TikTok is the newest social media darling on the block. And it has taken off like a rocket, outpacing the growth of other social networks!
But how do business owners, brand managers, and individuals like you build a successful TikTok account?
In this article, we will dive into the best practices in TikTok content creation that you can immediately apply.
Inspired by the book Get TikTok Famous Fast by Will Eagle, they come from over 45 people who achieved fame and glory on TikTok, as well as industry professionals.
Ready to be featured on TikTok’s For You Page and (hopefully) go viral?
Let’s get cracking!
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media platform and app that allows people to create, share, discover and engage with short videos of 15 to 60 seconds in length.
Started by multi-billion dollar company ByteDance Ltd in China, TikTok currently has over 1.5 billion users globally, making it the 5th largest platform globally. (Note that this excludes the over 752 million users on Douyin, TikTok’s sister app in China.)
With one of the youngest user demographics online, TikTok is popular amongst teens and youths as a channel to express themselves through entertaining MTV-style videos. These may include singing, dancing, making comedic skits, cooking recipes, fitness tips, fashion and styling tips, extreme sports, to anything you can think about.
These days, however, it is a lot more than that. Many TikTok content creators use it to educate others, and many TikTok users find the app both educational and entertaining (edutainment).
And yes, lip-syncing to popular music is still one of the most common ways to making a TikTok video.
How to Create Successful TikTok Content
Here are some of the top TikTok content strategies and tactics that influencers adopt.
Have a Plan
Adopt these strategies from @theicingartist (Laurie Shannon) when you start doing your TikTok:
- Research: Look at what’s available out there, and jot down your ideas. (more below)
- Plan: Set aside a day to plan for your TikTok, and consider doing a content calendar
- Film: Execute your TikToks by filming and recording everything
- Deliver Value: Make sure that you share content that either entertains, educates or enriches
- Lighting and Sound: Make sure that you look good and sound good
Research and Write
Do your research on what’s useful and trending in your niche by reading blogs, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, and — yes — following TikTok influencers in your niche.
Thereafter, write down your ideas like a title for your TikTok, and start plotting down the points before you film.
Learn to Lip Sync
Here are three ways to do so from @therealrahulrai:
- Record 3 to 5 second clips — these are easier to remember and get right
- Do things to split up dialogue like turning your head or looking up or down
- Use props like sipping coffee or playing with a ball to break it up a little
Experiment All The Time
Try out different types of videos to see which works. Experiment with different lighting, script, TikTok filters and effects, sound, props, characters, etc.
Make It Universally Accepted
Focus on topics that all audiences can enjoy, rather than overly narrow niches. This will help you to go viral around the world!
Get Your Family and Friends Involved
Work with co-opting your family members, or friends, so that they can be part of your TikTok.
Or in the case of @mikiraiofficial below, you can make videos with your doctor boyfriend!
Get Your Followers Involved
Crowdsource ideas from your viewers on the types of TikTok challenges that you should do on your channel.
Collaborate with Other TikTokers
Work with like-minded TikTok creators to do joint projects together. This can help both your accounts to grow together, through cross posting on each other’s accounts.
Turn complex steps into simple easy-to-digest steps. Like “5 Ways to Improve Your TikTok now” rather than “50 tips to master TikTok!”
Here’s an example from camera tips TikToker @jdthecameraguy:
Cut and slice whatever is unnecessary or draggy in your TikTok videos. Show only what’s catchy in 60 seconds.
Get to the Point
Make your TikToks as focused and precise as possible. Edit and re-edit things to crop down, get to the point, and cram as much as possible.
Consider using the Splice video editor.
Make it Easy To Replicate
Work out the perfect TikTok setup in your home, office or shop — and then stick to it!
Ensure that lighting is optimal (natural light works best), the backdrop looks fine (uncluttered please), and place your microphone, camera to get the best sounds and angles.
Maximise Your Content Effort
Use different cameras and settings if you intend to record videos for multiple social networks — TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.
Consider doing a live-streaming while you’re at it, as that helps you to also capture live-video viewing audiences.
