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How To Get Viral On TikTok (Easier Than You Think)

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Ash Krishnaswamy

Ash Krishnaswamy is a Partner at Forge Design, a strategy, branding, and digital design company for e-commerce brands. The Forge team has worked with companies like Muddy Bites, Jambys, Venmo, and more. Ash has years of experience building brands. Previously, he was the Owner of Ashwinn’s Upstate Roaming Co., a company that rented Jeeps to New Yorkers for camping excursions, and the Co-founder of Point, a consumer-grade web and iPhone app. Ash graduated from NYU’s Stern School of Business with a degree in finance.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [04:12] Ash Krishnaswamy talks about the business opportunities that TikTok can bring to your brand
  • [07:30] Why strategic hashtags and video length are critical to success on TikTok
  • [13:12] How to generate traffic and capture your audience with text overlays
  • [17:16] Ash explains how the TikTok algorithm impacts your views
  • [19:09] Understanding how to create content on TikTok versus other social media platforms
  • [29:50] Ash shares intentional ways to drive audience engagement
  • [34:20] Ash’s tips for navigating TikTok’s hashtag system

In this episode…

Are you eager to launch into the online content world to promote your business but are unsure where to start? What can you do to optimize your content and reach a wider audience?

According to Ash Krishnaswamy, the answer is simple: you should be using TikTok. While many business owners have written it off as a platform for dancing videos and a teenage audience, Ash says that TikTok is actually an amazing space for growing your business. Through key strategies and creative experiments, Ash has mastered the art of succeeding on TikTok. Now, he’s here to share his actionable tips to help you unlock growth and success using the platform.

In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley sits down with Ash Krishnaswamy, Partner at Forge Design, to talk about growing your business and audience on TikTok. Ash discusses how the TikTok algorithm sorts videos for viewers, his tips for driving views and engagement, and the best ways to make TikTok’s hashtag system work for you. Stay tuned!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.

There is no wrong reason for selling your business. However, there is a right time and a right way. The team of leading entrepreneurs at Quiet Light wants to help you discover the right time and strategy for selling your business. By providing trustworthy advice, effective strategies, and honest valuations, your Quiet Light advisor isn’t your every-day broker—they’re your partner and friend through every phase of the exit planning process.

If you’re new to the prospect of buying and selling, Quiet Light is here to support you. Their plethora of top-notch resources will provide everything you need to know about when and how to buy or sell an online business. Quiet Light offers high-quality videos, articles, podcasts, and guides to help you make the best decision for your online business.

Not sure what your business is really worth? No worries. Quiet Light offers a free valuation and marketplace-ready assessment on their website. That’s right—this quick, easy, and free valuation has no strings attached. Knowing the true value of your business has never been easier!

What are you waiting for? Quiet Light is offering the best experience, strategies, and advice to make your exit successful. To learn more, go to quietlight.com, email [email protected], or call 800.746.5034 today.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:07

Hi folks. It’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals

Joe Valley  0:29

Hey folks, Joe Valley here. Thanks for joining me for another episode of the Quiet Light Podcast. Today we’ve got Ash Krishnaswamy and I’m totally butchering your last name and I should apologize with us today to talk about branding, DTC branding, all sorts of stuff. We’re going to talk a lot about TikTok and how to grow your brand on TikTok, something that we’ve not really talked too much about here. And this guy’s got some incredible names to drop in some experience NFL player he recently worked with. Ash, welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast. Good to have you here.

Ash Krishnaswamy  1:07

Thanks show. You know, great, great to be here and look forward to the chat

Joe Valley  1:12

So as always, I asked people how to pronounce their last name you just told me literally 30 seconds ago and yet I still butchered it screw screwed it up. I apologize. Krishnaswamy. Exactly. Sorry, I’m wrong. All right. All right. All right. So for the folks that want to hear more about you tell us a little bit about what you do at Forge what your background is that sort of

Ash Krishnaswamy  1:35

stuff? Sure. So you know, Forge is a digital branding Design and Development Agency, and we work exclusively with consumer brands. I’ve run Forge for about four years now. We’re based out of New York. And yeah, as you mentioned, we recently one of our latest projects, was working with Troy Aikman on his launch of eight beer. So new beer kind of competitor and to Coors Light, the reception has been great. And so helping them out with their digital strategy kind of customer acquisition. You know, and typically, we kind of work at this stage of really early stage brands, taking them from, you know, concept to, you know, working with them up until they’re doing 15 20 million bucks a year in revenue.

