TikTok Reality #1

As a millennial who has grown up making video content for more than half my life, it’s surprising to hear that I just installed TikTok on my phone in January 2022. I can pull whatever excuse I want for not installing it earlier, but the fact of the matter is, TikTok is a powerful video tool. But I’m starting to see some interesting effects and tools of TikTok that can be utilized by businesses. So that’s why I named this article very sequentially. And as I explore the app more with my video marketing trained eye, I’ll follow up with more articles within this sequence. 

The whole concept of telling stories using short form video isn’t new. But it just became much more mainstream. As new users are flooding TikTok, including myself, the platform has reach and influence to almost any target audience that you want to talk to. The only caveat is, you have to talk to them using video. There’s no photo portion of the app, and there is barely a private message function either. So as a business, you have to capture your target audience’s attention by making video content. 

The Style of a TikTok Video

Gary Vaynerchuk uses repurposed video content for his TikTok.

It is without question that TikTok video content is raw and unrefined. Yes, you can do some editing, add effects, and overlay music on top of your video, but it is not going to look like a masterpiece… nor should it be. As TikTok has matured a little more since its creation, it has turned in a completely different direction as Instagram. With Instagram being a more aesthetically pleasing platform with content that is polished and extravagant, TikTok decided it was meant to be rough. That means no fancy cameras or professional color grading (filters), just your phone and the app itself.

That has become the accepted norm. We, as users, know that TikTok videos are supposed to be shot on a phone. And if we see anything otherwise, we are subconsciously thrown off thinking the video is an ad, and we automatically scroll down to the next video.

The only exception to this rule is when big influencers like Simon Sinek or Gary Vaynerchuk use repurposed content that was shot on nice cameras. They are allowed to use fancy cameras, we are not. 

What Goes into Making Video Content on TikTok

Now that we are encouraged to use our phone cameras to create our video content for TikTok, it’s easy to assume that making TikTok content is easy and effortless. But that assumption is very wrong.

Yes, you don’t have to worry about making the lighting perfect, which is a huge relief! But here’s what you do need to worry about- your intention. 

How to Make Intentional TikTok Videos

While this is extremely subjective, and the answer boils down to what you personally find enjoyment while creating, I’ll share some of my findings that I’ve discovered throughout the past month:

  • Watching a dialogue unfold between two people (even if it’s one person playing two characters) is a great way to learn a concept or idea from someone. 
  • Behind the scenes videos mashed up into 30 seconds with a voiceover is super captivating, and leaves viewers wanting more. 
    • Side note- use your own voice for the narration. Don’t use the automated female voice. It’s your BTS video, so use your voice.
  • You can use trending sound bites once and a while, but the visual MUST be related to what you do. Don’t copy a trending TikTok without an anchor to your business.
  • Skip the pretense- give us the premise of your video within the first sentence, and then give us the takeaways. There’s no time or attention span to build up a proper exposition (that’s for YouTube).

Wrap Up

As I’m writing this article, I feel both a professional responsibility and personal curiosity to start making my own TikTok videos. It feels a bit awkward knowing that half of my professional experience (formal education, high end productions, using fancy cameras, etc.) isn’t being utilized while making TikToks. But maybe that’s the point. TikTok is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the digital marketing and entertainment world. Speaking personally and for all of my business readers here, I think we need to get comfortable with where consumer attention is going, and how we can continue to stay in front of them in the most natural way. 

I’ll be sure to update you how my first TikTok goes in “TikTok Reality #2”!

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