Since its launch in 2016, TikTok’s popularity has skyrocketed. With around 1 billion active users monthly, there’s no denying it’s the cool kid on the social media block. It’s a great platform to focus your marketing on, especially if your target audience falls within the Gen Z or Millennial audience – currently 62% of TikTok users are between 10 and 29 years of age.
Whether you’re new to TikTok or you’ve been on the app for a while, you can’t deny that it’s satisfying to see your follower count rise. Not only does it feel good, but your success on TikTok can actually be impacted by the number of followers you have.
While sales aren’t always a guarantee, TikTok is a great way to build a community of people that love and support your brand. While we can’t promise that we’ll make you TikTok famous, we’ve got some solid recommendations on how to build your TikTok following and get seen on the platform.
Why followers matter
Nowadays, some people consider follower count to be merely a vanity metric – a metric that makes you look good to others but doesn’t help your overall performance. However, we’d argue that having more followers can provide real value for your brand. It’s a sign that your brand or message is resonating with people and can help build your engagement rate and brand reputation. It can also increase the amount of exposure and TikTok likes that your content will get.
Don’t go out and try to get new followers just for the sake of gaining followers. In the words of Kevin Kelly, it’s better to have 1000 true fans that you have a direct connection with than millions who will never purchase your product or service. Follower count doesn’t matter if those followers aren’t moving through your marketing funnel. You want to attract the right followers who are genuinely interested in your brand or product/service – your true fans. These are the people who you want to create lasting relationships with and who will be spokespeople for your brand.
The best part about TikTok is that unlike Instagram, people don’t need to be following you to see your content. Follower quantity isn’t as important and you can focus on getting the right followers instead.
Here’s a quick rundown on how to build a quality following on TikTok:
- Find your target audience
- Know what to post, when, and how often
- Hit the trends (at the right time)
- Use hashtags
- Cross-promote your content to other social media platforms
- Build your community
- Get creative with it
Find your target audience or TikTok fans
Before you create your TikTok marketing goal or strategy, the first thing you need to do is identify your niche or target audience. Figuring out who you want to reach informs what type of content you need to make to get their attention. It also helps ensure that you aren’t creating content that is wildly off base.
Not all people on TikTok are the same. Like other social media platforms, TikTok covers many different geographies, demographics, and niches across the globe. You’ll frequently hear conversations or even watch TikTok videos about how different everyone’s For You Pages are. This is because everyone’s page is curated to show them specific content the app thinks they’ll enjoy. What works well for one group might not work for everyone.
So how do you find your target audience on TikTok? If you’ve already figured out your niche on other social media platforms, create TikTok content that aligns with that. If not, try combining two or three things that you think might interest your audience. Get specific. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you can narrow down your content to outfit ideas for plus-sized women. Voila! You have a niche.
Finding a niche doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as tapping into the corner of the internet that loves cute animal videos, like the San Diego Zoo has done. They capitalize on this niche by sharing short videos of the animals at their zoo. This strategy has helped win them over 2 million followers.
Another example is the children’s television network, Nickelodeon. Their audience consists of both younger viewers and older adults who are nostalgic for the tv shows of their past. They use popular trends and hashtags to showcase their videos and deliver their audience bite-sized content from their shows.
Know what to post, when, and how often
Got your niche figured out? Great. Now it’s time to check out the accounts of the people whose attention you want to get. Take a look at what they’re posting, what hashtags they’re using, and what trends they’re participating in. Then, let that inform your TikTok content.
If you’ve used TikTok, think about what made you follow a certain account. Maybe you came across a video of theirs on your FYP that you enjoyed. Then, you visited their TikTok profile and watched three or four similar videos. You wouldn’t jump into a relationship without going on a date with the person first, right? Similarly, it helps if your audience knows what kind of content to expect from you before they follow your page.
You don’t need to create content for the masses. You’ll have much more success on the platform by creating content for your specific audience or niche. Remember: always approach your content creation with the purpose of providing value to your audience and making genuine connections. The more you post the kind of content your audience enjoys, the more your following will grow.
Post at peak times
As with other social media platforms, it gives you an edge to post at ideal times. It’s not as important for TikTok as it is for other platforms like Instagram, but posting at times when more of your audience is on the app can help boost your video views quicker, which = more followers.
When does your audience use TikTok? If you have a Pro Account, you can check your TikTok insights to see when your audience is most active. If not, we suggest posting in the morning, mid-afternoon, or late at night – any time when people are looking at their phones more often.
Consistency is key
Just like any other social media platform, to see TikTok growth, you must post consistently. The tricky thing with the TikTok algorithm is that just because someone follows your account, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically come up on their For You Page. That’s why it’s important to stay consistent and keep your content relevant to your target audience or niche. This is the best way to turn your video viewers into loyal followers.
For optimal exposure, try to post at least once a day. It sounds like a lot, but when it comes to TikTok, you can’t post too much. If this isn’t doable, try at least 2-3 posts per week, but make sure you’re delivering high-quality content each time.
Hit TikTok trends (at the right time!)
Listen – things trend for a reason. If people like what they see or hear, they’ll naturally want more of it.
Don’t be afraid to participate in TikTok trends, even if you think you might get lost in the crowd. What’s trending in your TikTok niche may not be trending everywhere else. This means the space might not be as overcrowded as you think.
Participating in trends can also be a great way to demonstrate your brand tone and personality. It differentiates you from all the other brands that have hopped onto TikTok as a way to advertise and nothing more. This isn’t to say you should jump on every trend. Figure out which ones are going to appeal to your target audience, then work to use those trends in a way that reflects your brand.
The best way to see what’s trending with your audience is to hop onto the app and see what trends your ideal followers are taking part in. It could be a certain sound, visual effect or another type of meme or joke. You can also check out TikTok’s Discover Page to see what’s trending.
