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TikTok has become one of the biggest short-video platforms in the world, thanks to its ease of use and tech features that enable users to create content and amass a vast following.

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However, for those who find the prospect of building a fan base on the platform daunting, here are a few quick tips on how to build an audience base on the video-sharing platform.

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Gita Ghaemmaghami, Regional Communications Director – MENA TikTok

Choose the right profile name

Pick a profile name that is short, memorable and gives people an idea of what your content is all about. It is also important to keep your username consistent across all social media platforms — this will allow users to discover you and your content much more easily. In essence, it’s this consistency that will help you create a brand that attracts followers on TikTok.

Make sure that your profile description gives users a clear idea about the kind of content you create — this is imperative — if they know what to expect they are more likely to seek you out and return to your profile. Also, link your other social media accounts to TikTok — this will ensure your followers will know that the account is actually yours. Trust is more important than ever on social media.

Create a content strategy

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Now, this may sound like a bit of work, but it really isn’t. What are you passionate about? Is it cars? Food? Fashion? Travel? Choose the content stream that you identify with the most. Not only will this help you enjoy the content creation process but will attract like-minded users to your profile. This will also enable you to showcase your personality. The age-old phrase is true — people “come for your content but stay for your personality”.

Once you have picked the subject of your choice post at least three times a day on the main theme. Obviously, you can pepper this up with a weekly ‘Slice of life’ post that lets your followers know you better with funny organic moments. Additionally, take the time to respond to your followers’ queries. You can pick a lucky fan and “Duet” to one of their videos. They’ll feel special and become a part of your fandom.

Stick to your own creative brief

So, when you have decided on the kind of videos you’d like to produce stick with the idea. Naturally, you can change this as you go along, but consistency is key so as to not alienate your audience. TikTok has several features that enable you to embellish your videos with visual effects, including filters and stickers that can add another dimension to your content. Choose the right music or background sound; this is what will elevate your video to the next level.

Plus, it is highly recommended that you keep your videos at about 15 seconds — audience attention span is short these days. Use the right hashtags to clearly define your content — misleading hashtags will result in disappointed users, which is not something you want. Also, follow official hashtag challenges and create related content, this will help push your videos to a wider audience. Finally, make sure you have an interesting caption for all your videos.

How to build your fandom

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Promoting your videos on social media and collaborating with other creatives are two tools to growing your community. The most important way to grow your audience is to keep the quality high and make your video fun as well as shareable. High quality content leads to better engagement, which in turn leads to wider distribution of those videos. Crucially, you need to understand your audience. Who are my followers? Who are my most faithful fans? Who are my top commenters? What do they want to see from me? You can find these answers by simply reading through your fans’ comments and replying and liking comments that speak to you.

Secondly, collaborate with creators with similar content and audience size. This will potentially double your audience base. Use the “Duet” functionality to make cameos on their profile and vice versa. The duet feature stitches together two distinct videos into a single video, either as a montage (which fips between the two videos every 2 seconds) or as a side-by-side (in which each video plays simultaneously).

Measure your success

It is extremely important to look at your key metrics in order to see what type of content is performing best. Engagement metrics are equally critical (hearts and comments), these will give you a sense of what type of content your audience is engaging with. Give them more of what they want and don’t expend effort on content that doesn’t get engagement; this will enable you to understand what your audience really wants. The golden rule is: if your content speaks to your community, they will come back for more. Again, and again, and you will soon be on your way to TikTok greatness.

- Gita Ghaemmaghami is the Regional Communications Director – MENA for TikTok

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TikTok Content Creators

Here’s a look at the top 10 TikTok Content Creators in the UAE.

Max Of Arabia

Find him at: vm.tiktok.com/RsdQqs

Max is American-British and has lived in the UAE for the past 11 years. He graduated from the American University of Sharjah and learnt Arabic from his university colleagues. He was immersed in the local culture through his outings. Today, Max speaks fluent Emirati Arabic and produces all his videos in Arabic, a trait which made him famous across the country. Most of his content revolves around Public Service Announcements, society issues, and adventure videos showcasing his adrenalin-junkie side.

Sarah Milad

Find her at: vm.tiktok.com/Rpwkeh

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Sarah was born and raised in the UAE. She rose to fame though her TikTok channel through which she stylish lip-syncs and comedic lip dubs with her audience. She has amassed more than three million views since she started posting in 2017.

TikTok star Sarah Milad.
TikTok star Sarah Milad. Image Credit: TikTok

Saad Abdullah

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Find him at: vm.tiktok.com/RsJTA4

Saad is an Emirati content creator and actor. He started making videos a few years ago on Instagram and built his fan base from there. The videos he produces are mainly comedy and he just finished filming his first feature film, ‘Khalk Shanab’, which will be in cinemas this summer.

Uncle Naji

Find him at: vm.tiktok.com/RpvQnU

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Naji is an Emirati content creator and actor He is known as ‘Uncle Naji’ for his imitation of the Yemeni accent. He created many videos as that character after it gained popularity locally. He even created a movie around the character ‘Unce Naji In UAE’, which was released two months ago.

Kindy Man

Find them at: vm.tiktok.com/RsMPUm

Kindy Man is an Emirati content creator, actor, aspiring producer and director. He started his career a few years ago on Instagram and is very popular in Abu Dhabi. He is famous for his great sense of humour. He featured in a movie released two months ago (Unlce Naji in UAE), and will also act in the movie, Khalk Shanab, scheduled to be released this summer.

Ahmed and Mashael

Find them at: vm.tiktok.com/Rp3Xet

Ahmed and Mashael are one of the most famous Emirati couple on social media. Ahmed’s first rose to fame through the Arab Casting TV show. Ahmed met Mashael through work and later on married her. Today, they make a lot of videos together covering a wide array of topics, from the everyday life to pranks.

Asia Othman

Find her at: vm.tiktok.com/RsRbBp

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Asia Osman is the author and presenter of the famous cooking program ‘Asia Kitchen’. She is also known for writing ‘Roses and Almorozia — Recipes and Memories in Love Morocco’. Asia started her career on MBC, with a vision for modern cuisine on Gulf Crotana, Sayidaty. She also featured on leading shows including Sabah Aldar on Abu Dhabi TV. Today, she hosts her show on a specialised cooking channel ‘Misr’ and has over six million followers on social media. In addition to sharing delicious and innovative recipes on her channels, Asia is an ambassador for leading brands such as Maggi, Kiri and Wadi Food.

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TikTok in numbers

TikTok was downloaded more than 660M times in 2018

6th Most Downloaded App in the World in Q1 2018

Available in 154 Countries

Downloaded by 1 in 7 People in Thailand

20 Million Active Users in India