If you are looking to reach a new audience then TikTok is a great social media platform to focus on right now. Find out why it is worth putting in the time to grow your TikTok and the tips you need to get you started.

3 Reasons to Focus on TikTok Right Now for Your Business 

  1. Your posts can reach a large audience quickly even if you haven’t yet built a following.
  2. Posts don’t need to be perfect, in fact raw and simple content often does better.
  3. The platform has a huge user base of all ages and it is continuing to grow.

A phone screen with the tiktok app obvious about to get started. Canva stock image

Setting Up Your TikTok Account

If you are completely new to TikTok then download the app and follow the instructions to set up an account. Ideally your username should be memorable and relevant to your business. If you need help setting up your profile or creating your first video then check out TikTok's user guides

I know when you first get on TikTok it will show you all sorts of content, a lot of which is of no interest to you, but it will really quickly learn what you like. You can help TikTok by liking the videos that interest you, telling it you aren't interested if you really don't want to see that sort of thing again and searching (and following) hashtags related to your interests.

To record a video go to the + at the bottom of the screen, and either upload a video you have already recorded or press the red button to record a new one. Click the tick when you are done recording to make edits, add text, captions etc and then tap next.  

Once you have created your video you need to add a caption. If you are familiar with other platforms then the description aspect is similar. On TikTok the length is limited to 150 characters so you have to really get to the point and limit hashtags. When you publish similar content it gets good at knowing the likely audience regardless of the hashtags you use, but initially you need to give it a clue what sort of audience to target.

What Type of Content Does Well on TikTok?

TikTok content needs to be videos, but that is pretty much the only limitation. You can even share a number of photos set to music if you want. You really don’t need to be dancing around on screen, you can share tutorials, animations or even just talk to camera. The best way to understand what works well is to spend some time watching videos on the app, especially from content creators who have a similar audience to you, but also experiment with creating content (while following my tips below) to see what works best for you.

How Videos Get Seen On TikTok

Everyone has two feeds on their TikTok home tab: “Following” and “For You”. The Following tab shows you videos from people you are following and For You shows you content that TikTok thinks will interest you. People tend to spend a lot of time on their For You Page so your content will be shown to anyone it thinks will be interested.

For your first few videos carefully use words and hashtags to tell TikTok what your posts are about and the kind of audience that might like it. Even with no followers your posts will get seen.

How The TikTok Algorithm Works

The algorithm is really good at showing you posts that will interest you, but how do you persuade it to show your post to others? It considers content good if people: 

  • watch it through to the end
  • watch the video multiple times
  • like the post
  • start following you
  • check out your other videos
  • share or save your content
  • use your content eg use the sound, stitch or duet the video

I will write an advanced post soon to explain how you can encourage these actions, but good content will make it happen naturally.

Promoting Posts On TikTok

Like with other social networks you can promote posts on TikTok so they are shown to a wider audience. What I particularly like is that you can choose your aim to be 'get more followers' so it will show your posts to people it thinks are mostly likely to follow you. This is a good way to grow your account quickly without the faking you see on Instagram

If you try this make sure the videos you promote are typical of your content for the same reasons I give below when talking about staying in your niche. My only criticism from boosts is that the demographic information doesn't work well. I have asked it to show a video to age 30 plus women before and gained followers who were male and teens which were not the target audience of the account. If the post you promote is typical of your content that isn't necessarily an issue for you though.

7 Essential Tips For Getting Started on TikTok

Make all your content relate to your niche

I know not everyone agrees with this, but having experimented on different accounts and analysed clients accounts I think it is really important to ensure all your content appeals to a similar audience. It can be tempting to create a crowd pleaser video which gets lots of views and potentially lots of followers, but if it’s too different to your other content it will impact future engagement because your followers aren't interested in your normal content and TikTok gets confused about who your audience is. 

Jump on Trends

One of the fun things on TikTok is the trends that appear quickly. Sometimes it is a filter or a style of video, but it’s often a sound which could be someone talking or a piece of music that everyone uses in a similar way. Make sure you can twist the trend to fit your business and niche. People will search for other people doing the trend which can often make the video get a higher reach. 

If there is a sound or a filter you like the look of tap on it (the filter will be next to the username and the sound is a circle on the bottom right). You then go to a screen that lets you save the sound/ filter as a favourite so you can come back to it later, try it out straight away or you can watch other videos with the same filter/ sound for inspiration.

a screenshot of a tiktok video showing where the filter and sounds are so you can use the same ones
Using trending filters or sounds can increase your reach.

Repurpose Your Content

Videos you make on TikTok can be used on other video platforms including Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts (although TikTok now let you record videos up to 10 minutes long which are too long for Reels or Shorts). You can either download a copy of the TikTok video and remove the watermark using various free apps or you can grab a screen record in the preview mode before you publish. 

Research Your Hashtags

If you are a small or new account there is little point using a hashtag that has millions (or even billions) of views, you just wont get seen. This goes for #fyp (for you page) or more specific ones like #mumtok. When you are starting out you should aim to use hashtags with 500,000 views or less. 

To work out which hashtags are good go to search, enter a topic eg “blogging tips” then go to the hashtags tab. TikTok will show you various related hashtags and you can scroll down until you see some which are a good size. Check out the sort of videos currently using any hashtags you are thinking about using to make sure they are appropriate and have a decent number of videos.

On Instagram you get told how many times a hashtag has been used, on TikTok it is the number of views so theoretically you could have a hashtag with a million views that is on only one video. You want enough videos that people might be looking for that hashtag, but not so many that you will get lost amongst them all. 

Add A Hook At The Beginning

When people are scrolling through videos you want to get their interest straight away. You can add text like “5 ways I have grown my business” or “this product is so cool” to the first few seconds which will encourage people to keep watching.

Use Subtitles/ Captions On your TikToks

If there is talking on your video you should add closed captions/ subtitles. Lots of people watch videos without sound so if they can't tell what is going on they will scroll away quickly. You can add auto captions in the editing screen which are pretty good if you speak clearly, but you can check what they say and edit them before publishing.

Enjoy Yourself

TikTok is the most honest social media platform by which I mean people can make it big who wouldn't be as successful anywhere else. Be you, let your personality and style come across and you will find an audience.