Whether you're an individual looking to build a personal brand or a business aiming to reach new customers, TikTok offers an unparalleled opportunity for growth. Its algorithm is designed to give even the smallest accounts a chance at viral fame, making it a democratic platform for those looking to make an impact.
While a large number of followers doesn’t equate with success as a creator, a follower count is a currency and can determine many things, like how much you can charge for brand deals and the number of people you can reach.
In this article, we'll provide actionable tips and strategies to help you grow your TikTok following. So whether you're a TikTok newbie or looking to take your account to the next level, read on for insights to help you achieve your TikTok goals.
1. Know your target audience and create for them
TikTok is a melting pot of cultures, age groups, and interests, with over a billion active users. From Gen Z to Baby Boomers, the platform has something for everyone. But if you're looking to grow your followers, it's crucial to understand who you're creating content for.
Creating generic content and hoping it sticks is like throwing spaghetti at the wall. Knowing your audience allows you to make your content more engaging.
- Start by diving into your TikTok analytics. Look for patterns in the age, gender, and location of your followers. Are they mostly teenagers interested in fashion? Are they millennials who love travel? Once you've identified your audience, think about what they would like to see and how they would like to be engaged.
- Create content that speaks to them. Once you know your audience, the next step is identifying your niche. For example, if your followers are into fitness, a video about your workout routine would be more impactful than a random dance video. Always ask yourself, "Would my target audience find this valuable or entertaining?"
- Don't be afraid to experiment. Test different types of content to figure out what gets more engagement. For instance, if you're unsure whether your audience prefers comedy skits or how-to videos, try posting both and see which one gets more likes, shares, and comments.
Knowing your target audience is not just a one-time activity, it's an ongoing process. People's preferences change, and the TikTok algorithm evolves. Keep an eye on your analytics, listen to your audience, and be ready to pivot your content strategy when needed.
2. Watch and participate in trends
Trends are the lifeblood of TikTok – they come and go like the tide, but when they're in, they're in. Participating in trending challenges or using trending sounds can catapult your video onto the For You page (FYP), TikTok's main feed and recommendation algorithm, exponentially increasing your reach.
TikTok trends are more than just viral moments; they're opportunities to showcase your creativity, reach a wider audience, and even go viral. But remember, trends are time-sensitive. The earlier you jump in, the better.
Keeping an eye on the FYP is a good start, but don't stop there. Follow popular creators, check out trending hashtags in your niche, and pay attention to the sounds that are being used repeatedly. Not every trend will align with your brand or interests, and that's okay. The key is to adapt trends to fit naturally with your content. For example, if you're a fitness influencer, you could turn a popular dance trend into a workout routine.
While it's tempting to jump on every trend, it's important to maintain your brand's authenticity. Ask yourself, "Does participating in this trend align with my brand's values and aesthetics?" If the answer is yes, go for it. If not, it might be best to sit this one out.
Trends are a double-edged sword. There's always a chance your take on a trend could flop or, worse, backfire. However, the potential rewards – increased visibility, more followers, and higher engagement – often outweigh the risks.
The key is to use them wisely – participate only if they’re relevant to your content. Keep your finger on the pulse of what's trending, but never lose sight of who you are and what your brand stands for.
3. Cross-promote with other TikTok creators
Collaborating and cross-promoting with other creators can introduce your content to a new audience, doubling your reach with a single video. But it's not just about the numbers – it's about community building and creative exchange.
TikTok offers unique features like duets and stitches that make collaboration easy and fun. A duet allows you to create a side-by-side video with another creator, while a stitch lets you clip and integrate scenes from someone else's video into your own. These features offer a seamless way to engage with other creators and their audiences.
Not all collaborations are made equal. Partnering with influencers or creators who share your target audience and values is important. Do your research, check their engagement rates, and reach out with a well-thought-out proposal. Some other dos and don'ts of collaboration include:
- Do have a clear agreement on the content and message of the collaboration.
- Don't collaborate with someone whose brand conflicts with yours.
