Intro to TikTok and 6 Rules for Building a Following on the App

Tik Tok Puzzle

TikTok is the latest social media app to take the Internet by storm. It is a platform that works similarly to Vine, where users can upload short videos, usually with catchy accompanying music. When Vine came out in 2012 and rapidly gained popularity, was released as a competitior two years later.

Meanwhile, TikTok started out as the Chinese app, Douyin, before eventually gaining popularity beyond the borders of China. In 2018 the international version of TikTok merged with, gaining access to the latter app’s massive user base and becoming the de-facto choice for posting short videos on social media.

How TikTok Works

With TikTok you can post fifteen-second videos for the app’s audience to view. You can also link these videos together in your story to create an entire video that is sixty seconds long. Unlike Vine, TikTok allows you to post videos directly from your phone instead of only through the app.

In order to post videos, you need to create an account first. As a content creator, TikTok gives you access to some basic video-editing features in addition to a host of filters, special effects and a free catalog of music to make your videos more interesting.

A number of TikTok users have managed to gather millions of followers on the site. Below are the ways you can also increase your audience on TikTok.

1. Upload Original Content Regularly

There are a lot of copycats on TikTok. While you may be able to get away with copying other users’ content a few times, eventually your audience will come to realize that you are not the original poster of a particular concept for a video.


In order to build a strong, longlasting following, you need to create original content that will keep fans coming back to you for more. It is also important to keep posting new content regularlym since Internet audiences are notoriously fickle if you don’t work to keep them engaged.

2. Stay on Top of Trends

A large part of the Tik Tok audience is comprised of music lovers, and many of the most popular Tik Tok videos are fan covers of popular music tracks. Make sure to incorporate fresh, popular music in your videos.

Trending Hashtags

Also, make use of hashtags, which act as beacons in a sea of TikTok content for users looking for videos in a particular category. Tik Tok uses hashtags a little differently than Twitter. Most hashtags on TikTok indicate a particular “Challenge,” like recreating a popular dance video. All you have to do is take on the challenge, make a video about it and upload it on TikTok using the hashtag for that particular challenge to draw users to your video.

3. Cross-Promote Your Content

Team up with other TikTok users to cross-promote your content on each other’s channels. This is a great way to build a network of contacts within the community and to find new audiences for your content. One unique feature that TikTok offers in this regard is that it allows you to perform “duets” with other users.

A user can upload a video of a sketch or a performance, and you can edit your own video and place it next to theirs afterward so the new video looks like the two of you performing together, separated by a split screen. The interesting bit is that you don’t even necessarily have to know the other user to use their video to create a duet piece.

4. Study Other Videos

A video going viral on Tik Tok is not usually an accident but rather the result of genuine effort on the part of the uploader. Study all the videos in your niche that have become the most popular, and try to identify the factors that led to their success.

Once you have an idea of what makes a video popular, you can start implementing those ideas in your own videos.

5. Use Professional Equipment

You might think fifteen-second videos on TikTok can be shot on your smartphone using the spare space in your bedroom, but that is not how truly successful TikTok users operate.

Professional Filmmaking Equipment

Invest in some professional filming equipment like a DSLR camera and audio recorder, and choose interesting locales to shoot your videos in.

6. Promote Your Content on Other Platforms

Facebook and Instagram are great resources for finding new audiences for your Tik Tok content. You can share your TikTok video on other social media platforms by going to the settings menus on your TikTok account and choosing the “Share” option.

Various Social Media Platforms

Once your TikTok video has been shared, you can create ads for your video and publish them on Facebook and Instagram for a nominal fee. Since most of the Tik Tok audience is also using these two apps, you can reach larger chunks of your potential audience.


It takes talent and creativity to become big on TikTok. But with patience, hard work, and using the methods mentioned above, you can be well on your way to finding stardom on the app and becoming the next Internet sensation.

Image Credit: Christoph Scholz via Flickr, Jim Makos via Flickr, Ron Mader via Flickr

Neeraj Chand
Neeraj Chand

Content writer with a keen interest in global technology and pop culture trends.

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