As of 2022, TikTok is now one of the most widely used social media platforms on the planet (with over 1 billion monthly active users). As a result, there is ample potential for businesses to accrue followers and increase their reach. However, many marketers might be struggling to figure out exactly how to get there. If this sounds familiar, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we will explain how to get more followers on TikTok with the help of these 10 agile and easy-to-implement tactics.
1. Understand the algorithm
If you’re wondering how to gain followers on TikTok, it’s vital to understand the TikTok algorithm and how it works. Once you have a solid understanding of the algorithm, you’ll be able to keep its inner workings in mind when creating content in the hopes of increasing follower count.
The TikTok algorithm centers around several components, including but not limited to:
- Video duration: Although TikTok videos can be up to 10 minutes long, shorter is usually better as shorter videos tend to keep users’ attention. It’s advisable to insert a strong hook in the first three seconds to encourage users to watch your video until the end.
- Content topic: The TikTok algorithm categorizes content by user interest, which means that the topics you explore in your videos are a top priority.
- Hashtags and keywords: If you want to gain TikTok followers, you need to understand their behaviors on the app. Hashtags and keywords are two key ingredients in this process as these are the words that users are typing into TikTok searches; in other words, hashtags and keywords are directly representative of what people are looking for on the platform. When you use them, the algorithm is better able to direct users who would be interested in your content to your videos.
The better you understand and abide by the TikTok algorithm, the more likely it is that your content will appear in the native feed, also known as the “For You” page (FYP). The FYP is the feed that is shown as soon as a user opens the app. When your content appears on the FYP, you know it is being seen by a high volume of users, thereby improving your chances of gaining more TikTok followers. Best of all, when your content is strong enough to land on the FYP, this is essentially a form of free TikTok marketing and is almost guaranteed to increase your number of free TikTok followers.
2. Abide by community guidelines
When using TikTok for business purposes, it’s essential to abide by the rules and regulations set by the app. TikTok has very specific Community Guidelines that all creators – including businesses – need to follow. A failure to do so can result in some serious consequences.
TikTok’s Community Guidelines “establish a set of norms and common code of conduct that provide for a safe and welcoming space for everyone.” This set of rules seeks to protect the safety, diversity, inclusion, and authenticity of all TikTok users. Community Guidelines cover a wide range of areas, including:
- The protection of minors
- Dangerous acts and challenges
- Suicide and self-harm
- Disordered eating
- Adult nudity and sexual activity
- Bullying and harassment
- Illegal activities and regulated goods
- Copyright and trademark infringement
In the event you fail to follow the standards set by Community Guidelines, your content could be removed from the app. In some extreme cases (or if you have a record of Community Guidelines violations), your account may experience a TikTok shadow ban. A TikTok shadow ban is an unofficial ban or blocking of your account; this prevents your content from appearing on the FYP.
A few warning signs that your account is under a shadow ban include:
- A sudden and drastic drop in views and/or engagement (i.e. likes, comments, saves, shares)
- Videos are failing to upload (the status may appear as “processing” or “under review” for extended periods).
- Content is not visible on the FYP and/or in the search results when you conduct a targeted search
If it looks like you are experiencing a TikTok shadow ban, don’t stress. Instead, try some of these tactics to remove it and continue your TikTok marketing initiatives:
- Delete any content that has been flagged for violating Community Guidelines
- Avoid engaging in spam-like behavior on TikTok
- Get in touch with TikTok support to find and resolve the root issue
3. Follow trends
Visual effects and filters, sounds and songs, dance moves – there are countless elements that feed TikTok trends. To boost your TikTok follower count, it’s crucial to keep all of them in mind when creating content.
It’s in the TikTok algorithm’s nature to promote types of content that users continue to engage with. Trends, by their very nature, fall into this category. Therefore, when you create content in alignment with topical trends, you will have a better chance of engaging more users and recruiting more TikTok followers.
Certain businesses have done a fantastic job of this already. For example, Duolingo used the viral “Enchanted” song by Taylor Swift and mimicked the trend in which users convey great dismay as the track plays. Since it was published in late 2021, the video has gained over 500,000 views.
4. Assess TikTok Analytics
As a TikTok Business Account user, you will have access to TikTok Analytics, which can help you understand your target demographic and their behaviors. By assessing TikTok Analytics, you can determine which of your videos have performed the best and factor these performance metrics into their creative process.
