Looking to update your social media marketing process in 2023?
Over the first few weeks of the year, we’re publishing a series of tips and notes on how to maximize your online efforts, including pointers on new tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E, and how these evolving apps can assist in your content planning process.
We’ve already covered the following elements:
- Defining your brand and content mission
- Researching keywords and queries among your target market
- Analyzing your competitors and their approaches
- Discovering where to reach your audience
- Facebook posting tips
- Twitter posting tips
- Instagram posting tips
Next up is the social platform of the moment - the compulsive, controversial and hugely engaging TikTok.
Looking to up your TikTok game? Read on for some key tips and pointers.
TikTok posting tips
Despite lingering concerns around a possible ban of the app in the US, TikTok is inarguably the social network of the moment, especially among younger audiences. Its addictive algorithm, and never-ending stream of content can be hard to escape once it’s sucked you in, and its approach has inspired a whole new shift in the broader social media landscape, as competitors work to keep up with TikTok-originated habits and trends.
Which, logically, now has marketers questioning how they can tap into the popularity of the app - and for the best notes on this, I generally defer to someone who has for more experience TikTok marketing than I.
Based on Savannah’s experience, and notes from TikTok, here are some key tips to help you maximize your TikTok marketing approach in 2023.
The key to successful TikTok marketing is creating content that aligns with organic posts in user feeds. TikTok users are on the platform for entertainment, and they don’t have to sit through ads like they would on traditional TV. If you don’t grab attention, and give them a reason to keep watching, they’ll scroll on by - so you need to create eye-catching videos that are similar in style to other content in the app.
But that doesn’t mean you need to latch onto the latest trend, or show yourself dancing to the latest trending track.
Ads are still ads, you just need to be conscious of how you’re framing them - because again, overt promotions repurposed from other apps or mediums likely won’t work.
Your first point of call in drafting your brand TikTok video will be your hook, as it’s these types of narrative-aligned clips that are repeatable and engaging.
So how do you find the right hook for your post? You can check out TikTok’s Ad Library to glean more insight into the ads that are working.
From there, you’ll start to get an idea of hooks that work - things like:
‘I wish someone had told me about this sooner…’
‘If you aren’t using [product], you’re missing out’
‘3 reasons why [product] is the best [problem to be solved]’
Get a list together, then test them out with your products/services and see if they feel like a good fit, or inspire video ideas.
You can also use ChatGPT to come up with additional ideas and variants.
As you can see here, if you feed a list of hooks into ChatGPT, it’ll give you a range of additional examples. Some of which will be not so great, but it could be a quick and easy way to iterate in the concept, and come up with more options for your TikTok creative.
Now that you have your hooks, you can build your videos around them, using whatever talent you choose, or have access to, in order to bring them to life.
It’s important to use real people (or maybe animals, depending on the product), while Savannah also advises that you should also look ‘do something visually interesting in the first three seconds’.
If you make your ads boring to watch, you might as well be throwing your money away. ????????️— Social Savannah (@social_savannah) January 11, 2023
The key to making ads that convert is having a great hook...
So make sure to do something visually interesting in the first three seconds! pic.twitter.com/gotmLlpWd7
In terms of presentation and style, again, visually interesting edits and creative formats will help you grab attention, while you should also look to highlight the benefits of your product, and how it will solve the viewers’ challenges, as opposed to lingering product shots, packaging, etc.
It’s important to get the right person for your clips, which is why many brands are using TikTok influencers and those more native to the platform, and creating organic-style promotions. This is not beyond most people - watch a few example clips and you’ll get the gist of what this entails. But if you do want to explore influencer partnerships, TikTok does have its Creator Marketplace for this purpose.
You can create and edit your videos in CapCut, which is TikTok’s own video editing tool, or in TikTok itself, and with a little experimentation, you can come up with something pretty good, and not so polished that it feels like a blatant ad
Captions and hashtags
Savannah recommends keeping your video captions short, around five words in total. Your main aim is to guide attention towards your video, so you don’t want your caption to distract too much from the main event.
Hashtags do also serve a purpose on TikTok, but as always, try to keep them targeted and specifically aligned with your target audience.
