TikTok for Brand Growth: What I Learned in 45 Days

 

The fastest-growing app of 2020, TikTok hit the app stores of every operating system and was an instant success. Currently enjoying an engagement rate that’s at least 15% stronger than any other social media platform, using TikTok for brand growth is definitely an underrated (and underused) marketing strategy.

In a recent independent study conducted by neuro-analytics and -marketing firm Neuro-Insight, brands are seeing higher levels of receptiveness to their messaging, calls-to-action, and ad breakthroughs.

“TikTok’s unique engagement signature gives it an edge to be able to deliver ads and branded content in a way and at a moment when consumers are most open to receiving that messaging – and while all such signatures change over time, it is a golden opportunity for brands to use TikTok to their advantage right now.”
– Pranav Yadav, US & Europe CEO, Neuro-Insight

The advantages of using TikTok for brand growth just seem to be piling up. Thanks to the platform’s unique algorithms, TikTok is just literally built for engagement.

As an entrepreneur and a brand builder myself, the challenge was hard to ignore. I realized the time had come to take my personal brand (that means me) onto TikTok to see how I could leverage the platform for growth.

 

 

These are my stats after 45 days of taking TikTok seriously:

  • Follower growth: 4,500 followers in 45 days = 100 new followers per day
  • Views growth:

– 1 video at 300k+ views = 6,500+ views per day (of just one video!)

– 10 videos at 10k+ views = 1,000 views of each per day (on average)

– Most remaining videos at 2k+ views = 45 views of each per day.

 

It helps being super-focused on my niche, just like I am on Twitter… What also helps is not looking for 200k followers to build your brand on TikTok.

Staying in my niche means I’m looking for people who want to build product-based brands and are on the lookout for advice, tips, links to manufacturers and suppliers, and a real support base.

Guess what? I am definitely finding them!

 

RELATED READING:
The Weird World of TikTok Live
Prep your brand for Black Friday | Cyber Monday

 

Lessons I’ve Learned about Using TikTok to Build my Brand:

There are definitely some noob mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Luckily, I’ve made already them so you don’t have to:

  • I tried to use edited caption videos like Hormozi – they all flopped
  • I bought a Lume Cube Mobile Creator Lighting & Audio set – it sucked
  • I kept publishing videos I knew were mid-range just to keep posting – I shouldn’t have
  • I did not establish a unique personality/brand voice and ended up making generic content.

 

Read about my 45-day TikTok learning journey on Twitter, or continue scrolling…

 

The most constructive, personally usable tip I got was about how I project myself on screen. “Be hotter” was the best piece of advice.

“Talk slower” was another. All that high energy bursting out on a user’s screen is great… but TikTok does not have a half-speed option like Spotify does. Make sure you get your message across clearly and coherently.

Let me know in the comments down below or on my Twitter thread for this post how that’s all working for you  😉

 

Technical Tips to Help You Get the Most out of TikTok

The top technical tips I got that were correct and really helped me along the way:

  • Get a proper microphone – I use wired Apple headphones that have a built-in microphone
  • Get the lighting fixed so you and your product display at your best
  • Get a stand so you eliminate shakiness.

 

What really worked with the content for my niche?

  • I use a green screen for everything
  • I shoot longer videos with many cuts
  • I do all my editing in-app
  • I create all my graphics in Canva beforehand, using blank story templates so it looks clean
  • I experiment with styles and recurring video types, seeing a video idea (or getting lots of great ones sent from @heyalexfriedman) then trying a version quickly, and making more if it works
  • I include SEO terms in my captions, descriptions, and on-screen text.

I’ve noticed that while my big-play videos get lots of followers, it’s the little ones that add up to a connected and engaged audience. This is why it’s important to not focus on number of followers, but rather on number of engaged users (likes, comments, shares).

This engagement is the driving force behind TikTok’s algorithms, and determines what users want to see. That’s how you end up in TikTok’s “golden circle”, the For You page. This is where users spend the majority of their time when on TikTok, and it’s where you need to be to get found.

 

RECOMMENDED READING:
The Ultimate Guide to TikTok SEO
Find actionable ways to really crush those TikTok algorithms

 

So, is TikTok a search engine? No yet,,, or at least, not officially. Be that as it may, the functionality is there and I’ve started using TikTok for all kinds of things on a search level:

  • finding new products and brands
  • finding restaurants
  • finding things to do in areas
  • music discovery

This app is… amazing? It’s obvious that I respect and trust the platform after my 45-day journey.

 

Reason’s I’m not much bigger already?

  • I’m old. Most users are millennials or borderline Gen Zs. It took me two weeks to understand the platform and UI (user interface)
  • I’m freestyling every video versus scripting my content or using a teleprompter
  • I had no close friends really using it that I could probe for advice. Now some are coming in and that breeds excitement!

 

I have been very mid at this. I think someone savvy can come in and hit 10k in the first week or two by:

  • leading with a well-done origin story video set
  • a few well-thought-out green-screen concept videos in strong niches
  • hopping on 1-2 timely trends 

 

I’m realizing even though my goal was to stay niche, I’m going to end up getting broad followers just by how the algorithm works, and I’m pivoting my content to take that into consideration. If I decide I want to go bigger versus more niche I’ll lean in heavier to personality.

 

BONUS MATERIAL!
Catch the Builders.Build podcast with my best friends, Colin and James, to discover more about our individual TikTok perspectives and journeys.

 

Thanks for reading. These are just my learnings from a 45-day journey to leverage TikTok for brand growth and increase my visibility on the world’s leading platform right now. While I’m no expert at this, I am having fun with it. I encourage you to give it a try!

 

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