5 things I’ve learnt in the past year about TikTok
TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform, with many charities launching their own TikTok channels. Back in 2020, Nana Crawford, social media manager at British Red Cross, explained in a blog for IBT how they found their biggest audience on TikTok. Now Nana is sharing some of the more recent lessons she has learnt from running their award-winning TikTok channel.
1. There’s support for advocacy
I never thought we could grow a following promoting our refugee content, but recently it’s taken off. The key is the mix of finding something that’s trending, and using it to our advantage to communicate something that can be complex or tricky to talk about. I don’t mean dumbing it down, but more making it accessible. People do care and you need to find a way to show them something to care about. It doesn’t need to be comedic, and you don’t need to dance, but advocacy requires tapping into passions and beliefs. It can also help if you dispel the incorrect things people say too, because you’ll find that people who don’t believe those things will start to notice you. Below is an example of one of our most recent posts about refugees. The result was a video people really liked and have commented on, and an increase in followers.
@britishredcross No matter what the trolls say, we will always believe that #EveryRefugeeMatters #happiness #refugees ♬ original sound – Kyle & Jackie O
2. Look back and post it again
We’ve been on the platform for well over 2 years and sometimes coming up with ideas can start to slow down. When this happens, it’s time to take a pause and look back. Ask yourself ‘what content has been working in the past’ and think of how you can refresh that idea. Was there a particular video that grew your followers, or generated lots of comments. You could try posting the content again but delivered by a different person or even try using a different sound. One thing I’ve noticed about some creator accounts is that if they do something people like, they’ll do it again and again and again till it starts to slow down. I’ve often thought that new ideas are better ideas, but sometimes the same ideas can make an impact.
3. A little inspiration goes a long way
People love transformations on TikTok. They love to feel inspired and motivated. Earlier in the year I posted a samba video on my personal TikTok account that went viral. I saw my video posted on other accounts and all over Instagram. I was surprised. I made the video very quickly and wanted to show people my samba progress, but I didn’t realise how much it would inspire people. What did that teach me? As much as you want to talk about what you do or why you do it, it’s just as important to inspire people with your content. Inspire them to take action, look at their lives differently or even change one thing. Of course you don’t need to samba to do this, but telling a motivating inspirational story can really make a difference to someone’s life.
4. Your community is your source of creativity
People will often tell me the thing they struggle with the most is knowing what content to put on TikTok, and I’ll ask them, “what have people said in the comments?” which is then met with silence. By the way, I don’t just mean comments on your videos. Try searching for videos that talk about the topics you want to share, and read those comments. There might be questions that have come up a lot, or content suggestions you could try. If your account is small, and you’re not getting many comments, then it’s time to look outside your own channels for inspiration. TikTok does also have a reply with video feature, which makes it much easier to create a video based on a comment and through this, interact directly with your audience. Have you tried it?
@britishredcross Reply to @myghgvelibro #Covid ♬ original sound – Jaydamo
5. Creators and original content for ads are the new way forward
Lastly, I want to talk about advertising. Creators on TikTok know what they are doing, and brands have finally clocked on that to have a successful ad on TikTok it needs to look like it’s been made for TikTok. I don’t just mean portrait, but actually creatively thought about for a TikTok audience. This is a mix of working with creators who understand their audiences, the platform, and can sell what you’re selling, or for yourself creating content that looks and feels in line with the content on your channel. The days of creating super swanky ads on TikTok are moving away, unless you have huge budgets, but even then there are some creators making those types of ads on TikTok with small studios and budgets. Traditional advertising on TikTok only works in a sarcastic way now – you need to create organic content for paid ads.
So, to summarise:
- Don’t shy from advocacy
- Look back, and look again.
- Inspire and make a difference
- Use your community for creativity
- Ads aren’t the same anymore, so don’t be traditional
Nana Crawford is a Social Media Manger at British Red Cross. You can follow her on LinkedIn.