You can search for relevant hashtags in the app (enter a keyword or term then tap over to the ‘Hashtags’ page for a full overview of related tags, and their usage), while TikTok also has a real-time trends display to highlight emerging topics.
Also, despite many people still doing it, you don’t actually need to include hashtags like #FYP, #ForYou, and #ForYouPage, as they won’t necessarily help you get more attention.
As per TikTok:
“Hashtags like #FYP, #ForYou, and #ForYouPage work just like all other hashtags on TikTok, so adding these to your caption won’t necessarily improve your chances of getting on someone’s For You feed. Instead, we recommend using the space in your caption to add context to your video along with hashtags that are relevant to your content.”
Once you’ve got a few ideas down, you can map out a launch schedule for your TikTok push.
Savannah has a three-step formula for paid campaigns, which includes additional iterations in a single concept. And even if you’re only posting organic content, the process may still assist in mapping out your content.
- First off, you launch your new ad content - a new idea, new concept, etc. This is the first step, so don’t get too caught up on the results - but if you’ve done your homework and you’re happy with the concept and execution, it should help you gain some traction in the app.
- Next, if you’re happy with the ad concept, test a secondary iteration of your original ad, by using the same concept and script, and testing it with a new talent or a new hook.
- Savannah then recommends creating a multi-UGC ad featuring many different people using the product. ‘I usually find that showing multiple people in the product performs better than just showing one’.
That will give you multiple variations on a single theme, with testing at each stage to weed out bad ideas, and maximize the best.
TikTok’s almighty feed algorithm is the key element that pushes more relevant content to each user. But because it is so personalized, it’s not so easy to come up with key, generic lessons or notes, as it takes a wide range of personal interactive elements into account.
But there are some guide notes to consider:
- Recency is a factor - TikTok says that its ‘For You’ feed recommendations generally pull from videos posted within the last 90 days, while newly uploaded videos will generally see a peak in engagement soon after they’ve been published. As such, uploading new content regularly will increase your potential of maximizing your reach.
- Posting more won’t impact reach - Somewhat aligned to the previous point, TikTok also says that the amount of videos you post does not impact how your content is recommended in the For You feed. So, theoretically, if all of your videos were hits, you could dominate the For You feed by uploading lots of them - while conversely, this may also suggest that engagement with your past content is not a significant factor in future reach
- Keep people watching - TikTok also says that watch time factors into how a video gets recommended, “so capturing viewers’ attention early and maintaining it throughout makes for watchable, shareable content”.
These are similar points to the algorithms on other apps – the more engaging your content is, among your initial viewers, the better it will perform.
But again, TikTok’s algorithm is very good at taking in a range of factors and considerations, and showing users more specific content relevant to their interests.
In other words, you need to learn what your target audience wants, then iterate on that, which will help you reach that specific audience subset.
- Videos under 30 seconds work best
- Captions are useful - but don’t include more than 5-10 words per second
- Showing products in use will enhance credibility and response
Also, be wary of the safe zones for your videos – i.e. where your need to avoid putting important detail as it could be obscured by the app’s UI buttons:
The key element that you need to get right in TikTok is creative, and putting together interesting videos based around the above-noted framework. Which isn’t necessarily easy. Experts like Savannah make it look simple, but creating TikTok-specific promotions like these takes time and practice, and a lot of scrolling through the top-performing ads for additional inspiration and notes.
Which is the part that a lot of people fail on. Social media marketing is a skill, and while anyone can post a video online, being actually good at it does require learning and patience. There’s a reason that so few YouTubers become big stars, even though they all post similar content. Attention to detail is the difference between good and great, and the more time you take to test and learn, the better you’ll be.
Which is also why so many businesses are looking to work with influencers instead, rather than committing the time to learning for themselves. It’s easier, in many cases, to lean on those who are already attuned to the key trends and formats - and if you are looking for an agency partner, Savannah’s own firm regularly generates solid results.
But it can be learned, if you have the time, you can make TikTok work for your business. But truly understanding the platform, and why people use it, is the key step to optimal creative, and strong results.