I’m gonna use Tik Tok as an example here, but this generally applies to anything that might come next.
As a millennial, I’ve seen the entire social media thing evolve and mature. First there was darkness, then MIRC and ICQ, then MSN Messenger, then Myspace and Hi5, then Facebook, then the sewage system of humanity called Twitter, then the cool kid was Instagram and Vine, then Vine died and Instagram sold out, then Tik Tok or whatever.
It doesn’t matter, it’s all buzzwords. Social media means being social.
Back in the university, I remember we had MSN Messenger. SMS messages were still being charged back then, so we used to just spam all our friends to go out and have a frappe.
And it was funny, because we’d hang out at a later date and talk about something that happened, and a late-adopter would say, ‘Wait, where was I? You guys didn’t invite me?’
And we hadn’t. He wasn’t on the MSN Messenger contact list, so we simply forgot about him.
My point is you should be at the social media place where your people hang out, be it the Church, the tennis court or Facebook.
I remember watching a movie about Wall Street and one guy says to the newbie, ‘You need to start golfing.’ ‘But I don’t golf.’ ‘Doesn’t matter, that’s where all the deals are happening, on the grass.’
That scene was spot on. If you wanted to make the deals and know the players, you had to be on the golf court. Doesn’t matter if you’re good or not, you need to hang out with them.
Same with social media. It depends on where you are geographically, and market penetration is very different depending on language and country. For example, Greece is all on Facebook and Instagram. When I worked with models and actors and journalists, they were all on Instagram. If you weren’t on Instagram, you didn’t exist, simple as that.
Guess it’s perfect for narcissists after all.
Just to nail that point even deeper, communities are now forming in some places where people hang out and do business. Indie authors have done that, and if you’re not in them, you’re missing out on some very good opportunities, or you’re just being late to the party. If you’re an artist, there are some social media platforms you need to be on, like Artstation or DeviantArt.
Anyway, here are some tips I remembered from making a new account on Tik Tok:
For a while, lurk and see what the vibe is. It’s a party, you need to get the feel of it. Follow some people you like, comment on their videos, be social. Then post some of your own stuff. I made some cringey Tik Toks, (no dances, sorry) trying to get with some of the trends.
Am I going to go full-on tiktoker?
Of course not. But I wanted to see what it was about, ’cause that’s the new generation, and you need to have a finger on the pulse.
Tik Tok is a video discovery platform. From the very first second you download the app, it dumps you on the For You Page. Then you like and/or scroll. It’s zapping the channels, looking for the next chuckle or the hot piece of ass of your sexual preference throwing it back.
Before you know it, hours have gone by. It’s silly, and fun, and it’s exactly what people needed instead of therapy during their quarantine.
Also, I really like one aspect of the app: It encourages you to create. People keep posting videos where they say they’d just lurk and now they’re hooked, full-on tiktoking every day. They got compliments, they gained confidence in their looks and their humour or their dancing skills, and they kept making more and having fun.
Of course, there are millions of trolls, same as everywhere. It’s always some anonymous piece of shit commenting the meanest things. They never create, or even if they post it’s some shitty repost of some other video. These people are sad, and you should just block them. No remorse, no hesitation, just block them. Life is too short.
So, how do you get started on a new social media platform? You get a feel of it, start hanging out and commenting on people’s stuff, and then when you’re confident enough to start posting your own you reply to comments. Don’t be a diva. I’ve caught myself genuinely liking creators who reply to comments. You don’t have to reply to everything, but try to give some time to go through them all.
And always follow some people back. Not all, but some. What are you, famous, and you follow only 3 people? This isn’t Twitter, you jerkface. That only shows that you’re selfish, nothing more. Be a part of the community.
Teach the algorithm what you genuinely like and interact with those videos. My Facebook stream is full of stuff I mostly wanna see, sci-fi, pop-science, mythology, puns, art, and friends. I’ve trained the algorithm to show me what I wanna see, and it has delivered. Same with any new platform. Don’t go in thinking it’s an app for kids. I only have the stuff I like on my For You Page. Okay, there’s far too much cringey Greek content on there because it tries to localize you, but still.
Most of it is fine.
So, follow me on Tik Tok. I consider it to be just another video sharing platform. I’ve done some jokes, but I’m a different kind of creator so I’ll stick to what I do best. There’s room for everything, it’s huge. And the interaction is brilliant. I post the same video on Youtube and it gets 3 views, and on Tik Tok it gets 10.000. Sure, many are random people and the interaction metrics are all over the place, but it sure feels better than the crickets from Youtube. Or worse yet, Instagram, which has become a stale place right now. I get interaction from the same 10 people every time I post and nothing more. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure each and every one of those fans, but you can’t run a 21st century business like this.
That’s not a platform you want to waste your time on. Go to the platform that pushes your content to people who are excited to see it.
And when you’re there, join a cult like the Step-Chickens.