Joe Valley  2:22

How is it that you connected with the likes of Troy Aikman and his team?

Ash Krishnaswamy  2:28

Sure. So that actually came by way of, you know, one, one of my brands does talent equity partnerships at W me and so they basically, partner talent with emerging brands. And so, you know, Troy had this interest in this space, they both of them connected together, and now they said, Hey, we want to work with some of the best agencies out there. And so they linked us together. It’s been, it’s been great working with them. Excellent. It’s

Joe Valley  2:55

good to have connected friends. That’s

Ash Krishnaswamy  2:56

for sure. Absolutely.

Joe Valley  2:58

So Forge forge.coop, why the coop? Why not.com or something else,

Ash Krishnaswamy  3:06

you know, Forge.com wasn’t available. And then we were thinking, Forge dot NYC, and we explored a whole bunch of them. But then really, it was just my partner who ultimately made the decision. And he said, Hey, let’s do Co Op are structured as a co op wanted to be a kind of democratic workplace. For those listeners who don’t know, Co Op just stands for cooperative. And so the idea is that all members of the organization have kind of equal votes on the direction of, you know, where we take our business and the types of clients we work with.

Joe Valley  3:36

Very cool, very cool. Now, you guys do all sorts of things at Forge, but you and I chatted pre recording, and we wanted to sort of narrow in on TikTok because I think it’s a space that our audience is not taking full advantage of other than watching videos on their phone. And again, to be honest with you last time we chatted, you made me feel a little bit like I’m not looking at the right things on TikTok, I think what I’m doing is, is is doing the same things my teenagers are doing, which is just watching stupid videos, whereas your TikTok feed is all about business. Is that right?

Ash Krishnaswamy  4:09

That’s right. That’s exactly right. And I think a lot of people are writing off TikTok and saying, Hey, this is a, you know, dancing trends for 12 year old girls. There’s no serious business value here. And what I would urge people to think about is you have over a billion installs on TikTok, it’s been one of the fastest growing social platforms that has been out. You have a demographic, you know, 40% of the users are over the age of 21. And so you have really sizable populations of audiences and a variety of different age ranges and variety of different interests. And there is so much opportunity especially for e-commerce, businesses and product businesses to drive meaningful sales driving meaningful following, you know, and it can talk about so many different kinds of examples and brands that are doing right there, you know,

Joe Valley  5:00

even with the stupid fail videos and dancing videos and stuff like that, that I see on TikTok, because apparently, I’m looking at the wrong stuff. I still get ads served to me, and I still click on some of them. I don’t think I’ve bought anything yet. Because I don’t have my credit card memorized. And I don’t do what I’m supposed to do and Google Pay and have it locked in on my phone and that kind of stuff. I’m lazy and not very tech savvy. But I you know, I’m part of that 40%. So, you know, there’s, I guess if the math is right, just over a billion users installed worldwide, that’s over 400 million users that are over 21. So I guess Tik Tok should not be ignored. One of the things that piqued my interest when we chatted was that he said you don’t have to have 20,000 100,000 followers to have a video go viral on TikTok. I’ve got a total I just checked, I have a huge following a TikTok. I have 10 followers on Tiktok. And I am basically a micro influencer very, very impressive number right there. How do I get a million views when I only have 10 followers?

Ash Krishnaswamy  6:13

So So here’s the thing about TikTok, TikTok doesn’t place a heavy weighting on the followers that you have TikTok is really designed and optimized around having creators create engaging high value content, and then getting that content in front of the right people. And so I think the first question you have to ask yourself is, okay, what, what content do I want to share? You know, maybe for you, it’s maybe for you, it’s actually clips from the podcast, you know, you talk to, you know, interesting entrepreneurs all the time. And here’s a 32nd snippet on, you know, here’s a here’s a tale of how this company went from zero to a million dollars in sales on Tik Tok, and you grab this, you know, screen reporting, you post it on TikTok. With the right hashtags. That video will make its way to the right audience. And I can see that video getting 100,000 views, 200,000 views, even though you have, you know, only 10 followers there.

