Remember a time when social media didn’t exist? Let alone a video content strategy! A time when alternatives to meeting your friends face-to-face included writing them a letter, ringing them on your parent’s landline, or sending an email or text? As we entered the millennium, Friends Reunited was born… but we soon realised we didn’t like our friends. So, Myspace was created … but we realised ten pictures just wasn’t enough. So Zuckerberg made Facebook… but then our grandma’s started to use Facebook too. So, Instagram came along… which just frankly just made us feel terrible about ourselves!. So what’s next? Well, next there is TikTok.
Today, Tiktok is the 4th biggest social media channel with 1.1 billion users worldwide and it’s catching up with Instagram quickly. In 2020, it grew by 87% and also did very well during the second lockdown. On average, users spend 52 minutes per day on the app and it’s left many brands having a real ‘what the f*$!’ moment. Where did this new platform come from so suddenly? And how do we use Louis Theroux memes to sell our products or services?
The Unavoidable Future of Marketing
In some areas of TikTok, brands are doing it exceptionally well. If you haven’t had the chance to watch KFC and RyanAir on the platform, we recommend you do – at least for a giggle if nothing else. TikTok is the unavoidable future of marketing, but at Hurricane, we know that for many brands, TikTok is still a complete unknown.
To lend a helping hand, we’ve rounded up a list of the ultimate hacks your business needs to crack this short-form video platform once and for all. We guarantee that once you’ve read this article, you’ll be signing up to TikTok to have some fun capturing a very different style of brand content than before.
1. Hack the algorithm, win the game
Fundamentally, TikTok doesn’t care if you enjoy the content, it solely cares that you stay. The algorithm takes note of the type of videos an audience is watching and then suggests similar videos based on these user-viewing habits. For example, if an audience can’t get enough of DanceTok, the algorithm will keep showing them related dance videos. TikTok does this by looking at the description, tags, on-screen text, and voice overs.
The important bit is that once you’ve uploaded a video, it’s immediately evaluated against a checklist of key metrics, but some have a considerably higher value than others – with re-watch being the highest and likes not all that important. If your content passes the first test, it’s boosted again, and so on. For brands, the magic of TikTok is that their feed delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest, and each person’s feed is tailored to that specific individual, so it’s extremely targeted. If you hack this algorithm, organic growth can be huge.
2. Don’t make these common mistakes
The biggest mistake that brands can make on TikTok is sharing videos that are not TikToks. This is not the platform where you put versions of your brand film, Instagram, or Facebook content. The algorithm will punish you.
Equally, chasing the wrong or old memes can be detrimental. You want to make content that has been trending within the target niche for the past 24 hours. For the platform to work for your brand, you need to be a trend-spotter, not a trend-setter.
Unlike Instagram and Facebook, reposts only appear to people when you follow each other, so on top of including calls to action that encourage users to click the follow button, ensure you are also following everyone back.
Useful tip: Sound is a massive player on the platform too with music trends beginning and dying each day. Incorporating popular tracks into your video and muting it can be a great way to hack the algorithm and jump on these trends.
3. Prioritise getting your timing right
Gone are the days of 30-second videos. So many brands have been fooled by TikTok’s 60-second video allowance when just 7-10 seconds is the optimal length. Equally, less than 5 seconds won’t get view time. And there’s also a dead spot between 14-21 seconds so you want to be avoiding these lengths of content at all costs. Timing is everything on TikTok.
You want to be posting at the right time too. For email marketing, it’s common to schedule your emails at a time when viewers are likely to be looking at their inbox, but on TikTok, purely go by the best times to post. These are 09:30-11:00, 14:00-17:00 and 20:00-22:30.
4. Interrupt viewers’ patterns with content that grabs attention
The first few seconds of your TikTok video should grab your audience’s attention and prevent them from scrolling on by, so make sure they pack a punch. A great way to do this is by asking viewers an emotive question, directly calling a viewer out to ‘stop scrolling’ or finding a problem and offering a solution. Ask yourself with every piece of content, are you hooked after 3 seconds? If the answer is no, you need to consider re-shooting or re-editing your video.
Useful tip: A sneaky hack is to embed a loop into the middle of your video so your audience gets trapped in multiple autoplays. Each of these views still count as a new view so it’s a win for you against the algorithm.
5. Find your rabbit holes to reach new audiences
The TikTok algorithm encourages a new level of rabbit holing – and getting your video matched to these rabbit holes is key to your brand’s success. Last year, The Wall Street Journal published a video that dives into how TikTok customises viewers’ feeds and the findings lined up with TikTok’s explanation that a feed is personalised to the kind of videos users interact with. While this may be worryingly damaging for politics (with viewers only being shown familiar and related content themes and topics), it’s great for brands who can find hyper niche audiences.
Just recently we started working with leading online bookseller World of Books to kick off their TikTok channel. While BookTok is huge, a big part of their video content strategy has been thinking about how we can target new audiences and get into other rabbit holes like extreme sports, dancing, and so on.
Get started before it’s too late
We hope you found our roundup of ultimate TikTok hacks useful. The great thing is that it’s absolutely fine to start with organic content first and foremost on TikTok, creating your target audience and testing a big volume of content types. Once this is up and running, and your video content strategy is authentic, you can start running paid campaigns.
The overarching takeaway for your brand is that appearing on TikTok is inevitable – so get ahead of the game while you can. Organic growth is huge but it won’t last long.
If you want guidance on how best to use TikTok to grow your brand, get in touch.