Increasing TikTok followers is the north star for many creators and brands – after all, the metric stands for a large number of things from a community, loyal advocates and retargetable audience to social proof and (sometimes vanity-driven) influence.
But what is the best way to achieve this? We are going to delve into the aspects, such as asking reasons as to why you would want more followers, and tactics for achieving more TikTok followers organically on the platform with examples from other brands and creators.
We would like to preface the article, though, with the caveat that there are no easy shortcuts – so strap in, and let’s go for a ride.
Why do you want more followers?
Are you a brand trying to sell a product or service? A music artist trying to gain recognition? Or perhaps you’re selling to other businesses, and want to showcase your product on TikTok? Whatever the reason might be, these are all valuable questions to ask when determining your whole purpose for even being on the platform.
What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Start thinking about measurable metrics that you can aim towards on TikTok that are realistic for your brand. Gaining a certain amount of followers is one step towards an overall larger goal in growth. Is it, “Reach 1,000 followers by the end of the quarter, “ or, “Reach 10,000?”
Additionally, in addition to making the follower number a primary KPI, what are secondary metrics you want to track to help give you a 360 overview of your growth? Potential metrics to consider range from engagement rate and an average number of interactions to impressions, but the goal is to choose a combination that takes the vanity out of the pursuit of followers, ensuring that the audience trickling in is vetted, eager to engage, and has high LTV.
Grab a fat expo marker (chiseled tip) and write on the closest blank space on your wall: “My goal is to _____,” or “I am on TikTok because _____.” Let this be your north star and come back to it when feeling doubtful.
Can you pay for TikTok followers? (Is there an easy way out?)
If you search Google for: “Buy TikTok Followers,” it will return a multitude of websites willing to take your hard-earned money in exchange for TikTok followers. Heck, you can even buy TikTok accounts with followers in a certain niche, just to get a step ahead on that front.
If you decide to buy TikTok followers from one of the unreputable sources, be prepared for them to not work in your favor. Purchased followers will not comment, share, like, view, or interact with your content at all, which raises a red flag for TikTok’s algorithm. The app will see that you have a high follower count, but no engagement, therefore rating your content as low-quality. On the other hand, those same companies are betting that you will continue to buy followers from them again out of frustration or hopes that suddenly those followers will also engage with you.
If you are not getting real engagement from your videos, then this is not going to help you in the long run. You will not learn who is actually engaging with your content, will not see real impressions, and therefore won’t go. If you want to grow your brand or following, it would be best to stick to the rules and do it the right way.
The truth is, pursuing a follower number without the engagement and true commitment from your audience defeats the purpose of the metric to begin with — otherwise, as a brand or creator, it’s more about chasing clout rather than a well-judged investment. The pursuit of follower growth for any brand or creator needs to be a community-led growth effort — an investment into building a community of users that are further down the funnel, serve as loyal advocates to create a growth loop, and are a step closer to a conversion than a cold audience would be.
Strategies to grow a TikTok following organically
Building a follower base needs to be approached in a strategic way, with the end user in mind and a blueprint in place. Luckily, we will review tactics that will help you gain organic TikTok followers, such as: posting consistently, engaging with the community, using hashtags effectively, and adding a boost through the right paid promotion strategies.
The best way to gain traction with any skill or practice is through iteration. The name of the game on TikTok is consistency and learning through the process. When posting at a stable rate, you can learn which videos worked, flopped, had the most impressions, watch time, CTR, and so on.
Of course, the volume TikTok demands from brands to remain relevant is large — meaning that, to be successful on TikTok, investing in talent that can maintain posting consistency is key to getting this tactic right. But as the fastest-evolving and most cultural space on the internet, it shouldn’t be a “nice to have” for a brand to consistently remain top of mind for the audience through a high posting volume — in fact, it’s become a must-have in order to gain traction, get faster learnings, partake in ongoing conversations on the platform, and effectively build a community.
Create a Brand Pillar Strategy
Brand pillars, or simply put, “content buckets”, are brand values that represent your company that you can lean on to determine the categories your content will fall into. This is a straightforward method of creating a strategy, rhyme or reason behind every video that’s produced and posted.
Content buckets are built on the value propositions and differentiators of your brand that help you stand out from your competition. For example, if you are a Wedding Photographer, the value proposition might be that you have a specific aesthetic or perspective that others do not.
Content buckets highlighting a wedding photographer’s aesthetic (value prop):
- Before and after editing photos (showcasing that specific style)
- Photoshoot behind the scenes (bringing the audience along for the growth journey)
- Educational content (advice, outfit guides, and industry advice)
- Day in the life (behind the scenes of the photographers day)
Similarly, as a brand, these values can range from sustainability to education to the specific values that your individual services or products deliver.
Going back to consistency, putting the content buckets to the test to measure the performance of each will help you decide which content to post more of based on what your audience or the TikTok algorithm responds well to.
Co-create through duets, stitches, comments, video replies
Engaging with the community can be a very beneficial way to organically grow your followers and increase visibility on the platform. There are multiple ways to do this, such as liking, commenting, and even reposting another account’s TikTok, taking advantage of the duet feature, which is a direct reply to the original TikTok with your video, and even re-creating videos from other users or jumping on trends that make sense with your brand.
