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Episode 117: TikTok and Massive Growth on Any Platform With Yumna Jawad

In episode 117 we talk with Yumna Jawad about the magic of using different platforms like Tik Tok to share our content successfully and creatively.

We cover information about how to get people to consume our content, be YOU as much as possible and have a positive mindset as you put yourself out there for success!

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Feel Good Foodie
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Bio
Currently raising her family in Michigan, Yumna is the home cook, recipe developer, and inspiration behind Feel Good Foodie. She creates nutritious, delicious, and family-friendly meals, sharing her enthusiasm for natural ingredients and clean eating. Yumna experiments with new tastes and textures, providing healthy alternatives to everyday staples that make you feel good.

Takeaways

  • Tik Tok is a 100% video platform that engages its audience. A mininum of 5 seconds up to 60 seconds. They can be polished or spontaneous.
  • You can use music or voice overs and they are created right within the app. Special effects are even an option!
  • It’s a young platform so you can capitalize on the attention it’s getting. It’s a larger reach for you if you get your audience’s attention that has nothing to do with your following on other platforms.
  • With Tik Tok, the discovery is coming from within the app so you can grow organically vs how Snap Shot made you bring your following from IG to Snap Shot. Tik Tok doesn’t have that requirement.
  • Tik Tok won’t replace Instagram but it is competitive. All ages and genres are getting onto this app. A huge shift happened during Covid stay at home period because families were getting online and people had time to get creative. The demographics changed and more people are enjoying it.
  • Tik Tok will push you outside your limits and hopefully captures a new audience while make you think creatively about problem solving and entertaining in a different way.
  • Brand sponsorships are minimal within Tik Tok right now because its in its baby steps. Reputable Brands are starting to get on board and take notice of this platform, building awareness or checking it out.
  • Some influencers are using this platform to hold Master class of some service or a sale of an e-book, etc.
  • Hook your audience in the first 2-3 seconds of a Tik Tok video to keep them checking out that video PLUS checking out your next new piece of content.
  • You can see trending topics on the home page. So get on those!

Want More Content Strategy?

Join Giuliana Bernini on episode 105 as she talks about the relevance of Food Science and Holistic Nutrition in your content planning.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan:

Food bloggers. Hey, are you looking for new ways to make money as a blogger? If so, we have got your back. We have launched an ebook called Conversations On Monetization. Inside this resource, we take your favorite podcast episodes about monetization and we put them all in one easy accessible package. We threw a few exclusive interviews in as well. Friends, there are so many ways to monetize your food blog. Inside this ebook we have interviews with success stories like Todd Bullock, Alyssa Brantley, Kelly McNelis, Jenna Carlin, and more. All of these examples have become successful through completely different monetization strategies. Whether you are a brand new blogger, looking for your very first revenue stream or you are a seasoned pro wanting to diversify, this ebook is for you. Go to eatblogtalk.com to grab your copy. And we can’t wait to hear your success story with monetization.

What is up food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast made for you, food bloggers seeking value for your businesses and your lives. Today I will be having my second chat here on Eat Blog Talk with Yumna from Feel Good Foodie. This time we are going to talk about TikTok. Currently raising her family in Michigan, Yumna is the home cook recipe, developer and inspiration behind Feel Good Foodie. She creates nutritious, delicious and family friendly meals, sharing her enthusiasm for natural ingredients and clean eating. Yumna experiments with the new tastes and textures providing healthy alternatives to everyday staples that make you feel good. Yumna, I am excited to talk about TikTok today, because like I said before the interview, I know nothing about it. But first before we do that, give us another fun fact about yourself.

Yumna:

Sounds good. I’m really excited to be here as well. A fun fact is I’m actually an artist and I didn’t realize this, but when I was 11, I realized in an art class that I actually know how to draw and paint really well. So I developed that over high school and college. I don’t do it anymore, but it’s, I have this little artistic side of me and I think it’s really helping with food photography and food styling. So it’s a little fun fact about me.

Megan:

Cool. I think it’s so rare to find people who can draw really well. Most of us can get by, especially for creativity. I am not a good drawer, but my mother is this amazing drawer and it’s just like mystifying, how do you do that? So that’s really awesome. A skill that a lot of people don’t have, I think.

Yumna:

It was interesting just learning that about myself. I’m really good at this and I enjoy it. So that’s pretty cool.

Megan:

That is cool. Thanks for sharing that. So Yumna, you’re here today to talk about that super hot trendy platform known as TikTok that I know absolutely nothing about. I swear everything I ask you about in this interview will truly be something I’m curious about because it’s just something I have not dove into yet. So let’s just start by talking about it. Do you think that food bloggers should be on TikTok? If so, can you kind of tell us why you think that?

