How to Grow on TikTok
Have you wondered how to grow on TikTok, or even curious what exactly it is? I recently took the plunge and started an account, and went viral overnight (follow me on the app at chowdownusa)! And no, this isn’t meant to be a humblebrag post. It’s an overtly braggy post if anything, because 1) I’m super proud of finally going viral, and 2) I know all of you can do the same thing, so I wanted to create a post describing what I did!
I literally started it about a week ago (from the time I wrote this post, on my phone’s notepad while en route to my latest trip to London), so I’m still learning about the ins & outs, but I’m sharing what I’ve discovered so far and what seems to work.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is the newest social media platform. It’s entirely video-based, apparently kind of like vine, but to be honest I never had a vine so I can’t be sure about the similarities there. What I do know is that it’s very similar to Instagram (despite one crucial difference which I’ll get to shortly), where you make a profile and scroll through a feed, add/search hashtags, like & comment on videos, and follow each other. Your profile displays how many views each video post has. There’s a much bigger emphasis on video views than likes.
How is TikTok Different from Instagram?
It’s no secret that ever since Facebook bought Instagram and changed the feed from chronological, it’s been increasingly frustrating as a content creator because your content gets shown to only a small fraction of your audience, no matter how creative or high quality the post is. It’s driving people to buy likes, promote posts with ads, and join telegram groups with hundreds of people in them to inflate your numbers.
TikTok is brilliantly capitalizing on this frustration, because here’s the kicker: on TikTok it does not matter how many followers you have – your content can instantly go viral. Gary Vee put it great when he said your content gets more traction than it deserves on TikTok – that really spoke to me, and was actually my inspiration to try it out when I was frustrated with Instagram not showing my content to my own followers after building up a genuine following over the years.
Good news: If your content is really good/interesting/engaging and catches on, it will go viral on TikTok even if you have hardly any followers. Seriously. I went to bed one night with 70 followers and 200-1500 views per post, and when I woke up my followers had doubled from a post that had gained over 30,000 views overnight. Within 24 hours, the post cracked ONE MILLION views and I had over 10,000 followers. Today I have over 20,000 followers and the post has over 3.5 MILLION VIEWS. This same video didn’t even get higher than my usual views on Instagram stories as a comparison.
So What Content Does Well on TikTok?
The target demographic on TikTok seems to be high school/college age, both male and female. So a lot of the top videos are dance routines, pranks, cheer flips, couple videos, etc.
However, I think people outside of that demographic are starting to jump on the platform now, so you can see other things go viral a lot like great travel videos and animal accounts. It’s a great time to get on the app because it’s a lot less saturated so anyone’s content can go a lot further right now.
My viral video was from our stay at the Azulik Treehouse Resort in Tulum, Mexico. There wasn’t much electricity so for room service we wrote down our request on a piece of paper, rolled it up into a wooden ball, and tossed it down a chute. This was such a unique thing that a lot of people watched to the end and made comments asking how it worked and where it was. Every time the video traction started to slow down I would comment on big accounts – not on a ton like is needed with instagram, just even a handful would help it pick up again.
More Tips: How to Grow on TikTok
I’ve noticed a few commonalities between the most popular accounts and videos. These are the tips I found helpful for growing so far:
- Keep putting out content. Don’t worry what anyone thinks or if it won’t do well. You never know what will catch on and take off!
- Make it an interesting video: Did you go on a cool vacation? A unique hotel? Jump off a cliff? Teach your dog a new trick? Dress up for a gala? All gold. The videos have to be high quality, though, and have something interesting happen in them. People love challenge videos too. There’s a lot of lip syncing to songs as well.
- Pick the right song: Each video comes with the option to add a song. Do not skip this step! This is a huge part of the app. There are certain top songs that do really well right now, and people can even search videos by song like you could search geotags on insta. Bonus points if the song title is a pun with what happens in the video (for example, my viral video was about tossing a wooden room service ball down a shoot and the song was called Way Down We Go). I note popular songs used on the app and created a list of those songs on my notepad to look at when I’m posting my next video.
- Use Broad Hashtags: Insta is so saturated that you need to use super specific long-tail hashtags, but on TikTok you can use ones like #beach #travel #dogs etc.
- Get them to watch until the end: The TikTok algorithm measures the post success by engagement, which includes watching a post all the way through, likes, shares, and especially comments. I’ve seen people write “I can’t believe that happened” or “wait for it” to get people to watch until the end of a video.
- Comments: Comments seem to be weighed pretty heavily on here. So answer every comment and keep the convo going.
- Engage with others: just like insta, engage with top accounts so people can find your account there.
- Duets: You can create a duet video with popular videos to comment on what they posted. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert here because I haven’t done one of these yet, but I know it’s popular!
Hope you found this post helpful and let me know what works for you!