Our resident TikTok expert Miles Lockhart shares his tips on how anyone working in cycling can start to see success on the world’s fastest growing social media platform.

Everything about TikTok is fast moving: its growth, its snappy videos, even the attention span of its users. If you don’t take advantage of all this, you’ll be left wondering why you aren’t on the fastest growing social media platform.  

But it’s not too late.  

At Redtorch, we know TikTok well and have built expertise on the platform in the world of cycling. In just over a year, we have grown UCI’s account (Union Cycliste Internationale) by 60k followers and amassed 800k likes. We have an army of Creators who live and breathe the app and whose skills are unparalleled. 

In our latest #SportOnSocial Tour de France report, we saw that 14 of the 22 teams competing in the 2022 Tour de France had TikTok. Combined with ‘Le Tour’s’ account, these teams gained a total of 68k new followers. This was just 8% of their total new followers on social. 

We believe these figures could have been a lot better. 

Take for example Giro d’Italia’s TikTok which gained five times as many new followers during their latest race in Italy – that gives you an idea of the potential for growth on this platform. 

That’s why we’ve compiled 5 essential tips that any team, brand or organisation can use to ensure success on TikTok. 

1. Keep up with trends

As with anything in life, keeping up with the latest trends is important if you are to remain relevant. On TikTok, it’s imperative.  

The platform has earned some of its popularity by ensuring it gives users the type of content they want. TikTok’s algorithm is fuelled by two major influences – user viewing habits and video completion. If a user watches a full video, they are more likely to suggest it to other user feeds. Similarly, the platform will suggest videos a user may enjoy based on content previously consumed. 

Therefore, creating videos using the latest trending sounds, hashtags, challenges or dances is crucial to success and shows that you fundamentally understand the platform.  

It’s no wonder that during the 2022 Tour de France some of the best content was made using trending sounds.  

910k views, 30.9k likes, 593 comments, 2,426 shares

2. Post content regularly 

Cycling, and sport in general, is in the unique position of being readily suited to TikTok. Highlights can be condensed, athletes’ best moments shown in short-form, and there is an abundance of sports fanatics waiting to consume content.  

You need to be active to maintain and increase followers. There are no set rules for how often to post, as any video could go viral, but fans want to be entertained on a regular basis and will come back to engage with your content if they know what to expect.  

Building momentum is key. For cycling, this is especially true around competitions; you have the attention of the media, can create content with athletes, and occupy your page with numerous videos per day. 

This is something that many teams struggled with throughout the 2022 Tour de France. One viral video doesn’t keep your page afloat if you don’t post any more content for the remainder of the event. 

3. Keep content relatable

It has always been the case that sports fans want to take a look behind the scenes of their favourite athletes: how they train, what they do at competitions, how they react to winning. TikTok is the perfect platform for this type of content.  

30% of all team video views during the 2022 Tour de France came on TikTok, the second highest on social media behind Facebook’s 43%.

TikTok’s coverage was driven by behind-the-scenes content that allowed fans to experience the Tour from a different perspective.

Although it’s a video-sharing app, overly produced, high-end content doesn’t work on TikTok. Users want to see life as it really is. The best-performing content is often captured directly to the app itself.  

So, keep your content relatable – don’t be worried about a video being different or too informal, and have your phone ready to capture raw footage. TikTok is where social media guidelines are bent, and the shackles of formal practice removed.  

@ineosgrenadiers When Tom Pidcock goes full Lewis Hamilton on the descent 🏎 🤯👊 #fyp #ineosgrenadiers #f1 #tdf2022 #formula1 #cyclinglife #mercedesf1 ♬ Originalton - Formel 1 Moments

1.4 million views, 37.4k likes, 202 comments, 952 shares

4. Be active in the TikTok community

It’s easy to create videos and watch views stack up. But what good is having audiences if you don’t interact with them?  

TikTok, like many social media platforms, is a great place to engage authentically with fans. In fact, its algorithm pushes content that interacts with comments, such as replying to a fan with a new video.  

@uci_cycling Replying to @memetix @EA SPORTS FIFA, what do you think? Can we get it done? #fyp #foryou #bike #football #fifa #ea #cycling #cycleball #goal ♬ original sound - Green Line

115.4k views, 10.2k likes, 94 comments, 109 shares

You could also try making a Duet with a trending piece of content or prompting your followers to create a Duet with you before sharing the best replies on TikTok Stories.  

5. Ensure variety of content 

You must have a range of content on your TikTok page. Growing a following is not as simple as merely making original pieces of content. If you want to cater to every audience and utilise the platform’s full benefits, your content needs to feature a mix of created, co-created and curated videos. 

Created = creating brand new content  

Co-created = working with another user to make a video  

Curated = sharing relevant videos posted by another user  

These methods are essential to success and all come with their own benefits. If you are a cycling account, you will have the added benefit of being able to make co-created content that sets you apart from the crowd.  

And there you have it! 5 tips for success on TikTok. 

TikTok is continuing its incredible growth and you can still be part of it. If you’d like to discuss how Redtorch can help create an amazing account for your fans, email miles.lockhart@redtorch.sport and let’s get started.

Photo credits: Le Tour Facebook