Amid the various questions around the app’s future due to how it may or may not share data with the Chinese Government, many businesses are still looking to use TikTok to connect with younger audiences, with the platform providing significant reach and exposure potential for those that are able to tap into its nuances.
But like all social platforms, it’s not as simple as just uploading a promotional clip and letting it fly. If you want to gain viral traction on TikTok, you have to know what users are responding to, what types of content they like, the subjects, the hashtags, etc.
And this week, TikTok has provided some quick tips to help. Over on the TikTok blog, the platform has outlined a range of key notes and pointers which may help to clarify your TikTok posting approach.
Some of TikTok’s key tips of note are:
- Go vertical – Vertical videos perform best on TikTok, as do videos that are longer than five seconds
- Consider overall stats, don’t focus on Likes – TikTok advises that creators should take note of high-level trends within their analytics rather than focusing on a single metric (such as likes or comments) from video to video
- Recency is a factor – TikTok says that its ‘For You’ feed recommendations generally pull from videos posted within the last 90 days, while newly uploaded videos will generally see a peak in engagement soon after they’ve been published. As such, uploading new content regularly will increase your potential of maximizing your reach. “If viewers continue to find your video interesting, it will continue to be recommended”.
- Posting more won’t impact reach – Somewhat aligned to the previous point, TikTok also says that the amount of videos you post does not impact how your content is recommended in the For You feed. So, theoretically, if all of your videos were hits, you could dominate the For You feed by uploading lots of them – while conversely, this may also suggest that engagement with your past content is not a significant factor in future reach
- Keep people watching – TikTok also says that watch time factors into how a video gets recommended, “so capturing viewers’ attention early and maintaining it throughout makes for watchable, shareable content”.
And lastly, TikTok also notes that adding hashtags like #FYP, #ForYou, and #ForYouPage won’t help you get more views.
“Hashtags like #FYP, #ForYou, and #ForYouPage work just like all other hashtags on TikTok, so adding these to your caption won’t necessarily improve your chances of getting on someone’s For You feed. Instead, we recommend using the space in your caption to add context to your video along with hashtags that are relevant to your content.”
You’ve probably noticed these tags on every post – and now, you can tell your friends that are trying to go viral that they don’t need to do that, they’re not helping them generate additional exposure or awareness like they might think.
There are some interesting notes here, which could help to improve your TikTok performance. And we may get even more insights like this in future – this week, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer vowed to be more open about how the platform works, which would include giving third-parties the opportunity to “examine the actual code that drives our algorithms”.
We’ll have to wait and see just how open TikTok is in this respect, but it could mean that we learn a lot more about how its systems operate.
You can view TikTok’s full tips and notes here.
Iran ‘throttling’ internet to limit protest footage: activists
The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 but have caused a reduction in the video footage shared – Copyright Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/File John Randeris HANSEN
Iran is imposing increasingly severe restrictions on access to the internet, albeit still short of a total shutdown, in an apparent bid to limit the sharing of footage of protests which have erupted nationwide, activists charge.
Campaigners and Persian-language television channels outside Iran have noted a reduction in the posting of footage of the protests filmed on mobile phones, almost two weeks into the movement that erupted following the death of Mahsa Amini.
The authorities have already restricted access to Instagram and WhatsApp — until now the last remaining unfiltered social media services — and have now clamped down on apps like the Google Play Store as well as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that seek to circumvent local access restrictions.
“It’s still not an internet shutdown, and it’s hard to even describe what they are doing to the network as ‘shutdowns’. Perhaps extreme throttling is the best simple term for it,” said the Iran researcher for freedom of expression group Article 19, Mahsa Alimardani.
“But the disruptions are heavy,” she told AFP, saying disconnections were hitting a peak from late afternoon to midnight when most protests take place.
The restrictions still fall short of the total shutdown seen in November 2019 when a crackdown on less than a week of protests, according to Amnesty International, left at least 321 people dead.
Videos of protests and alleged abuses by the authorities are still filtering out onto social media channels, but not in the same volume as when protests first erupted following the death of Amini who had been arrested by the morality police.
“The authorities seem to have learned how dangerous this is for their economy or overall public relations,” commented Alimardani.
– ‘Massive hurdle’ –
Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR), which says 76 people have been killed in the crackdown so far, said internet access has either been “severely disrupted or completely cut” over the last days.
“Internet disruptions continue to cause delays in reporting” deaths in the protests, it warned.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said: “Twelve days after the beginning of the protests, the internet network is still down daily throughout the country.”
In response, social media giants have sought to offer assistance to Iranians, the United States has even agreed sanction relief on some software, and tycoon Elon Musk has offered his Starlink satellite internet network.
But how much such measures can help, especially in the short term, remains unclear.
“Internet outages are happening more frequently worldwide, including in parts of Iran this week,” Google said in a statement on Twitter, saying its teams were “working to make our tools broadly available” following the eased US sanctions.
“We hope these changes help, in some small way, people safely access information at this important time,” it added.
Iranians have long used VPNs to access sites blocked in Iran — even government officials including the foreign minister have Twitter accounts despite the network being blocked in the country.
But Alimardani described using and accessing VPNs right now as “hit and miss” for Iranians with the blocking of the Google Play Store, a major blow when most Iranians are using Android mobile phones with their Google operating systems.
“This is a massive hurdle to downloading safe and new VPNs that work,” she said.
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