December 9, 2023

For those of you who haven’t either become addicted to TikTok or tried your hand at content creation for the platform, I’ve got news for you: it’s amazing.

TikTok rewards creativity.

TikTok rewards the small creator.

TikTok rewards imperfection.

But that doesn’t mean that I’ve got 10,000 followers or had a video get 1.5M views. Not close. I’ve got 39 as of Feb. 19, 2021. Make that 40. Of course, I’d love it if you followed me @ryanisthatdude

I’ve learned a ton in just a couple months, and I wanted to share some beginner’s wisdom. Of course, the first tidbit of wisdom for any content creator is to just start. Quit readin’ about it, and just do it. That’s a life pearl, TBH.

OK, first lesson for beginners: You have a limited window for text.

Why. Do. I. Keep. Making. This. Mistake!?

Your window for text is about 2/3 from the top and 3/4 right-to-left.
When you’re adding text to your video in the TikTok app, try to envision where the @ name starts and where the icons in the right-hand margin start. Limit yourself to those areas.

Second lesson: If you’re on a fancy iPhone 12 with the LIDAR and HDR technology, you can’t really use it with many apps, including TikTok. It will make your video look washed out. See below:

The washed-out look, I’m told, might just be on the creator’s phone. I haven’t checked, and besides, if it doesn’t look good to me, it’d drive me crazy. Right?

Here’s how you remedy the issue. In Settings > Camera > Formats select ‘Most Compatible’ instead of ‘High Efficiency.’

Third tip for beginners: The TikTok algorithm is heavily powered by the music you choose. At the top of your app, select ‘Sounds’ and then pick from the recommended. If you don’t really want music, do it anyway and turn the volume to 0. I can’t imagine this will be a hack that lasts, but for now it works.

One cool thing about music and TikTok. The app will sync your clips to the sounds, making you look a lot more talented than you are. Take this TikTok I did during our previous winter storm.

Fourth tip from this newbie: Don’t try too hard. You’re not going to know which video will go viral. You really won’t. It will probably be some TikTok that you don’t put much thought into at all. When I first started, I posted a couple of music videos and then, dead tired, sat in my recliner (with a glass of bourbon you couldn’t see) and recorded a video that did 25-50% better than the first two.

Just don’t sweat it. Done > perfection.

My last beginner’s lesson for you is that, like with any other platform, you have to ask people to follow you. This is another mistake I keep making. In my first several TikToks, I added a call-to-action. It was effective. But in my last 5-8 videos, I’ve netted only 1-2 new followers. I haven’t had a call-to-action.

Bonus-tip: The TikTok experts are recommending you post 2-3 TikToks per day to have any chance to build a significant audience. That’s a lot, and you have to consume a lot of TikTok to get ideas and get a feel for what works.

Like with anything, it’s work. But TikTok is still young enough that it’s still fun.

More fun than any platform right now, by a lot.

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