What I learned after posting my first ten TikToks

TikTok on mobile phone
Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

If it wasn’t for Gary Vaynerchuk proclaiming its virtues and potential, I probably wouldn’t have got onto TikTok – not yet anyway. I probably would have done soon enough, seeing how quickly this relatively new social media phenomenon is growing. But cheers for the heads up, Gary.

It’s rise is quite remarkable: ‘TikTok boasts over 800 million monthly active users–up 300 million from January 2019,’ said Ryan Donovan, CTO of Hootsuite.

Compared to the ‘long slogs’ of trying to build brand and engagement on YouTube and Twitter, TikTok is (currently!) far more welcoming.

Here’s what I think I’ve learned so far. I’ve split the main things I’ve observed into four main categories: Join in, Be quick, Ditch perfectionism, and Follow protocol:

Join in

For me TikTok was like turning up a party where you don’t know anyone and walking straight to the dance floor. Join in, don’t try and change the tune.

Despite only being on TikTok for a couple of weeks, I’ve observed a few common traits of posts that seem to have done well. I think posts have got to be either:

  1. Quirky funny
  2. Slapstick funny
  3. Helpful 
  4. Jaw-droppingly wowing

Or a mixture of the above. My first ten posts have probably come under the first two categories. I will probably produce some ‘helpful’ pieces down the line, but I doubt I’ll do very many backflip-from-balcony-into-swimming-pool posts very soon… but hey, give me time!

So think, what are you going to create and how is it going to make people watch it.

Be quick

You gotta be fast on TikTok! Trends and challenges come and go pretty quick, so that means you need to think on your feet. Think less ‘big production’ and more ‘instant creation’. Just do it now. 

Saying that a bit of quick, adrenaline-filled planning helps. I admit I did a few takes for some of my posts, but I think I can be forgiven for warming up a little?

Also be quick about getting to the point. As with any video today on social platforms, you need to grab people’s attention from the get go. Factor in the sound probably being off as well, as well. What are you going to do to keep people watching? (Note to self: I need to work harder on this.)

Ditch perfectionism

If you go for a job at TikTok and they ask you what is your biggest weakness, don’t even think about saying ‘perfectionism’. In fact, top tip, ditch saying that at any job interview. TikTok seems to be very much about thinking on your feet. Yes, it’s good to get it right (particularly if you’re going to get someone to film you backflipping off a balcony…), but it’s far better to do it, than to stay silent.

As I said above, I have done a few takes of my posts, but I’ve done them at least. Don’t spend too long overthinking it. Yes, get your music, your hashtags, and your thumbnail right, but err on the side of flying, not sitting on your hands.

Follow protocol

TikTok HQ are actually quite transparent when it comes to their algorithm… well the top level things, not the deep inner workings, of course. But it’s all pretty helpful for newbies like me. Recently they published How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou which gives a good overview of how it weighs up and pushes your content. Here’s an extract about the things that matter:

  • User interactions such as the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and content you create.
  • Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • Device and account settings like your language preference, country setting, and device type. These factors are included to make sure the system is optimised for performance, but they receive lower weight in the recommendation system relative to other data points we measure since users don’t actively express these as preferences. (Source: TikTok Newsroom)

So I’ve been finding my way around the app, and trying to do this stuff. It’s quite intuitive, but a few things I’ve not yet figured out, which I’m sure won’t be long in becoming clear. 

I’ve had around 150 views or more on each post and over 100 likes, so it’s been fun so far finding my way around like a grandad discovering Facebook.

Follow me here: https://www.tiktok.com/@hortzio 

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