Content Before Clout • How To Reach Simmers On TikTok

TikTok has been the talk of the town as the best platform for organic discovery. The app may seem gimmicky at first, but TikTok catapulted my Sim Planner onto the map in the Sims community. With a simple strategy, TikTok can also become your most reliable way to get discovered as well.

Marketing sucks. It’s certainly not as fun as creating. But without it, what we make stays in the dark.

Social media is a popular place to share our content, but most platforms are pay-to-play nowadays. If you’re not willing or able to spend on ads, the work you have to put in for a miniscule amount of visibility just isn’t worth it.

TikTok is different in that regard. Here content comes before clout. The algorithm pushes good content, making organic discovery possible even for small creators. No blue check mark, subscribers or ad spend needed.

How My Sim Planner Went Viral On TikTok

I made my Sim Planner because I needed one, but I wanted other Simmers to enjoy it as well. Held back by my aversion to marketing, I didn’t bother with promoting it for the first few months after publishing. So the Sim Planner was a hidden gem for a while.

My sister kept pushing me to share my Sim Planner on TikTok, but I had zero experience and thought the app was gimmicky and just for kids. Not listening to her was definitely a mistake.

I finally took her advice nearly half a year later and started sharing the Sim Planner on TikTok. And sure enough, this is when I finally had a breakthrough and the Sim community discovered the Sim Planner.

How I Went From Zero To 1 Million

How did the breakthrough happen? I hunkered down and posted daily TikToks for about a month. Some were painfully cringy and I felt constantly reminded that I didn’t know what I was doing.

Still, I pushed through and it paid off. Just like my sister predicted, my posts started to gain traction. The feedback and engagement were amazing. Simmers loved the planner!

Then came the infamous post that garnered over 1 million views in only a few days. I used a trending sound together with my planner in a silly way and it was an instant hit.

I believe the simplicity of the video and my goofiness is what resonated with Simmers. The video was relatable and the planner itself fulfilled an untapped need in the Sims community.


Verified weirdo. #sims #simstok #sims4 #thesims4 #thesims #simsaddicted

♬ original sound – Standard Regal 🖤

The One Effect That Pushed My Content Even Further

Once the planner was finally on their radar, Simmers were compelled to share. Even before one of my posts went viral, hundreds of Simmers were leaving comments and tagging their friends in my videos. A domino effect ensued and helped even more Simmers discover what I made.

Sims content creators began to discover my planner as well and started sharing it on their own channels across the internet (thank you 💛)! It created word of mouth in the best way.


Thank you @Yellow Llama Co. ! #sims #sims4

♬ Vec3 – Official Sound Studio

What Happens When Lady Luck Meets The TikTok Algorithm

But was this all sheer luck? While I felt pretty lucky at the time, the nature of the content and momentum behind the post also played a role.

Albeit without any strategy, I had coincidentally created the content TikTok likes to push. The post was goofy, used a trending sound and the content was hyper focused on the type of person I wanted to connect with (sentimental Simmers 💛).

I was also posting consistently at the time, which created momentum for that post. It was just what the algorithm ordered.

The One Thing TikTok Needs To Push Your Content

TikTok wants to keep its users entertained and on the platform. Create great content, and the TikTok algorithm will make sure it gets seen by those most likely interested. But how does TikTok know which content is up-to-par? How does the algorithm determine whether or not your stuff is good enough to share?

The more users engage with your content, the better. Getting lots of comments, likes, and favorites–all indicators that TikTok should push your video. Above all, watch time is probably the most important factor TikTok uses to interpret content value.

You don’t need followers to be discovered, as is often the case on other social media platforms. The TikTok Study 2023 by Metricol, in which their team analyzed nearly 2 Mio. videos from almost 50K accounts over 180 days, found that most of your views will come from the For You Page.

TikTok needs reassurance that your content is will keep viewers attention. If watch time is high, TikTok will share your post with more people on their For You Page. Add high user engagement to the mix and now you’re trending.

The Magic Formula Behind A Great TikTok

This all makes sense, but how do you create content people actually want to watch?

During a GDC conference session, Grace Curtis from Future Friends Games describes the two-part structure behind a good TikTok: Setup and payoff. Hook the viewers with an enticing promise, ideally supported by exciting visuals. Then deliver on that promise. Share something unexpected—whether it be something new, silly, or shockingly relatable.

Communicate This One Thing And Simmers Will Love You

How you structure your post is only part of the equation. What you’re sharing should be appealing to the type of audience you are trying to reach as well.

