Things I learned about going viral on TikTok

UPDATE after publishing: the video that went viral was pulled on July 17 for violation of community guidelines. 🤷‍♀️

***

This is a bit of a strange post because I’m going to switch it up a little and talk about the increasingly popular social media app TikTok.

Resistance is futile

Let me start by saying that I resisted this app for a long time. My kids use it, which is how I learned about it, but they are solely consumers. They don’t post any videos and keep their accounts private.

What is TikTok?

I originally thought TikTok was about dance moves. There is that, but there is a lot of other stuff too. And, surprisingly, a lot of it is educational.

  • historical events
  • nifty old movies that came to life showing major cities in the world from 150 years ago
  • astronomical/space related discoveries
  • weather/storm events including tornado or tsunami destruction
  • lots and lots of nature or animal behaviour (most of it cute and funny, some of it will make you cry and possibly take action)
  • art and art history
  • abandoned or haunted buildings, hospitals or castles
  • tourism
  • parenting or relationship humour (husband/wife stuff, kid-related stuff)
  • writer/artist promotions, hacks, tips and tricks
  • relationship advice both good and cringe-worthy
  • and again, dance and music clips

Plus so much more! If you’re into shows like Pimple Popper, beware. There is a LOT of that on TikTok (with the hashtag #satisfying attached…) Also a lot of celebrity or royalty clips which gets annoying after a while. (Skip over it to stop the algorithm picking it up as an interest of yours.)

How I started

When I first started posting, I was lukewarm about the experience. How should I start? Did I really want to tape myself doing fitness routines? Do I have to film myself? I had a lot of questions.

After a while, I stopped researching and just started doing my own thing. I didn’t care about followers, I cared about how to promote existing income streams and create new ones. TikTok seemed to have endless possibilities, so I simply started doing whatever popped into my head at the time.

The first thing I learned was that tarot card reading is huge on TikTok.

The next thing I learned was there are a lot of stupid things on TikTok. 😛

This of course didn’t surprise me; why would TikTok be any different from the other social apps?

Comparing TikTok to other social media

I learned, from facebook and instagram, as well as twitter, that the experience with social media is what you make of it. If you find yourself complaining about, say, facebook, ask yourself why you’re complaining. Clearly, it’s the content (or the commentary on the content) you dislike.

Where does the content you follow come from? From the people you follow who post the content, that’s where.

Here’s a tip: mute or unfollow people who annoy you. This is easy to do on social media, so go ahead, hit that mute button. Or, if you’re really uncomfortable or pissed-off, click unfollow. I promise the sky won’t fall. People are generally mostly self-absorbed and probably won’t even notice.

But back to TikTok.

The Wasp video that went viral

One day, my mom and I accidentally discovered a huge wasp nest right beside the front door. Typically there is a hanging basket of flowers in that location but this year, there isn’t. We never looked up since there wasn’t any hanging pot to water up there, so we missed it when it was built.

But then we saw the swarms of wasps when we opened the door. We knew from experience the larger the nest got the more aggressively the wasps will protect their nest.

Wasps, also known as Yellow Jackets, are pesky scavenger hunters. Unlike bees, who typically leave you alone if you don’t bother them, wasps will come after you if your scent attracts them (perfume, lotion, shampoo, food or drink in hand, etc). And their stings cause pain and swelling even in people who are not allergic to them.

We can’t have a wasp nest at the front door, is what I’m saying.

But how do you remove it when it’s alive and swarmed?

In Canada, they have sprays which are designed to kill the hive and everything in it.

For my mom and I, this is not our go-to choice. We prefer not to kill wildlife of any kind, but we do make exceptions with wasps and mice. Like wasps, we do not want mice in the house either, so we put up traps. 🤷‍♀️

Wasp hives this close to a door simply cannot stay. If the wasps had built the nest over by a pine tree far away from doors and windows, we would have left it intact.

Since I don’t know how to remove a wasp nest safely or where to transport it while keeping it alive, the insecticide spray came out. (Sigh.)