- Do give credit where credit is due.
- Don't force a collaboration; it should feel natural and authentic to both parties
A successful collaboration can be the start of an ongoing relationship. Consider creating a content series or challenge together or cross-promoting each other's merchandise or upcoming events. Cross-promotion is a win-win situation when done right. It can help you break out of your follower bubble, enrich your content, and even lead to incredible friendships. So go ahead and reach out to that creator you admire – you never know where it might lead.
4. Start a content series
While one-off videos can be fun and engaging, there's something to be said for the long game. Starting a content series on TikTok can offer a sense of continuity that keeps your audience returning for more. It's storytelling at its finest, a strategy that can pay off in spades.
A content series is essentially a string of interconnected videos that revolve around a central theme or narrative. It could be as simple as a "Tip of the Day" series or as complex as a serialized story. The key is consistency in the theme, tone, and posting schedule of your content.
Steps to creating a winning content series
- Define your plan: The first step in creating a content series is planning. What's the overarching theme? How many videos will it include? What's the call to action? Sketch out a rough outline and start filling in the details. Remember, the content should be engaging enough to stand alone but intriguing enough to make viewers want to see the next installment.
- Figure out the hook: Every good series has a hook or a reason for viewers to tune in to the next episode. This could be a cliffhanger, a question left unanswered, or a challenge posed to the audience. Use this hook to your advantage to keep viewers engaged and coming back for more.
- Post consistently: Once you've started your series, stick to a consistent posting schedule. Whether daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, consistency helps build anticipation and keeps your audience engaged.
- Don't be afraid to pivot if something isn't working: Use audience feedback and analytics to make data-driven decisions. Maybe your series needs a new angle, or perhaps it's time to wrap it up and start something new. Be flexible and willing to adapt.
Starting a content series is a commitment, but it's one that can offer significant rewards. It can help you build a loyal following, boost engagement, and provide a structured framework that makes content creation a breeze. So go ahead, start that series, and take your TikTok game to the next level.
5. Use hashtags and create captions related to your niche and audience
Hashtags aren't just a trendy add-on – they're a powerful tool for discoverability on TikTok. Using the right hashtags makes it easier for your target audience to find your content, thereby increasing your chances of gaining new followers and boosting engagement.
Selecting the right hashtags is a balancing act. The recommended number of hashtags is three to five hashtags per post. You'll want to include a mix of general, niche-specific, and trending hashtags. General (but relevant) hashtags cast a wide net, niche-specific ones attract a targeted audience, and trending hashtags can give you a shot at viral fame.
In addition, if you've built a significant following or want to establish stronger brand awareness, consider creating a branded hashtag. This can serve as a rallying point for your community and make tracking user-generated content related to your brand easier.
Some tips for using TikTok hashtags include:
- Use relevant hashtags that align with your content. Check TikTok’s Creative Center for potential hashtags to use in your content.
- Keep an eye on trending hashtags and participate when relevant.
- Don't spam your captions with irrelevant or overly general hashtags.
- Don't use the same set of hashtags for every video – mix it up for different kinds of content and to reach different audiences.
Hashtags and captions are more than just afterthoughts; they're integral to your TikTok strategy. You can significantly boost your reach, engagement, and follower growth by being thoughtful and strategic in using hashtags and captions. So go ahead, hashtag away, but do it wisely.
6. Add closed captions to your videos
Closed captions might seem like a small detail, but they can make a world of difference in how your TikTok videos are received. Not only do they make your content more accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, but they also offer SEO benefits and can increase viewer engagement.
More than 1.5 billion people worldwide are currently affected by hearing loss in at least one ear, and about 430 million people worldwide require rehabilitation for disabling hearing loss. Adding closed captions to your videos helps make your content accessible to a broader audience.
TikTok's algorithm is a bit of a mystery, but what we do know is that it values engagement. Closed captions can increase the time people spend watching your video, which in turn can boost its visibility on the platform. Plus, captions make your content more searchable, boosting your TikTok SEO.
