Video sharing sensation, TikTok, is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms of 2021, with over 800 million monthly active users.
Unlike other apps, it is still relatively easy to grow an audience on TikTok, with its extraordinary algorithm and importance of featured content. However, for businesses or influencers looking to grow a following, it can be difficult to understand what strategies and tactics to use, in order to leverage this opportunity. Even more importantly, how do you grow organically without coming across as desperate or harming your image?
To help with this, we’ve compiled 4 ways to start growing your following on TikTok organically right away – without spending a dime. Let’s do it.
1. Hashtag Research
TikTok, like other social media platforms, uses hashtags to help sort content such as the latest trends. Adding them into your post captions will allow you to help boost your video’s discoverability and reach a wider audience. We would always recommend putting in at least 3-6 hashtags per video, and there is only harm in not doing so.
For example, if you were a makeup brand looking to promote your newest products, having a video with the hashtags #makeup tutorials, would put you in front of your ideal audience. Or if you are an influencer trying to hop onto the latest trends, make sure you are using the appropriate hashtags, so the algorithm can help you out. The more specific hashtags are a lot less saturated, meaning there’s more chance your videos will blow up and reach a large audience.
@nutshellanimationsEver seen someone so DA BEWTIFOH? ##foryou ##fyp ##memes ##animation ##animationmeme ##comedy ##funnyvideos♬ SO DA BEAUTIFUL – LeendaDong
2. Engage with Your Followers Other Channels
This one is pretty cut and dry. Engagement builds a strong foundation and provides relatability. By replying to comments, or liking your followers’ posts, you are encouraging them to carry on engaging with your videos.
It is also important to try to get other channels and creators to engage with your account. These channels should be directly related to your content. Use hashtags to find similar accounts to your own (for example #beauty will come up with lots of influencers in that niche). You then want to get them to engage with you which can be achieved by several methods.
Firstly, brand partnership is a great way to get free promotion, for very little cost. If you are a company looking to promote your products to a relevant audience, get in touch with an influencer, send a product and ask them to make a small video on it.
For example, Guess, the popular clothing brand, has quickly amassed a following on TikTok by using influencers to wear their shirts in videos, and whilst doing the latest trends.
@youneszarouForgot to say “expecto patronum” ##yzfamily ##foryoupage ##fürdich♬ Originalton – ☠️ Deagal ☠️
Alternatively, duet with other user’s videos and try to put a twist on their content. This can create a two-way system, where people check out both your videos, led by comments comparing the two.
As proof of how well this works, a popular TikTok creator @h1t1 posted a video featuring a TV that hilariously could only display the Arby’s menu. The Arby’s team hopped onto this video which was quickly becoming viral and commented “we’ve been looking for this”! A thread of videos ensued and quickly became an anticipated storyline – and even accumulated in a new menu item, and Arby’s amassing over 5 million followers!
Finally, and we will touch on it more later, by creating trends/ challenges or sounds – you can get top influencers to hop on what you’re doing. This will bring their fans over to your content, and help drive interest. By collaborating with accounts with pre-existing audiences, you can join an existing base of people who share a common interest, and who all would be interested in your content. It is a great bet to help grow your own TikTok and your business.
3. Use the Latest Trends (and make them!)
Trends happen for a reason! Those reasons aren’t always clear at the start, and sometimes the reason is simply that a song is catchy, or a dance is fun to do. Whatever it is, people want more of it.
To do this, you need to know the latest trends and participate in them. A lot of users save hashtags and follow trends, as TikTok’s Content Trends Report showed. They want to see how everyone is reacting or recreating the trend. This need to experience more of something they like will drive eyes to your content.
There are some problems with this, however. The latest trends tend to have already been followed by all the most popular users, taking the spotlight away from your account.
How can you get around this? Well, what is even better than following trends, is creating your own ones. Let’s look at some examples.
Chipotle was very successful in driving visibility and brand awareness when it created the challenge #GuacDance. Over 430 million videos were made in its 6-day run, which also helped orders with over 800,000 free sides of guacamole dished out on the day. The chain’s avocado usage even jumped 78% for National Avocado Day, July 31.
@brentriveraWhen guacamole is free @chipotle when you order online/in-app on July 31st😍 ##GuacDance ##ad♬ The Guacamole Song – Dr. Jean
Now, an average business or influencer can’t achieve this sort of publicity – but what you can do is the same thing but on a smaller scale.
For example, if you were a beauty brand, you could create a trend where users submit their best makeup with the theme of COVID-19 – and the winners get free products. This would help create a buzz around your brand, and grow the number of viewers on your TikToks – as well as be great brand marketing.
Similarly, smaller influencers could try to create the latest Dance Trends, or follow them as they just start to grow, try to reach a larger audience that way.
4. Optimize Your Schedule
Followers and viewers want to know when to expect content from the creators they follow. That’s why TV shows air at certain times and movies release on specific schedules.
Set a schedule for when you will upload content so that your followers will be there when it arrives. On an app like TikTok, the specific time of day of your releases isn’t as important as the day you will release content. Most people follow a lot of channels.
On TikTok, when the users scroll through their feeds, the videos aren’t placed in order of release but according to indicators such as your interactions on other posts, or settings such as your location.
But there are times of the day when TikToks tend to perform better, as Influencer Marketing Hub found out after conducting a study.
The best times (in EST) for each day of the week are:
- Mon: 6 am / 10 am / 10 pm
- Tues: 2 am / 4 am / *9 am
- Wed: 7 am / 8 am / 11 am
- Thur: 9 am / *12 pm / 7 pm
- Fri: *5 am / 1 pm / 3 pm
- Sat: 11 am / 7 pm / 8 pm
- Sun: 7 am / 8 am / 4 pm
The ones with asterisks are where there seems to be particularly high engagement. By posting at these times, your videos are more likely to perform well and reach a wider audience.
TikTok is popular right now and will be getting even more popular.
Be active on the platform and interact with other creators and your followers. Find the hashtags you want to use and know what people expect the content that has those hashtags to be. Keep your eyes on the trends and participate in them and keep a consistent schedule that your followers can become familiar with. With all this, you’re sure to go viral sooner or later, and start amassing a large following!