Joe Valley  7:16

That’s pretty amazing to get 100,000 views. 200,000 views?

Ash Krishnaswamy  7:22

Yeah. All right. So

Joe Valley  7:23

the hashtags are critically important, just like they are in other social media platforms.

Ash Krishnaswamy  7:29

Yes, hashtags, I would say probably, you know, are far more important on Tik Tok than they are on other platforms. Because basically what you’re doing is you are telling, you are informing Tik Tok. Hey, here’s the categories. Here’s how to think about this content. It’s an interview, it’s about TikTok. It’s about growing a small business. And then they say, Okay, we are going to start showing this video to folks who have, you know, told us through their actions on the platform that they’re interested in this type of content. And the way that it works on Tik Tok is TikTok will show it to a small subset of people call it 100 people, and they’ll start to see what that engagement looks like. And if the engagement looks good, if their people are liking the video, or commenting on it, or sharing it, or most critically, the watch through rate, right, what percent what you know, what percentage of viewers are watching, you know, throughout the entire duration of the video, they’ll look at all of these metrics. And with that initial batch of call it 100 People or 200 people, if they start to see good engagement on it, then they’ll say, Okay, this is actually good content, let’s start showing it to more people who match the same interest profile.

Joe Valley  8:37

And I know that I’ve seen a lot of different gurus experts out there talk about the perfect video length on Facebook and things of that nature. In your experience with TikTok is 30 seconds the right length or does it does it matter greatly depending upon the subject matter?

Ash Krishnaswamy  8:57

Here’s the thing. You know, the rule of thumb is always shorter is better. And I think the next question you have to ask is Why is shorter always better and TikTok rewards creators or viewers, when people when when the viewers are watching through to the end of the video, and if they watch it again, or watch it a third time or fourth time that signals that Tiktok Hey, this is fantastic. This is fantastic content, let’s promote this to more people. So then the question is, you know, it’s for the majority of people, it’s more likely that they’ll be able to achieve that in 10 seconds or 15 seconds rather than a three minute video. So that’s why I kind of shorter is better as preferred, but in the same you know, in the same token, I have watched you know, videos that have several million views that are three minutes long, the maximum time link that you can post on TikTok just because every frame is so engaging and you you’re waiting till the end to see what the final result looks like.

Joe Valley  9:58

It the maximum time is three minutes on TikTok. I didn’t know that I do a weekly series called Two Minute Tuesdays, and I’m always running long. Right? I should name it. Joe rambles Tuesdays, because that’s what I do. And I know that we’ve we’ve posted, it looks like five of them on TikTok. And I would say that probably two or three of those are over three minutes long. What happens at the end of three minutes, does it just stop playing,

Ash Krishnaswamy  10:30

it will keep you from recording and I know they made this change, it was, you know, first 15 seconds, then 60 seconds and three minutes. And so they’ve been bumping up that the, you know, total time allowed for videos, I believe it’s three minutes right now. And then if you upload a video, that’s call it four minutes, they’ll cut it off at the three minute mark. And so even before you post it, you know where that video will end. Okay.

Joe Valley  10:55

And like, with Facebook, and other social media platforms, on TikTok, there’s a full detail for all of the analysis and so on and so forth. Like, I haven’t dug too much into it, is it? Is it something that obviously can do on your desktop? Not necessarily just on your phone?

Ash Krishnaswamy  11:17

Right? That’s right. That’s right. The analytics platform is great. You know, it shows you the the followers that you get, each week, the engagement on what videos, which videos are trending. Another really nice and interesting thing about TikTok is that it’s not just the recent videos that you post that will get traffic, you know, I have posted videos on our brand account, you know, separate from Forge that I probably posted about six months ago that, you know, maybe get 10 to 20,000 views every single month. And so you have this long tail effect of you know, content that’s engaging will continue to be propagated on the forum, on the on the channel. It’s not just kind of reverse chronological like, like Instagram or Twitter.