Adding closed captions to your TikTok videos is straightforward. You can either manually type them in as you edit your video or use third-party apps that generate captions for you. The key is to ensure they're accurate and sync well with the video.
Tips for effective closed captioning on TikTok
- Keep it short and sweet: TikTok videos are short, so your captions should be too. Aim for concise, clear language.
- Timing is everything: Make sure your captions are well-timed to match the video's audio or action.
- Be mindful of readability: Use a font and background that make the text easy to read. Avoid fancy fonts or colors that clash with the video.
Adding closed captions to your TikTok videos is a small effort that can yield big results. It enhances accessibility, boosts engagement, and even improves your video's discoverability. So the next time you post a video, don't forget the captions—it's a win-win for everyone involved.
7. Publish your videos at the right times
You've worked to create a great TikTok video, but when should you hit that "Post" button? Believe it or not, timing can be a crucial factor in how well your video performs. Publishing your TikToks at the right times can help your video reach a wider audience and increase its chances of going viral.
To maximize your video's reach, aim to post during the hours when your target audience is most active on TikTok. This usually means evenings and weekends, but it can vary depending on your specific audience demographics.
If you have a global following, time zones can complicate things. You might need to experiment with posting at different times to see when you get the best engagement. Some creators even repost videos at different times to reach audiences in various time zones.
While the TikTok algorithm is not fully understood, it's believed that videos that get quick engagement are more likely to be pushed to a broader audience. Posting when your followers are most active can give your video the initial boost it needs.
How to find your ideal posting time
- Analyze past performance: Look at your TikTok analytics to see when your past videos have received the most engagement.
- Conduct A/B tests: Experiment by posting similar videos at different times and days to see which performs better.
- Monitor real-time analytics: After posting, keep an eye on how quickly your video gains views and engagement. This can offer immediate insights into whether you've hit a sweet spot.
- Consistency over perfection: While timing is important, consistency is key. If you can't always post at the ideal time, don't sweat it. What's more important is maintaining a consistent posting schedule that your audience can rely on.
Publishing your videos at the right times can give them the extra push they need to reach a wider audience and rack up those views. It's a simple yet effective strategy that can make a significant difference in your TikTok success. So go ahead, set that alarm, and get ready to hit "Post" when the time is just right.
8. Play around with the length of your videos
TikTok allows videos ranging from 15 seconds to 3 minutes, but what's the ideal length for your content? While shorter videos are more consumable, longer, videos provide the space to delve deeper into a topic. The trick is to find the sweet spot that works for you and your audience.
Short, 15 to 30-second videos are the bread and butter of TikTok. They're quick to watch, easy to engage with, and perfect for simple, catchy content. If you want to capture attention fast, this is your go-to format.
TikTok's 3 to 10-minute video options allow you to explore topics more deeply. This format is ideal for tutorials, storytelling, or any content that requires more time to unfold. However, longer videos demand stronger storytelling skills to keep viewers engaged.
Sometimes, 15 seconds is too short, and 10 minutes is too long. Videos that fall in the 30- to 60-second range offer a happy medium. They're long enough to convey a complete thought but short enough to keep the viewer's attention.
Don't be afraid to mix it up. Experiment with different video lengths to see what resonates most with your audience. Use TikTok analytics to track metrics like watch time and engagement rates for videos of varying lengths.
Tips for effective video lengths
- Start strong: Regardless of length, your video should grab the viewer's attention in the first few seconds.
- Pacing is key: Make sure the content flows naturally and keeps the viewer engaged throughout.
- End with a bang: Conclude with a strong call-to-action or a memorable moment encouraging likes, shares, or follows.
The length of your TikTok videos isn't a one-size-fits-all scenario. It's an element you should tailor to your content type, audience preferences, and the message you're trying to convey. By playing around with different video lengths and analyzing the results, you can optimize your content for maximum impact.
9. Use trending music and sounds
One of the unique features of TikTok is its extensive library of music and sounds that creators can use. Using trending music and sounds can not only make your videos more engaging but also increase their chances of going viral.
