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April 27, 2023

TikTok Best Practices for Marketers: A Beginner's Guide

Intro to Video

If you haven't heard of TikTok by now, it's time to crawl out from under that rock. With over one billion monthly active users, TikTok is quickly becoming a marketing powerhouse for businesses looking to expand their audience. TikTok is an excellent way to reach younger audiences, with 41% of TikTok users between the ages of 16-24. However, TikTok’s unique platform can make it challenging for brands to get noticed. With a focus on short-form, video-based content, TikTok marketing requires a fresh and innovative approach. In this article, we'll take a deep dive into TikTok best practices for marketers to ensure your content resonates with your target audience.

Scene by Scene: A Table of Contents

1. Techincal Recommendations

2. Content Recommendations

3. Recommendations for Brands

1. Technical Recommendations

Vertical Videos: Showcase Your Brand in Full-screen

TikTok users prefer to view content in portrait mode, so it’s essential to ensure that your videos are shot vertically. Shooting vertically allows your videos to have that native look and feel, and it also ensures that your videos are displaying your brand in the best possible light by utilizing the entire screen. Be sure to follow the recommended specs (see below) and use a 9:16 video format to ensure the most appealing video for your audience. Avoid uploading 16:9 videos that are going to appear small and have black bars on the top and bottom of the screen.

Time Your Videos Right

Timing is everything on TikTok. If your video is too short, the message can be unclear, and if it’s too long, the viewer loses interest. TikTok recommends a length of 21-24 seconds, but the first 3-10 seconds are the most crucial. This will give you the best opportunity to connect with your audience and drive conversions.

Shoot High-Res:

Quality matters when it comes to TikTok videos. According to research, the majority of top-performing TikToks have a video resolution of 720p or higher. To ensure your videos look crisp and clear, aim to shoot in 4K if possible. The latest smartphones offer excellent camera technology, so make the most of it to create high-quality content.

Recommended Specs:

To ensure your videos look their best on TikTok, adhere to the platform's recommended specs:

  • Aspect ratio required: 9:16 (a normal smartphone screen) is highly recommended. However, you can also use a 1:1 aspect ratio, or a 16:9 but they will not be full-screen.

  • Recommended resolution: 1080x1920 (minimum resolution requirements are 540x960, 640x640, 960x540)

  • File types: .MP4, .MOV., .MPEG, .3gp, .AVI

  • Max file size: 500 MB.

  • Max video length: 10 minutes

  • App/brand name characters: 4-40 characters for an app; 2-20 for a brand

  • Ad description: 1-100 characters

2. Content Recommendations

@steven The Shocking New Truth About Weight Loss, Calories & Diets 🤯 Tim Spector dispels diet myths so many of us take as gospel. He will change your ENTIRE mindset about food. OUT NOW 🤯 #timspector #stevenbartlett #diaryofaceo ♬ original sound - Steven Bartlett

Make a Strong First Impression: 

The internet is full of content, so how are you going to make your videos stand out? Hook the viewers with something that's attention-grabbing, whether it’s a shocking statement, a funny clip, or a beautiful visual. The key is to start strong and keep the audience engaged throughout the video. Think “What’s going to make a person stop scrolling and watch my video?”. @Steven at The Diary of a CEO Podast is a MASTER at using hooks to draw people into watching his content. Exercise doesn't help with weight loss?? Tell me more.

Crafting Compelling Stories

People love stories, and TikTok is no different. Start your videos with a hook that grabs the viewer's attention, and then use storytelling to convey your message and drive that engagement. By focusing on creative storytelling skills, your videos will be more memorable and people will stick around longer to hear the ending.

@oakandrumble Do you think traditional influencers are a thing of the past? 👀 @ademolajola x @davidhiff x @hardybrandon #influencer #videoproduction #videomarketing #foryou ♬ original sound - Oak + Rumble

Don't Forget the Captions

The use of captions throughout your video can help amplify your message while making the content accessible to more of your audience. The use of text for CTAs, along with captioning content, can make your ad or video stand out and be even more memorable. It also allows users who are scrolling without sound to understand your message and engage with your content. Captioning is a no-brainer if you want to maximize your reach.

