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Social Media in the Time of Social Distancing

Apr 6, 2020

By Ashley Dawson

Hi there! My name is Ashley and I’m an online social media guru, model, and writer with a passion for media in all of its forms. When I started Tik-Tok late last fall I started it as a joke. It was a cute, fun, and catchy new app that seemed to be on trend with Gen-Z, but not with Millennials like me yet. It seemed like a unique and artistic platform to try for a creator like me who enjoys making short films and doesn’t have the high-tech equipment or editing software to do it. 

Photo by Kon Karampelas

​I started with a couple hundred followers that September.

​Now, in April, I have over 100,000 followers and 1.6 million views.

​Crazy, am I right? I’m not going to lie and say that I’m some master marketer or genius tech wizard – I’m simply a content creator with an interest in social media platforms that led me to experiment in my free time. It’s had a profound impact, however, on my business and brand. Below I’ll give you a list of tips on how to start your Tik-Tok account, build it to your first five thousand followers, and continue to build your online media brand during your newfound free-time at home.

1. Pick a Catchy Username 

The first thing that most users will notice about you is your username. Pick one that represents your brand, your style, or what you’re bringing to the table. If you’re simply making a Tik-Tok for fun, then pick something funny – funny or witty usernames are popular as well. 

2. Make your First Video Count 

It’s important on the app for your first video to pack a punch. Think of a concept and roll with it – whether that’s a BTS scene of your most recent project that you edit together, a funny skit that you do in your house, or a trendy video that participates in the “viral soundbite” culture of the app. Think your idea through and really focus on what audience you want to attract before you post it.

3. Get to the Point 

Remember, Tik-Tok is fast. Much like its departed counterparts Vine and Musically, Tik-Tok’s success is built on quick media that you can consume in seconds, usually fifteen. When users are scrolling they’re not stopping to process what they’re taking in; they’re either caught off guard and want to see more, or they keep scrolling. So, when posting content, keep the first image that the viewer sees in mind and make it count.

 4. Experiment with Filters 

Probably one of my favorite parts of the app is how realistic its filters are. Filters were first introduced as an Instagram phenomenon, but Tik-Tok takes them to a whole new level. From realistic hair color changes to breathing fire to creating duplicate versions of yourself, (yes, you heard that right, you can literally clone yourself on the app), you can make a lot of really creative content with a touch of a button. Very few apps offer this kind of creative variety.

5. Pay Attention to Hashtags 

Because content and trends filter through the app so fast, new hashtags are developed every day that link to that specific day’s popular content. Right now the biggest hashtags are “#quarantine,” “#covid-19,” and “#socialdistancing,” for obvious reasons. Make sure as you’re watching you’re paying attention to these popular hashtags and using them in your captions. 

6. Use Popular Sounds 

This is a huge one. The entire app’s base is “viral sound bites” that users make and distribute. These can be songs, sounds that have been edited together, clips from TV shows – you name it. Once someone interprets the sound in a unique way and creates a video to match it, that video goes viral, and other users start to use the sound, too. In the bottom right corner of your screen, you can see the circular sound bite rotating and if you click on it you can use it yourself. 

7. Learn How to Add Text 

This is an incredibly fun way to narrate and add humor to your videos. A lot of users will tell a story using text on the screen while they act out their videos. The best part is the ability to tell long stories in a short amount of time because users can pause your videos to read the text. 

8. Learn How to Edit – Well 

Perhaps the most useful aspect of the app is the fact that you don’t need anyone else to film you – you can do it all on your own. On the right-hand side of your screen there’s a panel, and at the bottom of that panel is a self-timer that you can set before you hit record. This eliminates any need for a second shooter, thus making it an amazing tool during the time of social distancing. 

And there you have it folks! That’s my “Tik-Tok Starter Kit” for those of you wanting to dive deeper into the world of social media while stuck at home for the next few weeks. I’ve seen a huge uptick in my online interaction and following across all platforms since joining Tik-Tok, and now you can too. Not to mention, it’s an incredibly fun and positive way to create content and pass time while we’re all working hard to stay home and keep each other safe.

Find Ashley Dawson on

 Tik-Tok: @lapinstudios & Instagram: @Lapin_studios

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