20 Apr TikTok Top Tips
TikTok tips you need to know
Are you a charity, social enterprise, Community Interest Company (CIC) or volunary group dreaming of going viral on TikTok to reach new service users, donors or campaign for change? Or would you just like to be more confident starting a TikTok channel for your charity and you’re not sure where to begin. Perhaps are you under pressure from senior stakeholders to ‘get on TikTok’ but you are dubious about the benefits for your cause?
TikTok has come a long way since it launched in 2016 as, predominantly, a dance challenge app for teenagers – TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, with 656 million downloads and worldwide, eight new users join TikTok every second.
TikTok is now the sixth ranked most popular social platform in the world. Although a large proportion of TikTok users are below the age of 30, the platform is also making big gains in other age demographics: in the first quarter of 2021, 36% of TikTok users were between 35 and 54 years old, compared to 26% in 2020.
But what does this all mean for my UK organisation?
All of the above doesn’t necessarily mean TikTok is the best use of your limited resources. However, if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, this platform might well be worth considering:
- Do you want to reach existing, or new, service users aged 30 and younger?
- Do you want to reach new donors and tap into the latest ‘giving trends’ that show that people under the age of 30 are most likely to give to charity?
- Do you want to show some of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work of your organisation that is rarely on view?
- Do you want to engage your volunteers and colleagues with social media to show the ‘people behind your charity’s brand’?
These 11 top tips will help you get started:
1. Entertainment and education first
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, people go on TikTok to be entertained or educated, not to check in. So, the TikTok content you create needs to be approached slightly differently too. TikTok’s USP is short-form, portrait, original, videos – less than 20 seconds long.
TikTok prides itself on its robust community guidelines, particularly protecting its youngest viewers aged 13 and under. So, all content needs to be suitable for all viewers, and TikTok will be quick to take down content that breaks their rules.
2. Obey the new three-second rule
There is a new meaning to the “Three-second rule” – you literally have one frame or two seconds, three at the most, to grab viewer attention and stop them scrolling to watch your content.
This can be really challenging but crucial. To get this right, you need to familiarise yourself with the content on the platform. As a first step we suggest you set up a profile and start by watching rather than posting videos.
3. Behold the sacred ‘completion rate’
Getting people to watch to the end of your video, and preferably loop back to the beginning again, is a key priority. The TikTok algorithm prioritises the number of people watching the full video as well as the number of likes, comments, and shares.
Your ‘completion rate’ can be seen on the TikTok analytics 24 hours after you’ve posted a video, so you can begin to evaluate what type of content is working best.
4. Understand the TikTok algorithm
TikTok has been reasonably open about the way their algorithm works – the platform shows your video to 5% of your followers and, depending on how those people ‘react’ to your video, determines whether you video is shown to the next stage of the TikTok ‘ecosystem’.
TikTok’s highly personalized algorithm delivers relevant content to users through the ‘For You’ page which is similar to the News Feed on Facebook. On other social media platforms, a user’s content feed prioritises accounts you’ve already chosen to follow. But not on TikTok. When you open the app, you are shown content from a mixture of new and known accounts – big and small – that’s simply there because TikTok’s algorithm has predicted you’ll enjoy it.
This is huge news for brands. It means that the TikTok algorithm has the capability to recommend your video content to exactly the kind of person who would like it the most – your potential and ideal customer. So anyone theoretically has the potential to ‘go viral’ on TikTok irrespective of your follower count.
5. Grab your viewers’ attention
To grab people’s attention in the first frame, use a good headline. For example:
- Call your audience: “Calling all charity challenge lovers”
- Address a customer pain point: “Are you unsure what cause to support?”
- Ask a question: “Do you want to make an impact with your donation?”
- A good and striking caption – “This is where your £100 goes.”
- Avoid “click bait” terms – e.g. ‘like’ and ‘follow’ as the algorithm picks them up.
6. Be original
There are no quick fixes for TikTok because high-quality, original content that entices viewers to watch to the end usually wins. It is very difficult to simply post the same content from other social channels on TikTok, even if modified.
TikTok prioritises native content built on the platform itself. There are so many different features and functions available to you that – with a healthy amount of imagination and time – you’ll soon be able to create your own original content like a pro.
7. Don’t hard sell
Whatever content you create, it needs to blend seamlessly into your viewers experience on TikTok. Brands that use TikTok for hard selling have a lower chance of getting engagement.
Instead, you need to get creative to find ways of showcasing your organisation in a way that doesn’t seem too salesy. Try and explore the topics of interest to your potential service and users and donors. Use relevant hashtags to help reach interested viewers.
8. Understand your target audience
To develop content that is really going to work on TikTok, you need to know your target audience profile very well. Key profile points you should understand include:
- Demographics: age, location, gender
- Lifestyle: interests, personalities, hobbies
- Pain points: lack of time, energy, money, motivation
9. Set up the right kind of account for your goals
Non-profits can use either a business account or a personal account. TikTok recently changed the rules so that both types of accounts need 1,000 followers before you can include a website link.
There is a lot of debate about the pros and cons of having a business vs. personal account. One of the main benefits of a Business Account is access to the TikTok analytics which you should use to improve your content to reach more people.
Although you can’t use the full range of popular music and trending sounds with a business account, you can use modified versions of trending sounds that you can save to your favourites, and there is a reasonable amount of commercially licenced music available.
10. Keep your content accurate
Don’t make silly mistakes – make sure your copy is accurate with no typos and, importantly, use the “preview” to check that the text looks OK and doesn’t obscure key parts of your video.
Once you have posted your TikTok video, you can’t go back to make changes, unlike most Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn posts.
And finally …
Let people know exactly what they can expect from your content, and why they should follow your account. And when you get to 1,000 followers, make sure you add a clickable link in your bio!
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