The Beginner’s Guide to TikTok
Get valuable tips for your brand on how to get started on TikTok.
Originally Published by Brandwatch.com
For many brands, TikTok represents a whole new social media adventure. With one billion monthly active users and three billion app installations, the social network provides big opportunities for creators and businesses.
Are you looking for tips on how to start on TikTok and leverage it for your brand? Our guide will help you understand how the social network works and enable your brand to launch and maintain a stellar presence.
Why should your brand use TikTok?
TikTok is a video-sharing social network that enables businesses to show their brands’ entertaining and authentic faces. They can do that via five-second to five-minute-long videos and with the help of a vast music library and fun editing effects.
TikTok has been around since 2016 in China, and it was an instant hit with Gen Z users. In 2017, the parent company ByteDance acquired another video-sharing platform – Musical.ly, and it was then when TikTok became popular in Europe and North America.
Ever since TikTok transformed from a Gen Z social network to a powerful place for brands to find and creatively engage with various audiences.
Here is how TikTok revolutionizes the social media world:
- Music and dancing are central to the platform.
- The algorithm lets you discover content in a new way and gives everyone the opportunity to go viral.
- The content is easy to produce: you can shoot and edit videos quickly on your smartphone. And it’s unpolished and authentic.
- There is an audience and niche for almost every business on the social network.
- Creativity is the most important element of TikTok content and the content opportunities are endless, from dance to life hacks and pet videos.
Below, you can find helpful tips on getting started on TikTok and how to go from zero to hero.
8 Tips on how to start on TikTok
Tip 1: Set up a stellar TikTok account
Your brand starts its TikTok journey by setting up an account. When doing so, you need to follow these steps:
Download the app and sign up
You can easily find TikTok either from the App Store or Google Play. According to an Apptopia survey, TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2021.
Download the app on your phone and follow the instructions to create an account.
Set up your profile
Go to the “Me” tab to organize and beautify your TikTok profile. Keep an eye on your:
- Profile photo or video
- Short bio
Use this opportunity to add links to your profile and guide your leads on their customer journey. This is a great place to display your website, special promotions, or valuable resources outside TikTok. You can cross-link to your social accounts on YouTube and Instagram and prompt people to start following your brand there as well.
Tip 2: Switch your account to a TikTok pro one
A TikTok pro account will up your business game by providing you access to an analytics tool. There you can find valuable insights about your audience, reach, and video performance. You can also find metrics like follower growth, weekly and monthly views, and trending videos.
You can switch to a pro account from the Privacy and Settings tab. Find the detailed instructions from TikTok here. Once you switch to a pro account, you will see a new analytics button under your account options.
This type of account can give you a better overview of your TikTok results, help you understand what your audience is looking for, and adjust your social media strategy accordingly.
Tip 3: Test TikTok features to discover trends
There are a couple of ways users discover content on TikTok, and before you build your content strategy, invest time to understand them.
“For You” page
This is an endless stream of videos. Videos served here are based on the ones the user has already interacted with, the accounts that they follow, and their location and language preferences.
The more active the user is, the smarter the algorithm becomes, and the more relevant the videos displayed on a user’s page become.
This is a very powerful page where users hang out most of the time. It’s also the reason why any video can become viral overnight to new audiences.
The Discover page tends to find and display trends for the users. Here you can find popular hashtags, sounds, and effects. Use this space wisely to uncover relevant trends your brand can tap into.
Tip 4: Follow and engage with relevant creators
To build a successful TikTok strategy for your brand, you need to do your homework and research how the network works and users’ behavior and content needs.
Make sure that you invest time in:
- Getting to know your audience
- Benchmarking against the competition
- Looking for inspiration on trends and content ideas
- Engaging to build a community
Tip 5: Deliver community management and customer service
Like any other social network, your brand needs to be responsive in real time to the community. Here are some of the ways to offer good customer service on TikTok:
- Check your notifications regularly
- Answer all comments in a timely manner
- Respond to your direct messages
It sounds obvious, but missing out on replying on time could cost you a customer.