Keep Your Important Elements in the Center

Unless the user selects the “clear display” option to view their videos, the outer margins of the frame within the TikTok app are usually obscured by the video title, description, the follow, like, comment, save, and share buttons, along with the “Following” and “For You” tabs along the top of the screen. The “clear display” view is not the default view, so it's best to keep all of your important elements centered so they’re easy to see and/or read.

Include a Compelling Call-to-Action

Creating a video is pointless if your audience doesn’t act on your goals. Displaying a CTA within a video creates a connection with the viewer and gives them clear next steps to take after watching your video. If you’re looking to create a TikTok ad, TikTok’s Ad Manager offers features for clickable CTAs. Depending on your brand’s goal, customers can click to “shop deals”, “view offers”, “learn more”, “find a location”, and more. Clickable buttons can drive more traffic to your website and seamlessly connect your product/service with your target audience.

Trending on TikTok

TikTok's algorithm prioritizes content based on engagement (likes, comments, shares), so it's crucial to create content that resonates with your target audience. One of the best ways to do that is by utilizing trending hashtags and memes. Users on TikTok actively seek out content under trending hashtags, so this can help introduce your brand to a new audience. By participating in trends, you can take advantage of the existing momentum, increasing your content's visibility.

Add Trending Background Music

Speaking of 'trending on TikTok, music is a huge part of the TikTok experience! Music trends on TikTok can boost your video's visibility and increase engagement rates. Awesome right? Choosing the right type of song for each video you make can make all the difference, Just remember to make sure it fits with your brand's image and messaging.

3. Recommendations for Brands

The Right Mix of Entertainment and Promotion

One of the most common mistakes marketers make on TikTok is creating content that feels too much like an ad. Viewers will always skip over an advertisement that feels fake or overly promotional. Therefore, it's crucial to balance entertainment with promotion. People want to connect with brands that are authentic, and if your message or tone feels fake, audiences can sense it. So, don't be afraid to have fun with it. Use humor and create content that feels genuine and authentic. Research other marketing campaigns that have stood out on the platform and learn from them. Remember, the goal is to engage and entertain your audience, not to hard-sell your products.

Collaborate and Conquer

TikTok has a Creator Marketplace that can help businesses find personalities that are experts at creating meaningful content online. These creators can help your brand produce relevant videos that resonate with your target audience. By collaborating with creators, you can leverage their existing audience to expand your reach and increase brand awareness

The Importance of Posting Regularly

All brands want to stay relevant, and the best way to do that on TikTok is by posting regularly with original content. Pay attention to your video analytics to see what works and what doesn't. How often you post can also affect how your content is distributed on the platform. TikTok recommends posting 1-4 times per day, but finding a posting schedule that works for both the TikTok algorithm and your audience is crucial. Keep experimenting until you find the perfect frequency.

@happykelli Dancing all over 😁 #rasputin #dance dc: @Julia K Barni ♬ Majestic x Boney M Rasputin 2021 remix - Julia K Barni

Keep it Fresh

If you're a brand, it's essential to keep viewers engaged. One of the best ways to do that is by creating a diverse and appealing advertisement. Instead of using a stagnant background, try changing scenery, viewpoints, and camera angles to keep your audience engaged. The top ads on TikTok use a bunch of backdrops to keep viewers entertained, so don't be afraid to get creative with your ad placements. @Happykelli is the queen of using color, different backgrounds, and music to keep viewers entertained. The upbeat tone and look of her videos simply draws audiences in. She's got 8.6 million followers, so she's doing something right!

Understand Your Audience

TikTok's unique mix of content types requires a deep understanding of your audience to create successful campaigns. By catering your content to your audience's interests, you can make sure your videos resonate with your target demographic. For example, if your target audience is 18-24-year-olds, make sure your videos include music they like and topics they care about.

Work With a Video Production Agency

Creating high-quality TikTok videos requires a certain level of expertise. A video production agency like Oak + Rumble can be an excellent partner to help you achieve your goals. They have the right equipment, techniques, and experience to create impactful content that resonates with your audience. By working with a video production company, you can create content that is more efficient and cost-effective, saving you time and money in the long run.

Author: Brandon Hardy

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