5 tips on starting a successful TikTok account

Since the summer 2019, I’ve been the lead of ESPN’s TikTok account that has grown to more than 10 million followers within one year. I’ve also served as a TikTok consultant for other teams within ESPN.

After receiving a handful of LinkedIn messages asking for advice on how to grow accounts, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned so far about the platform in general.

1. Understand TikTok

What I’ve told everyone who’s new to TikTok is I first recommend spending as much time as you can on the app to get a feel for how people are using it. That way you can see what’s working and not working for other popular accounts, what ways you can make your brand stand out from accounts with the same audience you hope to build, and then go from there.


2. Pick a topic and know your audience

Similarly to most other social media platforms, it helps to choose one topic or theme and stick with that. That way followers know what they’re getting when they follow you. On TikTok, your focus is limitless. I’ve seen cooking, sports, pet raccoons, real estate, stocks, and on and on.

Once you decide what your focus is, find the most successful accounts that are already within that space. Then, as I noted above, you can figure out what content you can create that’ll make you stand out. If there are no other accounts that do what you want to do — even better. Make your own lane.

3. Post at least once a day to start

If you’re someone who’s running accounts on multiple platforms and don’t have time to put all your energy into TikTok, that’s OK. Start with at least one post per day, get a hang of how TikTok works and gradually ramp it up.

4. Use hashtags

Hashtags are how TikTok organizes content to show users on their For You Pages. When your account is brand new, it can help to toss on a few hashtags to boost your chances of making it to the FYP.

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5. Try out the trending hashtags, music and effects

Trending hashtags be used to land your account on the Discover Page. For new accounts, especially, landing on the Discover Page for participating in a new challenge or trend, will help get more eyes on your account, can raise your follower numbers and raise engagement – depending on the popularity of the trend.

Those trends sometimes involve specific songs and special effects. Taking part while using those songs/effects can also be useful in helping you get the FYP boost.

Good luck and Happy TikToking.

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