On a whim, I filmed the after effects and posted it in three different parts on my TikTok page. It must be said that each video made me feel bad. I even went so far and called myself a serial baby wasp killer. (The video was later flagged and I removed it on July 17 in order to conform to community guidelines. I don’t understand what the violation was, except that the German community was outraged because in Germany, you cannot spray a wasps nest, you have to hire an exterminator and have it removed professionally in order to protect the insects. The spray I used in Canada is legal and widely available for sale in stores…but I removed the video in order to remain compliant.)

This is where the viral thing comes in.

It was the first video of the wasps nest (not any of my previous videos on other, unrelated topics) that went viral. At the time of typing this post, the number of views was 209.1k (and growing). 😳 (An hour ago it was 189k… it’s Saturday as I type this and the views are increasing exponentially.)

What’s more, there are currently 1044 likes, 44 comments, 7 shares and 64 people added it as a favorite.

Mind-boggling.

The cautions and warnings on TikTok

This morning, I noticed a caution had appeared at the bottom of the screen. That wasn’t there last night..

Participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt.

TikTok management

They are not wrong. I understand why the caution is there. (How many people drank bleach when they heard President Trump suggest it as a cure for covid-19?)

But the caution seems quite arbitrary. I tried to think about all the crazy clips of people jumping off cliffs into lakes or rivers, or balancing themselves on balcony railings with drinks in hand, or throwing unsuspecting people into pools, or doing any number of other stupid shit which do not result in cautionary warnings. I recall a guy with a camera on his helmet mountain-biking along a narrow road of a mountain in some obscure country without a fence to protect from falling and it had no caution…

So what does this viral business mean?

Am I an influencer now because of one little clip in which I describe myself as an insect killer?

I was completely perplexed by this turn of events.

But that’s not all.

Affiliate links

The day before I saw the caution on my viral video, I noticed a small Flamingo appear on the top of my profile and on all the videos I posted.

I clicked it and it looks like an affiliate link.

So, if you wish to sign up for TikTok and use my affiliate link, we both get a gift card. 🙂 From July 14 to 21 we both get a $15 gift card and you get a TikTok account and are asked to fill in a survey. (expires on July 21, 2022 and it says ‘up to’ $15)

Claudette’s Tiktok affiliate link: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMNmprF3p/

This is my profile if you want to look around first: https://www.tiktok.com/@writerofwordsetc?lang=en

Note: I read a lot of tarot for the relationship challenged, the heartbroken, etc. This is by request and another thing that completely flabbergasted me about this app. If you scroll around my profile you’ll see some other, non-tarot or relationship related content.

If you’re really interested in TikTok and you use my affiliate link, I will be forever thankful to you. ❤

Back to the viral video.

The fact that the wasp video went completely over-the-top viral was a first for me. The subsequent videos got a lot of views but not nearly anything like that first one.

Hashtags on TikTok

Because of this viral thing, I looked deeper into the hashtags. The number of views are in the millions and billions. It’s quite insane. Take a look at this list:

  • #book 10.0B
  • #booktok 63.8B
  • #books 19.0B
  • #writer 2.1B
  • #writertok 1.4B
  • #writersoftiktok 538.9M
  • #writers 207.8M
  • #author 1.2B
  • #authorsoftiktok 1.0B
  • #authortok 808.8M
  • #authorlife 77.8M
  • #authors 57.0M
  • #blog 1.9B
  • #blogger 3.8B

You get the idea. The views numbers, which given the type of app it is, are almost beyond comprehension. I mean, the shorter the clips, the more likely you have success in terms of getting people to look at your content. (The longer the clip the less likely they will watch to the end. I have stats on this comment but will leave that for another post.)

My personal hashtags

Out of curiosity I looked at my own, self-created hashtags to see what the numbers are like. Keep in mind I’ve only had TikTok for a few months.

  • #writerofwordsetc 7895
  • #ClaudetteTarot 22.2K

Fascinating.

Also, it means people don’t click your blog if you have a link in your profile. TikTokers are interested in staying in the app, not travel around, unless they follow you, in which case they may very well go seek out more about you on the internet (in my experience).

I only have 155 followers

but over 200,000 views on one video

and over 22,000 views on my tarot hashtag.