Trending music often comes with its own set of trending challenges or dances. By using a popular track, you're essentially hopping on a trend that already has a built-in audience and increasing your video's visibility.
TikTok's algorithm tends to favor videos that use trending music. This is because these videos are more likely to be engaged with, shared, and saved, all of which the algorithm considers metrics when deciding what to show on the 'For You' page.
How to find trending songs and sounds
- Explore the 'For You' page: This is where you'll find videos that are currently trending, complete with the music they use.
- Use TikTok's music discovery feature: This tool within the app helps you find popular tracks in different genres.
- Follow popular creators: Keep an eye on what music popular TikTokers are using; chances are, those tracks are trending.
Tips for using music effectively
- Match the mood: The music should complement the content of your video. A mismatch can be jarring and reduce engagement.
- Volume control: Make sure the music doesn't overpower your voice if you're speaking in the video.
- Legal considerations: Always consider and respect copyright laws. TikTok's library is generally safe to use, but if you're sourcing music externally, make sure you have the rights to use it.
Music and sound are more than just an auditory experience on TikTok; they're a strategic tool that can significantly impact your video's performance. By tapping into trending music and sounds, you're giving your content a leg up in the TikTok algorithm and increasing its potential reach and engagement.
10. Share user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is a goldmine for content creators looking to build a more engaged and loyal community. It adds a layer of authenticity to your TikTok account and encourages more interaction from your audience.
When you share content created by your followers or other TikTok users, you give them a shoutout. This can increase engagement, as people are likelier to interact with a creator who appreciates and highlights their community. If someone has said something positive about your brand or content, why not share it?
However, before you use anyone’s content, make sure to always get consent from and give credit to the original creator. You should also prioritize quality over quantity – choose UGC that aligns with your brand and content quality standards. Additionally,
- Make sure your shared UGC fits seamlessly with your existing content strategy.
- Use UGC as an opportunity to engage with your community. Ask questions, seek opinions, and encourage more users to share their content with you.
- Monitor metrics like engagement and follower growth to gauge the effectiveness of sharing UGC.
Sharing user-generated content is not just a strategy – it's a way to build a community around your TikTok presence. It adds a layer of authenticity and engagement that can set you apart from other creators. So go ahead, start sharing, and start engaging!
11. Cross-post your videos
Creating engaging content takes time and effort, so why limit its reach to just one platform? Cross-posting your TikTok videos to other social media platforms that prioritize short-form videos, like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, can maximize your content's exposure and draw a broader audience.
Different platforms have different user demographics, and you tap into multiple audiences by cross-posting. Besides, you've already worked to create a great TikTok video – sharing it on other platforms is a quick way to get more mileage out of your content. More engagement across different social media platforms can signal to algorithms that your content is worth promoting, increasing its visibility.
Remember that each platform has its own set of guidelines and best practices. Make sure to adapt your video accordingly. Consider the peak activity times for each platform to maximize engagement and customize platform-specific features like hashtags and captions to fit each platform.
In addition to Reels and Shorts, you should consider cross-sharing on Twitter and LinkedIn. While not designed for short-form video, these platforms can still be useful for sharing standout TikTok content.
Cross-posting is more than just a time-saver; it's a strategy to amplify your content's reach and impact. By sharing your TikTok videos on other platforms, you're not just recycling content; you're repurposing it for broader success.
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As you implement these strategies, remember that what gets measured gets managed. TikTok offers a range of analytics tools that can help you track your growth, engagement rates, and the effectiveness of your content. Regularly monitoring these metrics will show you what's working and provide insights into improvement areas.
Finally, don’t give in to the temptation to buy TikTok followers – it’ll only hurt your account in the long run. Growing your TikTok following is not an overnight endeavor, but with high-quality content, consistent effort, and a strategic approach, you’re more likely to see significant growth. So go ahead, roll up your sleeves, and dive into the TikTok universe. Your future followers are waiting!