TikTok Week 2— Growing 44%, Content Experiments & Struggles
The second week of my A-Video-A-Day TikTok challenge is over. Time to reflect and learn. Oh and don’t let yourself be blinded be the 44% growth, when starting from a tiny base it’s easy to “grow fast” (16 to 23 followers 😅)
Coming out of week 1 with quite little organic views, I tried to exploit one of TikTok’s key functions more: Building on top of other peoples content. I stitched a few videos and used a trending sound, with some positive impact on the reach and views.
Here is a brief overview of the videos I made past week:
- Day Eight (0:04): Ati te gusta el tequila? This sound is super trendy in Mexico currently, the original video has 95M views. Trying to lipsync the father and his tequila-lovin’ daughter was challenging but fun!
- Day Nine (0:29) Khaby Money Move Khaby is one of the most successful content creators on TikTok and I stitched a video he stitched. On TikTok you can only stitch 5s of a video so I did a screen recording and put it back together. Not really recommended as I couldn’t link my video to the original video hence the discoverability was not higher than usually.
- Day Ten (0:30) So my Mom said I’m fat right? I lol’d hard on this sound and made my own version of a rather popular video showing how a yummy burrito is made.
- Day Eleven (0:49) Can I make Mexican Sopes? A friend and I made a mexican dish called Sopes and I documented the process of it. First time I used voice over, incredible how easy TikTok makes video editing!
- Day Twelve (0:17) Disappearing drinks On the weekends I’m usually on the run and make the video in the last hours of the day, when I’m out with friends. We did a pubcrawl and went to a costume party afterwards, so I came up with a rather simple idea to make the video for the day.
- Day Thirteen (0:07) Germans vs. Mexicans Dancing Similar case here, pretty last minute idea on a different costume party 😅
- Day Fourteen (0:04) Más vs. Maß A videotized pun. Earlier this day we passed a Mexican helping someone to park their car by waving and shouting “Más, más, más”. A friend dropped the line that this is exactly how he sits at the table on the Oktoberfest (slightly difficult to translate the situational comedy to a video).
Learnings from Week 2
- Building on successful content has an impact
Reusing a very popular sound in the “A ti te gusta el tequila” video seems to have a positive impact. The video has 30–60% more views than the less popular videos I shared and is among the most liked videos I did.
- More personal content seems to work better
When I made mexican sopes people could watch me do it while I was narrating. I think the video comes across as more personal compared to the very short videos centered around a joke. People like to watch other people and it seems that content that feeds this “voyeurism” works better. With a 10% like-to-views ratio, it’s among the most liked too.
- You don’t need Adobe Premiere
TikTok is commoditizing editing for Social Media quickly! As I play around with the video editor more and more, I’m amazed to see how much is possible. With the voice over function you can even bring together an audio track you recorded on a different device (very useful shooting vox pops without a seperate bluetooth mic).
What I’ll do about it
- Mixing less
Maybe TikTok is like drinks on a night out: It’s not good to mix too much. While experimenting with different formats and styles was fun, I think it’s not a very sustainable “strategy”. More consistency should allow the algorithm to identify which cohort might be interested in my content and show it to them. Furthermore, if the content is more consistent, people who land on my profile are more likely to follow me for more, as they know what to expect.
- Focusing on Spanish
I will go back to the initial plan and tailor my content more around me learning Spanish and exploring the Mexican culture. This should allow me to make use of the “unfair advantage” of being a foreigner in the latinamerican market.
- Show my face more
To allow people to build a more personal relationship, I will show my face more often and talk more again.
- Planning out the videos’ suspense
Apart from that, I think I have to design the suspense of the videos more carefully. What’s the hook that gets people excited to continue watching? How can the suspense be built up? And what’s an element of surprise or entertainment at the end of the video to leave the viewer with a little dopamine boost which hopefully leads to a like or follow?
- Preproduce content
It has been a bit of a strain to have to do a video everyday (especially since I took a freelance job). I will test out producing several videos in a row for different days to alleviate the daily stress.
- Go extreme (or collaborate)
Lastly, to grow much faster, I probably have to do more extreme stuff. The content has to be more surprising, more entertaining, more informative or more “He didn’t really do that”-ish. Or I have to work with other content creators so some of their following spills over, even though this can be challenging to do with 23 followers.
How I feel about the challenge
After building on top of other peoples content did not work better in terms of organic reach, I had a motivational low. Additionally, I caught a cold and felt quite uncomfortable filming myself. Lastly, the novelty effect of starting something evaporated, now it seems only the “work” part persists. Making a video a day became a liability, especially when so few people are watching. So give up?
Only do what you would do even if noone is listening.
— Tim Ferris
No, I see it as a chance to practice persistence. It’s easy to start things and keep going when it’s going well, but it’s hard to stick with something that’s not going particularly well. Since I have two more weeks to go, I’ll try to rediscover the joy of producing content for TikTok by doing things that are fun on it’s own: Learning more about the mexican culture and practicing Spanish.