I can’t believe I’m saying this but I have created a TikTok account and…I think I like it.
I stayed off the app for a while because it has a bit of a reputation for being more geared toward teens and 20-somethings doing dance trends and creating entertaining content.
I’m happy to report that the content is much more diverse than I expected and feels more like a fast YouTube rather than a competitor for Instagram.
In this episode I am going to share the reasons I decided to give the platform a shot, the differences I’m seeing between TikTok and Instagram, and my plans for testing the app!
Links + Resources
Follow me on TikTok >> @xosarahmorgan
TikTok…I might be into it. It’s a little bit early to tell. I posted three videos and I have literally nine followers but I’m really enjoying the platform. Even though I only have nine followers I’ve gotten something like 2000 views on my content in the past three days with zero audience.
Obviously, I am not a TikTok expert but I am going to share the reasons I decided to give the platform a shot, the differences I’m seeing between TikTok and Instagram, and my plans for testing the app.
I have a lot of info to share – you might want to take notes.
Reasons I decided to give it a shot
Content is going viral a lot faster. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s turning into clients or customers but the more people that watch a video the more people TikTok will show it to. Which means that potentially if you were starting from scratch your audience would grow faster on TikTok than on Instagram.
I’m feeling like Instagram is on the same trajectory as MySpace – trying to do things to survive against new social media platforms. IG is adding so much extra stuff that it’s becoming confusing to create content and creators feel like their content isn’t being seen if they don’t already have an audience.
On TikTok you have two choices – make a video up to 3 minutes long or go live, (You do currently need 1000 followers to get the live option.)
Ways to get paid within the app
It appears that TikTok is moving more towards the YouTube Creator shared revenue model than the Instagram model where you’re only paid when people purchase or hire you.
Gifts – last night I started watching a sound bath (user @kathrenasmr) about 1000 people were watching live. I must have watched for an hour. It was so calming. While I was watching, people kept sending gifts.
You buy the TikTok currency and use that to pay for the gifts which pop up on the screen as you send them. Coins cost about 1.5 cents/coin. If you spend $1USD you get 65 coins. Roses, which cost 1 TikTok coin, and other random things like a pearl for 800 coins, a carousel for 2000 coins. Or you can send reactions like “love” for 49 coins or “laughing” for 19.
The gifts creators receive can be converted into diamonds, which they can then cash in. Diamonds are worth 50% the value of coins: one-hundred coins equal 50 diamonds. If you have 100 diamonds, you can cash in for $50.
Essentially, you can tip people as you watch, which is a great incentive to go live. When I watched, gifts were popping up maybe every 30 seconds and there were some bigger ones (they show up bigger on the screen and it shows who sent the gifts). I think this really helps with the feeling that you’re creating tons of content but don’t get paid until people purchase from you or hire you. This gives you the opinion to get paid just for content. Unlike YouTube, you don’t have to show ads on your videos so you’re getting paid just for creating.
Creator marketplace – creators can partner with brands within the app. Once a creator meets the eligibility requirements (based on factors like age, followers, video content, and engagement), they may be invited to join or apply. TikTok Creator Marketplace will be expanding the invitations over time. I haven’t delved into this much yet, but I love that it’s part of the app which makes it easier for people to sign up and get paid.
Creator fund – If you have 10k followers and 100k views in the last 30 days you can apply to get paid for content. Creators are paid depending on things like video views and engagement – aka creating content that keeps people on the platform.
Lastly, it looks like TikTok has been testing some shopping features on certain accounts. I watched a sponsored video which had a red button that popped up at the end that went to a sales page.
It feels like TikTok is really relying on their creators to grow the platform and they understand that paying them to create content is a really good incentive. So I’ll be watching how they continue to do this for sure.
Differences between Instagram and TikTok
Content-wise, there is way less influencer / overly styled or filtered content. I like anything that makes me feel like I can just show up as myself. People on TikTok are definitely doing that. Yes, there is a lot of slick editing but it really feels like real people making real content instead of real people trying to look a certain, perfect way.
Only one type of content to create on TikTok (videos up to 3 mins long) which means people are more likely to see more of your posts because there aren’t 4 different sections for posts like it is on Instagram.
There is a spot for a caption or description but it’s really short – 150 characters (compared to IG which is over 2k). This makes showing up easier because it’s one less thing to worry about. You just write a short sentence or a few words and you’re good. You can also add hashtags – quick research says that 5 hashtags is the current recommendation.
On TikTok, you can comment, share, and save videos like on Instagram, but the likes feel kind of different – like you’re giving creators props or high fives. I definitely felt compelled to like videos to be a good community member. You can tap the screen 3 times to give a “super like” which I’m guessing is more algorithm points than a regular like.
