How to Grow on TikTok as an Instagram Creator (The 5 Ways You Can Be TikTok Famous As An Instagram Creator)
It's hard to believe that TikTok has only been available worldwide for three years but is now a global phenomenon. The app went from obscurity to "it's everywhere!", winning over holdouts and becoming ingrained in popular culture. In July of 2021, according to Sensor Tower, a firm that tracks the use of mobile apps, TikTok became the first non-Facebook-owned app to reach three billion downloads globally.
It wasn't long ago that Instagram seemed to be the singular home of content creators. While it's not lost its spot as one of the top platforms, it's no longer the only short-form game in town.
There are several great reasons to diversify platforms:
Find new audiences who never knew you existed.
Maintain existing audiences who want more of you on other platforms.
Protect your business. Multiple homes for your content and audience means you are more resilient in the case of algorithm changes, shadow bans, account hacks, and other creator nightmares. While there are additional measures you can take (owning your email list), one of the most important is platform diversification.
What's an IG creator to do? The following are a few ideas on how Instagram creators should consider using this exciting new forum.
Assigning Apps "Jobs"
For many creators, especially those that have recently figured out what "works" on Instagram, the idea of carving out a spot on TikTok sounds like a daunting, if not impossible, task. Between DM and Comment Overload, Engagement Tactics, and groundbreaking new tools, you might feel like TikTok will be an additional full-time job. While investing in TikTok will take effort, think about the benefit and growth of utilizing both platforms to nurture and grow your audience.
It's helpful to think of Instagram and TikTok as a platform that performs a specific job. Just as you would assess hiring a person, ask yourself, "what is this app exceedingly good at? How can I utilize that part to make me more successful?". Find a few of our favorite "job types" you could assign to each platform below!
The Utility Jobs Perspective: Utility jobs are functions that one platform is better at over the other. For example, TikTok can be a great place to answer audience questions with their built-in Q&A functionality. In comparison, Instagram might provide a better overall DM experience with mature controls and anti-spam features. When planning your content, think about how your audience prefers to engage on each platform. If posting on TikTok, you might ask audience members to ask you a question in the comments. If posting on Instagram, you might instead point users to a poll on your Story.
The Funnel Perspective: The Funnel Perspective is a slightly different approach. Instead of asking what features an app provides and then tailoring content to fit that platform, you can instead ask yourself what stage in the journey an audience member is in when they encounter your content. A classic method for describing the audience's journey is via the concept of a funnel.
The "top" of the funnel is the greatest number of people encountering your content. The "bottom" is the subset of those that take a particular action. For example, the top of the funnel might be all the people who see your TikTok video globally, the middle is people who follow you on TikTok, and the bottom is those who sign up for your class via the link in your bio. This analogy gets a little more complicated when thinking cross-platform; you might want to think of each app platform as living in a particular part of the marketing journey. TikTok is at the top (maximum exposure) and IG DMs at the bottom (highest intent). With that in mind, you can modify the types of content you provide to each platform. Perhaps your TikTok videos are more general and end with a call to action. Or maybe you flip the script, and your Instagram post funnels down into a TikTok follow. (For your Instagram, the content is more detailed, but you link back to TikTok.) There are a bunch of different ways to think about this, depending on your situation.
Devote Time to Understanding TikTok
Until you understand the different content types that work on TikTok, you won't produce content that fits this unique platform. If you're already growing on Instagram, you've probably already recognized the power that comes from idea cross-pollination. For example, where the works of others inspire you or where you see what worked well for someone else, and you create your unique version of that content.
Starting from scratch on TikTok doesn't mean reinventing the wheel. Follow these simple steps to get a quick crash course before you get started.
Make a list of the 20 accounts that inspire you the most on IG. Whose work do you have a "crush" on? Try to pick accounts that are as close to your niche as possible
Make a list of the corresponding TikTok accounts for the 20 accounts. Some will likely have a TikTok presence, and some won't, and that's OK.
The ones who have a presence scroll through their feed and try to get a rough sense of when they got started. Was it last month or last year? Score them as "recent" or "more established."
You should now have a manageable list of "more established" accounts, ideally 5-10 total. Take a look at the follower and view counts for the accounts. You'll likely have a few winners and a few that do not have traction yet. Spend some time observing the following:
What is the type of content? Is it humorous? Educational? How about the production quality? What other factors separate these accounts.
Now, go back to the Instagram profiles. How often do they reference TikTok? Is their TikTok profile displayed in their Link In Bio?
While there is no magic wand for "understanding" TikTok, these steps can help you develop a strategy on how you want to show up by learning from your peers.
Use Technology to Create A "Content Machine"
To grow on TikTok, you don't have to start from scratch. Once you have a solid understanding of the jobs you want each platform to perform and the unique approach you want to take for each platform, you can plan how to reuse content across both platforms.
Reusing content is a delicate balance. You want to make sure you appear organic on each platform. Make sure you fit each platform's content format and avoid having a TikTok watermark on an Instagram post and vice versa. With a few tweaks, you should not have to reinvent the wheel.
Creating a "Content Machine" means implementing some of the below practices to make cross-posting easier.
Build a system or routine. Rather than randomly reposting or re-sharing, try implementing a simple checklist that you follow each time you publish. For example:
Post to TikTok
Import to Kapwing
Remove audio and adjust video size
Upload to Instagram
Add music and captions or relevant information
Spending time developing a formula or checklist saves time to focus on creating great content and not on repetitive tasks or basic formatting decisions.
As an Instagram creator who wants to grow on TikTok, producing great content that works organically on each platform is incredibly important. Additionally, you might find entirely new audiences on TikTok. That said, some of the earliest growth may come from expanding on the touchpoints of your existing audience. This means getting your current audience to follow you on your other platforms.
Try some of these ideas below; let us know which works for you!
Make your audience aware by referencing your other accounts in posts and stories. Create a call to action by providing additional information that can't be found on the platform they are on now. An example could be something like, "for 10 more tips, check out my recent TikTok!".
Run a giveaway with something your audience would love. Try using a CTA that asks your audience to follow you on TikTok.
Make sure to engage in DMs and Comments. Personal and one-on-one communications can pay off in a big way. Provide value by driving your audience to TikTok in a meaningful way. For example, if someone comments on your Instagram post that they found the information compelling or helpful, send them a link to a similar post on TikTok that they might also enjoy. While this might take a lot of work, platforms like HiBeam can remove some of the heavy-lifting and even identify cross-pollination opportunities for you.
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Above all else, growing on a new platform is all about experimentation. By using analytics, third-party tools, and more, you'll be able to capitalize on the huge advantage you already have - an existing audience.
Try experimenting with a combination of approaches that work best for your audience; maybe it's leaning heavily into DM and Comment Management, or perhaps setting up a "Content Machine" is the first priority.
You might see the success of your peers and feel like you missed the boat, but remember, TikTok is only three years old. Take a thoughtful approach, and you can still be an early adopter!
Get HiBeam early access!
Sign up and we'll let you know the moment we have a spot for you.