In fact, many see TikTok as the fun, unfiltered, uninhibited friend to the more uptight, polished Instagram.
With this in mind, succeeding on the platform does mean using special effects, dubbing trending sounds, adding popular music, and taking part in challenges and dances.
Of course, it’s essential that you set brand guardrails to ensure you don’t participate in anything that may hurt your credibility. In addition, not every trend will align with your messaging or brand values – in that case, skip it.
There’s another trend coming right around the corner.
2. You’re not watching TikTok videos.
How can you thrive in an environment you don’t understand? The TikTok space has a very specific energy to it and to step into it, you should take time ingesting first.
Once you get a sense of what’s successful on the platform, you can start playing around with your own content – experimenting with topics and styles to see what your target audience responds to.
However, the work doesn’t stop there. You should always be scrolling on TikTok as long as you’re on the platform. It’s how you:
There’s nothing worse than watching a video, waiting for the hook, and it never comes.
On TikTok, your video can only be up to three minutes. However, you only have a few seconds to convince viewers to stop scrolling and watch your content.
Here are a few ways to maximize your video:
Start talking immediately – The first few seconds are key, don’t let them go by without any sound or movement happening.
Have an engaging caption – This will give viewers a clear understanding of what your video’s about and what they can gain from watching it.
Use a trending sound – If a sound is going viral, you won’t have to work as hard to maintain your audience’s attention. They already know what to expect and are anticipating what your unique take is.
4. You’re uploading landscape videos.
Similar to Instagram, TikTok is a vertical-first app.
This means that to show up correctly, videos should be 1080 by 1920 pixels. If your video is landscape, its size will be reduced and bordered with thick, black lines that are not aesthetically pleasing.
This not only hurts the quality of your video but also how viewers perceive it.
Your comment section is currently one of the only ways to engage your audience, as the platform still offers limited community-building features.
As a result, your comment section is where your audience will likely ask questions, share their thoughts on your videos, and tag their friends. Take that opportunity to connect with them, start conversations, and encourage them to take the desired action.
6. You’re using a business account.
If this were any other social platform, not having a business account would be a huge mistake. On TikTok, there are actually some downsides to having a business account – specifically for small businesses.
The main one is that you may not have access to trending music and sounds, which is an important component of increasing your brand reach.
While the business account does offer data insights, the inability to use trending sounds is a major roadblock toward success on the platform.
As a result, small businesses should focus on building and testing on a personal account before transitioning to a business account.
7. Your content is inaccessible.
In 2019, a Verizon study found that most mobile viewers watch videos without sound. Without captions, your videos are missing a key part of the story.
However, the most important reason to have content is to make it accessible to all users, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Placing captions is a simple but effective way to ensure you not only increase viewership but also ensure inclusivity.
8. You’re overselling and undersharing.
This may be a symptom of taking yourself too seriously on a notoriously unserious platform. Or rather of not understanding the platform you’re on.
Regardless of the core reason, posting sale-heavy content is unlikely to draw in your audience on TikTok. This audience is known for wanting relatable content that appeals to them and their daily life.
While the occasional promotion is definitely welcome, making it the core of your content is not the best strategy. Instead, pivot to creating content that highlights the lifestyle of your target user.
Be inspired by their challenges, pain points, and interactions. Then use that to feed your creativity. You’ll find that your content will be more aligned with your audience and will likely perform better.