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  • Writer's pictureSydney J. Shields

Tiktok, you're a strange beast.

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

I started making videos on tiktok in August of 2021. Currently (May 2022) I have 15,000 followers. I've had a few videos go viral, and with any luck, one of them will result in a book deal.




Here are some things I've picked up about the algorithm:


When you upload a video, Tiktok seems to show that video to a small group of people first. If that group likes it, the algorithm will send the video out to another group of people. This process continues until one or more of the following occurs:

  1. Your engagement rate (ER) drops below 10%. Having an ER above 10% is the only way that tiktok determines if people like your content. If your video has 100 views, you need at least 10 likes for the algorithm to accept that your content is good.

  2. Other content in your niche is drastically outperforming yours. Sometimes, there are just some absolute BANGING videos in your niche that week (ex. another content creator maybe started a new viral series in which each video is getting 100k+ views).

  3. The wider audience on tiktok loses focus on your niche. Sometimes, your niche (ex. Booktok) content as a whole underperforms and is not pushed out to wider users at all. If you have multiple videos in a row that have strong engagement above 10% but have consistently lower views than you would expect, it usually means that it's time to take a break for a few days because wider tiktok is not interested in your niche at the moment. Basically, it's not your turn on the FYP and you just have to wait it out. When this happens to me, I usually wait until one of my older popular videos gets some traction again, and that is how I know that tiktok is ready to put me back on the FYP.

In general. I post once a day in the evening so I can try to reach people in both EST and PST.


I hope this is helpful for anyone trying to figure out how tiktok works! Make sure to follow me @sydneyjshields on both tiktok and Insagram.



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