Looking to get started on TikTok or grow your account in 2023?

The popular short-form video-sharing app continues to grow, and if you want to capitalize on this opportunity, there are a few things you need to know. TikTok can be a difficult platform to master, but these five tips are essential if you want to succeed.

1. Learn the algorithm

The TikTok algorithm- that magic recipe that makes TikTok so addictive. In addition to perfectly curating your For You Page with scary accuracy, the TikTok algorithm also controls how well your videos will perform. There are a few key factors to consider about the algorithm. It sounds intimidating, but breaking it down into the most critical pieces will help you make the most of the algorithm..

a. Hashtags

Hashtags are more than silly things to throw in your captions. Hashtags work as searchable terms, and these “tags” assign labels to your videos. For instance, many new creators use the hashtag #fyp, thinking it will land them on the “For You Page” and make their video go viral. That would theoretically work if there were one universal FYP. That’s not how TikTok works, though. Users have an individualized FYP that shows them content based on who they follow, which videos they’ve liked, and more. Instead, use hashtags that describe the content of your video. For example, if you post videos of yourself cooking, try #foodtok. You can use the built-in search bar to find relevant hashtags before posting. Making good use of hashtags will help boost your videos.

b. Sounds

TikTok relies heavily on “Sounds,” short audio bytes that users can place over their recorded content. Learning which sounds are on the up and up can help your videos gain traction. Using a trending sound is more likely to get your video noticed than a sound nobody has heard of. Pro Tip: if you want to use a trending sound to boost your video but layering the sound over the video ruins the content, you can use the TikTok editing feature to add the sound and reduce the volume to low or even zero. No matter how low you turn down the added sound, it will still tag your video as that sound and hopefully boost it!

c. Video Length

If you’re a new creator, chances are nobody will stick around to watch a 1-3 minute video you just posted. TikTok stars have the luxury of sharing such long-form content and having people watch it, but for us ordinary folk, most people won’t have the attention span to watch that long of a video. Therefore, the algorithm isn’t going to push your video. For best results, when you’re first starting out, posting shorter videos is a good idea. Under fifteen seconds seems to work well for most people, but it depends on your content.

2. Keep a close eye on trends

You have probably already heard the term “trending,” but TikTok trends are something to watch closely. It would help if you had a pulse on what trends are going viral and which are past their expiration date. The most important thing with trends is to be an early adopter. If you jump on a trend early, before it has become oversaturated with videos, you have a much better chance of going viral. There are plenty of websites where you can track trends. Posting a video of a trend as it’s on the up and up will gain you more likes, comments, and follows.

3. Post often

This one seems self-explanatory, but you aren’t going to become TikTok famous by posting once a week. Creators who have become popular on TikTok post at least every day, often multiple times a day. TikTok also recently added a “Story” feature, allowing users to post videos that only stay up for 24 hours. No matter what your content focuses on, try to post as often as possible to gain and maintain traction.

4. Focus on your niche

Most extremely successful TikTok creators have a niche, or specialty, that they focus on. The D’Amelio sisters became famous by doing trending dances. TikTok sensation @annaxsitar rose to stardom by turning out her videos of “Starbies” and the beloved “I don’t want it” trend. Whatever your niche is, try and hone in on that one thing, at least until you gain popularity. Trying to diversify too much too early will probably not be successful. However, be selective when choosing your niche. You want to pick something you enjoy doing so you have fun creating your videos. By selecting a niche you don’t like, you will likely be unhappy when you’re stuck doing it for a while. Make your niche something you authentically enjoy, and you will be much happier and more successful in the long term.

5. Engage with your content

When you post a video to TikTok, don’t just post it and close the app! It would help if you were around to respond to comments, post follow-up or reply videos, and engage with your new followers. If a video is gaining traction, posting a second video that replies to comments can boost your original video even more. If something you posted has gone viral, it can be overwhelming to try and respond to all the comments, but try to like as many as you can and reply to at least a decent number of them. It’s important to strike while the iron is hot and ride the waves of a successful video.

Bonus tip

At the end of the day, going viral just once or twice does not guarantee TikTok fame. It’s a must that you put effort into succeeding on the platform, just like anything else. However, these five tips are a great place to start. Remember that TikTok is supposed to be fun, not only for viewers but for creators too! Be authentic, make content you enjoy watching, and most importantly, have fun with it!