Yumna:

Yes, absolutely. So when I first started on TikTok, I didn’t think food bloggers should be on TikTok. When some food bloggers saw me there, I said, well, I’m just really having fun. I don’t even know that this is going anywhere. I don’t think that this is going to be a viable platform or something that will be relevant in the next year. Over the last, over the next six to seven months, my thinking on that has completely changed. I truly believe now that food bloggers should be on TikTok. Here’s why I think so. First of all, it’s still a pretty young platform. So this is a really good time to capitalize on that awareness and reach that it’s relatively early to do so. So it’s a really good time to do it because there’s so much attention there.

It’s such a great way to have a big amount of reach even if you have no page views, even if you have no followers whatsoever, there’s still a potential for a video to go viral and to get a huge amount of reach with any kind of video. So the cool thing about it is unlike something like Snapchat, for example, when Snapchat came out, the way you grew an audience is by referring your people from Instagram to Snapchat. So you would share your code or you would share your ID from Instagram and have people head over to Snapchat. With TikTok, it’s very different. The discovery all happens right within the app. So you’re not sending people from Instagram to your blog or Instagram to Snapchat or anything like that. It’s really all just happening within the app and that’s the best way for it to happen too.

So this opportunity to grow organically without the help of any other platform, without even needing to be big or viable on any other platform, I think makes it really important for food bloggers to get on there and just get their exposure out there. The last reason is it doesn’t really matter what your niche is. So on there, my sister’s a dentist for example, and she’s creating videos. I have a friend who does fitness there. There’s dancers, there’s bloggers, there’s doctors on there. The cool thing about it is it doesn’t matter what your niche is. People are interested in watching all kinds of videos there. You don’t just have to be a dancer. You don’t just have to be a singer.

Megan:

Can you kinda talk about how the platform works and how it’s laid out? Because I’ve heard about it. My nieces were over for father’s day and they were on it and I get word of it. I hear about the hype and everything, but I don’t know what it’s like. So can you kind of talk me through that?

Yumna:

So basically you can create videos that are, I think a minimum of five seconds up to 60 seconds. So these videos, they could be like an Instagram story. They can be as polished as something like an Instagram hands and pans kind of video. It could really be whatever you want. So to make it more creative, you could do voice overs with those videos. You can add music to those videos. You can react to other people’s videos by sharing two videos at the same time. So there’s just a really cool way to upload those kinds of videos. What is really different too, is you can create those videos right within the app without having to use anything else. So a lot of people will ask me, what are you using to create the videos? I will literally say the TikTok app because within the app you can record up to 60 seconds and then you can trim down those videos.

You can use the snippets of the videos, you can speed up some portions, you can put music over it. There’s such a way to get creative in there. There’s even a way to put special effects in there. So if you want to transition from one scene to another, there’s a way to do that. Every month to talk is releasing new special effects and new ways to have fun with it. You can create, edit and upload all just within the app. It’s actually 100% video. So everything you do on there is video. If you are doing photos, if you are sharing the photos, you would need to make that into a video. So sharing a series of at least five to 10 photos and making it interesting. That’s how it is. It’s all vertical videos as well. So we know we’re used to holding our phone vertically and there’s a lot of things that try to have you flip your phone and things like that. But what works on there are those vertical long form types of videos.

Megan:

That helps me kind of wrap my head around it. So it’s 100% video. There’s no photos. If you do have a photo, you can turn it into a gif or something that moves in video format. So is this something that you foresee replacing Instagram or are they totally different?

Yumna:

I don’t think it’s going to replace Instagram. I do think it’s going to be highly competitive to Instagram because it’s just another way to interact. So with Instagram, it’s highly curated. It’s very beautiful. You get on there and there’s so much aesthetic. You can automatically see what they were about the color palette, who they are and just the vibe of who they are. So a lot of it is Instagram who are absorbing content based on who you follow. I don’t think people are really using discovery pages like you used to. With TikTok, for example, because it’s so new, so much about it is the discoverability of content. You don’t know who’s on there. You’re not even looking at people’s profiles, you don’t even know who you’re watching. You’re just scrolling around and you’re discovering these really entertaining content and they’re less curated. They’re less professional looking. They’re less polished and they’re just more real entertaining.

Megan:

It’s so interesting. You think that there can’t possibly be another type of platform that comes out, what could possibly be going beyond the scope of Instagram and Facebook and everything that we experienced now. So it’s so interesting to me that somebody created a totally unique platform that people are just loving. From what I hear, it’s just being enjoyed by all different age groups too. Like what is the prime demographic for tick-tock users?

Yumna:

Before I answer that too, kind of going along with competing with Instagram, you have people like Gary Vaynerchuk, for example, who is very well known in social media influence. He is saying that TikTok is really going to give Instagram a run for its money. Gary is in his forties so you have people that are all kinds of different ages that are using it and promoting it and loving it. So now TikTok used to be musical.ly is what I originally started at. So the audience was super, super, super young. We’re talking like nine to 14 for the most part. But what happened, I think what happens with any platform like Instagram was like that too, when it first started. I remember Facebook, you could only be on Facebook if you had a college email. I remember first getting on Facebook in 2000 because I had a .edu when I graduated and until 2004.