Tip 6: Create a customized TikTok content strategy.
TikTok is focused on authenticity and entertainment. It would be best to craft a content strategy that fits the social network’s formats and requirements and also meets the audience’s needs. Your brand’s goals on this platform should revolve mainly around brand awareness and engagement rather than social selling.
Here are some tips and insights to help you build a relevant TikTok content strategy:
Define your buyer persona
Start defining your content strategy by getting to know your target audience on TikTok. What do the demographics look like? How do they behave on this social network? What content types and formats are they engaging with already? Try to answer those questions and revisit them every couple of months to keep your content strategy relevant.
Authentic before aesthetic
Unlike other social networks like Instagram, where your content and grid should be polished, TikTok is all about being authentic as a brand. So don’t be shy to show your brand’s human face.
Let the audience get to know you behind the scenes, without too much editing and filters – focus on genuine storytelling instead.
Utilize TikTok’s features in the right way
TikTok offers unique editing features that can beautify and transform a regular video into a viral sensation. Here are some of those you need to keep in mind when creating video content:
- Use vertical videos
The TikTok grid is built in a way that shows vertical videos. Keep that in mind before you start shooting your video content.
- Create video captions
The captions will give a more personable and relevant touch to your video.
- Add music or sounds
TikTok has a solid musical heritage from Musical.ly, so make sure you utilize this platform’s strength. Always add relevant music and sounds to your videos.
Most creators say that the chances of becoming viral are higher when you add trending music or sound.
Utilize the video editor
TikTok’s video editor is fun and straightforward, while also being extremely rich in features that can help you create a unique video. Invest time to play around with TikTok’s exciting features, among which are:
- Special effects
- Various fonts
- Music and sound effects
- Video speed options
- Beauty lenses
- And many more
You can preselect the editing elements before you start shooting your video or add them after you finish or upload it.
TikTok video formats and contests
There are a couple of special TikTok formats that you can test for your brand.
You can create film duets, where your screen splits in half and enables you to record a video with another creator. This is a great way to create user-generated content and feature your community directly in your content, regardless of their location.
You could, for example, showcase a product and let your followers participate.
- Hashtag challenges
TikTok hashtag challenges are extremely popular. This is a way for the social network to create collective movements around a specific theme, song, video, or fact. They are also one of the main generators of viral videos on TikTok.
“50% of creators have participated in at least one hashtag challenge, and 35% participate regularly.” ~TikTok
Let your brand be creative and join a relevant challenge, or even better – create your own that’s related to your brand.
Challenges can also be transformed into contests to incentivize people to join.
- Create longer videos
Recently, TikTok introduced a longer video format, which can reach up to five minutes. Be creative with it and use it for behind-the-scenes videos, how-to videos, or tapping into the ‘life hack’ trend.
- Go live
To go live on TikTok, you need to have at least 1,000 followers. It is a great format to use once you create a solid follower base because TikTok also sends notifications to your followers when you go live.
Test and find the best time to post
The best way to find the sweet spot for your audience’s content needs is to test. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and formats and learn from your mistakes.
Also, try to monitor the best time to post on TikTok for your target audience.
Tip 7: Utilize hashtags
Hashtags are a powerful tool across social media. On TikTok, they have a bit of a different role. You can optimally target your audience and get more users to your content by using hashtags. They also help brands grow their follower count.
Unlike Instagram, where niche hashtags are the winning strategy, on TikTok, your brand can use more generic ones.
Tip 8: Advertise on TikTok
TikTok offers great opportunities to create targeted ads and reach existing or new audiences. The social network has an automated process of creating, delivering, and optimizing your ads, so you can achieve great results.
Once you have set up your account and settled with a content strategy, consider expanding your opportunities with targeted ads.
That’s a wrap
It’s time to walk the talk and set up your TikTok account and content strategy. Stay creative and revisit your efforts on a regular basis so you can grow your TikTok community and engage it with great content.
Here are some practical examples of how companies use Brandwatch for day to day community management.