If you take TikTok seriously, you will want to grow your followers regularly over time. This is particularly so, if you use TikTok for marketing, or you aim to become a TikTok influencer. However, like all social and video apps, some followers are of more value to you than others. Some people may follow you after watching one of your videos, and then never view another one. Worse, some followers may not even be human. They may be bots trying to game the TikTok algorithm.
While high follower numbers may not necessarily be the most valid measure of your TikTok success, they are nonetheless an obvious metric that people use to compare accounts. You want quality followers, however, who genuinely love your videos and watch any new content you share. There is little point having followers who couldn't care less about your account.
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TikTok Followers Growth
Focus on Engaged Followers
The secret to any social media audience is that they are engaged. You don't want passive followers who like one of your videos and never view another. You want followers who once they've seen one of your videos, regularly return to your page to search for more clips. You want them to like your videos, make positive comments, and to share via their other social accounts.
Therefore, you need to find creative ways to pick up quality TikTok followers while avoiding the dross and bots. You want to work on building a distinct TikTok community that feels like a definite group of like-minded people.
Ways to Gain TikTok Followers
Work to Get Your Videos in "For You" Feeds
TikTok uses its "For You" page as the heart of the platform. It is the equivalent of Instagram's Explore page, but unlike Instagram, TikTok makes the "For You" page the default page that everybody goes to when they open their app.
And that is quite a fundamental difference. On Instagram (and indeed Facebook), each user faces a newsfeed of new posts, predominantly from the people they follow. On TikTok, users face a feed of posts made by strangers that TikTok believes will interest them. Sure, it's easy enough to switch to videos from people you're Following, but most people begin by watching the videos TikTok selects "For You." This gives an ideal opportunity for your videos to reach new people, who may, in turn, follow you.
Having your content appear on people's "For You" page means that TikTok recognizes the quality of your content, over all the other videos that people upload. This helps you gain recognition and have your videos viewed by a wider audience.
In How to Feature on TikTok's "For You" Page, we covered how TikTok's algorithm works. The algorithm continually searches for new videos to share with viewers, rather than continuously recycling the videos of existing celebrities and influencers. This helps people to build an audience and gain fame. Any account, even a relatively new one, can create quality content and then have TikTok position it before a broad audience.
Determine Your Target Audience
This tip applies to virtually every type of social media, particularly if you are a business using it for marketing purposes.
Not all followers are of equal benefit to you. And this still applies even when you eliminate obviously fake and bot followers. You first need to ask yourself, why you are using TikTok? Who do you really want to watch and enjoy your videos?
If you are a business that sells products, then your target audience will be obvious – the types of people who would buy your goods. If you're just an ordinary person, then the answer is less clear-cut. In that case, you probably ask yourself, who would you most want to influence?
While the bulk of TikTok's users are Generation Z or Millennials, there is an increasing number of older users too. You could even consider building a TikTok audience of Baby Boomers or Generation X if you believe sufficient of your product's niche users spend time on TikTok.
Share Videos That Will Appeal to Your Target Audience
We talked previously about the importance of having your videos appearing on people's "For You" feeds. However, as "For You" feeds are highly customized, depending on the demographics, interests, and TikTok behavior of each viewer, then you need to target specific people with your videos.
For this to work, you need to ensure that your target audience will love your content. Make the types of videos that will most appeal to them. Remember that TikTok is all about user experience. Their users don't come online to watch videos from you advertising your products. You can still make your product very clear without making blatant advertisements.
If you target teenage girls, for instance, think about the types of videos that most interest them. This might mean traditional TikTok lip-synch videos if that is what your target audience prefers. In some cases, you can feature your products in your videos. For example, if you sell makeup, you could share videos demonstrating how to apply it. But don't try and shoehorn your product where it is not appropriate.
Perhaps you sell car accessories to boy racers, and you target an audience of males in their late teens and early twenties. In that case, you could share videos featuring fast cars, showing your accessories in place if relevant.
