How to attract more than 10 million TikTok followers in 5 months

Imagine going from zero followers to 10,000,000+ followers in less than five months. I have watched somebody do exactly that.

My brother Topper Guild is already reaping the benefits of fame: People stop him in the street for photos and he’s been offered thousands of dollars to promote brands and befriend celebrities.

In less than 150 days, he went from being a high school sophomore to earning more than a Harvard MBA and working with his idols like boxer Ryan Garcia. In time, he also leveraged his following to score more than 100,000,000 views for direct-to-consumer brands like FashionNova and NUGGS.

How did he do it? And how would he advise you?

Consumer startups can apply these same strategies, tactics and ideas to grow quickly on TikTok, which is not nearly as saturated as Instagram and offers faster growth rates.

Let’s dive right into the principles he used to grow (that you can use too).

Do what works

Topper is constantly scanning for what is trending on social media; instead of trying to make waves, he rides them.

He looks for trends that already have lots of attention and finds ways to make them better. “The trick is to find new content that is gaining traction fast,” he said. “Then try to understand the part that made it so viral, and re-do it in a way that makes that part even better.”

This is something true among many artists and founders. Instead of trying to produce something completely original, they copy what works and find a way to make the most important part better. It’s how innovation really happens — learning from what works.

For example, Topper recently saw a video going viral of a woman who was pranked by a guy who ruins her earbuds. That video was getting millions of views, but Topper wanted to find a way to re-do it to make it better.

“I thought it was doing so well because of her crazy reaction and because of how shocking it was to the viewer to see something expensive destroyed,” Topper said, “so I wanted to improve those parts but keep the same structure.”

And improve it he did. He created a video where he pranked a woman in the same way, with the same delivery, but instead of destroying her earbuds, he destroyed her old iPhone. Then, after she freaked out and threw water on him, he gave her a new one.

It worked; after he posted the video, it shot up to more than 50,000,000 views within a week and gained him hundreds of thousands of followers each day.

But he wasn’t done. Topper also wanted to maximize the amount of followers he gained from this trend after his prank video outperformed the original. He created 15 more videos that month that improved on those elements and varied them slightly by using new people and destroying new devices, like computers, tablets and headphones.

And they went absolutely viral. Topper earned more than 250,000,000 views and grew from having just over 1,000,000 followers to more than 5,000,000 within a month.

He had similar success with Coke and Mentos videos, which earned hundreds of millions of views across dozens of videos. “Once you find what works, keep doing it,” Topper advised.

Startups can do this, too. For example, D2C startup NUGGS leaped on the TikTok trend of adding the song “Death” by Trippie Redd to comedic videos. It scored more than 4,300,000 views and generated tons of brand awareness within their target demographic.

A video that took less than an hour and $100 to produce earned them more brand awareness than they could buy for $2,000 on Instagram or Facebook, given their CPMs.


Tub of coke and mentos 😳 sub to my YT for results (link in bio)

♬ original sound – topperguild

Look for patterns

At first, figuring out which content would go viral seemed random. There was no correlation between likes, comments, shares or engagement rate.

What made the difference in his successful content? Topper needed to find out to maximize growth, so he went through his TikTok analytics insights and noticed a trend: his most popular videos weren’t the ones with the highest engagement rates. They were the ones with the highest average view durations.

“I wanted to test if this guess was right,” said Topper, “so I posted a few videos with a longer length and teased people in the captions to watch until the end.”

It worked; his videos started getting more views, but it wasn’t a perfect correlation. Some videos with high view durations weren’t taking off.

When Topper asked me for advice, I suggested that the key metric to nail was actually average session duration. That’s what YouTube optimizes for, so it would make sense that TikTok would do the same. This metric measures how long people actually stay on the platform — not on the video — and it can be increased by single videos.

He posted another video to test: one that encouraged viewers to rewatch repeatedly because it had a cliffhanger ending — Topper poured hundreds of Mentos into a massive container of Coke before cutting out the ending.

That video was his most viewed yet, scoring more than 175,000,000 views. He decided to use that lesson in future videos by creating content that helped get viewers addicted to TikTok while also being fun to watch.

Very few startups use this strategy successfully, but companies like Spikeball (from Shark Tank) have implemented it and are scoring millions of views as a result. They’ve played into this advantage by creating videos of people playing their game but stopping right before the end, which leads viewers to re-watch repeatedly so they can relive the moments before the cliffhanger ending.

Sometimes, they even revisit the profile and reopen the video in an attempt to troubleshoot why it’s pausing at the most suspenseful point. This keeps them on the platform longer.

Speaking of patterns, Topper credits his success to this last one.

Be consistent

“The algorithm rewards consistency,” Topper said, “just like YouTube.”

Since starting out on TikTok, he has posted several times a day and said he believes this was a critical part of his success. “It’s hard to create three to five videos per day for one platform,” he added, “but you’ve got to do it to succeed.”

This makes sense, right? Platforms give their most consistent creators more exposure because they churn out fresh, engaging content that keeps audiences using the platform. But there’s another reason to stay consistent in addition to working with the algorithm.

TikTok is discovery-oriented; predominantly, users watch videos that are hot on the platform at that time, not necessarily from the people they are following.

Each video a creator uploads is seen by strangers, but serendipity means that some videos turn out to have amazing average session durations. Statistically, the more chances you give yourself, the higher your chances of going viral, which is why almost all of TikTok’s top creators post several times per day.

Consumer brands using the platform most successfully (like FashionNova, Bang Energy and Spikeball) do the same. It gives them more organic exposure. They all know there is an element of luck involved, so the more they produce, the more likely they are to create content that crushes it.


Gaining millions of followers on social media is hard for people and brands. It’s time-consuming, it requires sacrifice and it sucks in the beginning. And like starting a startup, there’s also some luck involved.

If it were easy, though, everyone would do it and it wouldn’t have big advantages. So, if it’s important to your startup to build a massive, organic social following, do what works: look for patterns in the numbers and be consistent.

The time has never been better to build an organic following with a consumer product.