First thing’s first. Let’s be clear. You do NOT have to dance to be on Tik Tok. Nor do you have to be a tweenybopper. In fact, when COVID first reared its ugly head last spring, adults (meaning, anyone over 21) became curious as to what this whole Tik Tok thing was all about. Slowly, they began realizing that, not only is it a fun place to hang out and can be highly addictive, but it’s also chockfull of positive vibes and support. Can Facebook say the same? I think not.
I joined Tik Tok in May 2020 because I’d heard so many entrepreneur experts shouting, “you must be on Tik Tok…now!” I was hesitant, like most people, at first. I was not about to twerk for millions of people, nor was I excited about lip synching to Niki Minaj’s latest hits. But I persisted and dug in to learn all I could about how I could use the platform to reach as many authors as possible and to teach, support, and encourage them to write their best book.
By October, I had over 80k followers and we’d hit over 1.4 MILLION video likes! Why? Not because I’m so awesome or because I did anything unique or all that exciting. I think the reason I was able to level up on this platform was because I was smart and jumped in early while Tik Tok was still brand spanking new. There was NO ONE on that platform giving writing advice to authors (at the time), so I sort of cornered the market, I suppose.
But lately, it seems authors have finally begun to figure out they should absolutely be on Tik Tok, not just to sell their books, but to join hands with thousands (even millions) of other authors struggling with the same issues they deal with daily. Even just the past week, I’ve noticed a huge influx of new author accounts popping up on the biggest platform for writers, #BookTok.
Sadly, though, I have also noticed that most of the authors on Tik Tok are struggling to get views, comments, likes, etc. And that’s because there’s not really anyone guiding them on how to specifically use this platform for AUTHORS. So, I thought…why not? And I decided to create this blog post to hopefully give authors a leg up when it comes to their Tik Tok accounts.
Rule #1 – Be Consistent with your Content
Just like all other social platforms, the biggest and most important thing you can do is to post regularly and consistently. Many “experts” recommend posting 2-3 times EVERY DAY on Tik Tok! And I agree. On weeks when I’m just not feeling it, and I fall below this goal, I see a decline in engagement. But when I batch out my videos (and you should, too), and I post a minimum of 2x each day, that’s when engagement skyrockets.
Here’s how you can do it. Pick a day (Sat/Sun?) and have this be your dedicated “Tik Tok” day. Record 2-3 SHORT videos (meaning, 15 or 30 seconds max), and save them in your DRAFTS. Then, each day of the week, dedicate just a few minutes to uploading 2-3 of your videos to the platform. And just like that, you are posting consistently!
Pro Tip: Poor lighting quality in your video can KILL an otherwise awesome clip! So, do yourself a favor and invest in a super affordable ring light ($15 – $30 on Amazon) and place it BEHIND your phone/computer screen when recording. It can make all the difference in whether people scroll or keep watching. I recommend using this Ring Light, which I got on Amazon last fall:
Rule #2 – Post with Viral Sounds
What does that mean, right? It’s actually easier than you think to have your content “go viral.” Here’s the secret sauce. ALWAYS record your video with a sound clip, even if you’re talking over the sound clip. AND make sure you choose a “Tik Tok viral” sound that works with what you’re talking about (as much as possible). Here’s how to find these sounds.
- Click on the music notes at the top of your new recording screen.
- Make sure you’re on “Discover” then go down to “Playlist.”
- You’ll see several categories of sounds. Choose “Tik Tok Viral.”
- Let’s say your video clip will be 30 seconds long. Choose a song at least that long.
And voila! You’ve now got a sound that Tik Tok not only considers “viral,” but they want you to use, as well.
Pro Tip: There are other approaches to this, but for brevity’s sake, we’re going with this easier method.
Lastly, if you are speaking over the sound you chose, you’ll want to turn the song’s sound way down to where it’s almost undetectable. Here’s how you do that:
Click on the Sound icon, then click on Volume. Turn the ADDED sound down to 5 and the ORIGINAL sound up to 90-100.
Now, your voice will ring loud and clear but the viral song you chose will now play faintly in the background!
Rule #3 – Find your NICHE and appeal to those viewers.
