TikTok Newsletter 53

🏃‍♀️ How to start and maintain a successful TikTok account


This is Understanding TikTok – your weekly TikTok newsletter. My name is Marcus. I wrote an article on TikTok for journalists 🗞️ Read it here. It is in german. Or check out my list of german speaking media accounts on the platform here. If you have seen more or want to add yourself, please write a short mail.

TikTok is the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide 🥇, followed by Facebook in July, according to Sensor Tower. Just in case you missed the news. And yes: TikTok was the world's most downloaded app in 2020 too (BBC). TikTok is so important now that you need it for a healthy relationship 🍇. At least that is what AOC’s boyfriend says.

This week we talk about:

How to start and maintain a successful TikTok account
🐺 TikTok Stories
🚨 Attention And Ads
🦧 More

🏃‍♀️ How to start and maintain a successful TikTok account

21-year-old Khaby Lame just cracked the 100 Million followers on TikTok. It took him 17 months. How did he make it happen? Well TikTok has produced a video for you. The answer: “Keep it simple.” 🙃 Insert a bright Khaby shruggie smile here.

In case you are looking for a bit more may i point you to Brendan Gahan. He is a Partner & Chief Social Officer at mekanism, an independent ad agency but more importantly here is that he has started and grown a TikTok account too. It took him a year to gain 90K+ followers and 1,3M Likes. Not bad. Even better, Brendan has shared some advice in a Twitter thread. Unroll!

His tips are straight to the point and easy to adapt. How to find a niche? Well, Just make a list with three columns, and ask yourself three questions: What am I knowledgeable about? What do I enjoy talking about? What could I consistently create?

Brendan says: Really think critically about what you can create consistently. If it is not sustainable YOU WILL FAIL. Oh and just that you know. Brendan has a “Keep It Simple” (, Stupid) in his list of advices too. Seems to be important. 💋

🐺 TikTok Stories

TikTok confirms pilot test of TikTok Stories is now underway (Techcrunch). Matt Navara broke the news on Twitter. Quote: Plot twist! 

The new feature, simply called “TikTok Stories,” appears to work similarly to other stories functions on apps like Instagram or Snapchat. Stories live in a newly added slide-over sidebar, where you’ll be able to see stories posted by accounts that you follow on TikTok for 24 hours before they’re automatically deleted. Other users will be able to react and comment on your story, too. And just like on Instagram and other platforms, you’ll also be able to tap on a user’s profile picture to load a story (The Verge).

Interestingly, news that TikTok is testing a vanishing videos feature came in the same week as Twitter retired its own temporary posts format "Fleets". The rest remains to be seen. Sophia Smith Galer: my hot take is that this will do really well, but risk for those clinging to IG is that if it *does* do well, our tiktok followers won’t care about being our IG followers too so much anymore because they won’t be missing out on our ephemeral 24hr content...

🚨 Attention And Ads

Last week, people were very confused about a TikTok advertisement that appeared to be from Amazon. Writes Rebecca Jennings for Vox. In fact it was not by Amazon. It was a mistake on TikTok’s side. It was totally crazy. But pretty good at the same time. It got a lot of attention. And this is what you want, right?!

Therefore: The White House has teamed up with TikTok stars to fight vaccine lies (New York Times). Apple has partnered with musician Olivia Rodrigo (9to5mac). And Emmanuel Macron wore a T-Shirt – with an owl.

Amongst others the video-sharing platform is heavily influencing fashion retail (‘TikTok made me buy it’). To understand more about the entire marketing and ad part of TikTok i joined a 6 sessions webinar by OMR where Adil Sbai, CEO of weCreate shared a bunch of insights yesterday. I will write about some learnings later. For now i recommend an AdAge article: Everything you need to know about TikTok advertising. In fact it is not all, but a good starting point.

🦧 More

🍯 Frozen Honey – There were some videos on TikTok recommending it. Well, it not a hundred percent healthy. Who would have thought?! (New York Times)

👵🏽 TikTok and the shared experience of remembering. We were so young. (Gawker)

🦨 TikTok Smells Like Gen X Spirit. Nevermind. (Wired)

🇺🇸 Press Secretary Jen Psaki made a cameo in a comedian's TikTok about being a 'Gen Z intern' at the White House. Haha. (Insider)

🤜 TikTok dance creators are fighting for the copyrights to their work (Dazed)

🔊 VinylTok – another niche. I like. (Wired)

🖤 German politician Philipp Amthor & TikTok (Business Insider)

🎨 TikTok as a New Player in the Contemporary Arts Market (PDF)

🏳️‍🌈 How TikTok became a haven for queer and questioning kids (Vox)

👖 How TikTok Helped Hedi Slimane Kill the Skinny Jean (GQ) Well.


I guess this will be the very last newsletter according to the time traveller mentioned here. So let us end the world with probably the worst TikTok video i have ever seen. Good luck 👽