Its over! What I learned from shooting 30 TikToks in 30 days (and what I’d do differently next time)

  • Give you a brief overview of what content I produced last week,
  • Shortly dip into path dependece of the TikTok algo,
  • Assess if my initial assumptions held true,
  • Discuss key learnings of the whole challenge,
  • Translate my learnings into guidelines in case I want to approach TikTok more seriously, and
  • Share some insight how challenging the challenge was for me.

Week 4 Content

  1. Day Twenty-Two (0:14) Orinoco’s Tacos One of the best places in CDMX to have tacos — and one of the worst videos I made. Forgot about the sound so you can hear a friend of mine japping away…
  2. Day Twenty-Three (0:26) The magical dog I met a dog with pink ears (the cutest shit I’ve seen in a while) and decided to soulmate and do the same. Unfortunately, the pink didnt last very long :(
  3. Day Twenty-Four (0:22) A trip to La Paz A few friends and I spent an extended weekend in La Paz, this is day 1.
  4. Day Twenty-Five (0:11) The angry granny This women caught my attention by trying to honk a car out of her way. I found it quite funny how she wrote “Fuck your mom” and “Idiot” with her finger on the car.
  5. Day Twenty-Six (0:20) From Los Cabos to La Paz We spent a night in Los Cabos (not recommended) but had a few very cold bears on very nice beaches on our way to La Paz (recommended).
  6. Day Twenty-Seven (0:20) A Boat Trip in La Paz We took a boat trip to swim with seals and snorkel around a small reef. The freshly hand-made ceviche at the beach was dang, check it out!
  7. Day Twenty-Eight(0:02) My cartwheel🤸 I noticed that I was lacking a video and chose a chill-at-the-beach-compliant way to catch up. Who ever texted with me knows about my inflatious use of the 🤸-emoji: this is the real world version.
  8. Day Twenty-Eight(B)(0:21) Balandra Beach It’s one of the most beautiful beaches around, a very well protected area for conservation of nature. Surprisingly, this video got much more views than all the other La Paz videos. I’ll dip into that next.
  9. Day Twenty-Nine (0:47) The best Gringas in town At El Vilsito you get insanely yummy Gringas (a form of Taco Al Pastor with cheese). It’s a must-go when you like mexican food and are in CDMX. This is the most performant video I made in 30 days!
  10. Day Thirty (0:24) Poppin Tags at aThrift Market I went to a thrift market with a friend and snapped some shots. This video again got significantly more views within oneday than almost all previous videos. Why?

What’s noteworthy and what I make of it

  1. TikTok rewards you for being persistant
    After 27 days of posting, the algorithm felt pity with this ridiculous purple-haired dude and gave his videos more exposure. Jokes aside, it seems to pay off to keep posting every day.
  2. People got hooked on the song and stuck around
    People liked the music & beach vibe and watched the whole video to have a 20-second-pseudo-vacation at Balandra Beach. To be fair, Mi Negrita by Devendra Banhart is an super chill song but with a total of 339 videos on TikTok, it’s far from popular (compare to 8.500.000 videos using STAY).
  3. #playa or #balandra are magical hashtags
    Maybe there is more search volume on either of these hashtags which caused more people to find the video. Given that most views are driven by the For You page, I don’t think this is very likely.
For you to listen to while reading 🏖️

There is “path dependence” for reach

If a video gets lots of views, the subsequent do so as well. It’s all about momentum.

Did my initial assumptions hold true?

Assumption: TikTok lacks longer story archs ❌

Assumption: Spanglish is a good idea ❌

  1. It takes quite a lot of effort to add all subtitles and text elements in both languages. I often wasn’t willing to do that.
  2. It’s more difficult for the algo to determine your audience when you switch between languages. TikTok checks where you are and which language setup you use on your phone; there is no clear data point for bilinguality.
  3. Thirdly, I introduced the risk of someone swiping away my video because they simply did not understand it. This makes the algo think it’s a bad video even though it might not have been. This risk is mitigated when you stick to one language.

Assumption: Purple hair creates buzz ✅

How about the “growth hack” ideas ?

  1. Crowdsourcing Mexicanness
    Didn’t work as my following and viewership was too little. You need a critical mass of people watching your stuff to find the handful of people who are willing to comment and provide help. Could’ve known before hand, should’ve critically challenged my thinking.
  2. Make mistakes and ask for help
    That actually worked, but not as intended. In the first few videos I added a few CTAs to help me understand what Jaime aka the Juice Guy said. A few people helped me translate but almost all of them were people I knew before and all of them sent their translations in a private messages.
  3. Be a guest on other channels
    I simply didn’t try it, felt too much like an imposter with my two followers.

What I would do differently when approaching TikTok seriously

  1. Embed my TikTok activities in a bigger plan
    I don’t genuinely enjoy making videos for TikTok; I rather not do it, if I don’t have to. To create this sense of necessity and stay persistant I need a bigger goal for my channel than growing a following. This bigger plan will probably include a clear way to monetize the attention down the line.
  2. Preproduce content
    To take off the edge of daily content production I would preproduce videos for the whole week. I would seperate the different steps (ideation, script writing, production, post production) to speed it up and spare myself the struggle of sitting in my room at 10pm stressing to make a video.
  3. Carefully plan the hook, value delivery and ending
    Hooking the audience in the first seconds, keeping them engaged and converting them to followers isn’t easy. Scripting videos out beforehand will make it more likely to produce sticky content. Additionally, it allows for testing different approaches over the weeks and months.
  4. Stick with a plan for a while
    I jumped around different formats and languages to test out what works. In a more professional setting I would target a niche more precisely by analysing what succesful people do and how I can make something similar with the lowest production effort possible. Making this plan is one thing, sticking with it for at least 60 days is another.
  5. Show my face (and speak a language I’m comfortable with)
    Showing my face has worked well, speaking Spanish not so much. I am not yet conversational which made it quite akward to speak Spanish in front of the camera and, I assume, to watch me speaking it too. English is fine.
  6. Leverage the video editor on TikTok as much as possible
    Having wrestled with Adobe Premiere and After Effects in the past, I continue to be amazed by what the TikTok editor makes possible. To create native content, I’d levarge the editor as much as possible.

How challenging was my challenge?

Flop 1 🐻 Motivation

Flop 2 🐻 Priorities

Flop 3 🐻 Choice of language

Flop 4 🐻 Videographers

Flop 5 🐻 The Influencer Curse

But I’ll stop whining now, here is what I liked about it!

Top 1🐂 Humbling experience

Top 2 🐂 Frequent writing is fun

Top 3🐂 Public commitment works

Top 4 🐂 30 video memories

Would I do it again?

Would I challenge myself again?

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Founder of knugg.et, ODF10

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Johannes Dancker

Johannes Dancker

Founder of knugg.et, ODF10

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