It's been 4 months since I wrote about how I gained 95,000 TikTok followers and since then, so much has changed on the app with creators and brands alike. Trends have come and gone, songs have blown up, and creators are getting smarter while influencer marketing has gotten more shallow. In half the time of what it took to get my first 100K followers, I wanted to share the 5 things I've learned from TikTok so far, and how it can greatly benefit you and your business.
1. Brand Opportunities & Bad Opportunities
In my full 1 year on TikTok i've been approached by over 15 brands/companies to do some sort of promotion, shoutout or affiliate marketing. Out of the 15 available sponsored promotions I have done zero, because a large majority of them were off-brand with my style or didn't actually watch my videos (one spelled my account name DakotaRyan).
Unfortunately, for creators that have never worked with brands before its easy to fall into the "look at me mom, i've made it" moments or monetary value before thinking about long-term impact. Before I decide to work with a brand I need to know if its a right fit with my style or audience. For example, a supplement company reached out about an affiliate marketing sponsorship, I declined for 3 reasons:
- My audience is between the ages of 8 - 18 and I refuse to push health products on them to "achieve" a certain look.
- I could not verify that this product has been tested by doctors and didn't include cheap, and potentially harmful ingredients.
- My content is not fitness related or would benefit from having a supplement sponsorship at this time.
They really should have reached out to me 2 years ago!
2. True Fans Follow Your Every Move
With over 200,000 followers on one platform, its a great practice to remind your followers that they can (hopefully) find you on other social platforms. I grew a Twitch account to over 700 followers by allowing my fans to play video games with me as I streamed it, concurrently i'll get close to 25 people viewing at any given time.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket
The old adage is true, don't just grow on TikTok, grow to as many platforms as you can both handle as well as create unique content natively to. To be clear, this means posting a mix of photo's, videos, or even audio that is separate from your TikTok content across other platforms. Since each social platform has its own unique style of content, make sure you adapt yours accordingly and don't just post the exact same thing everywhere.
For a little help on how you can use 1 piece of content and get dozens of uses out of it, check out this video!
3. Engage With Your Community
Think of your audience as a child, it needs attention and love to grow so it doesn't resent you and turn to a life of crime and drugs. At the beginning, maintaining your community shouldn't be too hard replying to comments and direct messages is the easiest way to keep people satisfied. However, once you hit the 10,000 and above numbers and get dozens of messages a day the task can be daunting, draining or even plain difficult to keep up so here are some tips to keep your sanity!
- Start an open messenger group via Discord, Facebook or Telegram: Giving fans access to a hub filled with other people that share similar interests is incredibly beneficial, especially if you join in on the fun. Make sure you keep track of the group or get a few trusted moderators so things don't get out of hand!
- Filter your direct messages to one manageable place: Personally, I filter all of my direct messages through TikTok or Instagram since its easy for me to go in there and reply back when I have 10 minutes. However, you can easily choose Facebook, Whatsapp, or any other communications method!
- Make time: Once you start getting hundreds of messages a day, it might get harder to keep up with every message. I try to put aside 30 - 45 minutes every second day to respond to as many messages as possible. You're truly never too busy to spend at least 10 minutes interacting with some true fans.
4. Make Content YOU Enjoy
What do you find joy in creating? Whatever it is, do more of that. Too often i've cornered myself into a hole of making content based on views, interaction or "what the algorithm likes". The problem with doing that, is you lose sight of what's important, your own self-worth and love of the game. I'm a true believer that if you make content you enjoy and just continually refine it to make it better and better, you can grow a very loyal audience and be happier with yourself.
I should mention, i'm not saying you shouldn't try out some trends, they are a very important angle towards growth. However, see how you can integrate them with your own style by putting twists on trends, parody them, or just flat out do them normally and see if thats your thing!
“There are three avenues of opportunity: events, trends, and conditions. When opportunities occur through events but you are unable to respond, you are not smart. When opportunities become active through a trend and yet you cannot make plans, you are not wise. When opportunities emerge through conditions but you cannot act on them, you are not bold.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War: Complete Texts and Commentaries
5. Make Goals
My final and ultimately most important lesson learned from TikTok is to set goals. Personally, I set goals in a very unique manner by mixing realistic goals with virtually unachievable goals. One of my big goals after hitting 100,000 TikTok followers was to reach 200,000 in half of the time. Somehow, I managed to achieve that with loads of hard work and the "snowball effect". By creating goals, you can visualize a roadmap for success that can help remind you of the bigger picture.
If you're not familiar with goal setting, I recommend sitting down with a note pad and asking yourself where you want to be in 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years. This can help you start planning a strategy for your future. One minor issue with goal setting is if you're the kind of person who hates missing the mark, it might be better if you based your goal setting more realistically at first. Nothing is more discouraging than looking back on a goal you made a year ago and realizing you're nowhere close to it, so start small and maybe break your goals into columns of "achievable & would-be-sick-but-probably-not-gonna-happen-in-this-timeframe-achievable".