As an example, you can also see when your TikTok followers are most active on the app (days and times throughout the week). You can then factor these behaviors into your TikTok marketing strategy by posting at these times. This will result in broadened reach and increased access to users who fall into these demographic categories.
5. Work with influencers and celebrities
Partnering with famous TikTokers (which can include both TikTok influencers and celebrities) is an excellent way to leverage that person’s power and reach. By collaborating with these users with expansive followings, businesses can tap into new audiences and recruit TikTok followers at unparalleled levels.
Consider Disney and American Eagle’s partnership not only with each other but with TikTok powerhouse Addison Rae. In 2020, the two corporations collaborated with the famous TikToker in a promotional video, which featured Rae dancing alongside the animated character Mickey Mouse. At the time of this writing, the video has accrued more than 5 million likes and over 37,000 comments.
6. Engage with your audience
First and foremost, TikTok is a social media platform, not simply a video-sharing platform. As a result, it’s crucial to encourage interaction and foster engagement. Additionally, the TikTok algorithm rewards content that spawns this kind of interaction and engagement.
That’s why brands – particularly those that are striving to spike their TikTok follower count – should have engagement-driven strategies at the forefront of their TikTok marketing strategy. When creating content, consider creative ways to prompt users to interact with your content, such as by Stitching or Duetting the video.
This is exactly what the NBA did in one of its promotional videos featuring Chicago Bulls star Zach Levine. In the video, Levine prompts users to “tell me you’re an NBA fan without telling me you’re an NBA fan.” The caption to the video goes one step further, inviting viewers to “Stitch your reply to this video!”
7. Use hashtags
When it comes to how to gain followers on TikTok, one of the key tactics comes down to one word: hashtags. Hashtags are another key component of the TikTok algorithm as they facilitate the circulation of content, particularly to users who are following or have used that same hashtag.
However, hashtags need to be strategically chosen; avoid generic hashtags like #FYP as these are extremely oversaturated (with over 250 billion views at the time of this writing). Instead, use more specific hashtags that relate to the content of your video or a specific TikTok trend or challenge. For example, if you’re showcasing cooking videos on your profile, include more niche hashtags like #CookingTips or #CookingTutorial.
8. Get familiar with Gen Z
Over 60% of TikTok users are Generation Z (those born after 1996). As a result, if you’re hoping to gain more TikTok followers, a significant portion of these new followers will likely fall into that age group. Therefore, it’s key for you to understand this generation, their identities, and what motivates them.
For example, according to Forbes, members of Generation Z (also known as Gen-Z) are open to fluid and micro-identities. This means that they reject stereotypes linked to identity and are more likely to connect with people who hold different interests or ideologies.
Gen-Z is also distinct from Millennials in that they prefer to create content, while Millennials enjoy consuming content. This is likely why TikTok has seen such astronomical levels of success with the younger generation; it not only facilitates the creation of content but encourages it.
9. Leverage TikTok Ads Manager
TikTok Business Account users have access to TikTok Ads Manager, a powerful in-app tool that allows you to assess the performance of your TikTok ads. You can create TikTok ads from scratch or by repurposing existing videos on your account. By promoting your videos as TikTok ads, you can allow more people to discover your videos, generate more web traffic, increase sales, and secure more followers.
There are a few key types of TikTok ads to choose from, including:
- In-feed ads – Ads that appear organically on the FYP.
- Brand takeovers – Full-screen display ads that appear for a couple of seconds as soon as a user opens the app.
- Branded hashtag challenge – TikTok creators share an original clip of themselves dancing to audio, encouraging other users to replicate the video themselves.
- Branded lenses – Ads that appear in TikTok’s more creative, AR-based spaces.
When creating TikTok ads, one of the steps you’ll need to complete is choosing an objective, one of which is Community Interaction. When you select this objective, the primary goal of your ad becomes driving followers and/or increasing traffic to your profile page. You can learn more about choosing the right TikTok ad objective here.
10. Participate in branded challenges
Whether you create your own or participate in an existing one, branded challenges on TikTok are powerful marketing tools. This practice circles back to the engagement-driven nature of the app because these challenges encourage users to use branded hashtags and/or create their own videos of them performing certain actions (such as dancing).
For instance, Bliss – a skincare and beauty brand – launched the #ThisIsBliss challenge, which even included an original song for users to feature in their videos. The trend was used by some extremely famous TikTokers, including Larray, whose video has over 1 million likes and more than 5,000 comments.