Seven TikTok Tips to Fertilize Your Account
Updated: Sep 22
As I said in my last blog - I haven't reached my goals on TikTok, so I'm not an expert yet. But, alas, this article is free, so here you go. It would help if you learned from my mistakes - I've made them and am willing to share my experience.
So, here's the skinny on how to avoid the big TikTok mistakes that slow your account growth. I'm a scientist, so my life's about collecting and analyzing data. I can't help the nerd that I am. Below is my account if you wish to follow, but read through my TikTok tips first:
1. Don't Delete Things
A. Videos: this is a huge no. Don't delete any video you posted, ever. TikTok doesn't like it and will punish you for it with a nice little shadow ban. You're probably okay if you delete one video, but maybe not. So, try to avoid it. If you accidentally post a video from drafts - make it private and move on.
B. Comments: don't delete comments made by you or others. I've watched my video's activity directly die after deleting a response comment because of a typo. Not just once, but every time I did it. Again, I haven't formally analyzed this data, but I've seen the trend, so don't do it. So, I leave my typos and will post a new comment with the correction.
2. Choose the Right Friends
Only interact with TikTokers who genuinely and continually engage with your content. I covered this in my How to Build a TikTok Account blog, but I'll repeat it. Your number of followers only matters to draw advertisers to hire you, but that won't happen until you get over a million followers. Your follow-for-follow strategy to build your numbers will only get you to 10K - but it's 10K of people who will likely kill your Watched Full Video %, which kills your algorithm. Yes, you will be eligible for the creator fund, but you won't make any money, as your engagement and views will be shallow because you haven't found your audience. Without the algorithm favoring you, your account dies. You want only people who enjoy your content to follow you - not thirsty people using you for a follow and a comment exchange.
Don't exchange engagement with people who leave only emoji comments. They are most likely not watching your video and just popping in, throwing the emojis on a comment, and bouncing in hopes you'll return the favor and like/comment on their last video. How do I know this? When I'm being shadowbanned, which has happened a few times, I rely upon my viewed profile % - which means it's 'friends' who are going to my profile to view my videos via a comment I left on their video. My Watched Full Video % goes down drastically when my viewed via personal profile % is higher than FYP%, my Watched Full Video % goes drastically down. I mean, it's drastic. This is strong evidence that the people who come to my profile directly are not watching my video. I have seen a video bottom out to a mere 4% of the people who watched my full video, and it was ~ 6 seconds watched on average on a 30-second video when my usual is above 50% on both fronts. These low percentages happened before I ditched some of the account-killing 'friends' who were murdering my algorithm. More must go, but I'll figure those out in time.
Don't remain TikTok friends with people who post content about their follower numbers. First - their content is overall negative and not engaging. It's not something you want to view each day. Our lives are brief on this Earth, so spend it being happy and positive. Some of their content could be threatening, like if you don't comment, I'll unfollow you, etc. They aren't your audience. They're not watching your videos. I promise, and they're 99.99% likely to hurt your account. If someone is on a comment ban, that means they are commenting too fast and not watching full videos. Many of these types of people even shamelessly leave the @ on their comments, so we know they are pasting the comment at a rapid rate and killing your watched full video%. Avoid them. Ignore these people, so they go away.
3. Use the TikTok App to Create
I have heard from other creators that the most recent algorithm change in March of 2022 revealed that TikTok no longer wants you to post uploaded content or reposts of old videos. Since this update, I've seen prominent creators post old videos, and they flop. So, no more cap-cut, no more editing outside of the app. Use their tools. There are many great things about the TikTok app, so you shouldn't have to use anything else.
4. Don't Block People
I must admit that I stopped blocking people who irritated me because each time I blocked someone, my views would drop from what they had been on previous videos. I haven't blocked someone in quite a while, but from casual observations, it's not worth even the possibility of a ding to your algorithm. Yes, there are haters. So? Do you know them? No. So who cares what they say. You should see some of the hateful things left on my posts. I shake my head and move on. They are miserable people, so let them be miserable. I like to think that they return to the thread, expecting to find they have launched a keyboard war with me - but they get nothing from me. This must make them furious, but it makes me smile.
If they are physically threatening you - report them, maybe even call the police and file a report. It's worth blocking them in this scenario, as your safety is first.
5. Don't Unfollow
TikTok is always looking for behaviors that align with people paid to give likes, comments, shares. They will sniff you out if you pay someone to boost your account, so never do this. It's not going to get you anything in the long run besides looking like a fool with 100K followers and no engagement. It's so apparent what you've done that it is laughable. I know at an instant when I see one of these accounts. Can they trick others into following them because they 'look like a big creator?' Sure, you'll trick some newbies into following you, but what have I said about finding your audience? You will not be successful unless you do that the correct way. Period.
