TikTok is still the social media platform of the moment. It’s been running for over six years now, having been founded back in September 2016, but it’s still going from strength to strength and shows no signs of slowing down. 2022 was another huge year for TikTok; massive numbers of users flocked to the platform daily, and many tried it out for the first time, resulting in exciting and interesting new trends that will no doubt make a resurgence at some point in the future.
If you’re new to TikTok and you’ve got big ambitions, then you might be wondering how to build yourself a following. After all, it can seem impossible; you look at some of the most-followed TikTok accounts out there and wonder how you could ever approach their level. Well, even if you can’t quite hit the level of Addison Rae or Charli D’Amelio, you can still establish a cosy niche for yourself and build success. Here are 5 ways to gain a solid TikTok following in 2023.
1. Find your niche
First and foremost, it’s important to discover your niche within TikTok. That’s going to look different for you depending on what kind of content you create, so spend some time thinking carefully about your videos and who they might appeal to. For instance, if you primarily make music videos themed around current chart hits, that’s going to be a very different demographic to videos that are built around instrument tutorials or makeup hacks.
To find your niche, create some content, put it out there, and see what kind of viewers you get. TikTok has a suite of built-in tools that will allow you to see information about user demographics, so you can identify who’s watching your content and tailor future videos to those people. You won’t get anywhere by trying to be all things to all TikTok users, so picking out your niche and operating within that field is a strong way to build a successful following.
2. Make interesting content
We know these might sound a little like obvious tricks, but the fact is that there is no clear-cut, definite way to build a following on TikTok. You could do everything on this list and still not achieve success, or you could miss out an item and build a following overnight. Constantly trying to chase algorithms and keep up with the machine isn’t necessarily going to work well for you, so the best thing you can do is to create content that is interesting.
What does that mean? Well, first, it means that while chasing trends might get you some momentary success, it’s not going to get you a long-term fanbase. The only way to build that is to create content that others want to see; you’ve got to start setting your own trends in order to do that. If you can get a hashtag or a trending challenge off the ground, then you’ve cornered a market on TikTok, and that’s when the success will really start to come.
3. Be TikTok-savvy
What does “being TikTok-savvy” mean? Let’s break that term down. When we say TikTok-savvy, what we mean is understanding the ins and outs of the platform as much as you can. For instance, one way to be TikTok-savvy is to know when your audience logs in and when they spend the most time on the app, tailoring your posting times to match that. This will help you to get the most eyeballs on your content, improving your chances of building a following.
Another way to ensure that you’re TikTok-savvy is to post regularly. TikTok is much more fast-moving than other social media networks; you need to make sure you’re staying in the public consciousness, or you’ll be forgotten pretty quickly. Posting every day is near enough a must, and if you can post multiple times a day, that’s great. Try to aim for one short video per day if you can, but consistency is key, too; posting at the same time every day is important as well.
4. Engagement is everything
If building a following is what’s important to you on TikTok, then you need to emphasise engagement over simply creating content. This means that you need to make content others will want to engage with; including thought-provoking or debate-encouraging elements in your videos will help you to achieve this. Hopefully, if you do that, you should start noticing users leaving comments frequently, which will help to create followers.
Some other tips for making engaging TikTok content are to talk directly into the camera, as seeing another human face may help people to feel like there’s someone on the other side of the video, so to speak. You should also try to make sure you go live as often as you can (assuming you meet the criteria, of course), because users like to see live presentations; they can engage with you in real-time and you can answer their questions on the fly.
5. Be authentic
TikTok users like to see authenticity because it’s one of the core building blocks on which the platform is constructed. If you’re not authentic, TikTok users will be able to see through you pretty quickly. That’s why engaging in any form of “astroturfing”, wherein brands or influencers try to inorganically create viral campaigns, isn’t worth it; while you might get one campaign off the ground, the long-term hit to your reputation won’t be worth the brief success.
So, what does authenticity on TikTok actually entail? First, you need to be honest with your followers. Second, you need to show that they can trust you to give them true, unadulterated information, especially if your platform is in any way based on education. Authenticity is also about your personality, so bringing that across in an unfiltered way is a good idea. You’ll know when you’re being inauthentic, and if you don’t, your followers certainly will.