So as an alumni, I had a .edu address. So I was able to get a Facebook account. So it was super young. It was only college kids who could get Facebook. Instagram kind of started the same way too, where it’s a lot of the young people who were like , Oh man, my mom’s on Facebook now I’m going on Instagram. Now it’s happening with TikTok as well. It’s super young. There is a very young audience on there, but as it grows in users, as it grows in popularity, you’re seeing that audience really grow. I think a huge shift happened during the whole coronavirus quarantine because all of a sudden, March, April, May, some people were losing their jobs. Most people were staying home or working from home, had extra time on their hands. People just kind of started seeing all these videos floating around.

I had TikTok videos being sent to me by my father-in-law, by my grandma in Lebanon. The people were sending me videos that were becoming mainstream. Even TikTok videos are being shared on the news. So all of a sudden, you get these links, you click on the video that someone is sending you, and then you get stuck on the app for hours just watching all of these videos. So what ended up happening is that that user base ended up getting a little bit by little older and there was a thing about, Oh, I’m a millennial or I’m too old to be on TikTok. But look at me, I’m having fun. Before you knew it, that demographic is definitely getting older. It’s not just for middle school age kids.

Megan:

So you mentioned passing around videos. So you can take a video from within the platform and send it to someone, or how does that work?

Yumna:

So it’s the whole share-ability of a video. So when you get something, you can save a video, you can save it right onto your phone. You can save it as a favorite, kind of like a compilation within the app that you can refer to at a later time. Or you can also copy the link and then save it that way. So that’s what I do. Sometimes if I find something super funny, if I want to send it to my mom, I’ll just copy the link and anyone can see that. You don’t have an account. You can just click on the link and watch it. But when you click on the link, you can easily start to just scroll around. So it’s just a smart way to be able to access it and see things. What I do when I watch is, when I’m absorbing content and watching different things, I’ll save some of my favorite ones to show my kids because my kids are still younger. So I don’t want them on the app. But if I find something super funny that’s age appropriate, I’ll just save it as a favorite and I’ll share it with my kids later on.

Megan:

That’s really cool that you can do that. So you don’t have to stay within the app. Then is it mostly mobile phone based or is it desktop too?

Yumna:

I believe it’s a 100% mobile phone base. Nobody’s really using the content that way or uploading the content that way, but just like Instagram, where you can kind of view it on the desktop. You can view TikTok on desktop as well. There’s been a lot of roundups lately of best TikTok hacks, and fun TikTok things. If you click on those links, you can watch them on desktop, but the way most people use the app. It’s more fun to use it through your phone as well, because the way you’re scrolling, the way the comments upload and all of that, it’s just more engaging on the actual phone.

Megan:

So really the coronavirus and the quarantine, everything we’ve just experienced, kind of launched everybody into using this app because I’ve seen little bits of it too, just on commercials. I know that they’ve been incorporated into commercials recently. I was pretty unaware before, but now it’s a huge thing. That’s really interesting that something that we just experienced, that wasn’t very fun, launched this new, cool thing. So I’m definitely going to check it out. But I’m always reluctant to spend my time and energy on something that may just be a passing trend. You know what I mean? Because all those apps, they kind of pop up now and then, and they say this is going to be a competition for Instagram. So you get on it and you spend time getting your profile ready and doing all the things. Then all of a sudden it’s gone. So I am always reluctant to do that. So what do you think, I mean, do you 100% feel like we should invest time into doing this for our businesses or just for personal or both? What are your thoughts on that?

Yumna:

Well, it’s so hard to predict where the app will go because when you have Facebook and Instagram being such giants that they are, they know that TikTok is a big competitor now. What happened with Instagram stories, kind of taking the whole Snapchat story idea. Instagram is watching very closely and they may adapt a lot of the features that are happening now to Instagram. So we don’t know 100% if TikTok will stick around. But what I do know is the way of creating videos on TikTok, the way of consuming videos on TikTok. I don’t think that’s going anywhere. I feel that as a content creator, it’s such a valuable platform for you to get on and actually get behind the camera, talk to your audience and say, Hey, we’re, I’m going to teach you a hack of how to do X, Y, and Z today and actually go through it and share it.

It’s just a different way of creating content that kind of pushes you outside of your limits, makes you think creatively about problem solving and about entertaining in a different way. I think that skill by itself is so valuable in the next wave of how we’ll be creating content in the future as food bloggers. So even if the actual app itself does not stick around. I think the way that we’re creating content and consuming content is so vital and it’s an essential skill for us to learn right now. I know some bloggers who just basically shared photos and videos on their Instagram and they’re fine and they’re doing amazing things and their blog is thriving and all of a sudden they get on TikTok and they realize, Oh my gosh, this is so hard. It’s so different. What do I do? Getting out of your comfort level, and it’s just such a great way to grow.

