of observations, but make them into a series instead of one long TikTok.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: anyone. No limits here.
This TikTok meme asks and answers the question: what’s living rent-free in your head?
Letting something live in your head rent-free means you obsess about it. Original iterations of the trend focused on petty or hateful things that get stuck in your head, but its common usage has evolved to cover just about anything, including obscure or silly things.
TikTok user @jessthemess originally introduced the format to TikTok when she asked: what’s a video that lives in your head rent-free? Her upload has now been stitched, dueted, or responded to hundreds of millions of times.
Top tips: Think outside the box on this one. Don’t use it to re-share popular content, use it to re-share something obscure. And don’t re-share your own content. That’s just tacky.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: anyone with a funny video to share.
This is a versatile trend that you can use in lots of different ways. It’s based on a cute lo-fi music clip of someone singing quietly along to Miguel’s “Sure Thing”. Use it to convey chilling, waiting around, or being overlooked.
People use it to soundtrack a generally chill vibe:
And sometimes a chill vibe that’s kind of at odds with itself:
And this one’s just plain funny:
Top tips: This trend is often coupled with TikTok’s Face Features filter, a funny effect that green-screens your eyes and lips onto whatever you want.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: Trying to cultivate a silly sense of humor on your socials.
#Teleport (celebrity match)
Teleport is a futuristic filter you can use to teleport yourself to any photo on your camera roll.
When COVID-19 hit pause on travel, people used it to transport themselves to places they’d rather be. At the moment, people use it to “generate” their celebrity match with hilarious results. Just raise your hand and you’ll be “teleported” to your chosen celeb photo. Like this guy who hurt his own feelings:
Top tips: For the most drama, wait to raise your hand until the beat drops.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: you have a celebrity doppelganger in your office; you’re WYH in COVID-19 lockdown and want to virtually travel somewhere else.
The tortilla wrap challenge is the gift that just keeps giving. The hashtag keeps generating more and more creative ways to use a flat tortilla and fill it up with goodies. There’s not much to it — just snip, segment your tortilla into quarters, and fold ‘er up.
This TikTok trend likely took off for two reasons. One, a lot more people are stuck at home this year making their own lunches and two, we collectively had no idea a tortilla could work like that. Amazing stuff.
Top tips: Speed up your video a little. No one wants to watch you spread peanut butter on a tortilla in real-time.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: a small business with a focus on health, fitness, or cooking; your business has nothing to do with food but you have a tortilla idea that hasn’t been done before; if you just feel like making lunch and some TikTok content at the same time.
Sheesh is a phrase that’s been used as slang in b’ball and sneakerhead circles for years. It’s become more mainstream in the last few months and made its way to TikTok as a trending meme.
In the original video, some people off-camera say ‘Sheeeeeesh’ to a slimy green frog. And it’s blown up from there. In the remixes, people use the original audio file to cover funny scenarios that range from excitement to mockery.
You can also pair this TikTok trend with others, like this great mash up of the #tellmewithouttellingme trend and #sheesh.
Top tips: Unless you fully understand what you’re doing, don’t pair an earnest video with this meme. It’s a wee bit sarcastic/ironic/detached. Mixing it with genuine emotion curdles the fun.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you: have a young audience; you are in or adjacent to the sneaker/b-ball world; you don’t mind being known for obscure content.
Pretty self-explanatory, hey? This is a great trend for e-commerce brands looking to jump into TikTok marketing, as it’s all about those spontaneous purchases people make after seeing TikToks product videos or ads.
Usually, the “things” are weird products: an easy ice-maker, a mini iron, a gadget that takes lids off jars. So this is the perfect trend to amplify your TikTok influencer outreach. If you want a TikToker to review your product, this hashtag will increase your organic reach.
Even if the product review doesn’t quite go as planned, it still makes great content, as this couple found.
Top tips: Don’t forget to include a link (or ask your influencer to include a link) to buy your product.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: an e-commerce brand who needs to get the word out about a gadget; a freelancer or solo-preneur and you’ve been convinced to buy a gadget; an aspiring influencer looking to start a conversation with the company who sold it to you. They’re obviously doing something right!)
Buffering is a versatile TikTok trend that uses the buffering/loading symbol when something doesn’t add up or makes you stop and think. As a business, this is a good opportunity to jump on a trend and clear up any misconceptions people have about your industry.
Likewise, if you are an influencer focused on a certain industry, this is your time to chime in as well. Maybe you’ll even start a conversation with a future brand partner.
