They say there’s a side of TikTok for every niche, and BookTok is one of the largest. Its primary hashtag (#booktok) has collected a total of 21.9 billion views, and that’s just one of the many hashtags booktokkers use in their ever-expanding influence on the book industry.
The Rise of BookTok
BookTok has been popular since TikTok launched, but its reach has grown exponentially as a result of the pandemic. BookTok accounts and posts have evolved just as quickly as the community has expanded. At first, BookTok videos were simple reviews or recommendations. Now they can be anything from posts about reading habits to fully acted skits of the plot and anything in between.
With all this creativity comes attention. Publishers of varying sizes have begun sending advanced reader copies to booktokkers, in the hopes they will review them or make a musical montage for their book. BookTok has grown so large that Barnes & Noble even has a BookTok section on their website.
How to Use BookTok
Booktok can be intimidating at first, but once you’re immersed in it, you’ll find everyone from avid readers to beginner writers sharing their love of books. Here are some tips to start your own account and navigate BookTok:
- Follow big booktokker accounts – This is super easy to do. Search for #booktok on TikTok and follow the big names. Who you follow will influence your algorithm and FYP (“for you page,” a suggestions tool through which TikTok helps you find more content) and put you on the “book side” of TikTok.
- Engage with other accounts – This can be as simple as liking or commenting on a post. Once the TikTok algorithm sees that you engage with many booktokkers, it will help your posts show up in their followers’ FYPs.
- Watch BookTok videos and decide what kind of content you like – There is all kinds of content on the platform. Want to give writing tips? Go ahead. Book recommendations? Absolutely. Got book suggestions based on peoples’ star signs (this one is more popular than you think)? Shoot for the moon.
- Use trending hashtags and soundbytes – As you’re exploring, look at the commonly used hashtags and songs (or soundbytes) and consider how you can interact with them or utilize them, too.
- Engage with the community – Reach out for collaborations with other booktokkers, comment on peoples’ posts, send direct messages to creators. The more you engage with the community, the more TikTok will start recommending your videos.
- Make the content you want to make – This is the most important step. Your content can be anything, but if you don’t like making it, your audience will know. Instead of jumping on the newest trend right away, carve out a niche and make what you want to see.
Like on any social media platform, authenticity is key. TikTok is a new, but popular platform whose influence is growing larger day by day. BookTok in particular is a place for fans of reading and writing to collaborate and share books with each other. BookTok is becoming more recognized as a legitimate marketing tool, and as such should be given the same respect and attention as any other social media.
So go out there and make a BookTok! There’s all kinds of content out there for you to see and make!
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