Joe Valley  12:07

This is interesting. So I’m being very, very self serving here, because I want I think it’s a great way to learn for the audience. So I’ve posted, as I said, I’ve got a micro influencer, right, I’ve got 10 followers, that would that be like an atom influencer? I’m so small. I’ve got I’ve posted five videos, one is gotten. I think it’s eight views, the other 1234 29 and then 39. And then I asked my social media person who is a VA, in the Philippines that does all of my posting of social media stuff. I said, what hashtags are you using on TikTok? Tell me what the heck this means, if you wouldn’t mind says TikTok has character limits of 150 only show, our hashtag strategy cannot fit in our copy. I’ll comment them on the videos. instead. She’s writing more copy up to 150 words instead of using hashtags, it sounds like is that right?

Ash Krishnaswamy  13:08

Yeah, that that sounds right. But here’s what I would say the captions don’t matter on TikTok, I would stay away from using any captions. And where would you know, where you want to take advantage of text is the actual text overlays on the video. I think that’s critical, because how you have to think about it as a viewer, you know, even as you as someone who uses TikTok, it is so easy to scroll, and you basically need to stop that thumb scroll in a matter of seconds. And so that’s why either overlaid text that the first three seconds of your video are incredibly important. So for you, it’s going to be you know, I’ll have to take a look at all the videos that you posted. But it’s going to be these hooks, you know, here’s this story about how this entrepreneur went from zero to $10 million in his first year. And then it’s just a 32nd clip, but you have this overlay text on the actual video that introduces that idea. And you keep that out of the caption and why I say keep it out of the caption is, you know, unlike other platforms, TikTok doesn’t place a lot of visual weight on your username, your profile picture the caption itself, like it does on Instagram. And so it’s really the content that speaks for itself. So the cat the caption area should be used for, you know, three or four hashtags that are really relevant to the type of audience and content that you’re creating

Joe Valley  14:29

is fantastic. So I’m letting my social media person know this and as a Adam influencer on TikTok folks, I will give you updates in the weeks and months to come to see how my TikTok audience has grown or not the Not My followers, but more about the shares. I guess that’s what it is. So if, if I’ve got one video that I guess it’s the views, it was viewed 39 times which honestly isn’t all that bad? I think it’s I think it’s probably better than on Twitter. And I’ve got five followers on Twitter.

Ash Krishnaswamy  15:08

Yeah. And so what I would say this is also important too. Are you on? Are you interacting from your account on TikTok? Or is it your VA? It’s my VA. It’s your VA. Yeah. So So here’s what’s also important. If you are on the platform as as as Quiet Light, and you are posting content relevant to your business, but then when you’re using it, when you’re scrolling the feed, you’re interacting with cooking videos, and stand up comedy videos and things that you personally might find of interest. There is such a delta between the content you’re creating and the content, you’re consuming, that Tik Tok has a little bit of a hard time understanding, Hey, what is the Quiet Light actually about what kind of content are they producing? And who should we be showing it to? Because they’re telling me that they’re really into cooking and stand up comedy, but on this side, they’re talking about entrepreneurship and business. And so you, ideally, you want to bridge that gap, you know, and stay kind of interacting in the spaces? Because that’s going to inform TikTok that’s going to train TikTok, hey, everything they’re doing on this platform is around business, entrepreneurship, bootstrapping, you know?

Joe Valley  16:28

How do I start? So this is this is actually the username doesn’t have anything to do with Quiet Light. It’s simply the Joe Valley. And I’m okay. I’m, it’s more book promotion that ultimately is leading to brand and reputation enhancement at Quiet Light. So in order for audience members to do that, if they’ve got grilling aprons that they’re selling, should they start doing searches for spring grilling recipes, or should in my case, be do I do searches for entrepreneurship, online businesses and things of that nature in order to start to begin to bridge that gap? So that I stopped? Yeah, so I start getting these, these, you know, silly fail videos and things of that nature?

