"The Power of Mental Models in Creating Viral Content on TikTok"

Aadil Verma

Hatched by Aadil Verma

May 17, 2024

3 min read


"The Power of Mental Models in Creating Viral Content on TikTok"


In the age of social media, creating viral content has become a holy grail for many brands and individuals. One platform that has gained immense popularity in recent years is TikTok, with its ability to reach millions of users worldwide. But what is the secret behind creating viral content on TikTok? In this article, we will explore the power of mental models and how they can help in making intelligent decisions when it comes to creating content that resonates with the TikTok audience.

Understanding Mental Models:

Before delving into the world of TikTok, let's first understand what mental models are. Mental models are compressed representations of how something works. They allow us to grasp complex ideas, beliefs, or concepts by breaking them down into understandable and usable chunks. Just like a map, mental models reveal key information while ignoring irrelevant details. By applying mental models to TikTok content creation, we can gain valuable insights and increase our chances of creating viral content.

Choosing TikTok as the Platform:

Zaria Parvez, the Social Media Manager at DuoLingo, chose TikTok as the platform to focus on due to her personal familiarity with it. Growing up with TikTok during her college years, she understood how it worked, what made her laugh, and what content resonated with users. Additionally, the sheer number of users on TikTok, with over 1 billion in September 2021, presented a unique opportunity to bring people back to the DuoLingo app. This decision highlights the importance of choosing a platform where you have a deep understanding of its mechanics and user preferences.

Balancing Art and Science:

When hiring for her team, Zaria emphasizes the ability to create entertaining content over traditional advertising experience. This approach highlights the balance between art and science in content creation. While there are scientific aspects to understanding TikTok's algorithms and trends, the art lies in being able to put a unique spin on popular content. Zaria encourages her team to start by stealing ideas like an artist, using trending audios and concepts as inspiration. However, she also acknowledges the need for originality and storytelling to maintain virality beyond the initial copying phase.

Innovation through Storylines:

DuoLingo's TikTok strategy revolves around creating "sitcom episodes" that engage users and build storylines. Each video acts as an episode, some going viral and others serving to develop ongoing narratives. The goal is to create content that can function as short-form video even outside of TikTok. This approach allows DuoLingo to innovate and experiment with different concepts, such as inviting mascots or recreating iconic moments. By focusing on storylines, they create content that resonates with users and keeps them coming back for more.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Understand the Mental Models: Take the time to analyze and comprehend the mental models that drive success on TikTok. By identifying the key elements that make content go viral, you can better tailor your own content and increase its chances of success.
  • 2. Embrace the Art and Science: Find the right balance between understanding the scientific aspects of TikTok's algorithms and trends, and injecting your own creativity and unique perspective. Steal ideas like an artist, but always strive to add your own spin and storytelling to stand out.
  • 3. Focus on Storytelling: Don't just create standalone videos; develop storylines and narratives that engage users and keep them coming back for more. By treating your TikTok account as a series of episodes, you can build a loyal following and create content that resonates beyond the platform.


Creating viral content on TikTok requires a combination of understanding mental models, embracing the art and science of content creation, and focusing on storytelling. By applying these principles, you can increase your chances of creating content that captivates the TikTok audience and takes your brand or personal account to new heights. So go ahead, dive into the world of TikTok, and let your creativity shine.

Hatch New Ideas with Glasp AI 🐣

Glasp AI allows you to hatch new ideas based on your curated content. Let's curate and create with Glasp AI :)