There are probably very few people who haven’t heard of TikTok. The China-based app combines the popular features we can see on other services like Instagram, Snapchat or recently discontinued Vine. Unlike these services, TikTok seems to be specifically targeted at younger audiences. However, this doesn’t keep all kinds of users get famous on TikTok. So why shouldn’t you try that?
If you think that TikTok’s focus on younger users doesn’t seem serious enough, think again. According to the report by App Annie, TikTok was the fastest growing app in 2019. Time spent on the app last year skyrocketed by 210%. People spent nearly 70 billion hours using TikTok! And yes, this means that the TikTok scene is highly competitive for anyone who plans to achieve any success on the platform. But what it also means is that you definitely have a chance to find your audience (and a large one at that!).
That being said, the first steps might be a daunting experience, especially if you don’t know much about the platform. How do you start? What kind of content should you post? How can you make your TikTok experience successful? Well, no worries; I’ll do my best to answer all these questions for you and more.
Tips On How to Get TikTok Famous
What is TikTok exactly?
TikTok (known to Chinese users as Douyin) is a social video platform that allows its users to create and post 15-second long videos. They are most commonly music videos, short comedy sketches or trend reactions. In case that’s up your alley, you can also do live streams.
As we know it today, TikTok emerged in 2017. That’s when Chinese services Douyin and Musical.ly merged to form one of the most successful social platforms of today. At this point, TikTok has grown so much it poses serious competition to massive platforms like YouTube or Instagram. According to Datareportal, it reached the number of 500 000 000 active users worldwide.
Who is it for?
It’s no big secret that the most active TikTok users are children and teenagers up to 18 years old. There are 40% of them on the platform.
Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions, though. This doesn’t mean that older users can’t be successful here. There is a good reason why the app is so popular with users of all ages. For example, thanks to the platform’s system of recommendations, any user can become popular. Provided they have content that seems entertaining and engaging enough to others, that is.
TikTok fun facts
- Video content is king. You can make your 15-second videos both using the app or by uploading any pre-made ones you’ve got. One of the most popular (and most effective) ways to get famous here is collaborations with other users. Dance videos are particularly popular.
- TikTok strongly reminds the Stories feature all Instagram or Snapchat users know and love. Vertical videos, short runtime, rapid reactions. The main goal is to be as funny and/or as creative as possible.
- After you sign up, your feed will be formed based on the specific categories you choose during registration.
- You can add music or any audio track you love to your videos free of charge. The app stores a huge number of playlists with audio in any genre, from pop music to country.
- When creating a video you can use all kinds of emojis, stickers and/or filters or effects.
- The total number of all likes you’ve ever received for your videos is shown in your profile description.
You don’t need registration if all you want is to view videos posted by other users. Unfortunately, unregistered users can’t create and post their own video content. And since getting famous on TikTok is what we are discussing here, that’s not an option.
So as they say, let’s start at the beginning and go to an app store to download the app.
Once it’s on your phone, you can open the app and choose the categories that interest you the most. After that, you’ll be able to sign up for a TikTok account.
It’s as easy as it gets and will take you just a few seconds. During registration, you’ll be given a few options. You can sign up via Facebook, Google or just go through a regular registration using your email and phone number. After you enter your phone number, you’ll get a text message with a security code to confirm it. When that’s done, you can set a password for your account.
Done! Now you have your very own TikTok account and the first step to success has been made. Now have a good look at what you’ve got here.
The topmost panel gives options of adding friends, adding an extra account, and changing your profile settings. Let’s see what else your account can offer, from top to bottom:
- Choose your userpic. By clicking on your userpic icon, you’ll go to a menu where you can upload a photo from your device or take one using your smartphone camera.
- Change or edit your username.
- Your profile stats. How many people follow you, how many people you are following and how many likes your videos have received. By tapping on the tabs you’ll be able to view the videos of your subscribers.
- Edit your profile. Here’s where you can change or edit information like your name, username, bio or social network links.
- Finally, at the bottom, you find a toolbar with several tabs:
- Homepage where you can see videos posted by other users;
- Search engine to help you every time you need to find a certain hashtag, effect or audio;
- A “create your video” button. Here’s where you start your TikTok journey;
- Inbox shows info on all reactions to your videos (most commonly, likes and comments);
- Your TikTok profile.
