102 learnings from 102 TikToks

Written by Chen Hindi

On August 25, 2022

I just published the 102nd video on TikTok and it’s been one hell of a ride so far. Here are 102 learnings I gathered, including all the mistakes you should avoid (I promise – it will save you a lot of time and frustration). 

Don’t miss #16, #68 and #93. And also #30, #64 and #65 – they were written in blood. 

About the platform and the feed

  1. TikTok is nothing like other platforms, you must spend a LOT of time on it to understand it
  2. It is changing social media in ways that we haven’t seen in a long time, and that’s exactly the reason why you must understand it
  3. Essentially, you have 3 feeds – the “Friends” feed, where you will see people that you both follow and they follow you, the “following” feed, where you will see people who you follow but don’t follow you back and finally and the most important feed, the “for you”. The latter is a big part of what makes TikTok the magic that it is. This is where you will see videos from across TikTok and this is where you can get discovered by others. Generally speaking, from my observation, this is the feed where people spend by far the most time

you have 3 feeds on tiktok

  1. Yes, you can reach far beyond your following base with your TikToks 
  2. No, it won’t happen overnight, but it can happen very fast
  3. Organic reach is fun 😊
  4. Reposted content looks much more native on TikTok compared to other platforms (you will see the word “Repost” with a relevant icon)

repost on TikTok

  1. Don’t rush into paid ads (as a business), first understand how to create TikToks that make people tick (see what I did there I 😉) as well as the organic potential
  2. Find successful accounts from your industry/niche to understand what works and follow them
  3. Try to publish in high frequency (every day) so you won’t lose the momentum of the organic reach but also so you will learn fast
  4. Speaking of fast – TikTok is a “fast” platform – the videos move fast, the text runs fast, people (many times) speak fast
  5. TikTok is maybe the most authentic platform that exists today – think 180 degrees to Instagram’s pixel perfect approach (on the feed, not on Reels)
  6. It’s one of the only platforms where it seems that young people don’t care that adults (their parents) are also there (which is the opposite of Facebook for example)
  7. Maybe it’s my (very small) specific location, but it’s not easy to reach outside your geographical location organically, while on other platforms like YouTube Shorts it does seem to be the case 
  8. The advantage of above, on the other hand, is that when you visit new places and you post TikToks while there, you’ll get eyeballs and ears of new audiences
  9. Unclear why, but you can’t skip or back forward on all TikToks and generally speaking it’s almost like TikTok is trying to hide the progress bar. Look at the bottom of a TikTok, if there’s a pale white line, just touch it and a dot will appear where you can drag it back and forward
  10. You can’t really know what is the length of a video, it’s only if you have the white pale line (which you don’t on all videos), once you touch it, you will see this structure: 00:01/2:23 the latter shows you the total length of the video

  1. While TikTok IS very different, it’s still a social media platform, so many of the principals you know from others, you will find there. That’s reassuring news for you 🎉

Type of content 

  1. Educational content works really well
  2. Most videos on TikTok are entertaining, so try to combine the two – entertain while educating
  3. Your content should be relatable – talk about a pain, bring up a struggle that people are having. Many of the videos you will see with the abbreviation “POV” (Point Of View) are exactly about that, only in a humoristic way
@chen_hindi

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♬ original sound – For The Vibes Only

  1. Don’t be tempted, at least not at the beginning, to create content that is irrelevant to what you do
  2. You can use trends, cats, beautiful views – as long as you make the thread back to your niche
  3. Experiment with Stories – while they are temporary, they appear on the video feed (and also in the “inbox” for the people you follow) as any other TikTok and can help increase your exposure 
  4. Experiment with Lives for the same above reason 

Your TikTok videos

  1. Allocate resources: real-of-value videos take a LOT of time to create. That’s no surprise
  2. Transition videos and visual effects work really well on the platform 
@chen_hindi

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♬ original sound – Trainer for Digital Marketing

  1. Strong opening of your TikTok is critical – ask a question, say something that trigger curiosity, use a hook  
  2. Add a CTA at the end of your TikToks (I admit that I wasn’t all good at it so far), if you don’t say it in the video itself, add a text witha a CTA at the end
  3. Record and edit your videos outside of TikTok – it’s just easier (trust me when I say I’ve learnt the hard way). CapCut seems to be the leading app for editing but any known app would do, and I also assume that with time TikTok will improve editing on the app
  4. If you do record on the app – take the longest video length possible (3 or 10 minutes), so you will learn your pace. If you will choose short length like 15 or 30 seconds, you might find yourself in a situation where you didn’t say everything you had to say but time’s up 
  5. When you record on the app, use the timer to count back so you’ll have time to place yourself in the right position 
  6. To know the length of your videos before publishing them, you can click “adjust clips” while in draft. It’s also important to know it for the choice of sound – it’s better the sound will play the entire video and not stop while it’s playing