Ash Krishnaswamy  17:12

Yes, I think is a new account, especially that’s important. As a new account. TikTok has no idea what your interests are, and what type of content you’re going to create. And so the more indicators that you can give to the TikTok algorithm, hey, this is me, this is the type of content I’m interested. Therefore, when I create content, there’s a pretty good bet that you should show it to this type of audience that I’ve been engaging with. So if you’re selling grilling aprons, you get on there, you start searching, hashtag grill, hashtag barbecue, you’re going to get tons of videos, and I would say you spend just a couple of hours that first week interacting with that type of content, you like it, you maybe share it out, you comment on it, you follow some of those users, it’s just all helpful indicators to the TikTok algorithm.

Joe Valley  17:59

Alright, so I already know what I’m going to do here. And folks, I’d recommend the same thing. If, if you’re like me, and you have VA is doing this work for you. I’m going to simply share this recording with my VA. Deb, I know you’re listening now or watching now to follow the advice that you’re talking about because it’s a couple of hours of week. Actually, I don’t know she I guess she has access to my Tik Tok account. Can she do the searches for me that and which would be hashtag entrepreneurship, hashtag online businesses, and then starts doing that a couple of hours a week as part of it. All right, exactly. We’ll get on with that. Can you I know you work with a lot of different brands, and the DTC market. Can you give any examples in terms of approaches you took advising them to, you know, grow their views? I guess it is on TikTok. It’s not necessarily followers, which is interesting, because I’m so used to talking about followers. How many Twitter followers do you have? How many Facebook? You know, all that stuff? Here? It’s slightly different. Do you have any sort of ad hoc case studies or something like that you can talk about?

Ash Krishnaswamy  19:08

Yeah, here’s the most common, you know, common first interaction when I talked to brands and we talked about the importance of TikTok I think a lot of brands and entrepreneurs are understanding the importance of TikTok, but the first thing they say is, I am I don’t have enough time to create the content. I’m kind of camera shy, I don’t like how I look on camera. You know, it’s gonna take me several hours day just to come up with a video concept that I have to shoot it, I don’t know how to edit it, do I need a production team, etc, etc, etc. And I basically go by debunking each one of these things. And the first thing that I like to say is, you have to get out of the mindset of how we’ve been trained to create content on Instagram over the past 10 years. Instagram is hyper polished, really buttoned up the content that does well there it’s, you know, shot on a DSLR It looks beautiful. It’s hyper art directed. It’s really thoughtful, polished, no, no real kind of behind the scenes. If you were to take that approach, and have a camera crew film this kind of content for TikTok, you know, follow me around, as I tell you the story of creating my business, and it looks really well edited and really polished, that video is going to fall completely flat on TikTok. And what is so important is that, you have to create content that feels native to the platform. And if you spend any time kind of just, that’s what I say, for people who are new to the platform, spend your first week just interacting on a platform, watch, TikTok every day for an hour a day, and start to see the type of content that people make. It is raw, it is funny, it is unpolished. It is basically first person point of view, people just you know, shooting something on the camera, flipping it around doing quick edits, really raw, uncut, and then they’ll put some soundtrack behind it. That is the type of content that does really well on TikTok and so especially for brands or small business, they said, What What can I showcase beyond my product? TikTok, you know, one of the one of the larger hashtags is hashtag small business and, and there’s a small, you know, watch my small business grow. And you look at some of these, and they’re videos of just people doing packaging, the videos, people doing packaging for, you know, 30 minutes, it’s a it’s a time lapse, and someone’s speaking over it. And they say, Hey, this is me fulfilling my 100 orders today that I got through Shopify, and you’ll look at the video and it has 6 million views. And people just love it, people just absolutely love it. And the more kind of raw behind the scenes, here’s the story of how my business isn’t doing well, or the struggles that I have as a business owner. Connecting with people just through that kind of authentic lens is content that’s that performs really, really well.

Joe Valley  22:02

On that video, the you know, example that you just gave, how does it get shared? With six? How does it get 6 million views? Is it that you’ve got 10 followers, and some of them just share it with their audience or their followers? How does that work? You’re shaking your head,

Ash Krishnaswamy  22:18

you could almost imagine it’s almost if I could say forget the concept of followers, I truly mean forgot the concept of followers. Even if I are to follow you on Tik Tok, that is no guarantee that I will see all of the content that you put out, okay, the feed the main feed and main way that viewers interact with Tik Tok is through there for you page and Tik Tok kind of keeps you there. And they just continuously serve up content that they think you’re going to be interested in. And as you continue to use the platform, the algorithm gets smarter and smarter knowing the type of content you’re going to like. And so that’s just what they show you. So I would say 98% of the content that I see on my feed, I don’t follow any of these people. It is just kind of triangulated to me based on my interest.