Find communities and accounts that inspire you, or whose content you want to leverage as inspiration. Starting with the For You Page (FYP), content that the algorithm already shows to you could be a clear indicator of the content you already like or engage with.
Search for keywords relating to your interests or brand, and filter your results by the time posted to this year or up to this week. Accounts or videos that you find through these searches are actively being consumed and engaged with on the platform already, and you can see what is already working.
Sometimes, it can be easy to just focus on producing the content — but responding to the community and commenting back is valuable, showing there is an actual entity behind the videos. It gives your profile visibility and is great for strategic alignment with the content being posted. When posting a video, especially if it goes viral, replying back to comments or questions is a great way to get the pulse on your community. Remember that your comments should have value and drive trust when engaging with relevant accounts or other creators.
Sometimes, there are even opportunities to reply to comments with TikTok videos as well, sparking engagement, questions, and an expected follow-up to a question that other users will seek out on your profile or comment section to watch, thus gaining even more engagement followers.
Dueting existing TikToks, whether it’s a dance, answering the question, or trying your version of the video, it can be a fun way for the audience to connect the dots with you and another account, and might even gain you followers from that creator you dueted if your video delivers additional value.
This may be obvious advice, but use hashtags to slot your videos into niches, or hashtags, that will be shown to people interested in that hashtag organically or through search. Depending on the content of the video, use hashtags to describe it and allow people to quickly find it.
Start off with 1-2 of the most popular hashtags (or high-volume keywords) that are trending at the time (TikTok will show you the statistics of how many people are using them), then follow with 2-3 niche hashtags (or long-tail keywords) that will make your video stand out.
Taking NoGood’s videos as an example, if the video centers around “3 Brands Killing It on TikTok,” the team selected a combination of high-volume and long-tail hashtags to ensure wide reach and discoverability on a niche level.
Optimize your hashtags by testing them on different videos to see which of them perform better to determine top-performing sets.
A good way of finding relevant hashtags is by searching them on TikTok and sorting through the hashtag results it gives you. The platform will show how many views each individual hashtag has, so you can decide to stick with hashtags you are currently using or switch it up and try some new ones.
Hop on a trend or an ongoing discourse (if it makes sense)
Trending topics, videos, and audio are the heart of TikTok virality and discoverability. Joining a conversation on a widely discussed topic early or in the heat of the discussion helps you contribute to the conversation and will more likely net you with people looking at you and following for more of that content. If there is a popular Marvel movie releasing in theaters, it would make sense to make videos around that movie’s release because people are going to be searching for it at the same time.
Re-creating or responding to popular videos that are created can net people watching or responding to your trying to do that trend. Back in October 2020, Nathan Apodaca created a viral video of him skateboarding downhill and drinking a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice while the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Ocean spray quickly took advantage of the free press, and leaned into the virality of this video, recognizing Apodaca’s video and promoting it themselves. Meanwhile, thousands of TikTok users quickly rushed to the store to buy that same cranberry juice to either re-create that video or just enjoy the moment that was happening.
The audio of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” was trending along with that video format, so anyone creating a video with that song or video format was most likely to get eyes on their videos being posted.
Using trending sounds and hopping on existing trends on TikTok helps with visibility and organic reach on the platform. Using a sound that many people are already familiar with and engaging with on their For You Page will net you with more eyes than usual because of the TikTok algorithm pushing it to them.
Remember to try not to get lost in just doing a trend or using a sound just for pure reachability. Viewers can detect authenticity behind a video a mile away. If you are unsure if it works or not, try turning the volume down, so that it is not leading your content.
Paying attention to trending topics or pop culture, or popular videos and audio can net great results on your videos, and lead to more followers.
Promote Existing TikToks with Spark Ads
We recognize that we started this article by explicitly telling you not to pay for followers. However, TikTok offers a unique suite of advertising solutions that allow amplifying organic content for wider reach and thus a more diverse audience of your choice, that aligns with your brand’s personas. TikTok’s advertising solutions will still require strategy and a specific choice of campaigns to drive an engaged audience towards your brand account and maintain a high engagement rate alongside follower growth.
TikTok offers is the ability to “spark” existing organic videos from your page, and push them to more people with real-world dollars. The allure of this is the strategy to spark an existing video that did well with impressions, views, likes organically, and TikTok will help push that video to more of those people, driving them to your page.
Strategically speaking, you are already able to gauge the likelihood of the performance of these videos based on the included metrics baked into the app. If this existing video was doing well, perhaps it was promoting a product that you are offering, or it showcases your brand in a positive light, then it’s a sound approach to spark it and send it out to more people, getting more eyes on your page, and then more followers.
TikTok offers a number of campaigns specifically targeted at engagement and account growth — our best recommendation is combining a follower campaign with an engaged video view or focused view campaigns to ensure engagement alongside follower growth. More on building a TikTok ad strategy here.
Ultimately, there is no “hack” to getting more followers overnight or by paying someone else to do it. With even the largest brands, growing a following and a user base is a process built on trial and error, iteration, learnings and analysis, and is dependent on what is working for you.
Posting consistently, building a content strategy, engaging with the platform through trends, using hashtags, or investing ad dollars in TikTok are only a few of the ways to understand the platform and grow followers.
Let us know what tactics are working for your page, and follow NoGood for more TikTok and marketing advice.