So the paid-for engagement accounts need to grow for credibility, so they will follow the follow trains rapidly (behavior #1 TikTok will ding you for) and then unfollow so they can follow more to get more than 10K followers. Then, they use these 'bot' accounts to give comments, likes, and shares for a service fee, which is behavior #2 that TikTok is searching for - don't make too many quick comments or likes at any given time, or you'll land in, well, I'll tell you in #7 below.
Therefore, don't follow and then unfollow accounts. You just can't. A creator told me long ago to remove the banned accounts from your followed list, so I followed the steps to do it. Then, I was dinged by TikTok, and they said I couldn't unfollow beyond like a couple of them- so TikTok had noticed I was doing that. But they need to fix that - you should be able to unfollow permanently banned accounts without penalty. Whatever. Just leave your followed accounts alone.
6. Follow all of TikTok's Guidelines
For the love of everything, follow the guidelines. Life isn't fair. You will see people getting away with foul language, overtly sexual content, blatant copyright violations, or dangerous acts.
My example of account troubles: I'm on a warning right now, and I only post G- PG fiction with no inappropriate content and only nice, supportive comments. I have never once hated on anyone. It's not my style. I'm even nice to my haters - or I ignore them altogether. But the first violation that I received in March of 2022 and lost the appeal for only seconds after I filed it (so it was an AI review) was from saying 'ew' in a comment when someone said they drank out of a water hose daily, which was part of the joke of the comedy video. My comment had laughing emojis with it, so I was joking/laughing about it with them, But TikTok considered it being mean because of the word - yes, the word ew flagged the TikTok police. A TikTok friend told me she got the same type of 'ew' violation, so it's a thing. So, don't say 'ew' no matter what - even on a pimple-popping video which deserves it - and don't use the vomit emoji, cat emoji, say the word 'yummy,' oh, there are so many I've heard of when people are talking about it. . Maybe I'll collect a list of the ridiculous things that will get you flagged and get a violation for and that you won't win the appeal.
Then, two weeks later, one of my fictional comedy virus videos got a violation for the virus going into the sun because UV would harm a virus. It was comedy. It was a virus. The AI gave me this violation - so when a human reviewed it, I won the appeal after having a terrible night stressing about it. They said the violation was removed - but it wasn't.
The saga continues: the two violations I discussed above (the comment and video that won the appeal) caused my account to receive a 'multiple violations' restriction 3 days after I won that UV virus video appeal. What? Is? Happening? They removed my photo and locked my profile for 24 hours.
So, read the guidelines and even review what crazy things they will flag you for under those guidelines. Then, they will swiftly ban your account without warning - it happens to people with huge followings - nobody is safe.
7. Don't get into TikTok Jail for non CV crimes
If TikTok suspends your right to comment either on others' videos or your responses, this harms your algorithm. So it only makes sense - TikTok has flagged you for this because it is behavior that aligns with a paid-for comment/like/share account, which they seek to banish from their app.
So don't spam like (you'll likely get banned from people) or spam comment, or they will notice and put you on a temporary hold. If you are commenting on other people's videos, watch their video until the end - it will make you wait between comments and you won't get banned. That's simple.
UPDATE - SEPTEMBER, 2023
Whereas this is all good information above, I felt the need to update you on why I have abandoned the platform. I was up to about 196K - I'm now at 186K after leaving the account alone. I read someone else's blog on how your account is reviewed when it approaches 200K followers. This might be a rumor, but it did happen to me, so I am forced to believe some truth exists. Supposedly, they decide whether they- live humans or AI algorithms - want you to continue to grow on their platform. I suppose since I had comedy videos about a virus, they might not have liked it, even though my videos were going viral continuously. It's all I can guess that happened. Well, overnight, I went from a 157K average of views to barely hitting 1K views. I wouldn't care but I also went from making ~ 1100 per month to nearly nothing. That's what matters. My growth ceased, and then, they began to remove almost exactly 30 followers per day. Some of these were my friends who mentioned that they didn't unfollow me, so they had to refollow me when they realized I wasn't showing up on their feeds anymore. I went from ~ 1-3 K daily growth to minus 30 overnight. This was April of 2022. I held on since I had a book release coming up in August and the whole point of growing the account for the year and a half was to find my audience who might also like my books. Since they shadowbanned me and stole my growth, my book trailer took over a year to reach 1K views. Mind you - on my account that had an average of 157K per video with highs hitting ~ 2 million and the low never going under 10K. So, I'm done with them. I've tested it again recently to see if I was still banned and yep, they are done with me. I've looked at my friends' accounts who have reached over 200K and they, sadly, aren't getting much more views than me nowadays and have barely grown in followers since I left in August of 2022. That's probably why I'm seeing them on other platforms now.
Therefore, I advise highly against wasting time on the TT platform, but if you're just doing it for fun and not to actually earn money from it or use it to promote your business, go for it.