Things you need to know before uploading your content
So now you have an account ready to be filled with awesome content. All you have to do is create videos, upload them and hope to wake up TikTok famous one fine morning, right? Well, I wouldn’t be so hasty if I were you. This is one of those social platforms where it means a great deal how you start. So before presenting your content to millions of users, it would make sense to learn more. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.
As it happens with any social platform, there is no way of knowing how exactly the algorithm works. On the other hand, the basic principles are not hard to figure out.
It’s no secret to anyone that any social platform’s goal is to make you spend as much time using it as possible. To make this happen, the algorithm picks and offers users the kind of content they are most likely to enjoy the most. They usually call this kind of algorithm a Matching Engine. In other words, each video gets categorized and shown only to users who viewed and liked similar videos earlier.
This categorization happens based on two parameters: audio tracks used in videos and video description (including hashtags).
After a video gets approved, the algorithm determines which users will like it based on their previous activity in the app:
- The videos they liked
- The videos they commented on
- The videos they shared
- The videos they spent the most time watching.
As soon as that’s done, the algorithm shows the video to the chosen users a certain number of times. There are several factors the viewership depends on:
- The number of subscribers. Obviously, the more subscribers you’ve got the larger viewership your videos get.
- Your account rating. The rating is based on the engagement rate, the number of interactions your previous videos got from other users.
- Performance Rating Ratio. The algorithm has certain requirements for the performance of your videos after they become available for viewing. If the ratio is high, your content will be shown to more users. If it’s not high enough, the algorithm will stop promoting it altogether.
- Completion Ratio: how much of your video is watched by other users. For example, if someone watched 50% of your video, the completion ratio is 0.5. Naturally, good content is watched in its entirety and often repeatedly, so its completion ratio is pretty high.
It’s worth noting that the level of engagement is of great importance. Once other users stop discussing, sharing and/or liking your video, it loses its viewership until the algorithm completely stops showing it on users’ feed.
However, one of the great things about this algorithm is that your video has a chance to get views later. This chance isn’t too high, but it’s certainly there.
Does it matter when exactly you post your content? Absolutely! You have to remember that each of your videos starts popping up among recommendations as soon as it gets uploaded. And that a big chunk of the TikTok audience is young. So it might not be a good idea to post your content late at night. Usually, the optimal time frame is 6 to 9 pm.
That being said, if you already have an established decent number of subscribers, you should find the time that suits them best. The main thing here is to reach a few thousand views. Do that – and your video will be showing up among recommendations for days. How often that happens depends on its performance at the start.
Your first video
As I mentioned earlier, it’s very important how you start on TikTok. Trust me, it’s not just empty words. A low-quality, unimaginative and tone-deaf video can hamper your way to success, big time. Sure, it might not completely bury your account once and for all. But instead of making a bad mistake and then trying hard to recover, why don’t you do everything right from the very start?
Yes, I completely understand that it’s easier said than done. Sometimes, you just don’t know which format will be the right one for you. After all, it must be more than just something general audiences find interesting. It should also be something you feel comfortable with and enjoy. So what I suggest is creating an experimental account first, just to try out different options and see what works both for others and for you. Just avoid threadbare cliches people got sick and tired of long before you discovered TikTok.
Content is important, but the quality is very important too. Make sure your videos don’t look like you’ve made them using your grandma’s early 2000s phone. No one will waste time watching your video if it’s so foggy and pixelated it’s eye-gouging. That being said, don’t try hard to make each video a separate work of art. Your content must look real, authentic, genuine. Avoid any pretension as much as you can.
Here’s another important advice: before making and uploading videos, do your research. Learn about the most popular trends at the moment. More often than not, jumping on the right bandwagon can really boost your viewership. Look at the most popular videos in your feed. Notice the trends and memes they are using. Think of how they can work for you.
Getting to the top
Now you have your account and armed yourself with some knowledge. You’ve probably even uploaded a video (or a few of them) and got some positive feedback. But that’s definitely not enough for becoming TikTok famous.
So what now? How do you go from zero to hero? Here are some useful tips that might help you on this journey, a lot.