Joe Valley  23:11

So I just looked at my for you page. And you’re absolutely right. I don’t follow any of those folks. I think I follow a total of 15. And, you know, I know one of them shows up in my feed all the time. Because it’s somebody that I know personally, but it’s interesting. It’s interesting.

Ash Krishnaswamy  23:26

Yeah, so to that question, specifically, how does that video of someone doing packaging get to 6 million is so they create, they create this video and they’ll you know, hashtag it, you know, packaging, hashtag Small Business hashtag, you know, a few other hashtags that might be of interest. And that video, Tik Tok will take that video and say, okay, this person may only have 100 followers, or so we’re going to show this video to 1000 people who have either watched unboxing videos before, watch these videos of small businesses, watch videos of packaging. You know, maybe like the sounds and they also pull out other things from the video content itself. You know, maybe someone is packaging. I don’t know, women’s jewelry, and the video can that they can determine the type of content that’s in the video. They will show it to these, this small subgroup of people. And depending on how that small subgroup of people interact with the video, whether they share it, whether they comment on it, whether they like it. If there starts to it, you know, depending on that engagement, if the engagement starts to look at TikTok will show it to more and more people like that. And then you know, that’s how kind of virality virality grows just more engagement begets more engagement begets more views. Oh, well I know

Joe Valley  24:52

what I’ve got to do, which is start paying attention to hashtags and whatnot do searches for hashtags in the area that I want my body To see my videos and and start with that. The, the frequency, let’s talk about that a little bit. In my situation. I’m posting once a week on Tuesdays. And that’s it. Should I be posting every day or at least five days a week?

Ash Krishnaswamy  25:16

I think you know, so I think two things, one, quality over quantity, there were always these rules of thumb on Instagram, you have to post a couple times a day to help the algorithm all that stuff. TikTok really, truly only cares about the quality of the content. And the mistake that I see some brands make as they post a lot of videos, you know, I’ll go to their profile and they’ll have 15 videos, but none of those videos would have surpassed 100 views. At this point 15 videos in you have basically signaled to Tik Tok, hey, I’m making content that isn’t fitting with any kind of audience, and it’s not engaging. And so TikTok looks at you as a creator, and they say, Hey, I’m not even going to show your next video to that many people because you’ve had 15 videos, and none of them have done over 100 views. There’s no engagement on them. There’s no comments, there’s one or two likes, and so it kind of negatively affects your score. So in those instances, I just tell the brand hey, let’s blow up this account and start a new one.

Joe Valley  26:20

Should the TikTok videos be produced specifically for TikTok? Or can you do one that you also post on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram? And just have it be a vanilla one that is less than three minutes? But when you post it on TikTok you do the text overlay and the hashtag specific to TikTok?

Ash Krishnaswamy  26:40

Yeah, I think things videos need to be edited with a TikTok first mindset rather than saying, Hey, here’s content that we might be using for Facebook ad and let’s try to repurpose it for Tik Tok that, you know, backing into it doesn’t work. But starting with the TikTok first, you know, really crafting the content for TikTok using it on TikTok and then repurposing it for other channels actually is a strategy that’s working quite well, especially from the Facebook ad strategies, some of the highest performing you know, ads are TikTok videos, that they’re just, you know, putting paid spend behind on Facebook,

