Question: I’m currently on TikTok and while I’ve been posting videos, I haven’t been able to really grow my following yet. Do you have any advice on how to actually gain more followers and also get more views on my videos?
A viral tweet claimed that TikTok is now more useful than Google, and while not everyone agrees with that statement, the social media site did surpass the search engine as the most popular website in 2021 – an impressive feat considering TikTok’s fledgling age.
TikTok has clearly established itself as the place to be on the internet. It has one billion monthly active users, was the most downloaded app worldwide in the first quarter of 2022, and even beat YouTube for average watch time in the UK and US. Needless to say, the video platform is one powerful channel if you’re looking to expand your small business’s online footprint. Hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt speaks to the vast influence the app has on all things commerce.
Creating a TikTok account for your small business can expose your brand to new customers and rake in sales. But in order to thrive on the app, you’ll need to cultivate an audience. While it may feel like a big undertaking at first, the below tips can absolutely set you up for success.
Everyone’s TikTok journey is different, and it’s best not to compare your growth to other accounts. Gaining more TikTok followers is a process. Try to be realistic and don’t expect results overnight. As long as you’re consistent with your content, engage with the community, and take the time to plan out your videos, you should soon see positive results!
Figure out your target audience
The first step in growing your followers is to pinpoint your target audience. Ultimately, you’re creating content for them so you want your TikToks to resonate.
To begin, you can look at the people currently following your brand on social media and buying your products. Here are some questions to consider:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What type of careers do they have?
- Are they married, or single, and do they have children?
- What are they interested in?
Maybe along with your current following, you’re also hoping to appeal to a new user base. If so, you can identify these potential customers and create a similar list of qualities they might have as well. Defining your brand’s main goals and values can also give you a more clear picture of your target audience. What problems does your business solve and who exactly are you trying to help?
Once you’ve carefully considered these topics, you’ll have a better idea of who you’re making TikToks for. This will allow you to produce videos that will be entertaining, engaging, and informative for your viewers. The goal should be not only to gain followers, but to retain them as well, and to do that, your content should always revolve around your demographic’s interests.
It’s also good to note that while people of all ages are on TikTok, the strongest demographic on the app is Gen Z. In the U.S., 60 percent of TikTok users are between 16-24. While this doesn’t mean you have to tailor your content to teens and young adults, it may be helpful to keep in mind that TikTokers do lean on the younger side.
Develop your niche
Hopefully, you already have a ton of video ideas – which is always a good problem to have! Diversifying your feed with different kinds of content is a strategy we recommend in the beginning. Over time, you should start to learn which videos your audience prefers because they’re engaging with them more. Once you have a sense of which TikToks receive the most engagement, we recommend playing to your strengths and producing videos that fit into that niche.
Toni Rose – a lifestyle brand that sells hair accessories – has gone viral with their hair TikToks. Their grid, uniform and aesthetically pleasing, is filled with dozens of videos showcasing models wearing their various hair wands, claws, and forks. The TikToks are also educational as they provide followers with tips for new hairstyles.
Most of ToniRose’s TikToks follow a straightforward formula:
- They use trending music to quickly grab attention
- They showcase models with nice hair
- Their product is front and center
- The videos are short and to the point
Many small businesses and influencers have found success in posting a particular type of TikTok like ASMR content, “What I eat in a day,” videos, and “packing up orders.” We recommend working to find that sweet spot between TikToks that are relatable to your brand but also popular amongst your community.
Stay on top of trends
Before TikTok was TikTok, it was an app known as Musical.ly. One of the most popular features on Musical.ly was duets. Launched in 2017 with singer Bruno Mars, duets allowed users to dance and sing together through split-screen videos and quickly became a popular trend on the app. In fact, duets are still common on TikTok today, though the format has changed a bit.
Keep it fun with challenges
These types of fun videos have remained a fixture for TikTok and are a great way to reel in followers. The platform is constantly filled with new challenges that anyone can participate in. Because these videos are already trending, it’s a given that most of your audience will want to see this content. Once you’ve participated in these trends, you can tag your TikToks with the appropriate hashtags, which can also boost the number of times your videos are seen by others.