Create a Meme
Find a way to make yourself “meme-tastic” — funny facial expressions or weird dance moves may just do the trick!
Merge Your Passion and Profession
The best TikTokers are able to combine their personal interests with their professional ones. Use TikTok to share what you like in terms of your hobbies, your areas of expertise, and others.
Here’s an example from scientist and academic @drkarl below:
Post Regularly — Even When Few are Watching!
Consistently post your TikTok videos even if you don’t have an audience at first. Start with at least one TikTok video (or two) per day.
Be an Advocate and Represent
Stand for something. Push for a movement or cause in your TikTok videos. Or represent a cause that you value.
Educate Your Followers
Focus on an area that you can teach your audience with tips, tricks, and techniques related to your domain of interest.
Recipe TikTokers are always an inspiration here, like @nom_life below.
How to make garlic chili oil noodles— and ready in less than 15 minutes! you could add meat/eggs too, top with scallions and sesame seeds. 😋
Inspire and Motivate
Become a source of motivation and inspiration to others, and share what you do, and how you do it. See what you encounter on a day-to-day basis, and turn that into an inspirational topic!
Be Original and Vulnerable
Follow who you truly are, and be original and authentic. Focus on your niche, and avoid deviating from it.
You should also consider embracing being vulnerable, and be willing to tackle taboos, do things in one take if possible, and include people in your TikTok.
Don’t overthink it!
Depending on your areas of interest and the niche of your TikTok, try different “projects” that can add variety.
Be in Character
See if you can create a signature move as part of your TikTok. This can be in terms of your physical movements, a certain sound or musical melody, or other “trademark” actions.
High-end fashion TikToker @willabelleofficial is always in character with certain signature moves, and she is always dressed to the nines!
Part four: Colors of the Rainbow 🌈 Tell me, which is your favorite color and look? (Ib: @wisdm8) Come say hi on IG: willamazing ✌🏻️😙
Add Energy + Enthusiasm
Yes, you need to have energy and enthusiasm in your videos. Doing so significantly improves your engagements in terms of views.
Build a Content Library — Be Consistently Posting
Consistently create an entire library of content on TikTok. This increases your chances of going viral, and improves followership.
Align TikTok’s Algorithm to Your Purpose
As you master how TikTok’s algorithm sends people to your content, consider how you should also align that to your content strategy.
Rethink How You Do Things
Don’t just follow the tried-and-tested in your field. Think about what works well for the TikTok generation, and use that approach to communicate with them.
@humphreytalks does it on his TikTok channel focusing on investment related education. Watch an episode below to see how he does it.
Ask and Listen to Your Community
Seek the inputs from your community on the type of content that they’d like, and then do them! This can be special requests.
See which of their requests get the most likes on your comments.
Hug Your Haters and Trolls
Do not respond negatively to those who may criticize you on TikTok (there are a lot of trolls on TikTok). Instead, consider if their inputs have merit and embrace them.
Pull a Prank or Ten Thousand
Pranks are one of the most common ways to make your TikTok stand out. However, avoid just copying others and doing the same prank — inject your own creativity!
Be a Curator
Curate your own music playlists, and be inspired by what you see around you as well as the people you interact with.
Or you can use existing trends to springboard into new playlist ideas.
Grab and Hold Their Attention
Consider these five tactics taken from @myhealthdish (My Nguyen):
- Hook them in the first three seconds: Grab their attention by jumping into the action straightaway
- Send subliminal messages: You can do this by the way you dress, or the background where you’re at
- Be an authority: Focus on your niche and position yourself as the expert
- Deliver value: Always give your viewers something to takeaway with
- Good lighting and sound: Make sure that you look good, your props and sets look good, and sound good too!
Doing so helps you to not only grow your audience — it may also help you to get more followers who are incentivised to follow your account.
How TikTok’s Algorithm Works
To get onto the much-lauded For You Page (FYP) on TikTok, you’ll need to consider some of the best practices below.
- Post Multiple Times: Posting three to four times a day helps you to get better watch and re-watch time.