Author Chloe Gong hit the nail on the head with this one:
Top tips: If you can’t find the buffering filter in your filter list, try searching the hashtag in the Discover tab and clicking on the effect tag from other #buffering videos. But remember: this only works on the TikTok app, not on desktop.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: a brand who wants to gain clout for early adoption; a business owner or influencer with some misconceptions to clear up; anyone with a funny twist on this trend — it’s likely to evolve quickly over the next few months.
Warning: This is a more advanced TikTok meme. Do not try it unless you can nail it.
Sea shanties blew up on TikTok after an Irish lad, Nathan Evans, posted himself singing an old sea shanty called The Wellerman. That was early 2021. Nathan now has a record deal and an upcoming album with tour dates. The internet works fast. And while Nathan was blowing up, so too were sea shanties on TikTok.
Top tips: If you’re attempting to resurrect an old sea shanty, use captions. Some sea shanty lyrics use ye olde English and when you add a beat and a strong accent over the top, you might end up with more “huh?” than “hey!”
Jump on this trend if you are: a burly, weathered man who works on a boat and has a glorious baritone. If you’re not this, just make sure you can pull it off cringe-free.
It’s folly to say anything on TikTok is truly evergreen. The platform changes and morphs so much it’s like a big dancing Ditto Pokemon.
But some TikTok trends are going strong and developing from trends into communities. Naturally, these new trends develop and change even further within the communities. But generally speaking, the following memes are a consistent wellspring of content.
As a response to COVID-19 forcing many students to learn from home in 2020, TikTok launched #learningontiktok. They’ve since invested a lot in the product and content and it’s a shrewd move on their part — e-learning is a booming industry.
The initial push from TikTok means education content is still going strong on the platform. The hashtag accumulated 112.4 billion views in just over a year, and with lockdowns intermittently looming across the world, those numbers are likely to keep going up, up, up.
This is great news for TikTok content creators. As a creator in just about any industry, educational and how-to videos are an easy win. Even better, your content will show up alongside creators like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Food for thought from NDGT:
Learn how soccer balls are made:
Top tips: Think like a teacher when delivering your #learnontiktok content. Include exciting visuals to keep people engaged, make your explanation clear as a bell, and encourage questions in the comments.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: a brand with a neat trick to teach people; an expert in a particular area.
Cleaning TikTok is a magical place where people attract millions of followers just from cleaning out their ovens. There’s something deeply, primal and compelling about watching all that entropy being reversed.
But you don’t need to be a career-cleaner to jump on the bandwagon. Tidy up before-and-afters are easy to film and most offices, home offices, and communal kitchens desperately need them.
Cleaning the McDonalds grills:
Cleaning out a phone port:
Cleaning out an ancient toilet:
Top tips: Keep tidying videos really short and sharp and show your cleaning clips on double speed. You’ll notice most clips are just a few seconds. Before. Snap of the fingers. After. You really don’t need much more than that.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you are: someone who sells products that get dirty — clean one of them out; a make-up artist — before and after cleaning make-up brushes is always a good one; planning to tidy up your office anytime soon; anyone with a pressure washer lying around and a grimy patio.
Glow up is a term that’s been popularized by Gen-Z and as a result, you’ll find it all over TikTok. It started as a trend to show off how grown/pretty/hot you are now, as opposed to your awkward teenager years.
It’s also been used by the LGBTQI+ community to celebrate coming out. And lately, its meaning has transmuted into just general improvement of a person, a room, whatever you want.
Glow up cleaning:
Top tips: When posting, try the hashtag #gloup as well. The origin of the phrase is a Chief Keef song from 2013 called “Gotta Glo Up One Day”, so the original spelling is often used in hashtags too.
Jump on this TikTok trend if you: want to show off something you’re proud of: a product you’ve developed, a business you’ve built, a physical transformation you’ve undertaken. Even better if you have evidence of the before and after — the stronger the visual transformation, the better.
Which TikTok memes are right for you?
Whether your aim is to be an influencer, or you are trying to bring your brand into the TikTok-osphere, it’s hard to know when to jump on the TikTok trend train or when to let it pass you by.
As we said earlier, not every trend will be a good fit for you, and that’s okay. The most important thing is to have fun, try new things, and stay true to your brand.
If you are an aspiring influencer and a new trend fits your vibe, go for it. But if it feels forced, maybe it’s not the trend for you.
If you are a business, be playful and willing to try new things. But as with influencers, know your limits. Inevitably, some TikTok trends will be too off-brand for your business. Leave these alone and move on. The good news about TikTok is that there’s always a new trend right around the corner.
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