  1. You can create a TikTok from a collection of images. While it’s not the common type of video, if you tell a compelling story and combine the right sound, it can succeed 
  2. The description is important, use keywords
  3. You can (and should) link to your other videos in your description
  4. The cover is important – people who visit your profile should understand immediately what each video is about
  5. Tagging other accounts, when relevant, is a recommended practice
  6. Hashtags – not so sure it’s important as they say it is (check this famous video on the platform). Call me crazy, while I added hashtags on most of my TikToks, I never added the #fyp (for you page) hashtag
  7. Do make sure to add a hashtag of your brand name – whether it’s a person or a company name 
  8. The “enhance” option on the right hand side of the video should improve the video’s visibility 
  9. At the same place, you have a “noise reducer” – most of the times it works well but I do not recommended it at any scenario as it kills “real” sound as well (for example a laughing audience) 

  1. Understanding trending sounds and executing fast can help you grow fast 
  2. It happens often that the sound is not synced with the visual (out of the blue), shutting down the app and reopening it helps 
  3. Short videos are important, but I found that most definitely they’re not the only ones that succeed
  4. Add captions, while people watch WITH sound (unlike other platforms), it’s much easier to follow with captions (see #11 above)
  5. If you use an editing app, there’s usually an option (CapCut has it) to add auto captions, then you correct what the app created because it’s not free of mistakes (yours truly is very obsessed with details 😊)
  6. TikTok has an automatic captions tool, notice that it does make mistakes (once again – obsessed 🙈🤷🏽‍♀️)
  7. If you don’t like captions, add running text on the screen, imagine that the video is on mute – and try to see if you understand what it is about from the visual + text on screen
  8. When you add text or elements on the video, try to place them at the top because the bottom of your video and right/left hand sides are VERY busy 
@chen_hindi

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♬ Wait A Minute! (Duckhead Edit) – Duckhead the Bedroom DJ

  1. While in draft, you can’t save videos to your phone, the only way is to screen record it
  2. You might think you can hold the phone for long without moving, but truth is you can’t – make sure you have a stand (simplest would work) to put your phone on so that your visual will be stable
  3. TikTok has tons of effects, filters, “beautify” options – get to know them. One that is relevant for almost anybody is the green screen where you can put in the background whatever you want

  1. The sound of your videos is critical, if you’re recording yourself (vs. using a TikTok sound) – make sure you’re in a silent environment and use a good phone or a microphone (made this mistake as well – check my very first videos) 
  2. If you’re not managing with the sound in the beginning, try “voice over” – it will be on the right hand side on your screen. So you record your TikTok first and then record the voice over. Put the phone close to your face when recording 
  3. Not only voice over, you also have voice effects that change your voice, in case you’re shy (and they’re kind of cool!) 
@chen_hindi

Here’s what I humbly believe you must have for anything you want to achieve in life.

♬ Inspiration (Cinematic Inspirational Piano & Violin) – Carlos_Alvarez

  1. Another option is “text-to-speech”, that’s when you add text on the screen, and a woman’s voice is reading the text

  1. When you add a sound to a talking TikTok – note that you can put up and down the volume of both 

  1. Preview your video to see how it will actually looks like on the feed – the icons on the right hand side and others at the bottom might hide elements on your video, fix it before publishing
  2. Make sure you have 7-10 videos before you launch and publish them all at once
  3. Repurpose TikToks to YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels as well as other platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, others)
  4. You can remove the TikTok watermark in case you want to repurpose it without the logo. Snaptik.app and repurpose.io can help
  5. You must try different styles of videos 
  6. You can’t edit anything after posting – not the video, not the caption, not the thumbnail, nothing. Double-triple-quadruple check yourself before posting 
  7. Before you post, make sure that the “save to device” option is always on to have a backup of your video on your device

  1. Record a trending sound more than once, you’ll see that the more you practice that sound, you get better (for some TikToks I posted take #10) 
  2. While scrolling, save sounds you like/think it fits your style of videos to your favorites so you can come back to it later 
  3. Another and better way is – when you see a trending sound you like, click on the sound circle (right bottom) >> “use this sound’ >> record a video of nothing, just the ceiling. Add text on it to remind yourself what it is about and then save it to drafts. This is a better process then just adding to favorites because it will get busy there quickly and it will be a huge time waster to go back and re-check what are these sounds that you saved

