#MKTG 17 – TikTok

Hello, SE’ers! It’s Jan again to look at another marketing avenue that has authors everywhere talking.

Yes, I am referring to TikTok.

Image courtesy Pixabay

WAIT! Don’t leave! I hear you, and I feel you, but lets at least take a look at it.

TikTok Logo

First, a bit of history. This app launched in 2016 and saw about 1 billion global daily users by early 2022. While it started out as a way for users to watch, create, and share short videos online, it has morphed into so much more. The average length of videos is between 15-60 seconds and has become a way to market to a broad audience. Conventional advertising that stresses a product’s superior qualities doesn’t work. Light, fun campaigns set to music hit the spot.

  • 43% of users are between the ages of 18 and 24.
  • 56% are female.
  • About 136 million active users are from the U.S.
  • Its users spend an average of 46 minutes per day on it

The ultimate goal is to go viral on the site and spur imitations by TikTok users. How do you do that? And is it really worth it?

Here’s what I found at Kindlepreneur.

  • TikTok is currently known for being one of the best, if not the best, social media platforms for organic reach. It is remarkably easy to find readers and other authors and to build an audience of people who genuinely want to read your book.
  • BookTok is a subculture of TikTok overall, and it’s pretty much where all of the book nerds live. There is no designated place where BookTok happens or a specific group that you have to join, but most videos in the BookTok community will use the hashtag #booktok. 
  • When you engage with the BookTok community, you are likely to see a lot of bookshelves. This has become a popular way to add a backdrop to your videos that is relevant to BookTok.
  • You’ll see a lot of people talking about stitching videos or videos with the hashtag #stitchthis. Stitching is a way of taking a clip from someone else’s video, then recording your own response or reaction to that clip. Authors and readers will often use this to ask questions, which you can then answer by taking a clip of their video and answering it on your own. This is one of those great interactive innovations that started with TikTok and is one of the reasons why it has grown so large.
  • A duet is similar to stitching, but it allows you to take someone else’s video and record yourself reacting to that video in real-time, which makes for great reaction videos.

TikTok is not for everybody.

Image Courtesy Pixabay

Just because it’s the new hot thing right now doesn’t mean that it will continue to sell books effectively.

There’s an informal rule in social media marketing that applies to any platform.

20% of the content that you post should be promotional

80% needs to be for engagement.

Take some time to create a few informational videos, some silly videos, some stitched or duetted videos, etc. You will find you get a lot more engagement and are more likely to gain followers if you keep the amount of promotional content to about 20%.

Use hashtags, but Kindlepreneur recommends using no more than 3 to 5 hashtags per video.

Once you start to get into BookTok culture, you’ll start to see that people love beautiful book covers. Therefore, your book cover is now your best friend. Be sure to incorporate it in your TikTok marketing, the more beautiful, the better.

One of the most common forms of content on BookTok is book recommendations and reviews.

Engage with other BookTokers. Whenever you get a chance, be sure to scroll through the recommendations that TikTok gives you and engage with the content that is relevant to you.

As with any social media platform, consistency is key. Kindlepreneur recommends posting at least one video per day and encourages 2 – 4. That’s a lot. TikTok is a numbers game. You want to post as many videos as possible because that will give you the best chance for exposure.

One of the things that TikTok users tend to appreciate is authenticity. It’s okay and even encouraged to let out your silly side, your wild side, your sass, or whatever aspect of your personality you feel is authentic.

TikTok videos are short by design, and you have only a second or two to capture attention. Users are likely to swipe up quickly if your content does not immediately grab their attention. Whilst TikTok certainly started out as a social media platform for a younger generation, it has been widely embraced by a much broader audience. It has become so vast that it is easy to find any niche in any age group. You can find yours as well.

As I promised to do with any marketing strategy I post about here, I experimented with TikTok. I chose to post one video per day. I posted short videos about my books, a book recommendation, a short video about a new iced coffee combo I found, a music video, a bird video, a grandkids video, and a couple of videos from my latest adventure to Universal Studios in Florida.

Here’s what happened.

Screenshot from Phone

As you can see, I have a total of 156 followers. The video that got the most likes was of a mama dove sitting on eggs out on my balcony. It got 64 likes and 713 views. The second most viewed and liked was a video of my books on the shelf in Colleen Hoover’s bookstore. She is a huge advocate of TikTok and gives a large amount of credit to the platform for her amazing success as an indie author.

So, is TikTok worth it? As with any social media platform, the answer is yes, but only if you really give it consistent attention and find a niche. Otherwise, it’s just another time-suck.

What do you think? Are you on TikTok? If you are, let’s connect. If you’re not, will you try it?

If you’ve missed any of the other marketing posts, here’s a list.