I feel that for myself that has made me a little bit stronger in getting behind the camera, a little bit more confident in speaking about my recipes and then being able to have more fun with my content. So if I have content that I’ve made for the blog and I’ve made for Instagram, I always think about how do I make this interesting so that the 12 year olds do like it, but at the same time, the 35 year old are going to make the recipe as well. So I’m thinking about my content in a new way to reach a new audience. So I think there’s so much potential. I think even if the app goes nowhere, you’re still getting eyeballs, you’re still getting reach. You’re still getting training and learning a new skill, in a way

Megan:

That makes sense. I mean, sometimes just stepping out of our comfort zones is really important and valuable and helps us to grow in ways that we can’t imagine. So if nothing else, I think maybe it’s worth it for that. Now, what do you think about making money? Because I know a lot of people use Instagram for brand sponsorships and things like that. Are there ways to make money on TikTok?

Yumna:

I think we have to look at it like it’s still a baby app and it’s still in its infancy. So the money-making opportunity right now is through brand sponsorships. It’s still pretty minimal. So what’s happening now is TikTok is trying to own part of that for example, by having brand sponsorships go through the app. There’s a creator marketplace. So I am part of that creative marketplace. I think you might need like 5,000 followers or something. That’s not even a big number to be part of that. But once you’re part of that creative marketplace, then you’ll have opportunities to apply for different programs. So a company might see you and say, Hey, we really want to work with you. Here’s what the campaign is about. Do you accept or decline? Once you accept that, you can go through monetary and things like that.

So far as a healthy food blogger, I’ve gotten seven or eight or 10 different opportunities, but nothing has been healthy. There have not been any healthy opportunities. Or it’s been apps to promote an app – an editing app or fun little things like that. Or frozen things, frozen foods. So I have not accepted any of those at all, but I did also have opportunities coming to me just via email. I worked with Thrive Market and it was a flat fee that they paid as well. It’s not as competitive as Instagram, but I was still actually able to make some money on there. So those opportunities are starting to come with reputable brands that know the value of social media marketing. So I was able to do one, I think it was a Bob’s Red Mill that had a big campaign.

Dole had a big campaign. So you’re starting to see even KIND snacks. I’ve seen them do a campaign as well. So slowly starting to see some of these brands experiment with it. They’re not pouring a lot of money into it, but they’re picking influencers who know how to create content, who they’re pretty sure can get the word out and get that awareness out and just build reach. So there’s no click link in bio for this recipe and swipe up for 15% off. It’s just going to look really different. So right now they’re experimenting with it. Then the brands who are doing it are doing it just for awareness. Building awareness for their product or a certain brand or a campaign or something like that. But outside of that, the other people who are making money are using it to have a masterclass of something.

So if you create all this content that helps people create the most beautiful Instagram story, all of a sudden people might ask you, Hey, can you teach us this? You can actually sell courses like that through the app. So I’ve seen people doing things like that as well. They’re teaching TikTok masterclasses. So sign up and for 50 bucks or a hundred bucks or whatever, you get to be part of this course, or you get to have one-on-one masterclass for more money. So there are things like that as well, where it’s a more personal way to sell a service that you already have. People are selling eBooks on there as well, because there’s so many eyeballs on your account and it’s just an opportunity to sell something you already sell.

Yumna:

So it’s really interesting. I, for example, didn’t make money for a long time. I think the only opportunity was the one that I mentioned, but it was just cool just to have a case study, just to see how things work. What can I say? What’s pushing it too much. You don’t want to be too salesy. You still want to have fun with it, but there’s so many different opportunities to make money. There’s also something that some creators are doing. Kind of like YouTube, where your fans can chip in and pay you with coins. So the more they watch. Then you can take that and translate it as actual cash. So there’s things like that where there’s not a lot of people doing that, but some people are experimenting with that. TikTok is still in its infancy, they’re trying to figure out how to monetize as well. They’re doing some ads, but not too much, but that is definitely going to change just like Instagram has grown. It’s a really big platform now for monetizing your content.

Megan:

It is in its infancy stages. So I’m sure there’s a lot of attention on it and brands are probably like, okay, well, people are here. So how do we make the most of that? So everyone’s kind of trying to figure out how to best utilize it and maximize exposure and all of that. But I think it’s really interesting that people are using it to sell products and courses. That’s so different; when you said that I kind of was like mind blowing. That’s crazy, but I’m trying to create an account as I talked to you. Because I’m so curious now.