Anyway, my original intent loading TikTok to my phone was to consume content, mostly for inspiration, education, and, yes I admit it, kill time at times (aka procrastination). 😀

How things have changed… I now have a business strategy percolating.

Some more observations about TikTok

Tarot and relationships

The tarot side of things has been a lot of fun, and I do a combination of Canva-created slide shows and video-taping myself, but that comes and goes in terms of popularity. With the tarot, the big following comes from people with interest in relationships and dating. Big topics are heartbreak and ghosting. (surprise…)

Income streams

Now that I have learned of the vast opportunities that TikTok provides, I may switch it up a little, in particular with book promotion. The intent, after all, is to supplement income streams, so why not use these apps for that purpose?

Thank you for sticking with me on this long post. Are you still here? If you are, thanks for reading!!

One final note:

New ebooks on Amazon

Speaking of which, I have published another book on Amazon.

I am finally getting the hang of Amazon.ca and Amazon.com (I think). Maybe I’m missing a crucial element about how things work, but because I have been alerted by one of my followers that she had trouble discovering one of my books, I have now updated my book tab to include both Canadian and American buy buttons. I hope it helps you.

Thank you again for reading and following me. I hope I was able to provide you with some insights. I appreciate your readership! See you in the comments.

44 thoughts on “Things I learned about going viral on TikTok

  1. My kids love it, I keep trying it but I it just doesn’t stick. I’ll have to read this blog a few more times and maybe give it another try? This is so well written Claudette and extremely helpful for people of my vintage. Thank you. Hugs, C

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well thank you, I appreciate you saying this. I wrote this thing without thinking much, just telling the story… I don’t know. Anyway, I had to delete the app for a few days as it does get somewhat addictive, but I’ll be back. I enjoy some of it enough to want to learn more. 🙂

      Like

  2. I’ve recently been thinking about checking out TikTok because a friend told Tara she thought I’d go a good job with a food-themed one. I like the idea, but I don’t know. I’ll click on your link because I haven’t ever really been on the site before. I associate it with Snapchat, which is geared toward a younger demographic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Someone else mentioned the link doesn’t work (so I’m not getting the promised rewards and neither is the interested party).

      Meanwhile I’m irritated because I saw a video of someone pouring liquid aluminum onto an ants’ nest and they have no caution or violation at all. Seems strange that my video got pulled after spraying a wasp nest over the front door with insecticide, which is legal in Canada. And then, a young Asian boy cooking yellow baby ducks still alive in a pot of water over a fire, also no violation to the guidelines.

      So… Clearly there is no rhyme or reason to TikTok guidelines which doesn’t surprise me but…

      I admit, it has its moments. I find it fascinating enough to stick with for the time being.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The internet is a strange and wonderful thing. I use YouTube strictly to post videos here and have limited views outside of WP, but a while back my old clip of a tiger at the Florida zoo went crazy with over 160,000 hits. How? Why? I have no idea.
    Good luck with Tik Tok, that’s one the rabbit holes I don’t even want to start staring down into.
    🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is very interesting. I’ve avoided TikTok for the very reasons you’ve mentioned, as well as I just didn’t want another thing to have to peruse, keep up with, or create content for. I teach an Ed Tech class, though, and more and more students are mentioning it as a resource, so I told myself I’d check it out, but I haven’t.

    This post may be the thing that makes me actually go see what’s going on over there. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. All social media has that element, some worse than others. Like everything I try, I do with intents of learning until one of two things happens: it turns into something profitable (not just financially but yes, that too) or I get bored and walk away. 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, that’s a whole lot of views! Weird about the caution statement, given how many far more dangerous things I imagine other people are doing on there.

    I briefly tried TikTok last year, and it just didn’t interest me either as something to look at or something to create for. Video just isn’t my thing, which definitely seems to be a disadvantage in terms of putting oneself out there into the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was intimidated by it. There is just so much ability, variety, stuff to do… But I tried it out and do my thing now.

      We shall see how long my interest lasts.

      You can cross-post to IG and Facebook from TikTok I noticed. I’m not a fan of doing that but for business (my jewelry?) It might be a good idea to consider.

      Liked by 1 person

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