See something that you think your audience might like or connect to? Save that sound or effect for later, or if you want to use it right away, click “try this effect” or “use this sound” to instantly create your own take on it.
You can also participate in challenges. Check out what challenges your audience is doing. If there’s a popular dance going around, get your team to bust out a move. It makes you look more relatable and human to your followers rather than just being a faceless brand. It also increases your chances of having a viral video (score!).
Check out this example from @usimmango. After creating this dance trend with his friends, his account has grown to over 3 million followers and the video has been recreated millions of times.
When it comes to trends, it’s all about timing. Trends change almost weekly (or sometimes daily) on TikTok. Dedicate some time each day to scrolling the FYP to see what people are doing. The best time to hit a trend is somewhere between the point of its inception and the point where your entire FYP is filled with videos of people doing it. This is where you can pick up the most traction and therefore the most followers from it.
Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags
One of the best ways to increase your TikTok followers is by using hashtags. Hashtags can help you build a community of like-minded followers. They make it easier for users to discover your content because TikTok categorizes all videos related to a certain topic or niche under that hashtag.
Here’s an example from the #NatureLove hashtag:
When choosing your hashtags, use a combo of content-specific hashtags, general hashtags, and trending hashtags to make your content more discoverable. Here’s a breakdown of each type:
- Content-specific – These hashtags help people within your target audience find your content. For example, if you make TikToks reviewing movies, you could use #movieclip or #filmtok. They can also reflect a certain sound or effect, such as #greenscreen which is pulled automatically when you use the Green Screen effect.
- General hashtags – This includes things like #ForYou, #viral, #fyp or #funny – anything that helps land your content on TikTok’s For You Page.
- Trending hashtags – You’ll commonly see creators use trending hashtags or brand hashtags to help boost their video’s visibility within the algorithm. These could be dance challenges like #alorsondansechallenge or promoted brand hashtags like #HacktoSchoolwithRogers.
Make sure you’re using relevant hashtags. Your hashtags should fall under common search terms within your TikTok niche. People can’t find your content if you don’t give them easy ways to find it.
The TikTok Discover page is also a great place to see which hashtags are popular with users on the app. You can also use a hashtag generator tool like TikTok Hashtags or Tucktools TikTok Hashtag Generator which allows you to search trending hashtags by geography.
Cross-promote on other social networks
TikTok is great. But your marketing strategy shouldn’t depend on TikTok alone. We’re at the point where almost every social media user has three or more forms of social media they engage with. Don’t be afraid to cross-promote your TikTok on other platforms!
Ask yourself where your target audience spends most of their time online. Maybe it’s Instagram, Reddit or LinkedIn. For example, if your brand has a lot of followers on Instagram, let your Instagram followers know that they can access exclusive content from you on TikTok. It’s a lot easier to bring over people who already know and love your brand than someone who’s never heard of you before.
Similarly, tell your TikTok followers about your Instagram or other socials. These platforms often require content that differs from one platform to the next, giving your followers more chances to consume your unique brand of content and getting more eyes on the content you use to sell your goods or services.
Your TikTok content can also be repurposed to other platforms. You may have noticed that Instagram Reels are very similar in style and format to TikTok. You can save your TikTok videos and repost them as Reels with your TikTok watermark to help build awareness for your TikTok account.
A word of caution: Instagram’s algorithm can pick up on this and might penalize your video by limiting its reach. To avoid this, you can use a third-party tool to remove your TikTok watermark or create a Reel or IG Story to act as a trailer or sneak peek and direct people to TikTok to watch the full video.
Build a community
TikTok is a great place to build a community around your business or brand. Building a positive, friendly community is a great way to attract other people to follow you.
One of the best ways to build community is to network with other TikTokers. You can form friendships and even collaborate with the people who are the biggest fans of your brand. Build your network by engaging with other creators or TikTok influencers’ videos, following their accounts, and leaving positive comments and messages on their videos. You can also use the Duet feature to create response videos to other peoples’ content.
A brand who has done a great job at building a community is singer Rihanna’s beauty brand, Fenty Beauty. TikTok Houses – houses where groups of TikTok creators can live and create viral content together – are becoming more common, so Rihanna launched the Fenty Beauty House to create a space for content creators dedicated to her makeup brand.
While you don’t need to buy an entire house to build a community, you can still create a hashtag or challenge around your brand and encourage your audience to participate to build brand awareness!
Get creative with it
Nobody ever stood out by doing exactly what everyone else is doing. While playing to TikTok trends can work to your advantage and help you get followers, the accounts that have the most popularity and longevity are the ones that bring something truly unique to their category or niche.
Be a trend starter rather than a trend follower. For example, famous performers like JLO are using TikTok to create dance challenges so that fans can recreate the dances and upload their own videos using her hashtags:
Get creative and have fun with it! Take a unique angle or point of view to make your content stand out. Make sure to stay true to yourself and share your brand’s unique personality. You can also get creative with TikTok’s editing features. They are expansive and learning to do a cool new edit or transition could help grab viewers’ attention and make them want to follow you to see more of what you can do.
A creator who does a great job of using effects and edits creatively is @happykelli. Kelli is the queen of putting unique edits on her dance videos and that’s helped her attract a following of over 2.7 million fans.
When it comes to how to get followers on TikTok (and social media in general), quality is usually better than quantity. While every brand dreams of going viral on TikTok these days, focus on growing a following of people who are true fans of your brand.
Remember: as a brand, your goal is to turn potential followers into loyal customers. By attracting the people in your target audience or niche, you increase the likelihood of finding those customers and creating an amazing brand experience for them. Keep on top of what’s happening on the platform and get creative with your content to make your brand stand out among the pack.