Yumna:

It’s really interesting, and I think what you’ll find is the followers, the users are so much more engaging than any other platform out there. I mean, the level of engagement is unreal. So people are watching closely, they’re paying attention to what you’re saying and asking questions, you know? So they’re very, very interested. I think you have to kind of build a rapport first that you’re an expert in something, but putting out a course or something, a product as an influencer can really be beneficial.

Megan:

So the algorithm, is there an algorithm that’s just similar to Instagram? Or how does that work?

Yumna:

Everyone’s trying to always crack these algorithms, but the most important part of the algorithm is retention and sharing and completion. So TikTok really values you watching a full video. So think about what kind of video is going to get people to watch it all and then rewatch it and share it. So those are the three biggest things. So it’s not about the likes and it’s not about the comments as much. Those are much, much lower in priority compared to completion, share-ability and rewatch. They want people to watch it over and over again. So what happens when I find a really funny TikTok is I’ll watch it like two or three times, then I’ll save it and then I’ll show it to my husband. I’ll show it to my kids. Then my kids are like, Oh, let me see it again.

Me as a user, I’ve already watched it like eight times. Especially if my kids like it, can we watch that again? I just keep them in my favorites. Then we watch them over and over again. Those videos end up really going viral and they end up sticking around for a really long time. But the other cool thing about the algorithm is after 24 hours, your content does not die. So what happens is if I have a video today that did really well, it’s going to bring all these extra eyeballs to my account. When it does, if there’s a little bit of an uptick in some other video that people see, Oh, what is this video about? Even if it’s a little bit of an uptick, TikTok will notice, okay. This other video that she posted a month ago or two months ago seems to also be getting some really good attention.

Let’s push that out again on the for you page, which is like the popular page and get that going again. So what you’ll see is content waking up again days later, weeks later, or even months later. So one of my hot ones right now was from March. It just kept going and it’s a viral video that just kind of keeps on giving. I have another one I want to say early May, that’s still in my top 10, that’s bringing followers in. So the algorithm is just different. What makes it interesting is how do you get people to watch your video fully and then maybe rewatch it again? I had a funny one where I was making chicken burgers and it was a fun hack of, this is how I make my chicken burger’s all the same size.

I use the top of a Mason jar and just like that. Then I said, look at that perfect square, you know? I ended the video right there. People were like, what did you mean square? I said it accidentally, I was doing the voiceover and said it really quickly, like why did I say square? Then I said, you know what? That’s actually really funny. The video went viral. It was very poor quality lighting. I wasn’t in it, just literally shot it in like 10 seconds. It got 1.3 million views. The comments are hilarious. Because people were like, wait, did she say square?

Megan:

I’m the queen of saying things that are just weird, so I’d fit right in over there.

Yumna:

Yeah. Everyone’s like that. It was just a fun way. People will say, watch til the end, but you want to have something fun at the end to make sure that people are watching it to the end. So those were kind of the things to keep in mind for the TikTok algorithm.

Megan:

So I’m part intrigued and excited and I’m part stressed because I just don’t want to learn a new thing. You know how that is? You’re like really, but it sounds really cool. So enough that I already have an account within the time that we did the podcast.

Yumna:

Wonderful.

Megan:

So I’m excited to dig in. I think this is something that my boys, they’re 13 and 10. I think they would like it too, because they have nieces who are older teens and I’ve seen them showing them different videos. They’re like mom, why don’t you have TikTok? I say, no, don’t talk to me about anything new. I’m not doing it. So they’ll be excited to know that I’m on here. Okay. So you, Yumna, are the master queen of growing. I know you have just this magic with growth and growing platforms. In our last interview, you talked about this incredible growth that you experienced on Instagram and on your blog. So talk to us about your secrets. What are your tips for growing? Not just on TikTok, but on any platform really, because you do have that magic. So give us some of your best tips.

Yumna:

Okay. So I think one of the biggest things is knowing your audience and knowing the correct format. So for example, I’m trying to grow my YouTube channel right now and those square hands and pans videos is something that I created on Instagram, but those don’t work on YouTube. So thinking about, okay, what’s the format, what’s popular, what’s acceptable here, and what’s the correct way to share content. So I think knowing that is super helpful and will actually help you push a little bit further. So sometimes it makes me feel like, well, I already have a square video that I created for this muffin recipe. So why not throw that on YouTube? Because they accept the videos, why not throw that on TikTok as well? But it’s really important to figure out how people consume the content and what’s the correct format.

So having that correct format I think is really, really important. Another thing too, that I would say is thinking about having people fully consume your content. So on Instagram, for example, is it watching all of your carousels? Is it having engaging carousels that does it step-by-step to show the recipe from beginning to end? Is it a really thoughtful caption that makes people want to read from beginning to end. On YouTube as well, what is it that’s going to make them watch all the way until they end? On TikTok, we talked about this idea of completion. Is it something funny that you say at the end, there’s a guy who always says, you know, hit it with some flaky salt and he eats at the end and you just wait for him to taste whatever he’s making with flaky salt.

