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2019 was the year my brother Sai Karra and I first heard about TikTok. Someone had told us about Charli D’Amelio, a “TikToker” who was gaining millions of followers for performing quirky videos on the platform. Just like others around us, we didn’t think much of it at first. I mean, who cares about a platform where teenagers post videos of themselves singing and dancing? Fast forward to 2022, and people and businesses alike are starting to realize that TikTok offers something that almost no other platform can compete with: organic exposure.
Within a few months of using TikTok, Sai and I quickly saw potential in the platform. We began to take notice of the viral algorithm and deconstructed why certain videos performed so well compared to the vast majority of videos out there. After a couple of months of analyzing what videos perform well, we began to create content ourselves. At first, growth was slow. Our initial idea was to post life hack videos to teach students shortcuts when it comes to learning information. These “student hacks” were short videos that we would post every single day. We knew that we had to stick to a niche and keep consistent. And so, we did just that. After almost three months of posting consistent content, we finally started to see some growth. Day by day, we noticed our overall engagement go up. In the span of just over three months, we had gone from 0 followers to close to 100,000. And the craziest part was that one video had boosted our follower count to almost 95,000.
That’s when we began to notice how TikTok growth really works. We understood that all it takes is one video that can really engage with the algorithm. Once you have your first big break, it’s all about analysis and replication. Rinse and repeat. After we had our first viral video, we began to take notice of why it performed so well. We noticed that the video had a trending sound, which we used in the background. We also noticed that this video was straight to the point — there was no fluff. And finally, it was an engaging video that the algorithm hadn’t seen yet. All of these factors added up, and that was what led over millions of people to watch the video and engage with it.
After a few months of consistently following this formula, we had cracked the algorithm. My brother and I began posting videos that went viral over and over again. We picked up on what content TikTok favored and created videos to fulfill just that. In the span of two years, we signed up for between 5-10 accounts, and every single one of them crossed 100,000 followers — life hacks, facts, conspiracies, entertaining stories, iPhone tricks, you name it. Soon, we had built over 10 million followers across all of our accounts. This is when we decided to break down and document our learnings. We now operate a full service marketing agency called BuiltGen, where we help business owners go viral on TikTok.
Now, you may be wondering, how exactly do you crack the TikTok algorithm? Well, I’ve gone ahead and broken it down for you in order to give a step-by-step guide of a few main points that my brother and I learned throughout our journey:
1. Create niche content
I wanted to start with the most important point first. What most people fail to do when creating content is sticking to one niche. When they get started on TikTok, many people post content that is all over the place. They start by posting a few educational videos, then do a dance video in between and randomly include a vlog in their feed. This does not work unless you’re already really well known. If Logan Paul were to do this on his TikTok, sure, it may work. But that’s because he’s Logan Paul, and most people already know him. If you want to blow up on TikTok, identify a niche, and stick to that niche.
2. Stay consistent
This is arguably as important as creating niche content. It’s one thing to stick to a niche, but it’s equally as important to continue to post content. Most people fail to grow a following, because they don’t stay consistent. If you aim to post at least a video a day and follow the rest of the steps listed here, all it takes is some time before you see constant success. Now, I know it may be tough for some of you to post content daily. In that case, aim to post at least a few times a week — but make sure to post every week without fail.
3. Engage within the TikTok app
The beauty of TikTok is that it has a lot more to offer than you initially realize. Once you engage with the platform, you’ll quickly notice that TikTok offers a lot of tools for creating content. You can use trending sounds, add green screens to your videos and even add custom text and voice-overs. By using the tools the platform has to offer, you will be able to create content that is much more engaging to your viewers.
4. Review your videos with others
A great way to know whether your content will perform well is to review it with other people. Asking other people whether they like your videos is a great way to get a better understanding of how your content will perform. Most people can tell very quickly whether your content is crap or not. It’s even better if you can review it with somebody who understands the algorithm well.
Related: Learn How to Go Viral on TikTok
5. Don’t overthink it
The app is meant to be a place to view and share engaging content. So, don’t overthink it. A lot of people make the mistake of overanalyzing which hashtags to use or what time of day to post. These things are good to know, but they won’t make a difference if you don’t follow the steps above. So, focus on the fundamentals, don’t overthink it, and you will eventually see results.
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