Challenges don’t have to be complicated, and oftentimes, brands can create them internally. For Mother’s Day, toothpaste company Colgate encouraged followers to use the hashtag #makemomsmile. The point was for users to film a TikTok surprising the mother figures in their life with a kind gesture and capture their reaction in the process. Colgate effectively crafted a challenge that revolved around their brand identity – as toothpaste goes hand in hand with a healthy smile – but was also realistic for users to participate in as it didn’t require too much effort to recreate. The hashtag was viewed over 5 billion times.
Use popular audio
If challenges aren’t your thing, using trending audio can be an easier way to take part in popular content on TikTok. Audio also gives you more flexibility as there are no rules or parameters to follow – instead, you can combine whatever content you feel fits best with the specific sound.
Content creator Crystal @lovefreshpaint runs a successful TikTok account about all things nails. She recently posted a video of her home manicure with the popular “I did it myself,” audio.
Jodie, founder of the ceramic dinnerware business Carb Club, constantly includes popular audios in her TikToks. In the below video, she uses dialogue from the reality TV show ‘The Real Housewives of New York.’ This particular sound byte has been played in TikTok videos nearly 60,000 times. While a reality show may not directly relate to pasta bowls, Jodie manages to creatively connect the sound back to her business – this is a great way for her to jump on a trend while still centering her products and skill set.
Being consistent in the type of content you post on TikTok can help you build a loyal audience, but be up for experimenting with new ideas as well. The more trends you try, the more your audience can count on you to release timely and relevant content. Just remember, whatever you put out — even fun and silly videos — should still resonate with your audience and make sense for your brand.
Plan out your content calendar
You’ve nailed down exactly the type of content you want to make and now it’s time to share your videos. To gain more followers, you need to be releasing TikToks regularly and in order to do that, it’s best to plan ahead. We highly recommend developing a social media calendar for your TikToks. You’ll want to lay out a timeline for the entire creative process and schedule deadlines for each video.
Here’s an example of the steps for crafting your TikToks:
- Brainstorm and pitch the idea
- List out what you’ll need for the video
- Draft and finalize a script if necessary
- Schedule time for filming
- Schedule time for editing
Assign clear deadlines for each task and if you’re working with a team, make sure everyone knows their specific responsibilities.
Cross-post onto other socials
Once you begin populating your content calendar, consider crossposting your TikToks to other platforms like Instagram. Try not to reuse your TikTok as an Instagram reel – that may feel repetitive for your followers. Instead, post a snippet from your TikTok onto your Instagram stories and include the link. This will entice users to go to TikTok where they can watch the full video, and hopefully, follow you in the process.
Fashion band Reformation regularly posts clips from their TikToks onto their Instagram stories, while also plugging their TikTok account. They recently shared several snippets of their TikToks with the text, “If you like our Instagram.” This is a fun and easy way for the brand to nudge followers to connect with them on TikTok.
Incorporate Batch work into your schedule
When filming your TikToks, consider batch creating. This is the most efficient way to produce more videos as it can streamline the process. When asked how she’s able to be so prolific on her account, TikToker Mary Margaret Boudreaux said she batch shoots videos each morning.
So what exactly is batch creation? Essentially, you’re blocking out a certain amount of time at a cadence that works best for you – it could be daily, weekly, or monthly – to focus on one certain task, like filming TikToks. Instead of focusing on just oneTikTok when batch working, the goal is to shoot multiple videos at once. This can really streamline your content creation process as it boosts productivity if done right.
Schedule days to go live
You can also pencil in regular days to go live on your TikTok. Posting quality videos isn’t the only way to expand your reach on the app these days. By going live, creators can have a conversation in real-time with their community. This type of personal interaction can nurture your connections within the platform, ultimately helping you grow in the process. Just note that in order to go live you must have 1,000 followers on your account and be at least 16 years old.
