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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

136: TikTok Tips

Updated: Apr 22

My tiktok account heading

Howdy! As someone who does marketing over social media, I'm active on TikTok. However, as I don't much like filming myself, I'm not best suited to the app. Still, different people have different comfort levels and might be more open to trendy marketing tactics. It feels like those of us still active on the various social media apps, with maybe the exception of Facebook and (to an extent) Instagram, are so to sell something. If not a product, than an idea. Though that might be my bias, as I've watched communities leaving Twitter since the Musk takeover. The majority of those remaining do seem to be posting ads or at least networking within their industries, as opposed to remaining for purely social/entertainment reasons.

Anyway, I've been on TikTok for about a year now. Most of my videos are low-effort Capcut templates or timelapse videos of me painting. The usual view-count is in the 200 range and for ages, my highest was around 1300. Then there was a quick fluke of a video, wherein I made a joke about my neighbor's new rooster, which hit 5600 views. I just recently hit 2000 views on, oddly, a simple video using a Capcut template. If you're already getting more views than that, you are better off looking for advice from proper TikTok gurus.

I've observed that TikTok shops are prioritized by the algorithm. As are AI filters. Having no interest in the first, and being ethically opposed to the second, I've labelled their related hashtags as "Disliked" and I've been manually marking the AI videos flooding my For You Page (fyp) as "Not Interested." My efforts have been in vain, hence my confidence that these videos are prioritized regardless of the interests expressed by the user. If you want your videos to get more views, opening a TikTok shop or sharing AI filter videos appear to be a pragmatic step forward. Obviously, the first is a high-effort step, and perhaps you can get by merely using related hashtags, so long as you find a way to relate your videos to these subjects. My understanding from creatives who've attempted TikTok shops, is that the market is dense and fast paced, that they found it better suited for drop shippers than creatives hand-producing wares.

If you're comfortable being on camera, you're at an advantage. Users figured out ages ago that videos featuring dancing get more views. Artists have utilized this knowledge by standing in front of their cameras and spinning canvases around to show off their work. The one time I did so, I more than doubled my usual view count, and I can assure you, I didn't look particularly pretty that day. If you can find a middle ground between what the algorithm prefers and sharing your niche, that's worth exploring.

I don't have a ton of footage of myself, and my dogs seems to have inherited my dislike of being on camera, so, as mentioned, I lean on Capcut a lot. The app is meant to be used in tandem with TikTok and is full of free video templates. Many are memes for catering to whatever your niche interest is. That's the direction I've gone with marketing my novels. However, I have found that if I lean on Capcut templates too often, without breaking the monotony up with template-free videos, my view count drops dramatically.

Supposedly using a wider variety of TikTok tools is beneficial. This means that aside from merely posting, users are encouraged to go Live (which I've never done), post Stories, edit videos in TikTok, to comment and otherwise interact with others' posts, etc. Gurus cite the Reddit scoring system, how their users gain credit not just by posting, but by commenting and having their comments interacted with. It makes sense that the different social media sites would look to each other for tips on content moderation.

TikTok gurus frequently push the importance of boosting one's trust score. The idea is, that by being an authority, being consistent, and not coming off like spam or a bot, the algorithm will learn to prioritize your content. Being an authority comes from having a set niche, that you are well informed of or influential in, and providing new relevant content regularly. Consistency is key, so decide an amount of videos to produce per day and stick to that number for, at a minimum, three months. At least, that's the time span I keep hearing repeated. There is an app called Later and I believe users can schedule their TikTok posts there. Though that may only be for business accounts.

One goal to aspire for is having your content accurately and consistently categorized. Simple popular hashtags help the algorithm know who to show your videos to. When you select your already posted video and read that top search bar, if it reads, "find related content," rather than a set topic, then that video hasn't been categorized. If it's stuck below 1000 views, TikTok often won't bother to categorize it.

To avoid coming off like a bot, don't copy and paste the same set of hashtags or identical blurbs between videos. If you observe bots using certain hashtags, avoid them. For instance, I learned the hard way that the "art collector" hashtag is worse than useless, thanks to it's prolific use by NFT scammer bots.