- Maximise Watch Time: Ensure that your viewers watch throughout, be it 15 seconds, 60 seconds, or 10 minutes. Keep them there by following the strategies above.
- Maximise Re-watch Time: Make it compelling enough for your viewers to loop back and rewatch your videos. Introduce additional characters at the back of your videos. Or include other interesting details that they may have missed the first time they watch.
- Grow TikTok Views: Get as many views as you can by optimizing your content to catch attention (see above).
- Get Likes, Comments, Saves, and Shares: Make your TikTok content conversational, so that people will want to interact with you.
- Use the Right Hashtags: Consider using trending hashtags and also #foryoupage #foryou and #fyp.
Advanced TikTok Tricks and Techniques
#1 Create Binge-worthy Content
Develop a series of content are in a numbered series, so that people have to watch one after another until they’ve finished them all!
#2 Comment Baiting
Intentionally post something that has a mistake in it — for instance sharing 6 tips and tricks when you say you have five things. This will get you people commenting on your TikToks, and this helps improve engagement!
#3 Loop Your TikToks
Doing so tricks people into watching and rewatching your TikTok videos, increasing your watch and rewatch time significantly. Edit it such that it flows smoothly. Here’s a useful tip on how to create looping videos.
#4 Put the End First
Start with your big reveal, perhaps with people’s reactions to the videos you’ve posted, and then start the TikTok.
#5 Make TikTok Listicles
Yes, the age-old lists still works on TikTok, like “The five things you need to master acupuncture!”
#6 Change Your Shots Every Five Seconds
Keep your watch time optimal by changing your shot every five seconds. This keeps the watcher engaged, so you need to get as many different angles as possible when you plan your shots. This is also called the pattern interrupt (watch this video to learn more).
#7 Focus on Your Like-to-Follow Ratio
Study your content to see which ones help you to get more followers rather than just views or likes. This may mean being regular and creating quality content more than just riding on the latest “viral” trend.
#8 Use a Storytelling Structure
Rather than just randomly create a TikTok, consider how you can structure your TikTok with a clear and compelling storytelling format.
Consider cutting different sections and either make them shorter or longer. Sometimes, a more abrupt ending can encourage re-watch!
#9 Do a TikTok Duet with Other TikTokers
Partnering in this way can help you to grow your audience, while helping the other party to grow theirs!
How to Monetize Your TikTok Account
Here are 10 ways to make money out of your TikTok account.
#1 Do Brand Campaigns and Sponsored Posts
These are where you can help brands to create sponsored posts that are both aligned to your TikTok as well as to promote the brand.
If you choose to do, consider these tips:
- Make your content look just like your usual content
- Stick to your principles/cause and don’t sell out!
- Explore working with a good agent
- Don’t undersell yourself and charge too little
#2 Cross Promote Other Social Media Platforms
Use TikTok to drive traffic and followership on other social channels like your Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, blog or others.
#3 Organise Fundraisers with Patreon
Using services such as Patreon or Kickstarter, you can fundraise on TikTok and drive them to your fundraising channels.
#4 Create Your Own Merchandise
For really successful TikTokers, consider creating your own merchandise for sale.
#5 Do Live Selling
Like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, you can also sell your products and services by using TikTok’s Live video streaming function!
#6 Get Paid to Appear in Events
Consider pitching yourself to brands to appear in their events — for a fee!
Use your TikTok as a channel to bring on consulting gigs.
#8 Training and Coaching
Similarly, you can use your TikTok reach and followers to organise online workshops where you’ll teach the tricks of your trade for a fee.
#9 Launch Another Career
TikTok can be platform to launch a career in music, acting, comedy, art, cooking, fitness, or anything you can think of!
#10 Be a TikTok Paid Creator
This probably requires you to reach certain levels of influence and exposure. You can read more about TikTok’s Creator Fund here.
What I’ve shared above is just the tip of the iceberg in TikTok optimization. There are so many different techniques and tricks that you really need to try it yourself to see what works.
I certainly should, being a TikTok newbie myself!
Which of these TikTok techniques will you be trying today?