How I Grew My TikTok to 100K (in under a year)
Are you looking for some real insight based on a real person’s experience who isn’t trying to sell you a course on how to grow a TikTok following? 100K is small beans for Tiktok when the app can catapult some people to millions seemingly overnight. BUT, if you’re just a regular gal like me who doesn’t even like showing up on camera that much, isn’t particularly skilled at videography or storytelling and doesn’t have wealth or an extravagant lifestyle that people are drawn to watching, then this article is for you. I’m in the beauty niche, which is extremely saturated on social media, but I somehow made it work.
A little backstory on how I got started. Back in 2020 when everyone was jumping on the app, I tried posting videos to the tune of what was trending at the time, and I mostly reposted what I was already posting on Instagram. This *sort of* worked and I gained a small following of 10k, but I quickly grew tired of all the effort since I wasn’t growing and it seemed like everyone around me was enjoying massive growth. I focused my efforts on this blog ie my actual website, and that turned out to be the best decision I could make. I was able to turn this website from 10k hits a month to nearly half a million hits monthly in under 2 years.
So, in December 2022 I decided my goal in the new year would be to focus my attention back to Tiktok. 2023 would be the year I WOULDN’T give up on Tiktok no matter how discouraging and cumbersome it might be, and most importantly, I would take it seriously and stay consistent. I would see where it would lead me with no expectations, since I already had a successful website and Instagram.
This mindset made a massive difference in how I approached making content and my mental health, since one of the factors that took me off the app was how much it took a toll on my mental well-being. It’s simply not healthy for humans to live on social media constantly. We’re supposed to be living, being out in nature and socializing.
So, instead of approaching content creation with some sort of formula and set strategy in mind I decided to try approach it VERY CASUALLY. This meant I would film videos whenever I felt like it or an idea popped up in my head spontaneously. I scrapped any notion of reaching some sort of goal and decided it would be a fun, creative outlet. Writing this right now I realize that’s actually how I started my Instagram several years ago, as just a fun hobby I never expected to actually become a “thing.”
A lot of creators give the tip of categorizing your days, so 2 days a week you dedicate to filming, meaning for that entire day you’re focused on batch filming videos in bulk. This isn’t something I can do because I find it mentally draining and unnatural to me.
Instead, if it was 12AM and I suddenly had an idea, I just started filming with the flash on. I didn’t have ring lights or any special equipment other than a tripod, and the tripod is still the only piece of equipment I use when I need it. When any random idea popped up in my head out of the blue, I’d just film without really thinking it through and save the editing for later. Random ideas would come to me while I’m in the middle of doing something completely different, so if I couldn’t film in that moment, I’d jot the idea down in my notes to film later.
Yes, sometimes I filmed more high-effort videos that involved planning and ideating, but this remained only 10% of my videos I would say. The rest was spontaneous filming. And that worked for me because it was often my badly filmed videos or dumb ideas that took off.
There’s another important component to my growth other than filming randomly and casually. I also consumed a LOT of content on the app. I have a love hate relationship with doing this, because the app can get addicting so it’s not hard to consume a lot, but you feel bad about it afterwards.
This was, however, crucial in understanding what was trending since TikTok is mostly a trend app of people copying or putting their own twist on a current trend. If you’re not familiar with what I mean, trends tend to be short skits or funny voiceovers with text overlay that everyone is hopping on and doing. Consuming was also the only way I could find and save audio I wanted to use, which I found is also a very important part of a video.
Once you see a video do really well, you need to continue to create similar videos and stick to that topic. If I saw a certain beauty topic did well, I would create similar videos on that same topic and most of the time those did very well too.
Something I see a lot of newer or less involved accounts on the app do is post something that gets 10 million views, and then go on and do different videos or go back to their usual topics, instead of focusing on whatever topic that viral video was about.
Once the momentum is created you don’t want it to die down. You want to keep that momentum going, and after you’ve built a more loyal, substantial community, then you can do videos on the other topics you’re more interested in even if your community may not be. They already know they can count of you to deliver what they like, so they won’t mind other topics sprinkled in.
Another factor that was important to my growth I feel was staying consistent. I am a lazy creator and I get tired of filming and editing constantly. As I get older I’m also finding myself disillusioned with the whole social media industry and the overcommodification of every aspect of our lives and having to film every waking moment. But with Tiktok you can’t post then disappear for 3 weeks then come back then disappear. You won’t see consistent growth if you do that.
In fact, the people who are serious about TikTok post 3-5 videos EVERY SINGLE DAY. That is crazy to me and I could never do that year round, but I tried to make sure at least 1 video goes up per day. Sure, there were some days I skipped, and sometimes I would take a break for a few weeks if I had a string of very successful videos and felt like I could take a breather. But for the most part I stayed committed even if I didn’t want to be on the app. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and it can get tedious, but that is what it takes unfortunately.
Once more people came to my page and began commenting and sticking around, I realized I could continue making content based off their comments instead of having to think of ideas from scratch all the time. Creating video reply videos is a great way to make more content easily AND interact with your community.
When I was first on the app I thought it was strange that creators would make SO many video replies to comments, because who actually cares except for that one individual commentor? Why create a video that your entire following has to endure watching? I realized that it’s actually quite common and accepted, even welcomed, on Tiktok whereas you don’t really this happening on IG. It’s a great tactic as well because, while it may be that that one commentor is the only one interested in your answer, but there’s a chance that others are interested too and that’s how video replies can do super well.
So if you’re looking to start your content creation journey, Tiktok is a great place to start and test the waters. I think it’s easier to get started on TikTok and grow nowadays than it is on Instagram. What I appreciate about this app is you can be your realest, most authentic self and not worry about judgement. In 2123 we will all be buried alongside family and friends and it won’t matter what you posted anyways.