A Content Creator’s Guide to TikTok

According to the latest fad, TikTok is THE place to crack it. The likes and followers are cheap.

And quick.

There’s no bar to quality. It’s not unusual to see over 70,000 likes overnight on TikTok.

If you’re a content creator on TikTok, that’s good news.

But if you are a content creator ONLY on TikTok, that’s bad news.

Many content creators and so-called “influencers” have been celebrating their “successes” on the platform. I created this guide to help these content creators.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is content creation?

  • blogs
  • microblogs
  • images
  • podcasts
  • videos

Each platform has a unique aspect to the kind of content you can put up. A tweet, for instance, has a character limit. But because it’s brief, it doesn’t tend a lot of time to consume. And you need a unique writing skills and perspectives to put your point across.

How does your content help you become an influencer?

As your reach and popularity increase, you begin to be seen as a domain expert. Users turn to you for advice. When brands notice you have a huge following, they rope you in. You’re asked to carry sponsored content. Your contract with the brands decides how you and they benefit from this arrangement.

But, it takes years to build that kind of credibility. Brands study your following thoroughly before taking you on board. It’s said that many influencers are going to be affected by Instagram’s move of hiding the number likes to posts.

Nobody knows how it’s going to pan out on the other social networks.

Which means, it’s going to get tougher and tougher to become an influencer.

What’s so unique about content on TikTok?

Anything that revolves around granting immediate gratification. Most of the content is entertainment. If you’re funny, you’ll be liked. And the likers and followers come in tonnes.

Moreover, TikTok has recently entered the social network space. And its popularity (over 1.5 billion downloads) should be seen against this background of the difficulty of becoming an influencer.

As mentioned earlier, compared to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube, it’s a cakewalk to become an influencer on TikTok. Thousands of likes overnight now seems like a joke!

So, what threatens you on TikTok?

The content creators’ or influencers’ goal on TikTok is to increase the number of their followers through free content. Once they see any responses in the form of views, likes and comments, they want to take it up a notch and try to get the label of blue tick which means that a particular content creator is an authorized or TikTok recommended content curator.

The brands will then jump to use the influencers’ connected followers to promote themselves. That’s how the influencers have been making money out on the platform. Since TikTok has been growing more in the Tier 2 cities among the segment of the semi-literate, such audiences end up taking all the tips given by the influencers seriously.

These Tier 2 audiences are not the ones who are very digitally literate either. They do not turn to Google or read blogs by the domain experts.

Thus, content consumption on TikTok works so fast that it’s very easy to get distracted by the numbers and blinded by success.

Seriously? Success on TikTok can be a threat?

As a content creator, you ought to understand the entire ecosystem that helps influencers.

Because likes are cheap on TikTok, you can’t really expect to earn a quick buck on TikTok.

Even if you do so now, it’s not going to be sustainable in the long run.

Nobody can quite see where TikTok is going. Before TikTok, there was Vine.

And then, it disappeared.

In fact, a lot of funny videos on TikTok are direct copies of videos on Vine.

Are you sure TikTok is going to around forever?

If you’ve been creating videos for TikTok alone, it will be difficult for you to sustain your model of entertainment in the long run.

Most other influencers on Facebook or Twitter have a website at least. They have a somewhat dedicated following on more than one platform.

Even if one network puts serious restrictions on their organic reach, they have other metrics to show. Because they’ve built their credibility elsewhere too.

If you haven’t been working towards establishing your presence on other networks, you might be in danger.

The same brands paying you today might dismiss you with a shrug tomorrow. By saying that you may have had a lot of followers on TikTok but that’s gone obsolete and you are nowhere on other “more important” or “happening” platforms.

What should you do as a content creator?

  1. Don’t merely search for tips and advice only and pass them off as your content in the form of a funny video on TikTok.
  2. Make videos about something you know very well. You’ll not fail because you know what you’re doing. So, know what you’re doing. And then do it.
  3. Take your followers seriously. I’ve already talked to you about the naïve people from smaller cities and towns, even villages, who become your audience on TikTok. Don’t fool them. Don’t cheat them. Don’t mislead them. Be a little responsible.
  4. Have a disclaimer that whatever tip you’re sharing is for a beginner level learner/user. Or that the users should follow the tip at their own risk. Or that they use some discretion before trying out stuff you’re asking them to do.
  5. Have a call to action in your video. Your users deserve to know that there’s more to your content. And that you’re ready to offer more. After getting to know you better, they’ll follow you. And that means you’re building assets outside TikTok. That’s a good move keeping the long term in mind.

You might be thinking that none of this seems to benefit you. That I’m being just preachy.

Well, I’m only sharing with you what I myself follow. I am a responsible content creator. If you’ve just started creating content and are completely new to how digital media works, you could use some advice.

It’s always the best practice: create content responsibly.

You’ll earn the respect of your users and consequently, of the brands.

If you think about the brands first, you’ll end up being abandoned by them.

Back to where I started. Likes may be cheap on TikTok but respect, good sense, and long term strategy are extremely difficult and expensive to find.

Have fun creating content, connecting with the users and fellow content creators. And keep your conscience.

Let me know if my thoughts make sense. I am always eager to hear from younger voices. And yes, I am on TikTok too!

See you there.

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