TikTok wants to be perceived as family friendly so content is moderated. The algorithm minimizes the reach of profanity and I believe nudity can have the video removed. I've seen artists complain about this, so bare that in mind. And when a video features unsafe actions, the app has a warning label over it. I don't know if the label is placed by the creator or the app, but I believe the latter.

Variety is good. The algorithm rewards content that was filmed in, meaning contains geocoordinate data from, affluent areas and popular tourism destinations. I couldn't figure out, at first, why one of my book ads was doing so well. I filmed it in a city I visited briefly and that city is a very popular tourist destination, especially in the neighborhood I happened to be recording. Visual variety, so brightly colored or patterned clothes, in front of interesting backgrounds, is also advised. I don't know if that's because it's assumed the algorithm prioritizes those visuals or because users do.

As with all social media, the challenge is in actually producing a lot of consistent content. Gurus have loads of suggestions for videos ideas. I've noticed that the majority amount to: share an anecdote, share a story, offer advice, share an opinion, share a tip, share instructions, offer product reviews or recommendations, and the like. Even if you're mainly on TikTok to advertise your product, just flashing merchandise gets painfully repetitive so you need a way to break that up while still being tangentially on topic. If you happen to be an expert in your niche, or you carry a dramatic history you won't get sued for sharing, by all means, speak up. Everybody loves learning something new, and hearing a good story.

Lots of folks are watching TikTok in public without headphones, meaning the volume is kept low or off. Given that, and baring the presence of hearing impaired people in mind, adding captions is wise. The app will auto-generate them at the user's say-so, and the user can tweak them while formatting the video. This is inclusive and serves to boost views.

Using trending sounds is helpful. The earlier you hop on the active trend, the better for your view count. People joke that the fastest way to hide unwanted content from your fyp is to Follow the undesired user, so that is the supposed downside of gaining followers, that they see less of your content.

At 1000 followers, to my knowledge, TikTokers can add links to the user's profile, and I believe their videos? Unless you have a Business account, in which case you can add a link right off the bat, regardless of your follower count, but you're much more limited in what sounds you can use. If you have multiple niches, it's convenient to organize videos into playlists for each set of content, but you need 10,000 followers to gain that capability. If you have that many, you should be writing this blog post, not me.

Ultimately, the goal is for videos to be viewed all the way through, multiple times, and interacted with. That's the best way for the algorithm to push that content, and your future videos, forward. You achieve this by producing quality content that entertains, teaches, or asks a question worthy of answering. Being controversial can work too. Trolling garners interactions, yes, but it can also get you blocked. And if you're there to sell a product, being disliked isn't ideal.

Anywho, I hope you found any of these tips helpful. I drop a new blog post every Monday! Toodles!


Howdy! I was supposed to sell art with the Art Loop at First Friday in downtown Bryan TX this past week. I woke up all ready to unload and reload the car for the event, showered, did my makeup, had an outfit picked out, you know, regular event prep stuff. Then I checked the weather. It was set to rain from 6pm on. While I have a tent, so coverage for my booth, any wind negates that and I largely sell watercolors and wood burnings. All that to say, I emailed the coordinator to ask if I could sit this one out. They okayed that and, to not waste my face, I spent the day taking a new author photo. You might think, how can that take an entire day? Just take my word for it. A. Whole. Day.

But yeah, otherwise last week went well. I'm better acquainted with my new fancy woodburning kit. Shading isn't an ordeal now. I'm not great at it, but I'm fast improving. This week, I'm hoping to knock out more watercolors and woodburnings.

fairytale castle on wood, road in forest on wood, lily pad on wood
Here's my recent wood burnings!

As for marketing, I've been consistently dropping at least 1 post per day on my five microblogs, and I think I can commit to three TikToks per day. It's really important that I lean more into word of mouth so I'm working on being more outgoing. In general, but also with regards to mentioning my books.

Will I write this week? I don't know. Hope so! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thanks for stopping by! I drop a newsletter every Monday! Toodles!

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