At the end, you always wait for that. Thinking about how to get people to spend time on your content and complete your content, because it doesn’t matter what platform you are, even on the blog. If somebody is going to read it from beginning to end, that completion is really going to be valuable for increasing page views, increasing retention and helping whatever algorithm it is, whether it’s on Google, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok completion is so important for all of those algorithms. So always thinking about not just throwing content there, but how do you get people to finish it? Watch the whole thing, read the whole thing, capture the whole thing. So that’s a second tip that I really like to think of. Another tip too is thinking about engaging your audience and hooking them. So with TikTok, it’s really important to hook them within the first two to three seconds, because it’s so fast paced.

People are just scrolling and trying to find the next funniest thing, the next brilliant thing to watch, because they want to share with their friends, they want to show their family, the funniest best thing they saw. Same thing with YouTube. If you’re teaching someone how to cut a mango on YouTube, you better hook on the first five seconds, why they should watch your video and not the next 15 videos that also show how to cut a mango. So thinking about that hook, that’s going to engage them from the get-go and keep them watching. This goes in line with like tip number two. It’s the same thing on the blog as well. When we do our little intro for the blog, this recipe takes only 10 minutes in one pan and your whole family’s going to love it.

Speaker 3:

You hook them, they want to make the recipe. They’re going to continue to read on, to learn how to have this magical dinner recipe tonight. So always thinking about how to hook people. My last tip would be, try to be you as much as possible. On TikTok, on YouTube, there’s so many amazing personalities. I have watched the cutest people, the strong personalities, aggressive chefs, cute chefs, just very, very interesting people. I’m like, Oh my gosh, they have this it factor about them that’s amazing. I watch other people, I just want to be her. She’s so sweet. I look at another chef and he’s so confident in his knife skills. I just want to be like him. I think looking around, I have something unique about me and reading the comments, you can kind of learn what people like about you. People say, Oh, you’re so approachable or you’re so sweet. Or I like listening to your voice. Whatever it is, people will tell you, Oh, you’re so approachable. Your recipes are so healthy. They will kind of hint to you what it is about you. So stick to that, take that. Don’t try to be someone else because there was a really confident chef and I thought I’m going to be so confident. I’m going to try that. I did one with humuus. I’m going to teach you how to make the best hummus of your life. It did fine but it wasn’t me. I’m not that aggressive. Trust me, I’ve got the best hummus ever. It’s not my personality to do that.

Whatever platform you are, you really have to be authentic to who you are. That personality will shine through. Especially if your brand is more about you and less about, here’s some recipes. If your brand is you, you have to let that shine through on YouTube. You have to let it shine through on the blog, with the way you write your recipes. The way you give instructions. I’ve seen so many bloggers with their instruction. They’re fun and they’re cute. They’re not just like, preheat the oven. They might say something like, get the oven going. Whatever it is about it, making it more personal, making your personality shine, I think is really going to make people connect to you and have your content be more sticky. So I think those kinds of tips, I think about them, whatever platform that I’m on and I’ve had success with four or five different platforms right now, being able to grow them massively in a very short amount of time. YouTube has been hard, I would say in six months I was able to get to like 12,000 followers, which is not bad.

Megan:

That’s amazing. Wow, that’s really good.

Yumna:

Yeah, in just a six month period. But I started for years just sharing squared videos from Instagram, because I just didn’t have time to create anything unique for YouTube. Now I figured out a way to do it, showing my personality and just being able to teach in short, simple videos that are approachable. So that’s what I would say. A lot of people might give the tip, find one platform that you love and then just stick to it and do well. But I don’t agree with that, personally. I feel like we’re at a time where we’re a package deal. Our consumers, our followers are everywhere and you kind of have to be everywhere if you want to be this big brand. Like a Food Network. They’re not just on TV, they’re on Instagram, they’re everywhere. If you want your brand to be a household name, you really have to be everywhere and you have to figure out what’s that content that makes sense for the different platforms.

Megan:

Wow, Yumna, you are so inspiring. Seriously. I talk to people all the time who are just killing it, like on one or maybe two platforms, but you just have figured out how to kill it on all of these different platforms and really grow. Do you think a part of that is just believing in yourself, just knowing it’s going to happen. You have that element of just the right mindset. I am going to figure this out and I am going to do this. You know what I mean? Some people are like, I just can’t, I hate Facebook. I’m not doing it. Of course they’re not going to get love on Facebook or platform, whatever, if they say that, because it’s just how it works. If you really believe something, it is going to happen, but if you don’t, you’re not going to see that come to fruition. Do you agree with that?

