I wasn't an early adopter on TikTok. If you're looking for an expert, that's not me.
I only just published my first video 2 months ago (February 2021) and have only published 22 videos all time.
Honestly, my first videos were flopping so bad I was pretty sure I'd been shadow banned and didn't have a chance of ever really getting enough views to be worth the time and effort.
I was ready to delete the app and fall back on my initial opinion that TikTok was for teens and not 30+ year olds like me who were looking to use it to build businesses.
However, I'm glad I held on because last week I created a TikTok that went viral (nearly 2 million views as I'm writing this) and drove a bunch of traffic to my website!
In this post, I'm going to show you what I did and why it worked and what I've learned about how to go viral on TikTok.
Like I said, I'm far from an expert and I won't be able to crank out viral videos every single time I post, but looking at this video in hindsight gives me a lot of valuable insights worth sharing.
Hopefully, you can use some of what I learned in your own videos.
Here's the video that went viral.
60 seconds was too short but this is too cool not to try to share #stepbystep #design #calligraphy♬ original sound - Nate McCallister
Obviously, be sure to go follow me 🙂
Inside the Numbers
Here's how the video performed.
Unfortunately, I only have "vanity" metrics to show for now.
There are no sales or leads because I wasn't selling anything or sending traffic to my website (more on that shortly).
I know the common question is "but did it lead to customers?" I can't say that it did or didn't. However, I can confidently say that it will if I can continue to drive anything near the engagement of this viral video.
How I Decided on the Topic
As I was doing yard work a few weeks ago, I listened to some YouTube videos from a guy named Robert Benjamin who focuses almost entirely on creating TikTok related trainings (check out his YouTube channel here).
In several videos, he stressed the importance of making videos based on what was trending.
TikTok rewards creators who focus on what is working at the moment and they make it pretty easy for us to see what is doing well from inside the app. No fancy 3rd party software required.
Just click on the "Discover" icon inside the app.
So, I scrolled down the trending now page of the app and noticed one that I felt I could do really well: #stepbystep.
I've made a lot of step by step style blog posts and YouTube videos over the years and decided I should just recreate one of my favorites.
I decided to turn this blog post: How to Quickly Turn Your Own Handwriting into a Font into a TikTok.
How I Made the Video
I shot the video through a combination of my iPhone's front camera and the built in screen recording feature on the iPhone.
I only left a small bit of original audio from the video inside (the sound of the printer) and the rest was added as a voice over after filming directly inside of TikTok. The voiceover was the only part that I actually edited inside of TikTok itself.
The video was originally 5 minutes long so I had to do a ton of cutting and speeding up certain frames to fit inside the 60 second window.
Text overlays were added to better break up the steps and make the process easier to follow.
The app I used for adding the text overlays and all other editing is called InShot and it's available for both iOS and Android.
From beginning to end it took me about 90 minutes to make.
Why [I Believe] This Video Worked
Now, I won't be able to emulate these sorts of viral videos on command, but in hindsight, I can see why this one ended up working.
#1 The Concept Was Interesting
Many people commented that they had done this already but hundreds commented about how cool of an idea it was and how they couldn't wait to try it themselves.
#2 The Concept Wasn't Too Niche
The video targeted creative people who like interesting design ideas. Although a small fraction of them will really be people who fit into my more narrow "dream customer" avatar, I'll take it.
#3 The Nature of the Video Merited Rewatching
Like I mentioned already, this was a 5 minute video compressed into 60 seconds. There is no possible way that you could follow along in real time and complete the process with me.
So, anyone who wanted to use this video as a real time guide through the process would need to watch multiple times and/or pause often.
My guess is that this video had a massive replay rate and the average viewer watched it many more times than the average video.
This is why I'll be focusing a lot more on these sorts of #stepbystep videos in the future.
#4 The Hook Made the Concept Clear
The first frames of the TikTok showed me typing using my own handwriting. People got to see the end result and I also typed the name of the video with the font. Double whammy!
One Thing I'll Do Differently Next Time
It stinks that I couldn't add my link to the article in my bio before publishing the video. Because I couldn't do that, I didn't add a call to action saying, "be sure to check the link in my bio for a more thorough walkthrough on my blog."
Now that I can add URLs in my profile, I'll be sure to...
#1 Update my profile with most recent link
#2 I'll use a ClickMagick tracking link so I can see which clicks come from TikTok
#3 Remind viewers that the link is in the bio
I'm super excited to do this in my next video and this should give me a much better idea of whether or not my videos are driving blog visitors and conversions or not.
The Impact on My Blog
After publishing the video, the article that the video was based on climbed in Google SERPs. I also started showing up for new, similar search terms.
This is why I was most excited. If I could use social signals from TikTok to boost my blog posts, I could really see some fast growth on my most important pages.
My theory though is this...
- People were interested in the concept but the video was so short it was hard to follow.
- Many decided to head to Google and search for "How to turn your handwriting into a font" or something similar.
- They saw different blog posts but several recognized my "entreresource" name because it matched my TikTok handle.
- Naturally, they click on that one.
- My CTR got an unfair boost as a result.
- My page ranks climbed
Keep in mind that I didn't even have my link in my TikTok profile until about half way through the peak of the virality of the video. This spike in ranking started before I even added it.