As I think we are all aware at this point, TikTok has become a giant (in a very short time I must add) for many creators and small businesses. But what makes for a successful TikTok channel and does it make sense for your company to try to grow this channel?
We began our TikTok Journey back in February of 2021 and have achieved just over 700k followers to date. When we started, I do not think we expected this rapid growth considering the growth % we had seen on our other channels previously (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) But when we saw the evolution of “no-name” creators and other small businesses that are now superstars in the TikTok world, we figured why not us?
Our First Viral Video
In the beginning, we were putting out simple content that had been posted on other channels or attempting TikTok trends or challenges. A lot of humor-oriented posts you could say. We were new and testing the waters. No crazy success, until about a month when we posted a video on a product we had included in a box – the GTFO Wrist Strap (I’ll let you decipher the meaning). An EXTREMELY simple product that was meant to function as a glass breaker and handcuff key to get you out of potentially sticky situations. We never expected this product and video to blow up the way it did – but hey, we are not complaining.
That was the moment we saw the potential for our own TikTok Channel. We had never experienced over a million views on a post across any social media channel.
From then on, we became hyper-content-focused (and we were already) but seeing this video blow up made our mouths water a bit more. We hired an internal video editor (through our friends at Go2) so Brandon Currin (the face of our brand and a rockstar I should add) could pump out as much content as possible and not spend hours on end editing the content himself. This also gave us the ability to create a backlog of content so we could post more frequently.
What We’ve Learned
This one took some time and we still have not 100% cracked the code. Sometimes we would post a video that we thought would go viral and crapped the bed. And, vice versa. What we have learned is consistency is key. Once we got to the point where we could post once a day, we started to see slight, constant momentum, and every once and a while we would get another video that would go viral. Now, that we are posting more often, we see more of our videos go viral. From those videos, we would see a massive increase in followers, likes, shares, and even the engagement on previous videos would take a big jump.
So what helps push the TikTok Algorithm to make a video go viral?
We did a small test (data was calculated on May 11th).
We took our 15 most viral videos and compared the views, likes, comments, shares, average watch time, and watch through % to 15 random videos we had also posted.
We figured there would be some correlation between one or more of these metrics and if the video went viral or not. There was a slight correlation between likes and avg watch time but still nothing that stood out as that “ah-ha” moment.
We also took a more qualitative approach and compared types of videos as well. For us, water purification, bushcraft (or DIY outdoor contraptions for the city slickers reading this), and unique product tests/reviews have been our top-performing videos thus far. And, the only way we know this is from consistently putting out new content to test. As we have grown, we have noticed channels posting more than once a day, so we replicated that as a part of our strategy. Now, it’s not one video a day, it's multiple – which can be difficult for many brands.
Why try TikTok and other short-form videos?
Living in a post-iOS 14 world has been difficult for most of us, and we are often looking for new channels to explore. TikTok and other forms of organic content have been our saving grace during this period due to the amount of traffic and ultimately conversions we receive. TikTok is now one of our leading sources of organic traffic (about 25%) and usually makes up about 20% of weekly conversions (sometimes more when we have another viral video).
This viral ability of TikTok has also forced other platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to try these short, digestible pieces of content. So, in comes YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. With the success that TikTok has been seeing it only made sense for these platforms to branch into this world, and by doing so, are also boosting these types of posts within their algorithm.
Since starting YT shorts earlier this year, we have gained over 250k subscribers. Keep in mind, we had been sitting at about 50-60k subscribers for a LONG time. Since then, a lot of our success on Youtube has come from the shorts, but as we gain subscribers, our regular, long-form videos are also gaining more momentum.
Whether it’s TikTok, YouTube Shorts, or Instagram reels, your business needs to be testing these “new” video forms (even if that means posting the same piece of content to each channel - we do this fairly often). It may take some time, but with the right strategy and engaging content, it’s more possible than ever for your social channels to see monumental growth.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But, just as we did, you have to start somewhere. With TikTok’s viral abilities; it only takes one. Content is king, and people cannot get enough of it.
This probably should have been added to the very top, but NONE of this would have been possible without Brandon Currin (the face of our brand – also known as Currin1776). As our in-house outdoor expert, he is the one creating the majority of our video content. A genuine, great guy with a big personality and a true expert in the outdoors – a few of the many reasons our customers and followers love our brand so much. Having a talent like Currin as the face of the company has brought us so far and I am excited to see what the future holds for the BattlBox team.
Our next goal: Reach a million followers/subscribers on TikTok and YouTube.