Yumna:

I totally do. I really believe so much of it is the mindset, but then also putting in the work. I usually will try to take time. I kind of dedicate different periods of my time to growing different things. So there was a period where I was like, I am not doing anything. I’m declining everything and just focusing on my blog because this is the priority right now. Ever since we’ve been in quarantine, I’ve been dedicating myself to producing at least one to two videos on TikTok or sharing one to two videos daily. I made it a goal. So another part of it is, it’s the mindset, but it’s also the action behind it as well. So I said, you know what? I’m not going out as many things are a little bit slower. I’m going to post every single day on TikTok until I get to 1 million followers.

This is what I’m doing. This is my goal. I’m saying it out loud. I’m telling the world. I believe that I will get to a million followers. It might take me another year, but I will continue to share one video a day until I get there, then think about, okay, how do I just cruise from here and then focus on the next thing that I need to grow. I think you can grow them all at the same time. You have to hustle on one for a little bit and then cruise control. I’m just cruising on Instagram right now. It’s like the forgotten child. It’s fine, it’s there. But yeah, I do believe you’ve kind of have to put the work behind it as well and focus on one thing at a time for a certain period of time.

Megan:

I just read this business book and he covers this concept of cycling. It was along the lines of what you’re talking about. You always hear people say, you have to do like one thing, focus on one thing and that’s it. But this guy was talking about, you can do multiple things, but you can cycle through them. So exactly what you just said, yes, I am still paying attention to Instagram, but it’s not your primary focus right now. Right now you’re focusing on TikTok and then after that it will maybe be something else. But you’re still keeping everything afloat. You’re not just dumping the other things. You’re getting by with them, but eventually you’ll get back to them. So I love that concept. I think that’s a really smart one too.

Yumna:

I think also as food bloggers, we eventually figure out that we need help with whatever we’re creating. So when I first started, for example, I was making my own videos and a lot of people will start to try that. I did it for three years and just a week ago, finally, I decided to let that go. You know what I mean? So eventually what happens is you do it for a long time. You learn it, you get really good at it. Then you figure out how to teach it to somebody else to do it. So if one day TikTok changes and I can hire someone to film for me or you teach someone else to do it, to lessen your load. Same thing with the blog. You know, a lot of us start by, whether it’s photography, whether it’s the writing, whether it’s the SEO, we do all of that ourselves.

We learn it, we get good at it. We grow and then we figure out how to outsource it, how to give it to someone else and how to teach them to take on the role that we did so that those things can still continue to grow, continue to do really well. But they’re not the primary focus of what’s taking up your brain. Because we’re constantly changing. We’re constantly growing and there’s so much in our industry. We can’t keep up, you know what I mean? We’re all trying to do video. Now you got to do this. It’s so much. You just have to figure out when to transition and when to outsource as much as possible.

Megan:

So what should we not be doing when we start our account? Because I told you I just started an account. Are there any rookie mistakes that I should be avoiding? Tell me what you know.

Yumna:

One of the biggest rookie mistakes is people have the idea that TikTok is for singing and dancing. They get on there and they just try to pick up the latest dance moves or try to do something funny or take a voiceover that they think is funny. I did all those things. If you scroll back to my account, I did some hilarious things.

Megan:

I can’t wait, I’m going to go look. T.

Yumna:

There’s some really funny stuff. I tried to keep everything food related. So I took a Kim Kardashians funny story, I still related it to food in a way. They did ok. But there was so much of that content out there and I think about it, with TikTok, there’s so many people who are not content creators, but they can get on TikTok. They can go viral and they become content creators because of one, two, three, four videos that ended up going viral. We as food bloggers, we’re already content creators. We know how to create high quality. So stick to what you know, and put it out there in a way that’s fast, quick and fun. I think that’s what I would recommend. The biggest rookie mistake is trying to just do all the trends and just fit in and dance and you can just literally get on there and cook, make a muffin recipe. But how do you show that muffin recipe in maybe 20 to 30 seconds that shows the best parts of the muffin recipe and the most interesting parts of the muffin recipe, that’s going to keep them watching and make them want to make the recipe. So I think staying in your niche, if you can, but also keep in mind that you are a niche. Feel Good Goodie is my brand, for example, if kids are part of my brand, it’s okay to show them, but stick to food for example. But show them in a way of helping set the table or whatever it might be. I think that’s one of the biggest rookie mistakes is, but at the same time, don’t be so consumed in just your own stuff. Also watch what other people are doing. Watch the trends, check out the For You page, see what people are trying. If there’s a big trend going on right now for summer grilling, get on that summer grilling. Even if maybe it’s just summer hacks. How can you take that tip, that trending hashtag about summer hacks and make it related to food.

Megan:

Is there a clear place to go where you can see what’s trending on TikTok?

