Want a bigger TikTok audience? Sure you do.
As the manager of a TikTok account with over 100,000 followers, I completely understand how important the numbers are.
In fact, to get the kind of personal brand needed to make TikTok your side hustle, you need followers. At least a thousand of them.
Side note: if you’re thinking ‘I’ve already got a few thousand followers and I want to start making money now’, head over to our latest article all about how to make money from TikTok.
But also, maybe just open it in a tab for later and stick around here for a while. There’s always room to do better (and get more famous).
Great. You’re still here.
How hard can it be to get followers?
Pretty much every video you see on TikTok is semi viral. All of those people must have a whole load of followers, right?
Not quite. That’s why TikTok isn’t exactly an easy side hustle. One hit wonders don’t mean followers.
But if you can master that algorithm, your path to content creator stardom (and the income that comes with it) will be way quicker.
The rules change from time to time, so we’ll probably update this article every couple of months – but here’s what I’ve learned since running the Cleo TikTok account:
TikTok’s a great channel if you’re just starting out
Even with 0 followers on TikTok, it’s way easier to have a video go viral on the platform than it is on the likes of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (yes, people did used to get facebook famous; it was an actual thing).
That’s because, as we’ve touched on, the TikTok algorithm (love it, hate it, worship it) doesn’t push content based on follower count.
Instead, the algorithm serves your videos to the For You pages of people it thinks would enjoy your content.
Because of this, someone with 0 followers can post a video before bed, and wake up to millions of views.
But one viral video does not make you TikTok famous
Unless your name’s Charlie and you bit your brother’s finger like 12 years ago, one hilarious video isn’t gonna cut it. Though you can now buy it as an NFT. Jfc.
(Also did you see them remake it 10 years later? )
You have to put in some time and work if you want to be big enough on TikTok to start earning cash. Don’t panic though, it’s totally doable.
How to become TikTok famous
To build a reliable base, you’ll need to play all of TikTok’s silly little games and, in doing so, find the sweet spot of continuous virality (and the community of followers that comes with it, obviously).
Isn’t it a gorgeous coincidence then that we, one of the best budgeting apps around, with 129k TikTok followers ourselves, have written out the best 10 easiest steps getting TikTok famous.*
*or at least have enough of a personal brand to get brand deals and cash from the folks at TikTok themselves.
Here's the steps
#1 Find your niche
Having a niche means the algorithm will know exactly who to serve your content too, instead of having to push it to a load of randos in the hope that somebody enjoys it.
The clearer you can make it to TikTok who you want your content to go to, the better.
Here’s how you can tell TikTok where to send your videos, in 3 simple steps:
- Follow accounts with the same niche as you
- Keep an eye on the trending hashtags they’re using
- Use those hashtags when you post videos
🦄 Top tip: Don’t force it. If you’re not in a huge rush, play around and see what niche you gravitate towards. There’s nothing more miserable then getting stuck in a corner you don’t enjoy.
#2 Post regularly
TikTok is the only social media platform that doesn’t punish your engagement for posting non-stop (morally questionable, but fine).
So you need to post at least once a day if you want to keep going viral. Up to three times if you can.
But also, don’t let this take over your life. Remember to take breaks and go outside.
🦄 Top tip: Pick a couple of days in the week and use them to batch film some videos to various trending sounds. It saves time in the long run.
#3 Post your video … then shut the app for the night
Tiktok is so needy. Like, it’s desperate for your attention.
So when you leave, it tries to get you back.
And the easiest way to get you back in-app is push notifications.
How does it make sure you get these push notifications? It serves your videos to more people.
Just stupid enough to work.
🦄 Top tip: Just because you’re not going on the app, doesn’t mean your friends can’t. Ask them to share the video link (even if it’s just to you). The algorithm loves shares.
#4 Use trending sounds and filters
This one’s so easy I’ll be mad if you don’t do it.
When you use a filter or trending sound, TikTok is more likely to show your video to other people who’ve used it.
Plus, a sound will trend for a reason. They’re all so goddamn catchy that people will want to get to the end of your video just to hear the full sound.
🦄 Top tip: if you don’t want music, add a trending sound and turn the volume down to 0. You get the benefits all the same.
#4 Engage (with everyone)
Reply to every comment left on your videos (except the trolls, you’re better than them).
As well, comment on videos from other accounts. This is a quick and easy way to reach new people without having to post another video. Work smart not hard, Kings.
Who’s doing this well: Cleo, lol. A comment of ours went viral on Duo Lingo’s best performing video. We got thousands of profile views, and still get engagement from it over 6 months later.
#5 Stay reactive…and controversial*
*Controversial doesn’t mean being an a$$hole.
This doesn’t just apply for trending sounds and filters. Just like on Twitter, topics trend.
If a pop culture moment’s in the news, make it fit your niche.
If you want your content to blow up on TikTok, being controversial will take you that extra mile.
When people are moved, outraged, or bored with their life, they’ll take to TikTok comment sections just so they can disagree with things. That can snowball, and next thing you know there’s armies of passionate users boosting your engagement, and ultimately helping you grow a following of people who do agree with you.
🦄 Really important top tip: believe what you’re saying and don’t be a bully.
Going viral from being fake or hateful ain’t cute.
#6 Make an amazing hook
The more times your video gets watched through, the more people the algorithm will serve it to.
So hooking people in straight away is essential to your TikTok fame.
🦄 Top tip: the 2 best ways to make sure people don’t skip your TikTok video are:
🕺 Move in the first millisecond. It works. We are simple beings.
🔅 Girl, get a ring light. Or go outside. Lighting is key.
#7 Keep it short
Short enough to stop people getting bored and make watching it again to find their favorite part seem doable.
Don’t be tempted by the 3 minute option. And if the rumor about 10 minute videos coming to TikTok is true…run.
🦄 Top tip: 7 seconds is the sweet spot.
#8 Make a natural loop
A loop means your video plays again without people noticing it’s ended. If you can do it well, it’s gonna skyrocket your views, and you’ll gain followers from the wow factor.
Here’s the 2 main ways to get an incredible loop:
1. Shoot 2 clips in-app that flow well into one another. Peep the example below ⬇️
2. Don’t shoot your beginning first
This can be a little tricky to wrap your head around, so it’s best to film it outside of TikTok so you can have a few goes.
When you’re shooting, bridge the transition from the end of the video to the beginning of the video in one take.
Then, split the clip into two. Move the clip you want at the beginning of your TikTok to the front of the timeline.
The result should be something that looks like this ⬇️
🦄 Top tip: make your loop majorly extra by finding a sound that loops, too.
#9 Leverage other people’s virality
Use the stitch feature on a well performing video you have something to say about.
If they’ve gone viral, they’ve obviously got a good hook, so if you can get that hook into your video, the hardest part is done.
Who’s doing this well: Drew Afualo. She’s the Queen of stitches. All hail. 👑
#10 Be yourself
Sorry - about to get corny. But like, in a productive way.
TikTok might be the easy side hustle you’re looking for, but it still requires a whole lotta time and energy.
If you’re gonna be in an app that much, at least make it a place you enjoy.
Make sure your niche is something you love, and that the jokes you make are ones you find funny.
Ultimately, don’t lose sleep over followers who you wouldn’t be friends with anyway.
Keep posting content that’s authentic to you, and eventually the right people will find it.
Enjoy this post? Def give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference. And of course, if you want to try the best money app in the world for free, just hit this link right here.
Big love. Cleo 💙