5 Tips for Starting Your Own TikTok Channel in 2021
Unlock the awesome power of the most popular video sharing app for your film and video clients and brands.
It’s now 2021 and we can safely say that TikTok is here to stay. Yes, there’s a chance there might be a Vine-level shutdown at some point, but all signs point to the popular social video sharing app continuing its reign of dominance over social video. And for many, that’s a good thing. Not only can TikTok be used for good, it also has become a powerful tool for filmmakers and content creators alike.
So, let’s say you’re looking to launch a TikTok channel on your own. Or, you’re working with a client who wants to step into the space to better promote their company. Here are five basic tips to help you start your own TikTok channel to build your brand.
1. Research and Define Your Niche
Before you start messing around with your own profile and channel, it’s important to do your research first. The best way to do this is, well, by watching lots and lots of TikTok videos. However, don’t just set up a quick account and start scrolling. You’ll need to be a bit more scientific in your research. By judging your personal brand or company, you should at least have an idea for what niche you occupy.
For example, I recently worked with a friend who was launching a YouTube channel dedicated to disc golf. And, just as he did with YouTube, when he moved over to TikTok, he did a lot of research into what other disc golf TikTok channels were out there, which were most popular, and what types of content did well with this specific audience.
You should do the same for your own brand and niche. TikTok makes this pretty easy, actually, with the use of hashtags. Just as in Twitter, or any other social media platform at this point, you can click or search these targeted tags directly to browse huge amounts of content, which are often arranged by either most recent or most popular for a guide. Do your research, compile the results, and outline a plan of action.
2. Embrace Vertical Filmmaking
Another challenge for many film and video professionals transferring over to TikTok for the first time is simply wrapping one’s head around the vertical content format. But, don’t worry! While it might seem intimidating (or at least annoying) at first, it’s actually quite simple once you’re properly set up to handle vertical over horizontal video. For a great guide on the best camera setups, as well as tips for cropping standard video into a vertical format, check out this in-depth article on creating vertical video for apps like TikTok. Furthermore, you’ll want to invest in the right gear if you’re going to be serious about creating a huge amount of content—your best bet for getting the most out of TikTok.
Speaking personally, I’ve found the transition to vertical to be quite an interesting and fun challenge. The biggest obstacle is simply training your brain to think vertically and to focus not on group compositions, but on single elements. For example, vertical video is actually great for filming one person on camera straight on (I also learned a lot from breaking down this vertically filmed short film by Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle).
You can frame up from their feet to their head with everything in focus, rather than cutting them off at the waist. Working with a grid display for your “rule of thirds” is also a helpful trick to stay cinematographically focused when first starting off. Here are some more resources to help you embrace vertical videography:
3. Follow the Trends
One of the biggest reasons that TikTok has been able to become so popular and stay so relevant comes from the platform’s ability to allow for the latest trends to quickly rise to the top. If you download the app and take a look at the For You Page (FYP) today, it’s going to look much different than it did just a few months (or even weeks) ago. As such, when you’re looking to create content specifically for your brand, you’re going to want to follow these latest trends and use the latest audio tracks, which make up much of the algorithm preferences.
To do this, make sure that you have a quick start approach to creating your videos and content that allows for fast turnarounds and, at times, multiple videos a day. Remember, apps like TikTok don’t punish content creators for creating too much content. Rather, it more often rewards you for uploading a lot of content that follows the latest trends.
4. Use Text for Clarity
When you do start creating your TikTok channel’s content, one trick you should absolutely use in all your videos is to add text. Text not only helps with clarity (as well as providing more views from those who might be hearing impaired), it also helps to create an overall feeling of professionalism—especially when done stylistically. Here are some quick guides for adding text to your TikTok videos:
As a guideline, it’s best to keep text to only a few words on screen at a time. You can either have it scroll down line by line, or have it replace each line as it appears. If the text is following along with a person speaking, try to have it appear near the person in a way to let your viewer clearly understand where the text is coming from and what they’re saying.
5. Add Outbound Clickthrough Links
A simple tip that can vastly improve the ROI of your TikTok videos is to use one of the many outbound clickthrough link platforms. If you look through some of the more popular and successful TikTok channels, you’ll see examples of these on just about every page. These “social media reference landing pages” can be inserted into your TikTok account’s bio, allowing viewers to clickthrough to a landing page that houses direct links to all your specific content.
There are many options out there, several free (or freemium with upgrades), as well as payed ones that offer more options. Here are some of the best ones to consider:
You can use many of these platforms on other social media channels—like Instagram—that don’t allow for easy or direct clickthroughs to your website. These clickthrough landing pages can be quite helpful if you’re looking to direct your viewers towards more in-depth content (like links to longer YouTube videos) or directly to your company or brand’s website to offer products, services, etc.
For more tips and tricks for creating video content for TikTok and other social apps, check out these additional resources below.
Cover image by KeyStock.
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