Finally, make room in your calendar for reviewing any comments or questions from your audience. Engaging with your community is a crucial part of succeeding on social media, so try your best to carve out certain days to respond to your followers.
Figure out the best times to post
As you’re planning out your content calendar, you’ll be met with one question in particular: What’s the best time to post on TikTok?
Knowing when to post will help your videos get more views, likes, shares, and comments, which in turn can increase your TikTok’s chances of being watched by people other than your current followers. A recent study found TikToks posted during these times (in Eastern Standard Time) received the highest engagement:
Monday: 6 am, 10 am, 10 pm
Tuesday: 2 am, 4 am, 9 am
Wednesday: 7 am, 8 am, 11 pm
Thursday: 9 am, 12 pm, 7 pm
Friday: 5 am, 1 pm, 3 pm
Saturday: 11 am, 7 pm, 8 pm
Sunday: 7 am, 8 am, 4 pm
The above mentioned times are just suggestions, however. You’ll need to dive into your account’s analytics to learn when your followers are the most active and find out what your best-performing videos are. This data combined can help you land on optimal posting times specific to your business. For more information, check out our handy guide that goes in-depth on the topic.
Interact and engage with others
TikTok is a community, and in order to get more followers, you’ll also need to interact with other accounts. Think of it as a give-and-take relationship – you can’t expect to grow your following without supporting others in the process. As you explore the platform, you’ll also be able to see what’s working for other content creators which can lead to you brainstorming ideas for your account.
Make sure you’re also connecting with the followers you currently have and responding back to their comments. If your audience is creating content about your products, consider featuring their work on your page. This is a great way to leverage user-generated content (UCG) and show others that customers enjoy using your product.
You may not be seeing much interaction from your current followers right now, and that’s ok. The first step is for you to engage! Whether it’s creating a hashtag challenge or just asking them about their day – starting a dialogue on TikTok with your community will open the door for more connections.
Aside from nurturing bonds, conversing with others on the app is also one way to get on TikTok’s For You Page (FYP). The FYP is similar to Instagram’s Explore page in that each follower has a specific FYP that introduces them to a slew of new creators. While there isn’t a clear-cut way to be featured on an FYP, the TikTok algorithm notices the frequency in which you interact with others and tends to reward that behavior.
There is so much advice on how to grow your TikTok account, but nothing is more important than being yourself. It may sound like a cliche, but creating content that you’re passionate about will naturally attract followers to your account. Audiences can tell when brands are being performative and inauthentic, so it’s best if your TikToks are inspired by you and your business personally.
Josh Nolan runs Carpet Repair Guys, a carpet cleaning business based in the Bay Area. When he first ventured onto TikTok @carpetrepairguys, he had no clue his account would blow up so quickly – today, Josh has 823,000 followers and over 23 million likes. Along with going viral on TikTok, his business has also been featured on SF Gate.
The cool thing about his account is that Josh didn’t need to go out of his way to produce engaging content. Instead, his TikToks include actual carpet repairs done by him and his team. Josh did a great job using fun hashtags on his TikToks, including #oddlysatisfying as his followers find his carpet work quite soothing.
In an interview with TikTok, Josh said the key to his success was being himself. “ I learned the trade from my dad. He was always making jokes and things so this is what I know. Carpet and just having a good time go hand in hand … it’s who I am.”
Similarly, at Buffer, we recently posted a TikTok about a job opening with our Director of Product, Tom Redman, that resonated quite a bit with people on the platform and helped us grow our audience significantly from what it was. There was no script or special planning that went into this video. Instead, Tom just spoke openly about the role and benefits of working at Buffer.
So as you think about what to post on TikTok, stay close to your values. You can do everything “right,” but if you’re not making content that aligns with yourself and your brand, you won’t be able to connect with others.
As you’re growing your audience, remember there are other metrics to pay attention to as well. The number of likes and views you receive on your videos are great indicators your content is appealing to others. You might even receive these likes, views, and shares from users who are outside of your network, proving your viewers can go beyond your followers’ list.
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