Yumna:

As soon as you go, there’s like a homepage and you can see all the hashtags that are trending. Pancakes, cereal were trending for a while. That was a really hot thing. Whipped coffee was trending for a while, so you better get on those things. Because a lot of times it’s food that’s trending and other times it’s may not be anything related to food. It might just be something like Father’s Day. You can get on the home page and you can see all the trending hashtags and what TikTok does is it will pay eight of those videos. They basically hand pick the top eight videos to share them on the home screen and they pick those based on your voiceover. They pick them based on hashtags and also based on your caption. So one of mine, it was a healthy lifestyle, or healthy tips, I think it was. I never had anything about healthy tips. I think my format said here’s a healthy way to make energy bites. It was a really old video from February. But a month ago in may, it appeared on the homepage for a healthy lifestyle. S0o TikTok handpicks those based on voiceovers. They’re going through them and handpicking what should be on that page. So it’s really cool and you just never know what’s going to be on there. So look at those, try to figure out if you can do them. There’s some crazy trends that people will do and you try to put a spin on them, but you don’t have to try too hard because literally billions of people or however many it is, are trying all of those different things.

So it makes it harder sometimes to pop if it’s a really big trending hashtag, but trying to see what other people are doing and putting a spin on it, it’s fun because it keeps you relevant. It keeps you young and interesting and it just gives you new ways of creating things. How can I make this interesting? I shared a really boring Lebanese recipe, but then I shared a gadget that I used to make it and it trended. It’s all about how you put a spin on it and how you choose to share that. I shared one Arabic recipe and asked, is this good or gross? I thought it looked kind of gross, but it’s a popular recipe and it turns out Lizzo saw the recipe on the For You page and made my recipe.

It was just like this moment where I’m like, Lizzo is making my recipe. It’s an Arabic potato salad and she said today I’m trying Feel Good Foodies potato salad thingy on my blog. It’s literally not even a recipe on my blog. It was just something I was making for my family. It’s an Arabic take on potato salad, but it’s just so interesting. So she took something that was trending cause the video trended, because of my caption of saying is this good or gross. All these people were weighing in, saying you need pickles. Oh this is great. Then she saw it and she made it. It’s just really interesting.

Megan:

Profile or bio’s in your profile, is that similar to Instagram do you think? We’re mostly professional on Instagram. This is the kind of food I focus on. Is that kind of the same thing on TikTok?

Yumna:

Yes it is. But you can have a little bit more fun with it. So everyone on TikTok is always saying you’re the CEO of healthy recipes or you have a CEO of curly hair. They will basically call you the CEO of something. So you can have fun with that. Because I always say in my video, mix until it feels good. People were like, the CEO feels good, you know? So you can kind of have fun with that and use their words to describe your content. But I think it’s very important to stay who you are, what you do and not assume that people know that you’re a food longer. I share healthy recipes that make you feel good. Also you can definitely have a link to your website on there and you can have fun with your picture. Basically use a gif. You can make a video into a gif for your profile picture, which makes it fun.

Megan:

That’s so cool. You’ve just opened up a new world for me to explore. We’re leaving for vacation in a couple of days and I have a feeling this is all I’m going to be doing.

Yumna:

Think about when you’re on vacation, how can you show that breakfast buffet that you’re having and or you’re at the beach and what are the four snacks that you’re having at the beach throughout the day? Or on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, what are the three snacks you’re having? You can think about things like that. It’s just really fun. Sometimes literally a ten second video that you didn’t even think twice about is the one thing that goes viral and all these people are becoming famous. Because one of the best things about TikTok is every single video, every single person has an equal opportunity to go viral. Doesn’t matter if you have a million followers or one follower.

Megan:

Oh, that’s cool. That’s the coolest concept. Well, I happened to live with these two people who are just so funny. My boys are the funniest people in the world. So they themselves could go viral with just about everything they do. They make me laugh all the time. So I’ll have to incorporate food into that somehow. Just fun. I’m excited to explore it. So thank you for proposing this topic and I’m glad we could incorporate your amazing growth strategies in here as well, because I know you’ve just got that magic, Yumna. You’re amazing.

Yumna:

Thank you so much.

Megan:

Well, thanks for being here. It’s about time to wrap up, but is there anything that we missed talking about TikTok or growth that you just want to say before we say goodbye?

Yumna:

No, I don’t think so. I would just say give it a try. You just never know. Try it out. Even if you just put something out there once a week, just give it a try. It’ll be fun. I think a lot of the people who are hesitant about it will get addicted to it. It’s just something about it. So it’s worth a try. Don’t be too intimidated. If anybody ever has any questions, I love talking about it and I’d love to help.

Megan:

Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for being here and sharing all of this. We will put together a show notes page for you that has everything that we’ve talked about today. You can find that at eatblogtalk.com/feelgoodfoodie2. Yumna, tell everyone where they can find you online and on TikTok. I don’t know your blog and Instagram maybe.

Yumna:

I’m Feel Good Foodie everywhere. So the ones that I interact with the most is usually Instagram, but you can also email me as well.

Megan:

Awesome. Thank you again. Thanks for listening today, food bloggers, I will see you next time.

Outro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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