TikTok: A beginner’s guide to successful content

By Emily Dean
24th August 2022

Back during the height of lockdown, a new social media platform absolutely took the world by storm: TikTok.

Launching in August 2018, TikTok has quickly become the fastest growing social media platform, landing it’s billionth user just four years after launch – half the time it took Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram to achieve the same feat.

The pandemic undoubtedly helped catapult the growth of TikTok with people using it as entertainment whilst stuck at home with the viral dance videos and challenges. The algorithm is unique as it allows for any video to potentially go viral based on trends like sounds and hashtags, a creator’s follower count doesn’t seem to matter.

From a user perspective, TikTok has evolved to offer more than entertainment as people are now turning to the platform when they need questions answered – whether that’s finding out the latest news, or learning the best way to cook a steak.

TikTok has become the source for the latest social media trends. So, if TikTok is the new cultural hub of the internet, how should your brand be using it?

TikTok’s algorithm explained

There are two tabs on a TikTok feed, the For You Page (FYP) and the Following page.

As the name suggests, the Following page shows content from friends and creators who are actively followed by a user, whereas the FYP uses an algorithm to suggest content based on users’ actions, preferences, and account settings.

Each action that a user takes in the app – from the normal likes, shares, comments, and follows – to details such as how much time was spent on a video and if it was rewatched, will influence the algorithm of the FYP.

Users also have the option to tap “Not Interested” on videos they don’t like, which impacts the content they see.

However, the FYP recommendations are largely based on sounds, hashtags and captions featured in the videos. Viral sounds and hashtags are all likely to land on most FYPs, so it’s a good idea to tap into the trend cycle quickly.

Interestingly and uniquely, the FYP algorithm does not consider follower counts or a history of high-performing content when recommending videos – this means that literally any video from any creator has the potential for becoming viral.

Getting on the FYP triggers a snowball effect: your content is seen by users likely to enjoy it, they engage with it through likes, comments and shares, TikTok notices that people like your video and so show it on more FYP’s and the cycle starts again.

Are hashtags important?

The short answer is, yes, absolutely!

On most other platforms, mostly creators and businesses tend to use hashtags, on TikTok, however, you have a far better chance of getting noticed through your hashtags as they’re more widespread on the app.

Hashtags are used to find content and join conversations about topics that interest them, so they can be a great way to increase visibility and reach a wider audience.

Remember to have a strategy when it comes to your hashtags, as popular and niche hashtags do have specific uses: trending hashtags are much better for reaching a broader audience, but smaller niche hashtags are fantastic for targeting a specific demographic of users who are more likely to be interested and engage with your content in a meaningful way.

Trying to find the right balance for hashtags can be overwhelming so here are 3 quick tips:

  1.  When you’re doing your competitor research, make a note of which hashtags they used on their most popular posts.
  2.  Use a hashtag generator tool to find related hashtags – we like TikTok Hashtags and Influencer Marketing Hub’s tool.
  3.  Only use 2-3 hashtags on every post, don’t cluster them, and only use relevant hashtags.
The benefits of community management

One of the best features of TikTok is the opportunity for community management, so you should always answer any questions you get – and even make use of the video response feature where appropriate.

But this doesn’t mean you should only monitor the comments under your own videos as chances are you won’t get many comments when you first start the page – check your competitors’ content, relevant hashtags and trending videos to see if there’s an opportunity for you to spark a conversation.

Businesses are getting creative with the ways TikTok allows them to interact with their customers – just take a look at the Duolingo or Ryanair accounts.

Both of these pages went viral not only for their video content, but they were also commenting on other creators’ videos and competitors.

This is a fantastic example of how brands can focus on building their community by upgrading not only their social media strategy, but their community management strategy as well.

Should I use influencers?

When it comes to social media, influencer marketing is the latest big trend – and for very good reason.

Although it is good practice to have a brand account to post your own content and make use of the paid ad features, these videos tends to generate less engagement than influencer generated content, especially on TikTok.

TikTok has a very authentic feel, and videos that seem too salesy or “professional” usually don’t perform as well as more authentic, natural content – it’s all about being personable.

This is where influencers come in. There is a huge willingness to spend based on influencer recommendations due to the high levels of trust between followers and their favourite content creators.

Once influencers speak about your brand or your products, their followers will be far more likely to trust your brand. This is especially true if you form a long-term partnership with the influencer and have them as a true brand ambassador as opposed to a one-off collaboration.

It is important to bear in mind the value that TikTok audiences place on authenticity, however, as if the collaboration is not a good fit (for either your brand or the influencer) or if the content is markedly different from the influencer’s normal style, then it may not be well received.

The words “influencer marketing” usually make people think of very expensive campaigns and collaborations with household names and people with millions of followers – but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Partnering with niche, micro-influencers can be a great way to use a smaller budget and reach your core target demographic. In fact, according to Social Bakers micro-influencer can have up to 60% higher engagement rates and over 20% higher conversion rates.

Micro-influencers tend to have high levels of authenticity and there is a strong relationship of trust between them and their audience, which primes them better for converting to sales resulting in better ROI.

If you need any help in creating and implementing a strategy for your TikTok, then feel free to reach out and we’ll have a chat about everything trending at the moment.

 

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