You can admit it, you’ve been hanging onto the idea that TikTok is for Generation Z and thus an unsuitable marketing platform for your business. The reality is, TikTok is the platform to be on for fast organic growth. The app has earned over 2 billion downloads and has over 10 million daily active users worldwide.
TikTok’s algorithm shows out against its competitors like Instagram and Facebook, which have largely become pay to play. TikTok, on the other hand, recognizes the value in a specialized algorithm for its users. The algorithm is highly advanced and uses ranking factors like user interactions, captions, sounds, hashtags, time spent watching a video, device and account settings, and so much more to deliver the content that will keep you on the app. So whether you’re a consumer of the content on TikTok or the Creator, TikTok wants to give the tailored experience For You, hence the name of the home feed.
We’ll definitely continue to see the platform evolve and adapt against its competitors and in the fast changing market of the digital and social space. Adopting early is a solid strategy to continue playing the game as the app evolves -- start building your organic presence on the platform now to get folks active so you can ramp up advertising down the line.
If you’re just familiarizing yourself with the platform, you’re not alone! Avenue has put together 4 simple TikTok strategies for you to consider while growing your organic engagement.
If you want organic growth, your content needs to be educational, entertaining, or both.
Just like any other social media platform, people stay on TikTok to be entertained. Your content has 15-60 seconds to tell a story, but if you don’t capture your viewer within the first 1-2 seconds, don’t expect them to stay until the end of your video. Reflect on your business, and figure out how you might make that entertaining. Here are some questions you might ask yourselves:
What’s something that I do every day that regular people might not know about?
What does an average day at my job look like? Is it interesting? Can I share it?
What do the behind the scenes look like?
What’s something I learned early on in my job that others might be surprised about?
What mission or purpose drives my work?
What knowledge or skill that I’ve obtained from my work can I share to other people seeking that knowledge?
What tips or tricks do I have for doing my specific job?
You might be reading the above questions and thinking, “I don’t think these questions apply to me.” What you will find on TikTok, and what is so incredible about the platform, is that the audience is so large, there’s truly a niche for any type of content imaginable. Take these accounts for example:
TikTok user @cecexie is a NYC-based attorney who grew her following to over 190k by posting “Day in My Life” videos about working from home as a lawyer during the pandemic. She also posts videos about career advice and interviews, law school tips, vacation time, paying student loans, you name it.
Outagamie Recyling and Solid Waste in Outagamie County, WI went viral on TikTok over the holidays for posting a cheeky video educating viewers on bad recycling practices.
The Institute of Human Anatomy in South Salt Lake, Utah has racked up over 6.3 million followers by posting educational videos about the body using real human cadavers as a visual aid.
What we love about the case studies above is that this content breaks away from what was typically shared on previous social media platforms, and what we consider to be “viral-worthy.” For example, with YouTube, where the thumbnail of a video plays a huge role on a video’s click-through-rate, it also led to more extreme entertainment like Prank Wars, trick shots, crazy science experiments, etc. On TikTok, the playing field is much more even. If you implement the rest of these tips, TikTok is guaranteed to reward you with organic reach.
Find Your Audience Through “Sounds”
When you’re new to TikTok, the concept of “sounds” may be a bit confusing. On TikTok, creators can make the audio file from their original video content into a sound, which means that other creators can make their own content using the same audio, but potentially interpreted in a different way. If a sound becomes popular enough, it becomes a “trend.” At that point, tens of thousands of people could use the same sound with a new inventive interpretation of it.
While it’s a bit hard for your own sound to become viral, using other people’s TikTok sounds is
a great way to reach new audiences, as many TikTok “trends” revolve around whatever sound or music is trending on TikTok at any given time. To find trending sounds:
Open the TikTok App
Click the (+) button, like you’re going to create a video
Click “Sounds” at the top of the screen
Visit “Recommended” section or “Playlist” section, which captures different trending or viral sounds circulating sounds in real time
Use your caption and hashtags to provide more context about your video and get it in front of the right audience
TikTok hashtags bear a stronger weight than what we’re used to on Instagram. Hashtags help TikTok to categorize your content and show it to audiences who have already engaged with similar content as yours. For example, if your content is related to financial tips and education, be sure that your caption includes key terms that people might be using in their quest for more information, and perform some hashtag research by doing the following:
Utilize the search bar on TikTok
Type in a few words and see what terms auto-populate that are similar to what you typed in. This feature will also show total views for that hashtag which can give you a sense for the audience size
Visit accounts with similar content and study their hashtags
Follow similar accounts to tailor your own “For You” feed to look like that of your ideal audience. This strategy uses the TikTok algorithm to your advantage by showing you exactly what content a potential audience member finds valuable, interesting, and entertaining.
Visit the “Discover” page of TikTok, where you can scroll through trending hashtags for content inspiration
Use your audience’s engagement to your advantage
Once you start to build some organic engagement, be sure to interact with your audience! This is a great way to show appreciation for the additional time they took to engage, answer some of their questions, and get direct insights into the audience you’re talking to. If you start to notice the same question popping up in your comments, you can reply directly in the comments section or create an entirely new video as a response to that question. By using this strategy, you’re giving your audience another reason to stay by creating the content they’re asking for. You might notice that your audience takes interest in something that you didn’t even consider to be entertaining or educational, which you can build off of in your ongoing content strategy!
Learning a whole new social platform is like learning a new language -- but practice makes perfect! We can guarantee that if you spend a little more time on the app, you’ll start to get a feel for the platform-specific content and what makes it so successful for organic reach. Want more insights and recommendations about TikTok, and other social media tips? Check us out on Instagram at @avenueagency for more!
Please note that Avenue has no affiliation with any products, services, or websites referenced in this blog post. Avenue is a digital marketing agency in Portland using business as a force for good. Our proprietary suite of paid advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media services help brands and businesses of all sizes grow sustainably and successfully. For more information, we invite you to visit our services page.