Joe Valley  27:22

on Facebook? Well, I want to ask your opinion on a particular person that I know that posts on TikTok, this, this person is going to person runs an agency in the in the, you know, online world, I’m trying not to say too much here. And, and they post they post podcasts, which is great, but rarely do I see those now. And more often than not, what I’m seeing is this person posting messages with music behind it. But with the, the the text overlay, instead of talking like we are now this person never talks, it’s always text overlay. And there’s music behind it. And to top it off, and I see this particular thing on Tik Tok happens a lot. For me anyway, I’m not a fast reader. Like if my wife and I are reading the same book, she’ll read four chapters now read two, it’s just maybe it’s just me. When I see this person doing the type of videos that they do, which is you know, they’re professional agency owner in the online space. And sometimes I can see parts of their body that I don’t want to see, I’m not talking about private parts, but you know, Alright, whatever. It’s, it’s a female, and in a halter top. I’m like, What are you doing? Why are you wearing that? And you’re not 21? This is not for teenagers, you’re trying to grow your client base? Why in the world? Would you wear that? Number one? So that’s number one. Why? Number two, a lot of folks seem to put that text overlay up there so quickly, it’s hard to read. And so what I do is, I scroll, I go back to the video before it and then I come to it again so that I can actually get through reading the whole thing. And I’m wondering if that’s a specific strategy that helps with, you know, procedure engagement on TikTok. So what are your What are your thoughts on both of those? Why in the world would this person dress the way she’s dressing and literally be dancing with text overlay to help grow her business? Now, most of her clients are female, so maybe that’s part of it. And the other part, why is the text overlay always up so quick?

Ash Krishnaswamy  29:50

So my guess is that both of those things are very intentional. The first about you know, dressing, it can just be you know, a thumb stopper It can be a driver for engagement. And, and again, like I said, the real, you know, metrics that Tik Tok is looking at is your watch through rate, or your repeat, watch rate, your comments, and then the shares on the video. And so with, you know, choosing to dress a certain way that can drive watch through rate, or it can just drive initial kind of, you know, likes to the video, let’s call it that the text overlay, not showing that text for enough time is actually a really smart hack to get people to keep watching the video. Because you then have, you know, all of these people who are interested in the content, they don’t fully understand the content on first watch through because the text goes back. And they do exactly what you said, they go up or they go down one and then swipe through. And then they watch this video four times, which signals to TikTok, hey, this is a really engaging video, let’s show it to more people. And so that starts to drive engagement. And so what you’ll see now or with people who really understand the platform is that they reverse engineer, all of these kinds of metrics, you know, so, for example, another one that I want to call out is doing or saying something controversial, in a video intentionally can be a great idea. Because that’s going to drive comments, and the more comments that you drive, the more kind of broader engagement that you’re going to get. So, you know, there’s various ways of kind of applying this. But you know, even in a, you know, as one example, I made a video, and in that video, it was this kind of like funny, goofy video. But in that video, I was sharpening and sharpening a knife. And I was talking about how I was, you know, a classically trained chef or something, and I was sharpening the knife. totally incorrect. You know, I had like my, my sharpening rod, but I was struggling it like this person is never use the knife for the sharpening rod. That wasn’t even the point of the video point of the video was something totally different. But I did that on purpose, because I knew that people would look at that video and say, This guy has no idea how to sharpen a knife. And lo and behold, there was the first 40 comments was that there’s no way you have ever sharpen the knife before there was no way you were a chef, and then you start egging them on a little bit in the comments. I was like, oh, that’s how we did it at my Michelin star restaurant for the past 10 years. And then that kind of gets this thread going. And so there’s a way to kind of reverse engineer this stuff, and, you know, generate a little bit of controversy just through the content you create.

Joe Valley  32:41

In that situation, what is it that you’re promoting or selling?

Ash Krishnaswamy  32:45

In that situation? This was for a, you know, it was just a kind of one off funny video, there was no kind of promotion or sales, you know,

Joe Valley  32:57

he just wanted to see what would happen. All right,

Ash Krishnaswamy  32:59

I was just, I just wanted to see what would happen. You know, I kind of test these hacks from time to time, you know, I’ll give you another example. Because as I’m consulting all of these brands, I’m like, Okay, I think this kind of hacker tool should work. Let me try it out. The other day, I was in the coffee shop, and I saw a dog wearing these small little booties, on on, you know, each one of its legs. And so I made this five second video and I said, PSA, your dog doesn’t need to wear shoes. And I knew that’s incorrect. I don’t know anything about dogs, I also don’t have a dog. There’s obviously a reason the dog was wearing boots, there was 100 comments on that video within two hours of people saying you know nothing about dogs, they wear this because of the rocksalt they wear this because the concrete gets so hot. But it drives up the engagement of the video. And so I think there’s a way to take ways to take that lesson and apply it to your brand or the product that you’re selling or some way to kind of engineer virality.