1. Make your videos 10-15 seconds long.
Let’s face it; the majority of the TikTok audience has a short attention span. Shorter videos make your chance to get a good completion ratio higher.
2. Make videos with seamless loops.
Seamless loops provide a smooth transition from the video’s end back to its beginning. This is a small trick to make your viewers not notice where your video ends and start watching it all over again. Another way of boosting your completion ratio.
3. Tease your content.
Let your viewers know that there’s something special at the end of your video they totally should see. Phrases like “Watch to the end to see something mind-blowing”, “You won’t believe what happens”, “Did you know that…” might work just fine.
4. Polish up your profile.
If someone likes your video, they will probably go and have a look at your profile. And if it looks interesting enough, you might just get a new subscriber or two.
Choose a catchy username, a cool userpic (video userpics are even better!). Add a few sentences to a bio section to introduce yourself. Ask them to subscribe. And don’t forget to add links to your Instagram and YouTube accounts.
5. Subscribe to other users.
Just like on other social platforms, mutual follow works here too. It’s a great way to boost your subscriber numbers at the start. Go to your feed, watch some videos and subscribe to users you like. It’s quite likely that many of them will follow you back.
6. Comment on videos.
This is another way to attract a wider audience. When they see your interesting and witty comments, they check out your profile and often subscribe, if they like what they see.
To maximize the effectiveness of this method, leave your comments under the videos of popular users, active challenges and other trendy content.
7. Announce your videos on other social networks.
There are probably other social platforms you are active on. Maybe your following there is not so small too. Use this to your advantage! Announce your videos on Instagram and/or YouTube. Invite your subscribers to see your new videos on TikTok, like it and subscribe to your account.
It’s worth noting that in general, people are hesitant to switch to new social platforms. So you really have to make them curious. This method might not be the fastest solution, but it still works.
8. Make your videos engaging.
Let’s admit it: originality isn’t what TikTok is famous for. This doesn’t mean that all you have to post is reactions to the same memes ppl reacted to a million times already. Knowing trends helps, but having something interesting and emotional to offer helps even better.
9. Use popular music as your audio track.
Choose music that’s trending at the moment, something that the majority of TikTok users enjoy. However, make sure that it fits your content well. Taking audio from some challenge and using it for another one is a bad idea. This is a sure way to be ignored. And believe me, being ignored here is much worse than being hated on.
10. Use your hashtags correctly.
Hashtags are a great tool to use on many social platforms, and TikTok is no exception. By using relevant hashtags, you’ll enhance audience coverage and probably get new subscribers.
You can choose popular hashtags from the list in the Discover section. Or you can look for some interesting hashtags used by TikTokers with similar content. Use names of new songs, challenges or anything that’s trending.
11. Analyze your feedback.
Working with your profile statistics and analyzing the response to your content is extremely important. After some time on TikTok, you’ll start noticing that some of your videos get fewer likes than others. Your job is to figure out why that happens and if possible, fix it.
Note which videos are more popular and which ones get no love at all. Learn from your mistakes. Pay more attention to the kind of content people love the most. And stop wasting your time on themes and topics they don’t give a damn about.
12. Record duets.
Duets are yet another method of attracting more subscribers with minimal effort. Take popular videos and record reactions to them. Just don’t forget to use all the right hashtags. Some creative TikTokers manage to make their reactions much more popular than original videos they react to.
13. Do contests.
A win-win method, albeit not the one that comes free. But the great thing about it is that it always works.
Everyone likes winning prizes, especially when all they have to do for this is like your video and subscribe to your profile.
Choose a prize – a cool smartphone or a headset, for example, depending on your budget. Make an announcement and let people compete for your prize by liking and subscribing within a given period of time.
14. Post 1-2 videos a day.
There is really no need to post more than that. Besides, the TikTok algorithm can take large numbers of daily posts as spam. In the best case scenario, this would mean your content will not show up in recommendations. You know what the worst case scenario is.
The fast-growing social platform of TikTok is multi-faceted and offers so many opportunities to both individuals and businesses. So this article is more of a condensed down 101 course for beginners. Don’t let this confuse you. Trust me, you will quickly figure all this mess out just by being active and interacting with all the great app’s features and communities.
Use this information as a stepping stone. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Think out of the box while following popular trends. Good luck!