TikTok allows you to put your videos into categories. On IGTV there is the series button under the IGTV tab, but on TikTok, the categories are at the top of your profile so they almost act as a quick list of what you post about. When you click on a category it doesn’t show you a grid of videos, it takes you to the first one so it’s again less friction to keep people watching.
TikTok lets you pause on all videos – you don’t have to tap and hold. You tap the screen and it stops. Which from a user perspective makes the app easier to use and when it’s easier to use people stay on longer.
Like I said at the start, once you have 1k followers you get the option to go live. Lives show up in the main feed, so if you click Home and scroll if someone is live it will show up as a preview. You can watch the live without going into the live room. As you scroll you can see the video playing without comments and all the likes and heart icons. This means live videos are easier to find – you don’t have to follow someone.
Things I like better on TikTok
It’s easier to stay on the platform because one video flows into another – there are not so many places to look for content so I just keep going. I definitely found myself scrolling slower and giving each video a longer view than I do with content in the IG feed.
TikTok has a discover page that shows trending / featured hashtags and trends – right now there’s some salmon and rice meal that a million people are making, but also #mentalhealthawareness #smallbusinesstiktok are trending as well so that gives you popular hashtags you can use to potentially get your video on the discover page.
I think this helps contribute to the community vibe that TikTok has – it’s giving creators a little help in finding ideas to post and then you can see others doing similar things and TikTok will reward you for that.
TikTok also allows you to pin up to 3 videos to the top of your account, so the top line of videos can be pins. This would be a great place to pin videos that promote your products or services, an intro video, or anything that’s starting to get popular and you want to make it easy to find.
I’m not ditching Instagram any time soon, but I may start making videos with TikTok in mind and then share the same thing to IG reels or IGTV. If my audience grew larger than my Instagram audience or if I started getting more sales, then I’d consider adjusting my social media strategy to focus on TikTok more.
Although I still really like sharing more casual stuff on stories and the ability to ask questions and survey my audience with polls. TikTok is better for evergreen content, entertaining content, educational content, and less “Happy Thursday here’s what I’m up to” -type videos.
My TikTok plan
First, to make the most of the platform I want to show up consistently and fill my account. I’m planning to post every day (maybe weekends/maybe not) for the next month so I’ve got lots of content floating around and TikTok sees me as a high-quality creator because I’m showing up consistently.
Making it easy on myself, so I’m not editing or disappearing text – just adding captions + a title and calling it good because I know the easier it is for me to create the easier it is to be consistent.
Topic-wise, again making this easy, I’m turning my top IG posts, blog posts, podcast episodes into content. For example, I had a podcast episode with 5-6 tips and I shared 3 in a TikTok video.
What I’ve done so far
I posted the same video to TikTok and Instagram IGTV – after 48 hours that video had 1037 views on TikTok and 191 views on Instagram.
I posted another video on TikTok which got about 600 views in the first 24 hours, then I posted the same video on Instagram Reels, and in about 3 hours it had 4800 views. I’m not ditching Instagram any time soon, but I am interested to see how the stats stack up going forward.
I also paid to boost a post. I chose a post that is already popular with my audience – about being consistent on social media. TikTok gives you 3 options for the goal of the promotion – to get more video views, more website visits, or more followers. I chose followers. I set the audience to match my ideal audience, women 25-50 in the US.
Then you can choose from a list of general interests like beauty + personal care, education, travel, sports, so I picked education, tech, and apps for my promotion. I spent $20 to promote that post and got about 160 new followers, lots of views and likes. Now I ended up with a lot of random followers which is fine – if they’re interested in my content that will still help to grow my account, but the targeting on Facebook and Instagram ads is definitely more specific. I get more people with business profiles and I can tell they’re running a business when I promote posts on IG.
A few things to note
- If you have zero followers it does take about 3 hours for videos to start getting views.
- You can’t edit anything after you post – I’ve definitely deleted and reposted a video multiple times to fix things.
- Switching to a business account will allow you to add your email + website link to your profile (you won’t see that with a personal account. find this under settings / manage account – switch to business account) I think this also gives you more stats.
- With any social platform think about the actions you want your users to take and how you like to create content. I ditched my YouTube account after 4 videos because it just took forever, but this feels a lot easier. I just sit in front of the window so I have good light, pop my phone into a tripod and talk for a couple minutes.
Full training in Dare to Grow next month
I will create a full training on how to use everything and best practices next month and I will do a follow-up episode at the end of the 30 days so we can find out how this experiment went and what else I learn.
Find me on Instagram and on TikTok @xosarahmorgan. I’d love to hear what you thought of this episode, did I pique your interest in TikTok at all? Are you on the platform already? Head over to my Instagram, find the episode 85 post, and let’s discuss.
And as always thanks for hanging out with me – I’ll talk to you next week and in the meantime, I hope you Dare to Grow.