Booktok is the side of TikTok dedicated solely to books and author. It’s where readers and writers can share their experiences, talk about their favorite books, and make other bookish friends.
I’ve been posting booktok content on my TikTok account since December of 2019. For some reason, in March, one of my videos blew up. Then another. Then another. It was surreal. Now, I’ve been a booktoker for around 9 months (6 months of posting daily), and I’ve learned quite a few things about the platform.
So, if you’re new to booktok, or you’re a seasoned booktoker looking to grow their audience, I have some tips for you that might help.
I can’t promise this will make your videos blow up– I can’t pretend to understand the TikTok algorithm- but hopefully these tips can help a little.
I’m planning on making this a series on my blog, where I dive into everything booktok related. Part 2 will hopefully be coming soon, going into the history of booktok and how to start your own!
If you’re on TikTok, you may have seen vague things discussion the algorithm. The algorithm can make or break a TikTok. It decides how your videos get shared on the FYP (for you page), which directly corresponds to your view count and follower growth.
Before you start posting, it’s good to have a basic idea of how the algorithm works. However, it is constantly changing, so anything you notice now may not be relevant two months from now.
The algorithm just went through a major change that seems to have effected most (if not all) of booktok negatively. Don’t panic when these changes do happen, just make note of what types of content you make is doing well, and try to adapt.
Despite these changes, there are still some universal facts about the algorithm that doesn’t seem to change. Based on those facts, here are my tips to get on the good side of the algorithm:
- Use sounds & hashtags right before they’re trending/as the trend is beginning.
This is not easy to do, and requires paying a lot of attention to other content, as well as some luck, but if you do it, the benefits are huge.
- Increase watch time & engagement
For your video to do well, you want it to stay on the FYP. For it to stay on the FYP, you need to have a high watch time, and a high amount of engagement.
To do this, keep a lot of your videos short (under 15 seconds, ideally), and include a call to action in the video or in your caption, motivating people to interact with your content.
However, don’t make your videos too short! There are rumors that videos under 7 seconds will not do as well due to their length. I don’t know how true this is, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Be careful of the words you use in your videos.
TikTok is far from the perfect platform. Supposedly, videos can get suppressed if they include certain words TikTok doesn’t like.
No one knows exactly what words are forbidden, I know I’ve had videos suppressed for including anything relating to the LGBTQ+ community, excessive cursing, as well as violence (which isn’t easy to avoid when describing a high fantasy novel). To get around this, censor any words you need to include, or say another word to hint at it without actually saying it.
There is a lot of debate on whether or not hashtags are actually needed, but I would recommend that when you start out, you use them.
However, people say it’s best to stick to between 3-5 hashtags that are accurate to your video. By this, I mean don’t randomly pick some trending hashtags, because it might hurt your video more than it could help (trust me, I know).
Examples: #booktok #books #yabooks #bookrecommendations #[booktitle] #[author]
TikTok stated that you only need to post 3-7 times a week, but this isn’t entirely true. The algorithm seems to favor if you not only post every day, but multiple times a day.
There are a few different estimates for the best amount of times to post every day (anywhere from only once to up to 20 times), but I think the safest bet it between 1-3 times. But what’s most important is you do what’s comfortable for you.
Your content is crucial. There is a lot of different types of booktok content. People share jokes, recommendations, unpopular opinions, and more.
What’s important is to figure out what type of content you like to make, and try to find a way to make your videos stand out from other booktok content, so people will then be more inclined to follow you. This is a lot easier said than done, but if you can figure it out, it will really help. (I still haven’t fully figured it out myself)
Most Importantly, Interact with the Community!
Getting followers can be fun, but nothing is better than actually making friends on the app. I have so many great friends because of this community, and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
Comment on other booktokers’ posts! Join other booktokers’ livestreams! We’re all here to talk about books and have fun, so make sure you’re doing that as well.
Followers come and go, but the friends you make will last.
Now that I sound like an after school special, I want to know your thoughts.
Are you a booktoker? What are some things you’ve learned while on the platform. If you’re not- what type of content would you like to see on booktok?
Also, stay tuned for next part of this series, where I’ll be going over the origins of booktok and how to get started!