Top tips to create engaging TikTok videos
With over 1 billion active users each month, TikTok is the place to be right now for both content creators and brands.
Released less than five years ago, the app is still young compared to other social media giants like YouTube or Instagram, so people are still experimenting and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
With that being said, over the past 4 years we’ve figured out plenty of things about what the TikTok algorithm rewards and expects from content creators, so we wanted to share our top tips for making TikTok videos with you.
Your first few videos are crucial
Since a lot of you are probably reading this article as research before you start to create content for the platform, we decided to start out by giving you a very important TikTik growth tip:
TikTok boosts your first few videos, showing them to more people than usual, before dialing down the algorithm and letting you grow organically. This is why it’s important that your first few TikToks are high quality and relevant to your niche. Capitalizing on this initial boost can give you a very useful headstart and make the journey a lot easier afterwards.
Have a good hook in the first 3 seconds
TikTok users aren’t in it for the long haul. The app is all about instant gratification and bite-sized entertainment. TikTok videos are short and new content is always just one swipe away.
Hooking people in the first three seconds of your TikTok is essential to ensuring its success. How you hook people is up to you and can vary a lot depending on your personality and the type of content you create. You can do it either by teasing something that’s about to happen, having captivating visuals or asking an intriguing question.
Use suspenseful/intriguing captions at the start
This ties in with our previous TikTok tip. Having a suspenseful/intriguing caption at the start of your TikTok will make people want to watch it through until the end.
Let’s say you’re making a TikTok in which you talk about a cheap alternative to the AirPods Pro. Rather than going straight into the product review, it would be better to add a caption saying something like “Better than the AirPods Pro for only $99?”. This way, more people will want to watch your TikTok through to the end in order to find out the answer to your question.
Watch out, though! While using these sorts of captions will definitely help with viewer retention, you should never exaggerate or deceive viewers. Remember: the ultimate goal is to get likes and followers, so you don’t want angry people clicking the Not Interested button.
Add captions/subtitles to all of your TikToks
While we’re on the topic of captions, here’s another useful TikTok video tip: add subtitles to all of your TikToks.
We know that sounds like a lot of work, but despite the app’s focus on viral sounds, you need to remember that there are still a lot of hearing impaired people using it who would benefit greatly from you making your videos more accessible. On top of that, having subtitles also makes it easier for people to watch your TikToks when they’re on the go and don’t have or don’t want to put on headphones.
PRO TIP: If you don’t want to type your subtitles in manually, you can always use an online TikTok video editor like Flixier to generate them automatically based on your audio in just a couple of minutes. The app is free and runs smoothly on any laptop, so give it a shot if you need an easy way to create and customize TikTok subtitles.
Record your TikToks vertically
Even though recording in landscape might give you more screen real estate and make it more convenient for you sometimes, it’s important to remember that TikTok only displays videos vertically. On top of that, phones are getting bigger and bigger, which makes rotating them all the more cumbersome, especially if you’re only using one hand.
That’s why it’s important to record every one of your TikToks vertically if you want them to take off and be viewed by as many people as possible.
TIP: If you want to share a landscape video on TikTok, you should crop the video first using a simple online video editor like Flixier. It’s free and you don’t even have to create an account in order to use it. Just click on Start Editing and upload your video. To crop it, click the cogwheel in the lower right corner of the video canvas and choose a vertical resolution like 1080 x 1920. Then, use the controls on the side of the video to resize and reposition it so that the important parts are always in frame. This way, people will be able to enjoy your TikToks and see what’s happening on screen a lot better.
Good lighting and a steady camera are key
You don’t need fancy video equipment to make TikToks, but that doesn’t mean that you should record them in you basement with the curtains on. Bad lighting can make it difficult for people to tell what’s going on in your video and tends to look really unflattering as well.
If possible, try to record your TikToks in front of a window to get more natural light on you, or use a phone ring light if you don’t want to depend on the weather. They’re cheap, easy to set up and can do wonders to improve the quality of your content.
Similarly, you should avoid holding your phone in your hand, when possible. The moving and shaking is distracting and can even make motion-sensitive people nauseous, which won’t get them to like and follow. Instead, prop your phone up using some boxes and books, or if you want to take your production a step further, order a cheap tripod for it online.
Do your research and know the trends
Research is essential to being a successful TikTok creator. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to “do your homework” and keep an eye on what other content creators in that same niche are doing. If you notice any new trends, don’t be afraid to jump on them!
You should always be original and put your own spin on things, but if you want to be successful on TikTok, you’ll have to embrace trends rather than try to go against the tide.
Your TikTok videos should be longer than 13 seconds
Another important TikTok tip you should remember is making your videos longer than 13 seconds. Despite the platform being geared towards short-form content (relative to something like YouTube), TikTok still tends to reward content that keeps people watching.
Videos that are at least 13 seconds long show up on the For You page more often than really short videos, so you should make sure that your content goes over the threshold. The exception to this are memes or funny clips that are highly rewatchable, since viewers tend to play those over and over again.
Remind people to like and follow
Don’t leave your viewers hanging at the end of your videos. Remind them to like and follow your account for more. This tip doesn’t apply solely to TikTok, but doing this is especially helpful on this platform since it lets people know that you have more similar content on your profile and this wasn’t just a one-off.
Address your viewers
Another great way to increase engagement is addressing your viewers directly. Ask them to share their experiences or leave their thoughts in the comments section. Getting comments will let the TikTok algorithm know that people enjoy and resonate with your content.
After you post your TikTok, you should do your best to reply to these comments and engage with your audience in the comments section as well. People like it when they can communicate with their favorite content creators directly and it makes them much more likely to follow you and check out your other TikToks.
Make good use of hashtags
While hashtags aren’t as big of a deal on TikTok as they are on Twitter, they still play an important role in helping viewers discover your videos. Hashtags also help the TikTok algorithm figure out what the content of your videos is so it knows which people to show it to.
Always do some research to figure out what the relevant/popular hashtags are for your niche and make sure to tag your videos accordingly. Refrain from using misleading hashtags or adding too many of them. TikTok will quickly figure out what you’re doing and categorize your videos as low effort or shadowban you for spamming.
We hope you found these tips helpful. We wish you good luck on your TikTok journey and remember: if you need help, there are plenty of free, online video editing tools that will make your TikToks stand out!