Here’s the number one mistake I’m seeing new #Authorsoftiktok making! They are recording most of their content aimed at or speaking to OTHER authors. Big mistake. While, yes, we want to connect with and support one another, other authors are NOT your target audience. Instead, think of what your “Ideal Reader Avatar” looks like and aim your content directly at them.
Pro Tip: Your Ideal Reader Avatar is hopefully something you’re already familiar with, but if not, simply take a few minutes to sketch up what the perfect reader/customer who’ll buy your book looks like. This is not “everyone!” Of course, we all hope one day everyone will read our books. But that’s not your target niche. You can’t market to “everyone,” folks. Instead, ask yourself the age range, sex, and other demographic info about the reader who will most likely be the first to buy your book. That’s your Ideal Reader Avatar (IRA)!
Now, with your IRA in mind, create short videos (15 or 30 seconds max) that speak directly to them. Let’s say you’re writing contemporary romance. Your video clips should have a romantic feel to them and target those who are major readers of romance novels. Same goes for any genre you’re writing in. Whatever you do, try to come up with content that is unique and appeals to your IRA!
Here’s an example of my most “viral” video. As you can see, it got well over 200k likes and was shared over 10k times!
The reason it was such a “hit” was because my target audience is authors who are seeking writing advice. So, once I figured that out and I began learning the algorithm and how to target my ideal audience, I started going “viral” regularly.
Rule #4 – To Hashtag or Not to Hashtag?!
Long debated on this platform since its inception, the recent verdict seems to be that on THIS platform, hashtags should be used, but not in the same way we use them on Instagram and Twitter. All the top advisors on Tik Tok tell us to use 5-8 niched-down hashtags, meaning, not all of them should be the biggest hashtag with 52mil viewers. Instead, use 1-2 super hashtags (like #booktok and #readersoftiktok) then the rest should be “average” sized hashtags (less than 5 million views).
So, how do you find these perfect hashtags? Easy peasy.
I always recommend creating a new note on your phone and typing up 5-8 perfect hashtags so you can copy and paste them each time you post rather than looking them up and typing them out each post. Start by finding hashtags this way:
First, click the SEARCH button (little magnifying glass) on bottom row of your screen.
(By the way, that beautiful face just happens to be a WYBB Team Member! Follow him for some pretty hilarious content about his toxic, nonsupportive family, as well as supportive author content at @kotakailovett!)
Next, it brings you to the trending hashtags page. Now, here, you can go down the entire rabbit hole of watching the trending videos (totally fine for later), but for now, let’s FOCUS. Up in the search bar, start typing keywords you think would grab your IRA audience, such as #reader….
Pick from that list your 5-8 hashtags, keeping in mind that you don’t want to use JUST the most popular hashtags. I think it’s best to do 2 of the biggest, then 2 smaller, 2 more even smaller and on until you hit 5-8 perfect hashtags.
Go over to your note on your phone and type those hashtags you’ve chosen into a new note, save it, and now you’ll have it there to access anytime you need it!
Pro Tip: You might want to refresh your hashtag list every 30-60 days or so. Hashtags change in popularity, so you don’t want to get stuck using the same old hashtags when maybe they are not as popular as they were last month!
Finally, when you record your content, copy and past your hashtags AFTER a short 1-3 word caption (written in all caps to grab attention), and there you have it. You’ve now got great content recorded over a viral sound and you’re using the best possible hashtags to boost your visibility.
Pro Tip: Do not use hashtags #FYP or #foryoupage as it’s recently come out that these will actually bury your content in the feed.
And that, my friends, is how you, as authors should be creating content that may not only go viral, but will attract the RIGHT viewers and followers to your feed!
Now, this blog post is not the be-all, end-all resource for all the best tips for Tik Tok. It’s simply meant to give you four of my best tips that I’ve noticed new authors need help with to get the ball rolling! Do, by all means, watch how-to videos online and read articles on Tik Took how-to. Just make sure they are reliable sources.
Hope you’ve found this helpful. If so, do me a big favor and find our account on Tik Tok then follow me for more great advice, tips, and tricks for writers! Here. I’ll make it easy for you. Just click this button to head on over there now!