Don’t let follower counts fool you.

I might nuke my TikTok account with over 300k followers.

Barry W. Enderwick

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Update from 6/29/23, 7/5/23, 7/16/23 at the bottom.

Before we get into, I want to share that I take a multi-platform approach to Sandwiches of History. That is, I not only post on TikTok but Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit as well. I do this to hedge against having one algorithm completely sink views. When TikTok first got on my radar, everyone in pop culture called it “that app for kids where they do the dancing.” I’ve learned that it is only the beginning when a new platform takes hold like that. Having missed out on getting in relatively early on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I thought I could on TikTok.

So I repurposed some content I had made for an Instagram account that went nowhere, and lo and behold, it took off. Over the course of a year, I went from no followers to almost two hundred thousand. It had worked. By getting in at the right time, I was able to amass a substantial following. It was fun!

Sure enough, my follower count plateaued. Still, it has steadily and consistently been creeping up to where I am now, with over 302,000 followers. But while I appreciate that folks are interested in what I do, I’m afraid it amounts to not much. That’s because TikTok has made that metric practically meaningless.

But that alone is not why I might delete my account. TikTok is also lousy for monetization and seems custom-built to allow anyone to steal and repurpose your content.

Follower Count vs. Views

Let’s do a fun exercise. What do you think is the average view rate over seven days for a TikTok account with over 302,000 followers?

a) 80%?

b) 60%?

c) 40%?

d) 20%

e) 6.4%

If you answered e, you are correct. More than 302,000 have said, “Yes, I’d like to see this guy’s content on the regular,” and less than 7% ever do. The way things work on TikTok is the more people see your videos, the more interaction you get and the more exposure your video gets. When the distribution is limited, it limits engagement and creates this negative loop. Of course, this does not stop TikTok from adding followers. Weekly, I get about 300 new…

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Barry W. Enderwick

Brand/marketing executive, Kaizen (ex Netflix). I write on startups, strategy, business, culture & design. Also Sandwiches Of History on Insta/TikTok/YouTube