One of the best marketing decisions you will make in 2022 is to triple down on TikTok.
When it comes to opportunities for organic growth, few social media platforms compare to the possibilities on TikTok. I’ve seen this first hand with numerous accounts that I’ve helped operate over the past several months. By spending time learning how the algorithm works, and consistently following the best practices I will share with you in this article, I’ve been able to engineer virality several times – bringing hundreds of thousands to one million-plus views to videos and hashtags on the app.
I’ve seen many individuals struggle with growth on the app, citing everything from “shadow-banning” to “over-saturation” as the reason why their content isn’t performing – but the reality is, when I look at most of the accounts these excuses are linked to, the problem is typically much simpler – they aren’t creating content that works on TikTok.
In this article, I’m going to share how you can avoid common mistakes on the platform, and give you a few quick pieces of advice that will help your content be seen and fuel your profile growth in 2022.
In the summer of 2020, I had taken over for an account with >100 followers, and in less than two months time, we saw millions of views on our videos and massive spikes in follower growth.
One of the wildest weeks on TikTok came from August 10-August 16th.
We received 2.4m video views (1m of which came from one ultra-viral video), had 98.7k profile visits, amassed 171.3k likes, received 4,016 comments and a whopping 1,884 shares. That account’s unique hashtag – to date – has 4.1 million views.
This account – to date – has 13,500 thousand followers.
In the past two months, I’ve seen strong growth happen with another account – this time starting with ZERO followers.
By following the same steps, I got this brand new account to receive 108.2k video views, have 2,066 profile views, amass 2,432 likes, receive 153 comments and be shared 426 times. This two-month old account now has 3,050 followers – with 1,238 of them coming in the last 7 days.
I don’t say this to brag, but to show that the process is relatively simple, certainly repeatable (even with new accounts), and effective. Here’s how:
Pick a Niche
This is the first piece of advice we give to content creators about to embark on any platform. Whether it’s YouTube, Facebook, or a podcast, this advice is crucial, and TikTok is no different.
Pick your lane – no matter what it is – and stay in it. It’s okay to post content that is slightly out of your normal posts once in a while, just know it likely won’t perform quite as well as your normal posts.
The more consistent you are with the TYPE of content you produce, the more that the TikTok algorithm will understand your target audience and put your content in front of the right people.
Plus, your audience will be your ideal audience, looking for the exact type of niche content that you put out. You’ll see a lot less up and down with your numbers this way.
For example, if you’re a political commentator, you may get several thousand followers with one viral video of a car, but how many of those will you keep when you return back to your politicized content?
Personally speaking, I have an 8,000+ follower true-crime TikTok account, and a relatively new 149 follower filmmaking TikTok. While it’s tempting for me to want to merge my audiences so I don’t have to look at that small number in the beginning, I have to remind myself that the two audiences have little-to-nothing in common with each-other. In the macro, that decision would not benefit me.
Focus on Content Value More Than Production Value
When I first hopped on the platform in 2019 (almost 2 years before I decided to actually take it seriously), I uploaded a professionally edited video with licensed music, amazing color grading, and cool graphics. I assumed it would be instantly viral as a result of my talents.
To date, that video has less than 600 views.
In 2020, I posted a video that was literally taken from a zoom recording from my built-in webcam on my MacBook pro. No fancy editing, I just added a bit of text within the app. It didn’t look bad, but it certainly wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster.
This was my first viral video.
It quickly garnered 113.9k views and boosted my follower account by thousands.
The post that looked nice flopped, the post that brought real, raw value to my ideal audience succeeded. I’ve seen this happen time and time again since.
Pro-Tip: TikTok rewards creating videos within the app. So if you’re uploading a video, consider adding your text, subtitles, etc. natively within the TikTok app. It may not look quite as polished as you’d prefer, but you need to play by TikTok’s rules to win in their game. I add my subtitles through Zubtitle often, however, I still go out of my way to add some level of customization within the app so they know I’m not thoughtlessly repurposing content.
Don't Fear Being Polarizing
I’ll be more blunt… BE POLARIZING.
I don’t mean be a jerk or even that you need to come across with a brash, Type-A personality. And I’m glad, because that’s not me.
What I do mean is to not shy away from explicitly stating what you believe. You’ll ruffle some feathers – which will increase engagement (wink, wink) – but more importantly, you’ll draw likeminded people out of the woodwork who will passionately follow you as opposed to casually follow you.
