Internally we declared 2022 the year of TikTok. What does it take for a business to post on TikTok? Is it worth it for businesses to join this rapidly growing platform? Can we make business-appropriate videos and get any interactions? Will there be dancing? Let's face it, it's hard to sell something you don't understand so we knew we had to jump in!
Director of Project Management, Allison, and Web and Digital Designer, Evan, decided to lead the charge. We'll let them take it from here...
I'm a firm believer in practicing what you preach. This meant I couldn't tell a client to be active on TikTok if JH wasn't active on TikTok. Evan and I agreed to a posting schedule of one video every month that would be for fun and a second video every other month that was tied to a service we offer or hiring. That's 18 videos. Our end goal was to make our social offerings more enticing to clients or if nothing else we would look "cool" enough to work with. And we had 1 golden rule: No Dancing!
That laid the groundwork for my first task. Planning and content. I spent a few hours (not all at once) looking up video ideas from other agencies. What were they posting? What was working? What audio could be used for our videos? What was trending? I was able to find a few ideas right off the bat I knew we could pull off. I also wasn't below asking my teenage daughters for ideas. I plotted out the video ideas on our social calendar but I definitely had some gaps. The "fun" videos were much harder than I thought, but I was excited about our first video that would come out on International Women's Day. I am
probably biased but this is my favorite video we made all year. I wish more people would've seen it. I'm not going to lie, 18 videos in 1 year was ambitious and we will not meet our goal. We'll probably end up a couple short, but we had some fun along the way and learned a lot!
Now that we had some ideas, the trick became convincing people around the office to participate. I'm great at bribery (I'm a mom, so it comes naturally) but even so, getting people to agree to be on camera is not easy. We started by having people be filmed with no audio. This helped to get people used to the idea of us filming around the office and seeing the results without the intimidation of having to speak on camera. I also knew this meant I had to be the one to participate in many of our videos. I couldn't hide behind the camera.
We had some videos out in the wild, so I began tracking the results. And no surprise, they were completely inconsistent! I couldn't figure out what was "working" and what was missing the mark. A video posted on TikTok could get 521 views, but that same video shared on Instagram Reels could get 4,481 views (That's this video if you are curious). Compared to a similar video on TikTok that brought in over 4,300 views and 62 likes, but on Instagram Reels only got 340 views and 39 likes (Here's the link to the video, I know you want to see it). Trying to solve the video algorithm was like trying to solve the Google search algorithm. I wasn't cracking the code. We did learn one big secret ... the less edited, more organic feeling videos usually performed better. Case in point our beautiful video "Design with Me" was the biggest bomb of the year with only 33 views on TikTok. We learned that some videos, no matter how amazing will not catch on. And that's ok. There's always the next video!
I would have never thought that creating TikTok videos would be part of my job description, but it's 2022. In the early stages, there was much debate about whether JH should even be on TikTok. We've all seen businesses try and fail to start a new trend or attempt to fit in with younger audiences on social media. I wanted to be sure that we weren't a company trying to be something we are not to gain more views and social media followers. Whether it was an amusing team-driven film or a behind-the-scenes video of our operations, we had to be authentic. Joining a TikTok trend or challenge might help with outreach, but if it compromises your brand identity to get more views, it could be time to reconsider your approach.
If there is any social platform where your business can be less formal, it's TikTok. Your business doesn't need the latest and greatest production equipment and editing software. We found that videos without highly polished production, transitions, and animations actually translated to the videos being more relatable and "human", which in turn gave better performance. Not to say the quality isn't important, but content should be the first concern with TikTok videos. At our office, we simply use an iPhone and Smove Pro stabilizer. No costly video camera. No fancy lightning. As for editing software, we used Adobe products or TikTok itself depending on the scope of the project. For instance, if we recorded a shorter video that didn't call for any dialogue, we would use TikTok to edit and produce it. If we filmed more complex footage, with transitions, overlays, and other details, utilizing Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects was the route to go.
Timing, soundtrack, and thumbnails are the minor components of video production that are just as integral. We learned not to make our films too long. Viewers will stick around for the whole thing if it's digestible, brief, and punchy. The music presented an entirely new challenge to the video-making process. On Instagram, our first few reels were being taken down due to Instagram having copyright rules in place for business accounts. It came down to some workarounds and selecting the right songs for our videos to make they were acceptable on Instagram. With thumbnails, we need to capture the audience's attention in one image. Choosing an engaging frame within the video and a title overlay helps the user gain insight into the content of the video before tapping to watch. Overall, we found out that a lot more planning, editing, and commitment goes into running a TikTok account. We will continue to learn and improve as the social realm continues to evolve.
To sum it up, we had fun on TikTok this year and will continue our efforts in 2023. If your business has an audience using the app, you should probably consider using it too. Our tip would be to find an employee who is already a lover of the app and engage them to help put together videos. Behind the scenes and short clips throughout the year will perform better than most high quality productions, so we recommend trying it in-house before engaging a pro (like JH!) to make sure it's a good fit for your business.
Does your business need help managing your social accounts? Send us a message!