TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps globally, with over a billion active users every month. By the end of 2022, it will have 1.5 billion active monthly users. In other words, TikTok is a content creator’s goldmine for audience engagement.
Before you start posting on TikTok, there are some things you need to learn to maximize the app. For one, you have to wade through a sea of other content creators who also thought of using TikTok. Hitting the sweet spot of audience engagement means putting out content that’s a cut above the rest.
And that means starting from scratch by learning the basics. Knowing the fundamentals of TikTok allows you to identify what will help you succeed as a content creator. To help you start, here are some crucial things you need to know about TikTok.
Minding your content length
The maximum length of video content that you can upload has changed considerably. It went from fifteen seconds to one minute, to three minutes, and as of March 1, 2022, to ten minutes. This means that, besides the usual short-form content that TikTok is famous for, the platform is gradually becoming open to long-form content.
It does beg the question of how long your content should be. The answer is it depends on certain factors:
Your branding – Are you a small business that wants to advertise its services or products? An influencer in a specific niche? A product reviewer?
Type of content – For instance, instructional videos may benefit from being longer depending on the information, while entertaining videos will depend on the delivery of the humor or entertainment.
Revenue – The longer the content, the more revenue you can attain.
One thing that you should always consider is the quality of your content. If you can achieve the goal of your content in a short period of time, it’s best to keep your content within that length. Stretching your content without adding substance will do more harm to your branding than good.
Getting the blue checkmark
For content creators, the checkmark is a universal symbol that signifies an achievement. The same applies in TikTok, where the checkmark means the account is verified. However, it also indicates that the account’s content is unique, active, and authentic.
In any case, having the blue checkmark is a boost of confidence for your potential audience that your content is high quality. It can be your first goal when you start out as a TikTok content creator, which you can achieve by:
Making your content unique. Churning out the same content format is alright, but what makes viewers keep clicking on your videos is its uniqueness. Either your content is valuable or interesting, or your personality is attractive to a broad audience. You can also have features or aspects unique to your content, like stylized closed captioning.
Engaging with your audience. TikTok has become a staple social media platform for many people to share their thoughts through likes, comments, and shares. Being a content creator on the site means more than posting content. It involves talking to your audience and shaping your content based on their feedback.
Being active in posting content. Quality is indeed better than quantity. Just as important, however, is consistency. It’s best to secure your followers’ long-term interest by maintaining a regular upload frequency – of course, without sacrificing quality.
However, getting the blue checkmark should be a means to an end rather than the other way around. In the end, your ultimate goal is to be a successful content creator.
The waves of the algorithm
Another significant factor of your success as a TikTok content creator is the algorithm. The harsh reality is that even the best content fails to improve engagement if the algorithm is against their favor. On the other hand, creating content that tries extremely hard to ride the algorithm will also fail if the quality is below par.
The clear solution is to create videos that have the best of both worlds: entertaining, consumable content optimized for the algorithm. However, you can take it up a notch by influencing the algorithm itself in your favor.
Here’s a simple strategy to help you:
Learn what’s trending right now in TikTok. You can dig around by browsing hashtags or other videos with a high viewer count.
Create unique content that goes along with these trends. It’s a simple but effective way of getting the algorithm to pick your content up. The most important factor is to make sure that your content is distinct. Either add a few minor aspects or create a whole new twist to the trend.
Gain likes, followers, and shares. These metrics tell the algorithm your content is worth showing more often.
Post compelling videos that go “viral.” Once you’ve reached a high level of engagement, you can use the momentum to create original content that users can trace back to you.
Start over from step one. Content creation is an ever-evolving process where finding what works is constant. Otherwise, your content will fade into stagnation and irrelevance, and the algorithm will favor something else.
Putting your eggs in different trays
Remember Vine and Musical.ly? What do they have in common? They were once booming social media platforms that eventually became defunct. More importantly, many content creators whose engagement relied only on those platforms failed to recapture their former glory.
This is a possibility that, while hard to see right now, can happen with TikTok. But rather than looking at this with heavy pessimism, you should see this as an opportunity to expand to other platforms once you’ve gained traction in TikTok:
YouTube is one of TikTok’s most heated rivals and has recently released the “Shorts” feature, which is similar to TikTok’s short-form content. Unlike TikTok, YouTube allows you to upload very long videos (up to 12 hours each), create community posts, and manage playlists, which lets you be more flexible in curating your content.
Facebook is a highly versatile social media platform where you can create pages and groups besides uploading videos, allowing you to have more ways to engage with your audience. It also recently has its own take on short-form content named “Reels.”
Instagram is a social media platform that heavily relies on photo and video sharing. If you’re the type of content creator (especially an influencer or celebrity) that wants to engage with your audience by constantly posting media, Instagram can be a good option. Like Facebook, Instagram also has a “Reels” feature.
Twitter is a platform where you usually share brief thoughts, news, or takes on current trends. Twitter is typically text-dominant, which may be to your liking depending on how you utilize it.
As it stands, it is absolutely possible to thrive as a content creator in TikTok. The main takeaway here is that it’s important to have foresight if you want to succeed long-term as a content creator in general. Online trends can be very unpredictable, so it’s vital to stay one step ahead to achieve success in content creation, whether it’s TikTok or other platforms.
Whatever you plan in your content creation journey, it’s essential to have tools to help you along the way. For instance, captions are a video feature that, while crucial to improving your content’s accessibility, is a tedious chore to do every time. Instead of doing it yourself, you can use a free automated transcription tool like FreeTranscriptions! With your first 300 minutes of transcription free, you can jumpstart your content creation journey with captions that can quickly increase your engagement.