Make the connection between what you’ve created and the Simmer who would enjoy it. Put yourself in their shoes and think of ways what you created can appeal to them or benefit them.

There are so many stories/streamers/builds/etc. out there. Make it super clear for which type of Simmer you are creating and why what you made is exactly up their alley. What would be a fun way to communicate that in a TikTok post?

Stepping In The Shoes Of The Simmer You Want To Connect With

Are you a streamer? One appeal about live streaming is the real-time engagement between the viewer and streamer. Viewers not only want to be entertained. They also want to interact with you. You could highlight your favorite community moments in which viewers influenced your gameplay or made a real connection with you.

If you’re a storyteller, Simmers may be seeking out your content for some relaxing downtime, an emotional rollercoaster or juicy drama. Hone in on what a Simmer can enjoy about your stories and visualize this in a short clip.

Simmers watch speed builds because the thumbnail looks like the perfect forever home for their Sims or a nice place for them to hang out–and they want to fast forward to the grand tour. At least that’s why I’m clicking on them.

You could play real estate agent and showcase your best builds for families, vacation destinations, etc. in a short listicle clip. Or if you’d like to appeal to other builders, focus on bite-sized build tips. MyaSchmya does this extremely well.


How to spice up your Base Game windows, no mods needed – The Sims 4 Build Tutorial (No CC) #sims #thesims #sims4 #thesims4 #simstok #ts4 #simsbuild #sims4build #simsbuildideas #simstips #sims4tutorial #sims4buildingtips #sims4hacks

♬ Buy Mode (From “The Sims”) – Power Up Orchestra

Why Creativity Is Your Strongest Asset On TikTok

A successful TikTok often builds upon content already on the platform, whether that be the use of a popular sound or putting a fun twist on a current trend.

Do This Before You Make Any TikToks

The best way to become familiar with the current trends and the unique TikTok aesthetic is to spend time on the app. Pay attention to which videos catch your attention and try to be conscientious of why.

Learn from the videos that keep you on the app. Brainstorm ways your videos can create that same pull while watching.

TikTok is a platform where consumption inspires creativity. Have fun with the trends and play with ways they can be combined with your creative work.

Why You Should Fail First

TikTok also doesn’t judge your new post based on the performance of your last video. The evaluation cycle starts fresh with every new video you make, so don’t be afraid to make a dud.

Treat the platform like your creative playground where you can experiment with a perpetual clean slate. You will learn more with each post and eventually find your groove.

The Best Thing You Can Do Today For Your TikTok Tomorrow

A post out of the blue can become popular. However, in my experience, consistently posting eventually gives every consecutive post a push.

After being inactive for a few months since my last viral TikTok, I picked up a consistent daily post schedule again. Low and behold, after just a couple of consistent weeks, another TikTok post garnered over 100K views in just a few days. Even more new Simmers found me and what I make. Building momentum is key.

This is in line with results from the TikTok Study 2023 by Metricol. They found that a consistent posting frequency of 3 times a week, if maintained for at least 2 weeks, can improve the performance of following posts.

The Price of Free Discovery

Don’t get me wrong–I still really don’t like marketing. Posting on TikTok–or any platform for that matter–is exhausting. Like on any other social media platform, it costs time, effort and a considerable amount of creative energy to keep up and make good content.

The clean slate concept on TikTok is great for discovery, but at the same time, it can feel like you’re stuck at the starting line. With most of your views and engagement coming from new people, TikTok is not ideal to build a community and connect with your supporters.

What TikTok does well is keeping their users attention by connecting them with great content specific to their interests, no matter how popular the creator behind that content already is. With follower count and clout out of the equation, TikTok is a great place to be discovered for free in a relatively short amount of time.

There are many other ways to promote your work outside of social media. For example, affiliate marketing is a great way to make the most of word-of-mouth and give back to your supporters at the same time.

I’ve created the YLC Creator Collective for this very purpose. It’s an opportunity for Sims content creators to connect and earn a commission when sharing their honest experiences with my planners. The collective lives on Heartbeat, an app made for communities to thrive.

The Simply Strategy To Succeed On TikTok

The strategy is simple. Familiarize yourself with the app and current trends, then experiment with your own authentic, creative take. Maximize your posts for watch time with the setup/payoff structure. Understand what your audience enjoys and make it clear how you deliver on that. And last but not least, build momentum on TikTok with consistent posts.

I hope this helps you spread the word about your creative work and get discovered on TikTok as well. You can always pivot to more evergreen ways to share your work later, but TikTok can get the ball rolling.

What is your experience with TikTok? What are you struggling with the most?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *