Why Would You Want to Reach the US and Global Audience Instead of the Local Audience on TikTok?
TikTok is a great platform to reach a massive audience, but it has one major flaw if you're not living in the US.
If you are trying to utilize TikTok's platform to make money, you would like to target the US audience because it is the biggest worth targeting. The US audience is usually more willing to actually buy something compared to many other region's audiences.
However, TikTok's algorithm is built to show the content you publish mainly to your own region or country where you live. Thus, the people who are living in the US have a huge advantage over the non-US people when promoting something on the TikTok platform.
Many people have been trying to figure out how to change region on TikTok, and they have tried different methods and tricks to outsmart TikTok's algorithm.
Well, I was one of them also. I wanted to test it is possible to target the US audience, in my case, from Finland. I'm not going to speak about any exact numbers but rather my overall findings on this matter.
TikTok Users and Demographics?
TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by Chinese company Bytedance, and it has approximately 700 million users worldwide. Globally, 56% of Tiktok users are male, and 44% of TikTok users are female. Roughly 50% of TikTok users are under the age of 34.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Make Money on TikTok?
The majority of people might think that TikTok is all about dancing videos, but that is not the case anymore. Many people are making serious money with TikTok nowadays. Obviously, the more you have followers, the more you can make money.
If you have an excellent offer to promote, you won't need a vast number of followers to start making money. I'd say few thousand is enough to start seeing results. Of course, the bigger your follower base is, the more you can earn.
How TikTok knows your location?
TikTok tends to show your content mainly to the region where you are located. How TikTok knows where you are (or live) at the moment? In theory, there are a few ways how TikTok can determine your location from your smartphone.
- The IP-address of your phone
- The SIM-card you're using
- Your GPS location
- Google Play localization
1. IP Address
It is possible to know your country based on your device's IP address information. Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address, and from the IP address, TikTok can tell where you are located.
However, IP address is very easy to change with VPN software. You can connect with a VPN to another country, and you are seen as you would be physically in that country.
I think that TikTok is very aware of the IP address pools that well-known VPN providers are using, so it would be easy to determine if someone uses the VPN to trick the TikTok algorithm.
However, I still think it is beneficial to use a VPN solution than not to use it at all. If you don't use a VPN, you can count on TikTok to show your posts to your home country.
2. SIM Card
I have read pieces of advice that you should change your phone's SIM card to a US one because TikTok uses the SIM card info to determine your location. Therefore I ordered a US Mobile SIM card from Amazon and wanted to give it a shot.
The problem with that approach was that the US Mobile SIM card didn't work in Finland, and I couldn't use it at all. When you create a TikTok account, TikTok sends you an SMS to verify your account, and you cannot have that if the mobile plan is not activated and the SIM card is not working correctly.
Virtual phone number
It is possible to buy a virtual US mobile number to get the verification SMS to your phone and to imitate that you are in the US. You can buy virtual phone numbers from Zadarma for a few bucks.
I tried this method, and it seemed to work. I was able to activate the account without a problem. Make sure you will order a mobile virtual number - not a landline number.
3. GPS Location
I think GPS is not the method how TikTok determines your location because you can turn off all your phone location services.
4. Google Play
Instead of downloading the TikTok app from Google Play, download the installation file (TikTok.apk) from the Internet. In this way, you will be able to bypass Google Play localization. This might affect where the content gets shown.
How to Change Region on TikTok?
After many tests, I would say that the best combination is a smartphone without a SIM card but a virtual number, a VPN solution like NordVPN that allows you to connect to various VPN pools. Disable also your smartphone's location services.
However, this setup isn't bulletproof by any means. Even with this setup, TikTok showed my content mainly to my region. However, with this strategy, I was able to target the US audience as well, 30-40% of views came from the US. I was able to achieve this in a short period of time.
What TikTok Account Type Should You Be Using?
TikTok has two different account types, Creator and Business. With a Creator account, you can access and use trending music in your videos, while with a Business account, you can instantly add a link in the description.
I recommend using a Creator account and add a link to your description once you have acquired one thousand followers.
TikTok Tips for Creators
How many videos should I post daily?
TikTok is a platform where new content is king. Old content ages and vanishes quickly, and you need to post regularly fresh content to stay in the game. In this sense, TikTok is like Instagram.
You should post 3-5 new videos daily to get traction or even more when you have just started. Once you have established your presence in TikTok, you don't have to post as many videos anymore.
How to use hashtags?
When you post videos, use hashtags to make them more discoverable. I advise using 2-3 broad hashtags related to your niche and 2-3 more specific hashtags.
How to increase engagement?
TikTok is all about engagement. The more engaging your videos are, the more you will get followers. You can always like your post once you have uploaded it. Another good strategy is to comment on your own post to increase engagement - you can ask a question related to your post.
What is the best time to post on TikTok?
It is known that people are using TikTok more actively in the evening. Therefore, it might be a good idea to adjust your TikTok posting time accordingly. Post your videos in the evening time of your TikTok target audience region.
