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In the dynamic world of social media, TikTok has emerged as a powerhouse platform, captivating millions with its short-form videos and vibrant community. For content creators looking to make their mark on TikTok and promote their brands organically, understanding the platform’s algorithm is essential. Here’s a comprehensive guide to mastering the TikTok algorithm and positioning your content for success.

Understanding the TikTok Algorithm

TikTok’s algorithm is driven by a combination of user interactions and content factors. Here’s a breakdown of its key components:

  1. Engagement Metrics: The algorithm prioritizes content based on user engagement, including likes, comments, shares, and watch time. The more engagement your content receives, the more likely it is to be shown to a broader audience.
  2. User Preferences: TikTok analyzes user preferences based on past interactions with content. It will show similar content on a user’s For You Page (FYP) if it aligns with their interests and engagement history.
  3. Video Information: Various aspects of the video, such as captions, hashtags, sounds, and effects, are analyzed by the algorithm. Using trending hashtags, popular sounds, and relevant captions can improve the discoverability of your content.
  4. Consistency: Posting high-quality content consistently signals to the algorithm that you are a reliable creator worth promoting. Establishing a posting schedule and sticking to it can enhance your visibility on the platform.
  5. Trend Participation: Participating in TikTok trends and challenges can boost your visibility, as these are often featured on the platform’s Discovery page. However, adding your unique spin to trends is crucial to stand out.
  6. Engagement with Audience: Engaging with your audience by responding to comments, interacting with other creators, and fostering a sense of community can increase your visibility on TikTok.
  7. Cross-Promotion: Promoting your TikTok content on other social media platforms can drive traffic to your videos and increase engagement, thereby boosting your visibility on TikTok.

Strategies for Content Creators

Now that you understand how the TikTok algorithm works, here are some strategies to crack it and promote your brand organically:

  1. Create High-Quality Content: Focus on creating engaging, entertaining, and authentic content that resonates with your target audience.
  2. Research Trends: Stay updated on TikTok trends and challenges, and leverage them to create content that aligns with your brand.
  3. Optimize Video Information: Use relevant hashtags, captions, sounds, and effects to increase the discoverability of your content.
  4. Engage Consistently: Interact with your audience regularly by responding to comments, engaging with other creators, and fostering a sense of community.
  5. Experiment and Adapt: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content and strategies. Analyze your performance metrics and adjust your approach accordingly.
  6. Stay Authentic: Stay true to your brand identity and personality. Authenticity resonates with audiences and can help build a loyal following over time.

By implementing these strategies and understanding how the TikTok algorithm works, content creators can improve their chances of success on the platform and effectively promote their brands in an organic manner. Embrace creativity, stay consistent, and engage with your audience to unlock the full potential of TikTok as a marketing tool.

Case Studies: Applying the strategies in real life scenarios

Case Study 1: Sandton SDA Church (See @SandtonSDA)
Brand Categories: Religion, Church, Adventism, Christianity
15-Day Campaign
Dates: 19 August – 2 September 2023

The Science

Through our social media listening tools and research, we have discovered that Charismatic Churches are using TikTok more as a tool to draw the younger audience to their churches.

They do this through a means of short video fillers not over one minute and 30 seconds. They make use of catches parts of a sermon to draw attention of the users to listen and engage on the content. Some content is controversial topics that the body of Christ grabbles with.

TikTok being a very youthful platform, it uses dynamic new media in video format. We are currently using it to share short clips from our weekly Sabbath Worship Experience services.

Numbers don’t lie

Before the start of our campaign on TikTok, we were sitting on 131 followers with 306 likes, 15 comments, and 5 002 video views.

Through a 15-day social media campaign (19 August – 2 September), we managed to reach 7k followers, 731k video views, 10k profile views, 31k likes and 1,6k comments.

Today (3 March 2024), Sandton SDA is sitting on 35.3k+ followers with over 169.2k likes.

Content Repurposing

Repurposing content (also known as “content recycling”) is the practice of reusing all or elements of existing content in order to expand that content’s reach. Repurposed content is typically transformed into a new format (for example, turning a blog post into an infographic).

We used an earlier video by Dr Papu to test content repurposing. It worked for us and brought us numbers.

Acknowledging Communities

Pastor Simankane during his preaching on 26 August, acknowledged members of the online community. We created a short video of the acknowledgement. It reached over nine thousand people with lots of engagement.

We also created videos asking visitors about parts of the worship experience they enjoyed the most. This gave us more engagement on our TikTok page.

Case Study 2: Thabang Phala (See @ThabangTalks)
Brand Categories: Leadership, Business, Music, History
Duration: 15-Day Campaign
Dates: 14 – 28 February 2024

The Science

As a way to test the markets on which content would be relevant for audience following the page, we started with content on leadership by Mpho Makwana (former Chairman of Eskom and Nedbank). Courtesy of Sandton SDA YouTube video posted in January, the team broke down the video clips into small bites that would most likely appeal to the targeted audience. They published these clips on a daily basis and allowed 16-hour intervals in-between posts. This allowed traffic to flow to the account and also gave audience enough time to engage on the content.

The colour grading used was similar across all videos posted. There was a use of similar thumbnails with a little bit of change in positioning on the video frames. What was also instrumental to the success of the video engagement was the usage of the same hashtags across all videos. These included #SAMA28 #Business #Leadership #African #ForYou #FYP #ForYouPage. By making use of #MphoMakwana hashtag from the second video posted, it allowed people to have it easy to access more content from Mpho Makwana.

Numbers don’t lie

Through a 15-day TikTok campaign, we managed to accumulate the following numbers:

  • 4.7k New Followers
  • 371k Video Views
  • 7.2k Profile Views
  • 14k New Likes

Today (3 March 2024), Thabang Phala is sitting on 5.3k+ followers with over 20.7k likes.

Content Repurposing

The video we used was recorded during the launch of the Sandton Church’s Business Forum in September 2022. It was a keynote address by Mpho Makwana. The video was officially published on the Sandton SDA Church’s YouTube channel in January 2024.

Engaged Users Creates Loyal Community

What was also key to more engagement on the videos was the conversations that were sparked in the video. The disagreements led the discussions and we facilitated all the engagement to go in a direction of talking more.

This practice led to more people asking for more content and reaching out in the DMs to thank us for the great content they have been yearning for. They were also introduced to Mpho Makwana for the first time – a wonderful discovery they made.

Today, we have don’t just have followers, we have a loyal community of critical thinkers and solution-orientated people in South Africa.

Thabang Phala

Thabang Phala, popularly known as Abuti Rams is South African entrepreneur, business consultant, brand strategist, facilitator, thought leader, award-winning development practitioner and host of Abuti Rams Show – an online African business show on Athari Media.


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