  1. You can use the same sound more than once
  2. You can record the same trend more than once, but of course – the version/style of the video should be different  
  3. Although it’s possible, I don’t recommend posting horizontal videos, they won’t fill the screen (top and bottom will be black). What you should do is take a horizontal video and edit it to portrait so it will be full screen (a bit of a process if you’re not a video editor, but totally worth it. I did it with iMovie and then edited in CapCut)
  4. There’s another option – horizontal videos that are flipped 90 degrees (so you need to tilt your phone to watch them) and are now filling your screen. I never tried it, because I prefer to offer the native experience, but from what I observed it’s not unusual on the platform 
  5. Use all your resources: if you have videos that you created in the past and you feel that you can edit them in a way that will fit the platform – I highly recommend it. For me, it worked very well (but yes – I did spend a lot of time editing them so that they will be TikTok like)
@chen_hindi

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♬ piano melody – lesdyman

Engagement 

  1. Engage back – if people comment, comment back, if they reply back, send you DMs, mention you – reply 
  2. If the comment is an interesting question, you can reply by creating a TikTok

  1. You can pin comments, so for example if you asked a question in the comments to encourage more engagement, pin it so it will always appear at the top 
  2. Notice which of your videos get a lot of “saves”. This means that this video was exceptionally insightful/funny/educating 

  1. Comments are very limited in character space (150 characters, even saw a petition online to change it 😊)
  2. Once you will get traction, spammers will come to your comments section – report and delete
  3. The posting time doesn’t seem to be crucial for the success of your TikTok however I’ve seen recommendations from successful creators to publish in the morning
  4. Really short videos, less than 6 seconds, can make your audience rewatch your videos repeatedly, that is a great signal to the platform, which in turn will increase your exposure
  5. Engage with other accounts – comment, duet, repost, DM… it will draw people to your profile 
  6. Especially when you’re starting out and you’re still small, acknowledge your raving fans, show them you notice they always like/comment and thank them for it
  7. When launching, use your other platforms to promote your TikTok account to create the initial following base and engagement 
  8. Check who’s viewing your profile – maybe there are opportunities there

  1. If there are TikToks that you want to promote in specific on your profile, pin them so they will appear first for people who visit your profile 
  2. You can post more than one TikTok at one go, from what I gather, it doesn’t impact the likelihood of success or failure of any of the videos

Your profile page

  1. Your profile photo should represent the account. If it’s you – a photo of you from the shoulders up, if it’s the brand – your logo
  2. Your user name should be identical or similar to your other social media platforms 
  3. You must add in the bio a link to your website – it’s the best CTA for people who visit your profile. You won’t have this option from the get go, so in this case, type it as text 
  4. Also link to your other social media platforms (the ones that TikTok allows of course)
  5. Verified badge is recommended however unlike Facebook for example, you can’t apply for it, rather TikTok decides whether to grant it, see here

General 

#93 which was removed in the edit – “after you save a draft and you reopen it, you need two clicks to post it, not one, just be careful because very easily you can post to Story instead of just saving as draft (the CTA button is the same color and it’s placed in the same location on screen).

Literally a few days after I drafted this, TikTok changed the way the CTA button looks like and now it’s MUCH clearer that if you click, it goes to your Story. I kept it to show you that the platform changes and improves all the time

  1. Observation, especially in the beginning, is crucial for your success 
  2. Allocate more than one person on your team to understand the platform
  3. Pay attention that what works on TikTok won’t necessarily work on Shorts and/or Reels (and vice versa), learn from it

  1. If you’re in the arts – music, dance, movies and others – it’s a no brainer you should be exploring TikTok
  2. If you’re in fitness, travel, food, coaching (motivational – business and personal) – make sure you’re not missing this train
  3. If you’re planning to launch a business account – implement a pixel on your website from day #1
  4. TikTok is an amazing platform for UGC (User Generated Content) – both to find UGC creators and to publish UGC videos
  5. Don’t stop learning – TikTok has lots of resources to learn from including the creators themselves and TikTok for Business teams 
  6. You should also learn from people IRL. If you have children that use the platform, sit next to them while they scroll through and see how they experience the platform. Furthermore, if you don’t know how to do specific things on the app, ask them, most likely – they know the answer 
  7. Have fun! Unlike the seriousness of LinkedIn and the heaviness of Facebook, TikTok is simply a fun platform!

Honestly, I’ve learnt that I know nothing, and there’s so much more to learn. 

Keep in mind that naturally my observation is “limited” to my own territory – I have a creator account and I’m in a specific niche (digital marketing). Feel free to share anything you think is valuable and/or if any of the above needs correction, 

Enjoy the TikTok ride!

You win, and then you win!


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