#MKTG Part 10 – More AMAZON ADS


#MKTG Part 12 – LinkedIn

#MKTG Part 13 – BOOKBub Ads

#MKTG Part 14 – Book Blog Tours

#MKTG Part 15 – Paid Book Blog Tours

#MKTG Part 16 – Rafflecopter

75 thoughts on “#MKTG 17 – TikTok

  1. Pingback: About This Writing Stuff… | Phil Giunta – Paranormal, Fantasy, & SF Writer

  2. Pingback: #MKTG 18 – Building an Email List | Story Empire

  3. I’ve paid little attention to TikTok, so this was all new information to me, including BookTok. Not sure if I will jump in but never know. I would have to carve out some time for it and learn it. Thanks for all the good information and post, Jan 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Carving out the time is a challenge for us all, Denise. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and if you decide to give it a look, hope you find something that interests you. Thanks for leaving a comment!


  4. Jan, you are a gem. 😉 What a wonderful posting about a for me very new way of entertainment, and so i understand possible advertising. I know it from Kevin (Morris – kevinmorrispoet.co.uk). He sometimes posts read aloud version of his poems. I will have a closer look soon, Thanks, and enjoy your weekend! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know if I have time for another social platform, Jan but I appreciate the information and your first hand results. After 42 years in an office, it might take a crowbar to let my silly side out 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a great, informative post, Jan! I have never joined TikTok, mostly because I’m not a big fan of short videos. I’d rather read the information at my speed. I don’t think I’ll ever try this since I’m not a fan of being in front of the camera. I’ve done a few book reading videos, but I don’t have to interact with anyone for those. The introvert in me is gently pulling me away from this idea. Lol! Still, it sounds like a great way to promote books for those who thrive in social media. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great insight into TikTok, Jan. I had an account but dropped it a couple years ago. I got little to no traction from it. But after reading your take, perhaps I’ll set up another account. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, Jan. I would have just dismissed this out of hand. But the fact that it has #Booktok, which is much more targeted, appeals to me. Plus it doesn’t seem too time-consuming. What do you think the time commitment is? And are you going to keep it up?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana, honestly, the time commitment is up to each person. If you just want to post a video and go on about your day, I’d say five minutes tops. The time suck comes in when you start scrolling through the endless reels. I’m glad my post piqued your curiosity. If you decide to join, let’s follow each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. All I know about TikTok and its reels is you think you’ll watch one or two and next thing you know, you’ve “wasted” a good hour! My goodness. I would never have thought there were mini-vids about books! (Guess I just never landed on one, so far.)

    These posts have been so very interesting, Jan!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good question, Craig. However, the BookTokers are avid readers. And I totally get the consistency thing. It’s hard to find the time to fit it all in and still write books too. Thanks for your comment!


    • I think, in truth, there is no such thing as security on public platforms. If I wasn’t an author trying hard to sell a book, my time on social media would be very limited. Thank you for your comment, Jacqui!


  11. Very enlightening post, Jan. I’ve not explored Tiktok at all, but you’ve opened the door and helped me see its possibilities. I doubt I’ll ever step foot into this platform, but now I at least understand its worth. Thank you for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t imagine having to do another social media platform. I don’t consider myself the video type. I will pass on this one for now. Maybe in the future, especially if the grandkids might want to do the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Really grateful for the explanation of both TikTok and BookTok. I’m still struggling with Facebook (!) and I’m so busy a lot of the time I wouldn’t be able to maintain any kind of consistent content. It IS great to understand the system better! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I LOVE TikTok! There’s an art to BookTok, which took me a while to learn, but now, it’s my favorite social media platform. The best part is once you find your groove the BookTok community keeps you inspired. Plus, it’s a ton of fun! I’m at @suecoletta. Let’s connect there, Jan.

    I’ve been meaning to write a post about it for my blog. You inspired me to do it, Jan. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay! I’m glad you are having a good experience on BookTok. We are now connected, Sue. I look forward to your videos!! I’m still trying to figure out how to stitch and duet. 🙂 But I’m learning. Thank you for your positive comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I watched TikTok videos for a year before I decided to try it. Most of the time, I come away from watching just shaking my head and thinking about what a strange world we live in. But BookTok is strictly about books. So that’s where I go. Thanks for leaving a comment, Joan!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Pretty sure that relatively few of TikTok’s regulars are even remotely interested in serious mainstream fiction with a disabled main character written by someone in her 70s, but I’ll defer to your opinion!

    I have younger readers, and my beta reader is quite young – the connection seems to be to those who have a diverse education in reading the classics by choice, some homeschoolers, and others who love the stories or the periods. But in general, I would have read me at their age, but many of them won’t.

    It’s okay – I found older writers on Wattpad when I was starting, and got some of my early endorsements there – mostly from those older writers. Then Wattpad closed the forums with no warning or explanation, and I lost most of my writer friends there. I’ll leave TikTok to the kids who are enjoying it – and spend my efforts where the possibilities are larger (I have a lot of older men who have written wonderful reviews following).

    Liked by 3 people

    • I totally understand, Alicia. And that is why I made the statement that this platform is not for everyone. With marketing, we have to find our niche and be consistent. I made a commitment to try all different platforms when I started this marketing series. It’s quite interesting to see the vast differences between some and similarities between others. I had heard that Wattpad closed down its forums, and still no explanation. I’m sorry you lost some valuable connections. I do appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment today. Best wishes in all of your marketing efforts!

      Liked by 1 person

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