Look for TikTok Trends
TikTok users can sometimes be fickle. They love to follow the latest trends, and then discard anything they feel has been fashionable for too long.
You will often see multiple variations on one type of video – where many TikTok users have created their take on the trend.
Remember, in most situations, TikTok users aren't looking for you and your videos. They are looking for fun, exciting videos that follow the prevailing trends. This gives you excellent opportunities to join in, building brand awareness if you are a business (or even your personal brand if you're just an individual).
Use Trending Hashtags
One specific type of trend that you can use to gain TikTok followers is to use trending hashtags. These add to your discoverability on the platform. People who search for those popular hashtags might come across your video. If they like them, they may follow you, in the hope of seeing more similar-type content.
As always, however, think carefully about the appropriateness of any hashtags you use. Some were created for specific uses, and if you misuse them, you might not attain your goals. Also, keep in mind your target audience. Not all trending hashtags will be relevant or of interest to them.
TikTok also has a few hashtags that may help you gain positions on people's "For You" pages, including #fyp and #ForYou. You will, of course, be competing with everybody else who uses these popular hashtags, so the quality of your videos remains paramount.
Post Quality Videos Regularly
We can't emphasize enough the need to post quality videos on TikTok. Sure, this doesn't mean that you employ a professional camera crew to make your clips; most successful TikTok videos are filmed using a smartphone. But it does mean that you plan your videos, film in high definition (everyday phones can do this now) and follow basic filming techniques.
While it's fine to follow the current TikTok trends, it is also essential that your video includes some original ideas. Indeed, the first step is to plan your video. Too often, people make their TikTok videos on impulse, without any planning. TikTok videos are short, so you can't include any wasteful footage. Make each second count.
Think about the lighting for your videos. If you must film at night, consider adding extra lighting. If you're shooting indoors, take advantage of any natural light without whiting-out or glaring the screen.
Buy a tripod to keep your camera steady. These don't have to be the professional quality giants that you have to lug from place to place. You can easily and cheaply buy small tripods suitable for use with a smartphone.
Music plays an essential role in TikTok, and the app has rights clearances making most music clips legally usable on the platform. Use music judiciously, so it fits in with your video content.
TikTok offers many filters, transitions, and effects. Use these with care. They can really add to a video, but use too many, and they can overwhelm the onscreen action.
Also, remember that your followers will expect regular content. And the more videos you make, the more chances you have of them appearing in "For You" feeds, being liked, and resulting in more followers.
Post Your TikTok Videos at the Right Time for Your Audience
As well as posting videos regularly, you should post them when your target audience is most likely to be online. TikTok experiments by sharing your videos on a small number of "For You" pages to begin with, and if they appear popular, TikTok shares your videos with a broader audience. If you post at the wrong times, your preferred audience may not be online at that time, and fewer early viewers show interest in your videos. As a result of this, TikTok might stop adding your videos to additional people's "For You" pages.
Over time, you should be able to see from your analytics the times of day when people are most interested in your videos. You can then use one of the social media management apps that recognizes TikTok to schedule your future videos at the optimal times.
Collaborate with Others
TikTok users love variety. One way you can do this is to collaborate with other TikTok creators. This means that you can create videos with double the value – two TikTok personalities in a single video. This gives you access to your collaborator's audience (and them to yours).
Engage with Your Audience
Finally, we emphasize the most important rule of social media. You must be social. You can't look at TikTok as a broadcast mechanism. It isn't one-way like television. We talked above about how you want an engaged audience. For that to occur, however, you also must engage with them actively.
If you want to increase your followers, you need to spend time communicating with other TikTok users. This means watching videos that interest you that you find in your "For You" screen, following those creators you particularly enjoy. In many ways, you need to model the behavior you are looking for in your target audience. Watch videos, like them, share them on your other social sites, and write engaging, informative comments. Keep a close eye on the comment streams on your videos and ensure that you are part of the conversation.