Growing Your Presence on TikTok

promo image - Growing your presence on TikTok - #TwitterSmarter chat with JMatt - March 18, 2021

We’ve all seen it, we’ll all heard of it. TikTok, the all new flashy social channel that everyone’s raving about. Strangely, it’s not a new platform at all. It’s been around since 2016, slowly making its way to popularity. Thanks to lockdowns and isolation, its usage exploded all over the world. It’s available in 40 different languages and before we knew it, our children have become experts and influencers in a platform that we Twitter fanatics are still trying to understand. We decided to change that. And our chat regular and avid TikTokker, JMatt (145k followers!) was enthusiastic to help us understand how TikTok can make sense for businesses. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Jeffrey Matthias, better known as JMatt
Topic: Growing your presence on TikTok
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Should you create content on TikTok?

Yes, TikTok is a great way to connect with your younger audience and stay on top of trending conversations. It’s an ideal platform if a majority of your audience is already there. However, be realistic. As our guest explained, if you’re already working on three or four other social platforms, TikTok will become yet another thing you have to deal with. Don’t take on more than you can handle, but definitely pop in there once a while to see what’s going on.

Another important thing to consider, as Rachel pointed out, is whether you enjoy creating video content. It’s one thing to post a video or two every week on Twitter but it’s a different thing altogether to be active on a platform that’s all video. Unless you are comfortable and enjoy making videos, it’ll be a challenge to maintain your account.

Q2: What are some things to keep in mind when starting out on TikTok?

The key, as we said in the previous answer, is to enjoy yourself. Our guest said it, too—have fun with what you’re creating and feel free to experiment with the range of features. TikTok is popular for its broad functionalities, so make use of those in your content. Whatever you do, just let yourself enjoy the process—that’s how you can sustain your presence. If you’re not into dancing, that’s fine, too. Even though dancers are popular on TikTok, there are many others who don’t dance at all—perhaps you’re better at slam poetry, or rapping, or giving quick tips, or putting together comedy sketches. Just do your thing.

Our friends from Cloud Campaign reminded us that it’s important to be aware of how much time it’ll take for you to set up and manage your TikTok account. As we said before, if you’re already doing multiple other social channels, you’re probably already pressed for time. Appreciate the time commitment you’re making and make sure you can stick to it. Consistently creating original content across platforms can become overwhelming. Be prepared and manage your time well.

Q3: How often should you post on TikTok?

Posting daily helps. Posting multiple times a day helps even more. That said, it’s critical not to stress yourself out. Know your capacity. Most people can’t spend that much time on the platform, and that’s ok. Take our guest for example. As he explains in his video, with a full-time job, he can’t do content every day. However, he makes sure to post a few times every week so that the algorithm keeps his content in the loop. You can also make TikTok videos and save them as drafts so that if you’re stuck, you have backup content ready to go any time.

It’s also important not to compromise quality for the sake of quantity, as our friends from OnePitch reminded us. It’s also worth defining quality—it’s not perfection. Sometimes you may feel like your content isn’t good enough, because you’re looking for perfection. Though it’s always good to keep learning and improving, don’t let fear hamper your progress. Focus on creating quality content that your audience will find useful, but don’t beat yourself up over it too much if it doesn’t turn out as well as you want it to.

Q4: What are some hashtags you should and shouldn’t use?

It’s a bit like Twitter—use hashtags that are relevant to your content and be strategic about which ones you use. Our guest told us he prefers to use three-four hashtags that have anything between 100k to a few million views. Anything beyond that—hashtags that hit a billion—can become too busy and your content might easily get lost. Also, our guest said, that hashtags such as FYP and For You Page don’t necessarily help your content reach wider audiences.

TikTok videos can vary in terms of themes and topics. And so the hashtags you use may not always be uniform across your posts. While it’s best to use hashtags that resonate with each specific video, it’s also good to remember, Jetti-Mari told us, to make sure that the hashtags align with your brand as well.

Q5: What are some ways to improve engagement on TikTok content?

JMatt shared three awesome tips:

  • Set time aside to reply to every comment you get on your content. This isn’t TikTok specific—it’s good courtesy across all social media.
  • Be the first person to comment on your videos and ask your audience a question that they can respond to. Even if this isn’t necessarily related to your video, give your audience a reason to engage with your content.
  • Don’t delete videos you think aren’t performing well. The platform tends to pull recommendations as old as three-four months, and so even if one of your older videos isn’t performing well, there’s a chance that having a repository of older content will boost your credibility. If you do want to reduce visibility to certain videos, make them private or change it to shared only with friends.

The only exception to the ‘don’t delete’ suggestion is if the platform itself flags your content.

Another important way to drive engagement on your TikTok content is, as our friends from Biteable mentioned, to engage with other people’s content. Don’t shy away from responding to comments, initiating conversations, and making content yourself that responds to theirs.

Q6: How important are sound and captions on TikTok?

Funnily enough, for the platform’s algorithm itself, not so much. Unlike other social channels where people expect captions to consume the video content, people on TikTok are used to the audio playing automatically when they open the app, mainly because most of the trends and concepts are based on audio clips, music, and sounds.

That said, as Alyx pointed out, having captions is an essential way to make your content more accessible to people using assistive technology.

To add captions, JMatt recommended Captions for TikTok, an app available only on iOS at the moment. He added that this tool is great for vertical videos, but for horizontal videos, you might have to complement it with other apps.

Q7: Should you reshare your TikToks on other platforms?

Only if you have complete ownership of the content. TikTok videos are a combination of audio and video elements, and if you use your own audio and video, feel free to share it across other channels as well.

However, if you use audio from TikTok, it’s risky resharing that on other channels. Similarly, if your TikTok content is specific to the platform itself—like responding to TikTok trends or mentioning features, it’s not a good idea to reshare that video on other channels where it’s not as relevant.

A word of caution, though. If you’re sharing videos to Instagram Reels, share them organically, because as our guest pointed out, Instagram doesn’t really like videos that have the Tiktok watermark on them.

Jim made a good point about audience. It’s worth noting that the audience on TikTok may be wildly different from your audience on other platforms. And so when you reshare videos that you make for TikTok, make sure they’re still appropriate for your other audiences. This ties in with JMatt’s point about creating videos that talk about TikTok features, but it can also extend to other things like the music you use and the tone of your message as well.

Q8: Name some TikTokers who share great content.

JMatt shed some amazing light on TikTokers we may not automatically think about when we think about the platform.

  • The Washington Post
  • The Sacramento Historical Museum
  • HellmanRetailGroup

According to our guest, these three brands are doing an incredible job of staying relevant and engaging with the audience on TikTok. In a platform that’s most popular for personal accounts, these brands are making a splash. Check them out!

Bonus TikTok tip: Do collaborative posts with other users and accounts that are relevant to your brand messaging. That’ll help boost your content to audiences beyond your immediate reach.

Theodara named a few of her favorite Tiktokers including NBC News.

You can also check out some more popular TikTokers, starting with our guest himself. JMatt is a pretty big deal over on TikTok!

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with JMatt, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. And if you’d like to join us for a live chat, we’d love to have you. We meet over at #TwitterSmarter every Thursday at 1pm ET. See you then!

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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