Do you love scrolling through TikTok, catching up on the latest trends, admiring slick dance moves, learning about new topics, and laughing out loud at comedy?
Maybe you have thought about becoming a TikToker yourself? With the most famous TikTok creators like Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio landing massive sponsorship deals, there’s a lot of fame and fortune at stake.
If you want more engagement on your TikTok videos, you need to harness the power of the algorithm and get on as many users’ #fyp (for you page) feeds as possible. However, it takes a lot more than just a few hashtags to get to that desirable spot. So, if you want to create great content, get more attention on TikTok, land on the for you page, and get TikTok famous, keep reading.
We’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you understand TikTok, grow your following, and go viral – follow these tips.
What is TikTok?
TikTok has quickly become one of the world’s most popular social media apps, allowing users to create and share 15-second to 3-minute videos about any topic. It has a highly personalised algorithm that ensures viewers see the exact kind of content they are most interested in viewing (more on the algorithm below). In August 2018, the already popular Musical.ly app was taken over by Chinese company ByteDance, and modern TikTok was born. Musical.ly’s 100 million users migrated to TikTok, and the new app’s popularity exploded[i].
Even though it is a global app with more than one billion users worldwide, it has a strong local appeal, often showing you videos based on your geographic location. In addition, the app offers challenges and contests based on local events and uses a lot of localised hashtags. While you might assume TikTok only attracts a young audience, you’d be mistaken. There are TikTok creators and viewers across all demographics, making videos about every topic under the sun. However, the average TikTok user is in their teens or early 20s.
According to a recently leaked TikTok pitch deck dated October 2020, 42% of active users are between 18 – 24, while 17% are between 13 – 17. Only 7% are older than 45 years of age. However, with over one billion monthly users, that’s still a massive number of people!
How to Achieve TikTok Fame
While you need to understand the algorithm (we explain in-depth below) to succeed, the most important thing you can do to achieve TikTok fame is to consistently create great content. Then, if people want to watch your videos, they’ll like, follow, and comment. Soon, you’ll have plenty of followers and start to see your views creep up. If you’re lucky, you might even go viral.
Here are some tips for creating great videos and achieving TikTok fame:
- Post unique content – Post unique content – Content is always king. While nearly every topic already has its own TikTok community, if you add unique and useful videos about interesting subjects, you are always going to perform well.
- Take part in TikTok trends – There are hundreds of popular TikTok trends at any given time on the app. Think of trends as an ongoing conversation, and your video can help you engage. Remember – the algorithm gives preference to trending videos, so you can get more views this way.
- Use popular songs – There’s always a trending song or sound on TikTok. Songs gain popularity for comedy bits, story times, and dance challenges. You can harness some of this energy by paying attention to the most popular songs on TikTok and using them for your videos.
- Understand hashtags – Hashtags on TikTok work in the same way they do on Twitter and Instagram – they organise content and allow users to find videos on a specific topic. They also help the algorithm categorise your video correctly. The better you understand hashtags, the more viewers will see your videos.
- Interact with followers in the comment section – Your followers are more likely to feel invested in your content if they feel like they ‘know’ you. Interacting with them in the comment section boosts your appeal and also boosts the algorithm in your favour.
- Go live – When you go live for your followers, you have all the time in the world. You can answer questions, have a conversation, and let them see you just being yourself. You have no time limit on lives, so you can really let your personality shine through.
- Brush up on your camera skills – You can have great ideas and interesting videos, but if your camera work and lighting is off, people will naturally swipe past you. Invest in good lighting and play around with different camera techniques. Consider taking online photography courses to brush up on your skills.
- Stitch with popular users – The Stitch function allows you to create your own content in conversation with another user and take part in challenges by ‘stitching’ clips from another user’s TikToks into yours.
Do I need thousands of followers to go viral on TikTok?
You might think you need thousands of followers (or even more) to go viral on TikTok, but this simply isn’t the case. Sure, the algorithm is slightly more likely to recommend a video by someone with a large follower base, but you can break through to the coveted for you page without a big following.
Think of it as a snowball effect – if your video initially reaches just a few people and they really like what they see, the app will show it to a few more people. If those people also react favourably, it pops up for more users. As long as people continue to react, your viewers will rise exponentially.
Understanding the TikTok Algorithm
If you want to make it big on TikTok, you must understand the algorithm. While it may seem mysterious at first glance, the company has revealed how it works, and you do have some degree of control over how well your videos perform.
Plenty of things influence what a person sees on the app, including the videos they like, how long they watch, their geographic location, and their age. Of course, TikTok wants you to spend as much time as possible on the #foryou feed, so they are invested in finding what you like to watch and what will keep you on the app. But how does it work?
The official TikTok site states, “the system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors — starting from interests you express as a new user and adjusting for things you indicate you’re not interested in, too[ii].”
So, how does TikTok rank your videos? The algorithm assesses a few different things:
- Your account settings – What country you are in, your language preferences, and the type of device you are using
- Video information – The information embedded in the video is extremely important to the algorithm, including captions, hashtags, and sounds.
- Interactions – The videos you like, the accounts you follow, the comments you make, what you share, accounts you follow, and the videos you make.
The algorithm then weighs up each of the factors and selects what it thinks are the perfect videos for each user. Ideally, they get it spot on within just a few hours of use.
One of the strongest indicators is how long a viewer watches a video – if they watch from beginning to end (or even watch more than once), that’s a strong indicator that they love the content. The algorithm will seek more videos that seem similar to the ones the user watches for the longest.
Factors That Influence TikTok’s Algorithm
There are a few critical factors that influence TikTok’s algorithm. If you understand and harness them, you can gain viewers and have a better shot at going viral.
- Hashtags – You’ll often see people using the hashtags #foryou, #foryoupage, and #fyp on their TikTok content as they try to harness the power of the algorithm. But simply using these tags won’t land you a spot on this prestigious page. You should instead click on the Discover tab and have a look at the current trending hashtags, especially the ones with a fire icon. Create content that aligns with these hashtags, including challenges like #tellmewithouttellingme challenge, #shoppingspree, and #bucketlist. Remember – it’s never a good idea to add a popular hashtag if it doesn’t relate to your subject matter even though many people do it currently and seem to get away with it, it’s likely the algorithm will grow to catch these out in the future.
- Captions – Unlike the seriously long captions on Instagram, TikTok doesn’t allow for these essay-length captions. Instead, create a snappy, fun, and accurate caption for your videos. Consider adding jokes, questions, or even a mysterious caption that gets people wondering and wanting to click. The Algorithm sees all! So, always make sure it relates to the video content.
- Shorter can be better – You might think that creating long videos is the best way to go, but on TikTok, shorter can be better. That’s because of something called the ‘completion rate.’ When the algorithm sees that your viewers have made it to the end of your video, it assumes that the viewer enjoyed what they watched, and it gives you a boost. So, if at least some of your videos are shorter, it’s more likely that people will make it to the end.
Are You Ready to Become TikTok Famous?
So, are you ready to become TikTok famous? Creating a regular output of interesting, well-produced videos can be exhausting, but if you do it well, the algorithm with reward you with viewers. Then, who knows where this app can take you? The sky is the limit.
Want to take over other social platforms? Check out our guide on becoming an influencer here.