it is now 2021 and we can safely say that tiktok is here to stay. Yes, there's a chance there could be a Vine-level shutdown at some point, but all signs point to the popular social video-sharing app continuing its dominance over social video. and for many, that's a good thing. tiktok can not only be used for good, but has also become a powerful tool for both filmmakers and content creators.
So, let's say you're looking to launch a tiktok channel of your own. Or you're working with a client who wants to get into the space to better promote their company. here are five basic tips to help you start your own tiktok channel to build your brand.
Before you start playing around with your own profile and channel, it's important to do your research first. the best way to do this is, well, by watching many, many tiktok videos. However, don't just set up a quick account and start scrolling. you will have to be a little more scientific in your research. When judging your personal brand or company, you should at least have an idea of what niche you occupy.
For example, I recently worked with a friend who was launching a YouTube channel dedicated to disc golf. And, just like he did with YouTube, when he moved to tiktok, he did a lot of research on what other disc golf tiktok channels were out there, which ones were the most popular, and what types of content worked well with this specific audience.
You should do the same for your own brand and niche. tiktok makes it quite easy, actually, with the use of hashtags. Just like on Twitter, or any other social media platform right now, you can click or search for these specific tags directly to explore vast amounts of content, which is often organized by most recent or most popular as a guide. do your research, compile the results and draw up an action plan.
Another challenge for many film and video professionals transferring to tiktok for the first time is simply understanding the vertical content format. but do not worry! While it may seem intimidating (or at least annoying) at first, it's actually quite simple once it's properly configured to handle portrait-over-landscape video. For a great guide on the best camera settings, as well as tips for cropping standard videos into a vertical format, check out this detailed article on how to create vertical videos for apps like TikTok. Plus, you'll want to invest in the right gear if you're serious about creating a lot of content—your best bet for getting the most out of tiktok.
personally speaking, I've found the transition to vertical to be quite an interesting and fun challenge. the biggest hurdle is simply training your brain to think vertically and focus not on group compositions, but on individual elements. For example, vertical video is great for shooting a person directly in front of the camera (I also learned a lot breaking down this vertically shot short film by oscar-winning director damien chazelle).
You can frame from head to toe with everything in focus, instead of cutting them off at the waist. Working with a grid display for your "rule of thirds" is also a handy trick to stay cinematically focused when you're first starting out. here are some more resources to help you embrace vertical videography:
one of the main reasons why tiktok has been able to become so popular and stay so relevant comes from the platform's ability to allow the latest trends to rise to the top quickly. if you download the app and take a look at the for you (fyp) page today, it will look much different than it did just a few months (or even weeks) ago. as such, when looking to create content specifically for your brand, you'll want to follow these latest trends and use the latest audio tracks, which make up much of the algorithm's preferences.
To do this, make sure you have a quick start approach to creating your videos and content that allows for fast turnaround times and sometimes multiple videos a day. remember, apps like tiktok don't punish content creators for creating too much content. rather, it rewards you more often for uploading a large amount of content that follows the latest trends.
When you start creating content for your tiktok channel, one trick that you absolutely should use in all of your videos is to add text. Not only does text help with clarity (as well as providing more viewpoints from those who may be hard of hearing), it also helps create an overall feeling of professionalism, especially when done with style. here are some quick guides to add text to your tiktok videos:
as a guide, it's best to keep the text to a few words on the screen at a time. you can make it scroll down line by line or replace each line as it appears. if the text follows a person who is speaking, try to have it appear close to the person so that the viewer clearly understands where the text is coming from and what it is saying.
A simple tip that can greatly improve the ROI of your tiktok videos is to use one of the many outbound click-link platforms. if you look at some of the most popular and successful tiktok channels you will see examples of these on almost every page. These "social media referral landing pages" can be embedded in your tiktok account bio, allowing viewers to click through to a landing page that contains direct links to all of your specific content.
There are many options, several free (or freemium with upgrades), as well as paid ones that offer more options. Here are some of the best ones to consider:
You can use many of these platforms on other social media channels, such as Instagram, which do not allow easy or direct clicks to your website. These clickthrough landing pages can be very useful if you want to direct your viewers to more detailed content (such as links to longer youtube videos) or directly to your business or brand website to offer products, services, etc.
for more tips and tricks for creating video content for tiktok and other social apps, check out these additional resources below.
Cover image by keystock.