7 Things To Know About Posting On TikTok & Instagram To Get Followers Correctly, Shared By Content Creators

How to get followers on TikTok & Instagram

Seeing the “… started following you.” notification is an exhilarating rush for all aspiring content creators. It’s a sign your work is gaining recognition. It also puts you one step closer to being the next Preetipls or Xenia Tan. However, with discoverability on social networks like Instagram and TikTok being somewhat abysmal, what can you do to cultivate a following there?

We spoke with some content creators to find out some of the best strategies to gain followers in an organic and legit way. By that we mean not buying them off a sus site, less you get exposed on Social Blade. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Define your niche and make sure it’s genuine

Image adapted from: @zxynpot

Before you start posting anything and whatever with random hashtags, you need a foundation for your content strategy. Are you going to be a beauty guru? Or perhaps you have an expertise in all-things-tech and love reviewing the latest gadgets. “Know what you want to brand yourself as from the start and make sure it’s genuine,” Leah “mizchiefmagik” Shannon said.

Authenticity is super important when it comes to carving out your niche in the content space. “Being real and having your personality shine through on TikTok helps maintain your audience as people will end up being invested,” the fashion and lifestyle content creator added. 

You also don’t want to feel like you have impostor syndrome a few months or years down the road. No one likes a faux-fluencer.

2. Collaborate with other content creators to bring exposure from other platforms

Eatbook’s Chiara Ang recently collaborated with competitive eater Zermatt Neo
Image credit: Lex Lim

It’s rare to see a content creator breaking out in a solo venture these days with collaborations being all the rage. Influencers often partner up with photographers or their peers to make the most out of two creative minds. It also exposes both of you to different communities and followings which could lead to gaining a new follower or two.

“No one really scrolls through the Explore page anymore since everyone has their own curated Instagram feed,” Leah explained. She suggests collaborating with people outside your circle or even from another platform. Just remember to tag and credit them where it’s due.

3. Stay updated on TikTok’s trending songs and effects

Image credit: Fauzi Aziz

TheSmartLocal’s Fauzi Aziz gave us a pro tip: TikTok often tells you what effects, songs, and dances are currently trending. But this list isn’t the same as the one on the Discover page. Go to your Inbox and click on the “From TikTok” option in the dropdown menu.

This lets you jump on upcoming trends before it becomes passe to do so, since no one would care if you danced to Say So now. “You have to be smart about your content, make sure you push out content timely too,” Leah added on top of Fauzi’s tip. 

She suggests taking notice of the songs that are appearing often on the For You Page as it means more people are watching such content. 

4. Come up with a solid hashtag strategy for both IG and TikTok

Before you go ahead and publish your post with a wall of hashtags that’s longer than your caption, hold your thumb. You should only be using relevant hashtags, which means tagging #foodiesg on a picture of your dinner date, not your staycation.

Brenda Tan, the brains behind TSL’s Instagram, advises aspiring content creators to use branded hashtags to reach new users. One example is #TSLfeatures that Instagrammers and photographers can use to showcase their architectural and landscape shots. Standout posts might also get a chance to get featured on our Instagram too.

5. Invest in good photography equipment, and keep to a curated colour palette

It’s time to shoot and edit your photos and videos once you’ve got your content strategy firmed up. While your handy smartphone would work, you should also invest in proper photography equipment if you’re serious about content creation.

BTW, this is not a sign to splurge on the newest and flashiest cameras. A simple mirrorless camera and lens that can give your photos more depth than your iPhone.

You should also plan your shots and posts so your feed looks aesthetically pleasing. “It’s important to maintain a consistent brand personality so your posts should be easily recognisable at a glance,” Brenda said. 

Image adapted from: @chowjiahui

Take a look at Chow’s feed for example. The colour themes smoothly transition from one to another across a series of photos. While it might only be seen when someone views your profile, it creates a memorable visual experience for your followers.

Check out our guide to OOTDs and couple shots.

6. Reach out to brands to work on collaborations

Image credit: @mizchiefmagik

You’re not alone if you’ve noticed an influx of promoted Instagram stories from chair and desk brands. But rather than it being a generic marketing video, these brands have gone the extra mile and tapped on content creators to review the products instead. These influencers are also not the usual few who I follow and I’ve gone on to follow those with good vibes.

Collaborating with brands and companies is a two-way street. Sometimes you have to make the first step and reach out to them first, especially if you are still working your way up the ladder. It also helps if they are brands that you are already using, and it’s also a way to get value-added content. Remember to add sponsored disclaimers!

7. Hold giveaways to increase engagement

Image adapted from: @pebbeul

One guaranteed way to gain followers is to hold a giveaway. You can set the terms to participate, so you can get people to follow you, comment, like your post, and more. The one downside to this is getting the funding for attractive prizes.

While trust fund babies should have no worry about that, one way you can host giveaways is to partner up with a brand. For example, Brenda would reach out to popular brands that fit TSL’s content pillars to check on their interest. Some former giveaway partners that TSL has worked with organically include Love, Bonito, KYDRA, and Charles & Keith.

To make sure your giveaway gets noticed, you can also reach out to pages like @sggiveaway that consolidate and boost giveaway posts for a small fee.

“A good frequency will be fortnightly,” she also suggested.

Learn how to be a content creator and protect your rights

Starting out as a content creator can be a daunting task. Thankfully, there are a myriad of tools at your disposal to get you on your feet building your following and community. Content creators also have enhanced rights over their creations after the new Copyright Act 2021 was introduced on 21st November 2021.

The Act replaces the previous edition and comes with two changes that content creators should know:

  1. Content creators have to be identified when their works are shared publicly.
  2. Content creators will now own the copyright to all commissioned content by default, if the commissioning contract is silent on ownership of copyright.

This means that you have to credit your photographer who takes your OOTDs and other photos unless they’ve agreed to not be identified. While this consent not to be identified can be obtained verbally, it’s always a good practice to document such consent and other negotiated terms in a written contract instead. 

Once you’ve got a running start and your strategy involves brand collaborations and giveaways, this is where things get complex. As the content creator, you are the default owner of the copyright to whatever type of content you create. That means the brands you’ve partnered with have to negotiate for the rights to own or repost your content beyond the purpose for which they commissioned it. 

“There was this publisher who took my photos and used it in an article without my permission and didn’t even credit me,” Leah recounted an incident where her work was used without consent or credit. “When I asked them to take it down, they didn’t even bother to reply to my DM.” Under the new Copyright Act, she can take action against that publisher not only for unauthorised reproduction of her photographs but also for not identifying her as the photographer.

Furthermore, as the default owner of commissioned works, creators like Leah, Fauzi, and Brenda will have more bargaining power to negotiate with clients for more compensation if clients desire more rights or want to use the works for purposes other than what was initially agreed upon. 

If you need preliminary advice on IP dispute matters, you can arrange a session with a professional lawyer at the IP Legal Clinic offered by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).


Find out more about the Copyright Act 2021 here


This post was brought to you by IPOS.
Cover image adapted from: Lex Lim

Josiah Neo

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