Read our new manifesto

TikTok fame within two weeks: a social experiment by a TikTok-addicted Tailifyer

This promoted content is produced by a member of The Drum Network.

The Drum Network is a paid-for membership product which allows agencies to share their news, opinion and insights with The Drum's audience. Find out more on The Drum Network homepage.

Tailify provide a formula for crafting a successful TikTok video.

Essentially, the challenge was how large of an audience could I grow within a two-week timeframe starting from nothing but a basic understanding of the platform and Tailify’s knowhow in gaining social attention.

TL;DR: I was able to get 500k views, with one video blowing up at 344k views. This would otherwise equate to around $8,000 of value in the influencer economy. Keep in mind this was done completely from scratch with close to zero followers within two weeks.

Now let's talk about the process. My initial strategy was to test the waters with three different videos in one go, each replicating a different TikTok trend. One thing to keep in mind in the influencer community is that trends matter. Fortunately, TikTok roughly pumps out a good eight popular trends a month, so plenty to choose from. It’s also important to not to replicate anything that’s already been exhausted and over saturated by creators. Unfortunately, with TikTok’s incredibly large user base, trends become exhausted quickly. The three I explored a few weeks back are likely already underdelivering.

I uploaded three videos on the same day. One tapped into the comedic trend (35.2k views); the next could be described as ’vibey’ (33.9k views), creating a calm, positive and wholesome atmosphere; while the final one was a simple dance – one even I couldn’t mess up... although I think I did (6.3k views).

I was surprised to receive the amount of engagement I did, considering these were my first TikTok videos. This reach shows the power of TikTok over other platforms. No other platform will provide this sort of immediate performance, with Instagram and YouTube only showing content to those in your personal network. As an influencer marketing agency, we have often worked with influencers who have delivered views around 30k-40k for sponsors many times. I wondered: could I be an influencer? Within just four hours of work? Time to test the consistency of these trends.

My next two video uploads – released a few days later – were also successful, but with comparatively less reach. I spent around 40 minutes staging the first video, using props and matching everything to music – something I thought would go down a treat. But the second video – which was recorded as a draft and completed in only one take, that I didn’t even plan on uploading – actually outperformed it.

I burst out laughing half way through a dance because a colleague had spotted me in the office. I uploaded it anyway and it amassed over 100 comments overnight. TikTok’s audience appreciates rawness and realness, rather than than something overproduced – which is where a lot of brands fall short. Influencer content is popular because it’s real and relatable; you can’t get away with uploading effortless content so easily.

My next set of three videos performed worse than my previous sets. I wanted to see how lazy I could get and ride off of the success of my last video. I even repeated the same song and video style as before, with few changes to see if it would perform as well as before. It didn’t do too well. I returned to the drawing board to get more creative.

The key to larger scale TikTok success was not just replicating a trend but putting your creative spin on it. Successful content creation is about considering how easy it would be for your video to be replicated by others. If your video quality is of too high, you would have already surpassed a large majority of people who don’t record with technologically advanced phones.

It’s also worth considering the setting, lighting and location. Most of the comments I received were about how much they loved my location as shown in the picture; something I credit to Tailify’s office space. It clearly impressed many people.

Bearing all this in mind, I set out to make a video that would match my predictions and outperform the others. I had defined the trend to imitate, my creative spin on it and utilized my location and camera quality; and got to work.

Five days after I uploaded it and here are the results. It received 344.7k views and is still growing. I reached over 3,000 followers on TikTok in under two weeks and an extra 370 users on Instagram. This shows that strategy can predict success; TikTok is a platform to be reckoned with. No other platform would have given me this much engagement with this level of minimal effort.

The experiment was a reminder of the importance of strategic leadership in campaign creation. At Tailify, we have a team constantly tapping into data, numerics and psychology to unlock the potentials behind each piece of content produced to give brands a greater chance of securing social success. The proof is on paper from this practical exercise and we’re confident that we can help our clients achieve their influencer marketing goals.

PS, I continued the experiment past the two week mark and my most recent uploaded video comments currently sat at 3,100, with over 785k views at the time of writing this article. The level of engagement triples that of my last successful video. After totalling all of the page views again, it came to 1.5m, equalling to over $20,000 of value. Wow!

Thomas Abbott is a influencer data specialist at Tailify.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis