Results from my first 30 days on TikTok

I've always been excited about social media and independent publishing. When I finally learned what TikTok was capable of, I had to join.

TikTok is specifically designed for content to go viral, in almost unfathomable ways. In the past 30 days I've seen countless examples of "nobodies" with small followings who, by some stroke of genius or luck, share something funny, well-edited or timely and become "TikTok famous". 

When you post a video on TikTok, it goes out to a small test audience and measures the performance. If it exceeds certain thresholds in watch time and engagement, then it goes to a bigger test group, then a bigger one, and so on. As a viewer, you would see this on the "For You Page" which is a content feed separate from your following feed. When you watch For You, you're specifically choosing to watch new videos that the algorithm thinks you'll like. 

"For You" is powerful, because it prioritizes new content discovery over existing social networks. That means content creators can get tons of viewers without first having a following.

Enough theory, what have the numbers looked like for me?

In my first 30 days on TikTok, I got 1,959 total likes and 8,229 views on 40 posts. This averages to 49 likes and 205 views per post. 

My last 40 posts on Instagram (excluding paid ads) totals 1,065 likes and 10,303 reach. This averages to 27 likes and 258 reach per post. 

If you look at these numbers side by side, it appears that my Instagram posts are reaching a slightly larger audience, but getting close to half as much engagement. Some of my TikTok posts have received virtually no views or engagement, while others have had a lot. My Instagram posts typically float around the same numbers.

The accounts engaging with my posts on Instagram are almost entirely my existing followers, which is mostly friends, former co-workers, and artists I know. It's usually the same, small cohort of people engaging with my posts. I'm grateful for this, but when it's always the same people it doesn't feel like my audience is expanding.

I've built my modest Instagram following over the past 8 years. In the past year or so, I started posting my art rather than personal photos. I've certainly gone through long posting droughts and had my account set to private for a while. So, my Instagram game hasn't really been consistent.

The accounts engaging with my TikTok posts are almost always new viewers every time. Some of them will follow, and that has been increasing my views and engagement over time. 

My conclusion is that TikTok is much better for rapidly building audiences than Instagram. Additionally, as a viewer, TikTok's content feels more fresh, funny and interesting, making Instagram feel stale by comparison. It's no wonder Instagram is rolling out a TikTok clone.

If you are a content creator looking to build an audience, you need to start making TikTok videos right away!

While you're at it, follow me https://www.tiktok.com/@petererickson.art?lang=en

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