I’ll give you an example. One of the TikTok accounts I manage is for a multi-family real estate syndicator.
Here are some of the polarizing or eye-catching statements he has opened his videos with and the accompanying engagement:
1. “Quit gambling with Crypto…” (10.9k views)
2. Never buy a single-family or duplex (179.8k views)
3. Why I don’t buy A-class properties (9k views)
4. Property Management NIGHTMARE! (1.6m views)
In his industry, these statements generate strong responses – a pretty even split between positive and negative. But guess. Both of those types of comments and reactions give your video attention, and boost you in the algorithm. So seriously, as hard as it can be, don’t sweat the haters, in the end – they’re actually helping you win.
Get to the Point First, Then Tell Your Story
When you scroll through social media, do you watch every video in its entirety?
Don’t answer that.
I feel confident that I already know the answer. You don’t. Neither do I.
We scroll and scroll glancing for a second or two and making a split decision whether the video is worth our time. More often than not, we decide it’s not and *swipe* on to the next video.
It’s vital that you capture your viewers attention in the first 2-3 seconds.
You can do this by moving your main point (coincidentally, this is generally your most polarizing point) to the front-end of your video.
Using one of my examples earlier, we began a video with the exact statement, “Never buy a single-family or duplex ever again” then proceeded to explain the benefits of multi-family (the why of the video.)
This stopped the scroll for our target audience.
Pro-Tip: I also encourage you to write out that first sentence in text on the screen, so if someone is scrolling quickly or has their volume down, it catches their eye.
If we’d started the video like most realtors, it would have faded in to a professionally produced clip, and they would have said, “Hi, I’m ______, your trusted agent in the area, in today’s video, I want to tell you about…”
They took too long to get to the point.
Respond to Comments
Getting your ideal audience to respond is one thing, and it’s exciting to see their likes and comments start pouring in to your video.
Don’t pop open the champagne just yet, your work isn’t done!
The most basic, low-hanging fruit that I see SOOOO many TikTok users leave behind are the comments on their account.
Responding to comments is a quick way to boost engagement on your videos, turn some of those fans into actual followers on your account, and – if you use the reply with video tool, you can instantly create a plethora of new content by going through and responding to individual comments with a unique video response. Obviously not every comment calls for a video response, but keep an eye out for gems.
Hop on Trends
You don’t have to guess what meme formats, audios, or video styles are trending on TikTok. Your “For You Page” (FYP) is flooded with them.
Take time to browse the app, look for any trends you can repurpose – particularly trending audios – to share your message.
If you aren’t a celebrity or don’t know a celebrity, don’t be discouraged by this point.
I say celebrity “helps” because that’s just it – it can help.
Take a deep breathe of relief when I tell you that all of the TikTok account growth examples I’ve given thus far have not featured household names in any of their content. It’s possible to grow on the back of your messaging alone.
Having a celebrity face is just another tool in the toolbox – an extremely useful accelerant you can pour into your content creation efforts.
This clip from our interview with Matt Barnes on the Build Your Network Podcast received 390.7k, views, 31.3k likes, 93 comments, and 388 shares.
The clip featured Barnes telling a story about when Kobe Bryant called him about becoming a Laker. It opened with the overlayed text on the screen saying, “Matt Barnes’ life-changing call from Kobe Bryant: ‘Do you want to be a LAKER?'”
In the first three seconds, anyone scrolling saw a few things.
First, any basketball fan is going to visually recognize Matt Barnes.
Second, seeing the name “Kobe Bryant” is going to hook even more viewers.
Additionally, the text talking about the “life-changing call” on screen teases a powerful inside look at an important story in Matt Barnes’ life.
For non-basketball fans, no big deal. But for anyone vaguely interested, there was plenty to stick around for.
It seems obvious, but having a celebrity name – or even a recognized name in your field – will make it easier to draw more eyeballs to your account.
If you’ve interviewed a bigger name on your podcast, YouTube channel, or even a FB live, repurpose content from those conversations for your TikTok.
Pro-Tip: If you’re struggling to connect with recognizable names in your niche, set up a free account on Guestio.com and browse a marketplace of guests for your podcast, blog, youtube, or social media channel.
As Travis Chappell always says, “consistent, quality, content is the key to success.”
Be consistent and post regularly. Find your rhythm and stick to it.
Which piece of advice did you find most helpful? What success have you seen on the platform? Let us know in the comments! Please, don’t forget to share this article so others can get value.