Joe Valley  33:56

So in that situation, it was a five second video, I take it that you took a short video of that particular dog with the booties on and then you did text overlay and then text over

Ash Krishnaswamy  34:07

live. And what were the hashtags. You know the hashtag was was hashtag NYC hashtag dogs of NYC hashtag dog park. Yeah.

Joe Valley  34:15

And did you create those hashtags or you found those hashtags.

Ash Krishnaswamy  34:20

So the nice thing about TikTok is as you start typing a hashtag, it’ll show you all of the kind of relevant hashtags. It’ll see the search preview, but you’ll also see the total view count on that hashtag. So hashtag dogs has a total view count of call it 5 billion, right hashtag dogs of NYC may have a total view count of 200 million, but it’s more isolated to you know, New York City dogs let’s broader dogs.

Joe Valley  34:48

How many hashtags can you put up at once? Did you say before? Is it three or four?

Ash Krishnaswamy  34:52

So I would say you don’t want to go beyond five. Okay, fair enough. All right.

Joe Valley  34:57

Wow, this is awesome. I don’t know, inspiring, exciting, like, I want to put all this into play and I’m hoping the audience is thinking the same thing. Where is where is the best education in terms of learning a lot of these tips and tactics on tic tac and growing your audience there? Or actually the amount of views that you get?

Ash Krishnaswamy  35:20

Yeah, so I would actually say TikTok is a pretty good place, you know, you if you go on to TikTok, and you search, you know, hashtag a hashtag you know, there’s there’s learn on TikTok there is, you probably searched hashtag TikTok growth, hashtag growing my TikTok, you’re gonna have this level of just meta education happening on the platform where you have, you know, creator saying, Hey, here’s how you need to think about making videos, here are the latest trends you can hop on, here’s the type of music to use, here’s how to edit your videos to, you know, be in line with certain trends or, you know, popular things on the platform. So I would say TikTok is actually a really good place. And then also Twitter, you know, finding people who are just in this space of, you know, they’re either brand owners or operators or they’re kind of advising brands on TikTok, and just kind of sharing insights there.

Joe Valley  36:15

Of course, there’s you guys at Forge so we’re, we’re just about to wrap up. So tell us how people can find you Ash and reach out to you either directly or through Forge and things of that nature.

Ash Krishnaswamy  36:30

Yeah, so at Forge, you can reach out to us easiest email is [email protected], that’s [email protected] And then me on Twitter. I am I’m @Shwinnabego, which is a funny name like a Winnebago. And so yeah, you can find me in both of those places that I’d be happy to kind of walk you through what the right TikTok strategy might look like for your business or just, you know, talk more broadly about that as you know, one channel and then kind of beyond that we do these these other things, and you know, branding, Shopify design and development.

Joe Valley  37:07

Yeah, and it’s Forge.coop or a co op for people that want to find them there. And they help brands launch and grow. I’m just looking at their LinkedIn profile. Check them out. Ashwinn Krishnaswamy, if you can spell that properly, it’s Krishnaswamy. On LinkedIn, but they work with companies like muddy bites, Jan B’s birthday gates, Oklahoma, smokes nomnom modern mammals, and most recently with Troy Aikman at eight elite lager, also Venmo. So a heck of a resume for you guys. And you start with from launch up to you said up to generally up to 20 million or so is when you’re working with your clients. That’s right. Brilliant, brilliant. This has been great. I’m excited to see what happens and hear from people how their audiences have grown on Tik Tok and their shares and their spending and things of that nature. So thanks so much for sharing all of this information. And maybe when I am no longer a Adam influencer on Tik Tok, I’ll reach out we can have another episode about what I’ve done, and how I’ve grown my audience there. Thanks, man. appreciate having you. I

Ash Krishnaswamy  38:22

love it. My pleasure.

Outro  38:25

today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at podcast at quietlightbrokerage.com Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

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