Tip: You can now schedule your TikTok posts without any external tool using the TikTok post scheduler on tiktok.com. There you can find the TikTok scheduling tool by clicking the upload icon.
Do TikTok lives!
If you decide to do TikTok lives, it will increase your views and engagement and grow your followers more quickly.
Engage with the same kind of content you publish!
You can tell the TikTok algorithm what type of content you like by following the accounts in your niche and your target region and liking and commenting on their posts. In this way, you also tell TikTok to whom to show your content.
Tip: Change the language to English in the app content preference settings to tell TikTok which is the content language you want to see in your feed.
Don't do anything that is against the TikTok guidelines!
You will get only your account banned if you do something that is against TikTok community guidelines. Moreover, never buy followers or engagements because that doesn't do any good. Getting organic TikTok followers is the way to go!
TikTok Platform Pros and Cons
TikTok is a platform that is based on its algorithm like all the other major platforms Google, Youtube, Facebook, etc. The algorithm has been build to show the videos mainly to your own region.
TikTok does an excellent job when it is trying to figure out what your location is. I haven't found it beneficial trying to outsmart the algorithm - the results are pretty much the same.
You can try the tips that I have provided in this post on how to change region on TikTok. I haven't found it so beneficial, but you can always give it a shot. Keep also in mind that TikTok regularly updates its algorithm so that things might change in the future.
Instead of doing something shady, which the algorithm might not like, it is better to play with its own rules and grow organically, and this applies to all platforms. It will be more challenging to reach, for example, a US audience, but it is doable if you stay consistent and have a solid content strategy.
You have to be strategic with your approach because many people are doing the same kind of videos, and you have to stand out from the crowd.
Take your time to figure out your unique angle and how to put your own twist into your videos. But remember, don't try to be somebody else you are - be yourself because people will notice.
The bottom line is that you will get there if you post engaging and good content that people find valuable. Yes, it is more difficult to reach a foreign audience, but the reward might be worth the effort. You can speed up the process with this setup:
- Virtual number - no physical SIM
- Good VPN solution - with disabled location services. NordVPN is a great service and yet very affordable.
I was able to target the US audience with this method to get views 50% from Finland and 40% from the US, and 10% from other countries. It's still not ideal, but I believe that you'll get there if you follow these steps.
You can monetize your TikTok account in many ways, but affiliate marketing is one of the best methods. Read my comprehensive guide about TikTok affiliate marketing.
Tip: If you're looking for a solution to grow your organic TikTok followers quickly and with minimum effort, I recommend checking out TikTok Mastery training.
Man, I am following step by step here!
I am in Brazil, starting a new TikTok from scratch! Trusting that this time I will be able to reach more US audiences.
So here what I've found:
This link will show you only the mobile numbers: https://zadarma.com/en/tariffs/numbers/united-states/mobile/
I had to pay USD10 to be able to receive SMS. And you won't be receiving SMS right away:
The number xxxxx has been ordered
Number order is complete, your number +148xxxxxxx. The data verification and activation of the number is in progress. Confirmation takes up to two business days. You will receive an activation notification by e-mail.
That's my 1st time using VoIP services, I hope it works!
If it does, I will come back here and comment all the process!
I have an iPhone that I will use as my main phone, and an old Samsung S8 which will be exclusively dedicated to TikTok (I've already reset it, so I can create a Samsung new account based on the US after Zardana confirms my US mobile number).
Hello Ester. I hope it works for you!
Hello and thanks for the detailed walkthrough . I only have one question: What would be a difference between using ZADARMA Virtual Phone Number rather than any eSim card that can be purchased in any random app or service proposing them ?
I don’t have any personal experience in eSim cards, so I cannot tell.
Thanks for this content. Would you say that it’s still possible to build a good following on TikTok (and be shown in America) even if you live in a different country?
I haven’t had much success with the SIM/VPN methods.
I’d say it is still worth trying the methods I described in this article. TikTok and other platforms are regularly updating their algorithms, so these methods may work better or worse in the future.
Hi Jussi, Thank you for your great content. For Non-US CREATORS this is gold. One question. Should we keep a different device (phone) for this account? Otherwise, I do not understand how can I always have VPN activated and never use GPS. A VPN can also decrease internet coverage and performance. Or I can work on this account via desktop when I have the VPN activated?
Thank you in advance for your replay and I really appreciate your content.
Hello Mirela. I personally have used another phone dedicated to this. It makes things easier to control.
Hi! Thank you so much for all useful information. Will this also work with an existing account or would you recommend creating a new account once you have the virtual number? Also, do you go online on the Tiktok app using the virtual number or are you connected through wi-fi?
It is better to create a new account with a virtual number. Of course, if you have a lot of followers, this might not be an option. A virtual number is only meant for the account registration process. Other than that, you will use wi-fi or a mobile connection (with VPN on).
I have a friend from the US and I was wondering if he set up my tictok account for me, then do you think my content will start appearing to people in the US when I log into my account from my own country?
I don’t have prior experience with this, but I have my doubts. I guess in this case, your friend should use your phone when he creates the account, and there should also be a US-based mobile plan or virtual number in use.