Four Tips for Getting Started on TikTok

While many of the tenets of personal finance will not change, how people learn about money certainly has. Decades ago, to learn about money you had to rely on family members, have access to a financial advisor, or turn to financial books or magazines.

That is no longer the case. According to a January 2022 survey by GoBankRates, 38.8% of Gen Zers are learning about personal finance through social media. 34.3% said TikTok and YouTube were their primary sources of financial information. While TikTok has been around since 2016, it burst on the scene during the pandemic of 2020 and has amassed 3 billion downloads worldwide. What may have seemed like a fad that was destined to fade has become a true social media powerhouse that cannot be ignored.

With yet another social platform out there, how can you carve out your own space and garner an audience? What are the best practices to gain traction? Here are a few best practices to incorporate if you’re considering TikTok.

Take Advantage of Existing Trends

TikTok is built for trends and incentivizes creators who make engaging and relevant content that is connected to a current trend. This could be a trending song or dance, a trending topic, a camera effect, or even a hashtag. Spotting these trends and adding your personal touch is a proven strategy on the platform.

How do you find trends on TikTok? Head to the discover page by hitting the magnifying glass icon. There you can enter your area of expertise like “investing” or “budgeting” and click enter. TikTok will show you the top users, videos, hashtags, and sounds that are associated with that topic. Look for common traits and elements that stand out across all the videos. If you’re searching in the budget category you will notice that most of the videos do not feature people on-screen. The most popular ones are of people writing and reviewing their budget. Use this as inspiration to see what types of content will resonate with your audience.

Use Captions/Text On-Screen to Your Advantage

In 2019, Verizon Media noted that 69% of consumers were watching videos with the sound off and 80% of consumers are more likely to watch the full video when captions are available. If you do not have captions or at least a title with text on-screen you could be missing out on an opportunity to catch the eye of your target audience. TikTok makes captioning easy by including an auto captioning feature within the app.

Watch the Clock

According to TikTok, 25% of their top-performing videos are between 21 and 34 seconds. There are two key observations from this stat. The first is that you should get to your main point quickly, the second is that shorter videos, even looped ones can get you more video views. A looped video is a carefully scripted effect that happens when the end of a video seamlessly leads into the beginning of the video. To the user, it feels like the video is on an endless loop keeping them engaged and curious as to when the video begins and ends. TikTok offers a playlist on how this works.

Spend Time Getting Acquainted

You will not conquer TikTok in a day, take the time to really get to know your way around the app and as you do, take notes. Notice who is doing well on the app, what concepts are the most engaging, and what people are talking about. This includes following people in and out of your niche as well as making use of the discover page just to see what’s out there. Not only will this help you find out what is currently working on the app but it can also help you spot potential gaps where you can provide value.

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