TikTok isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but for lots of nonprofits, it feels like showing up at a party you weren’t invited to. The good news? You do have an invite, and you just have to show up with confidence.
This isn’t a guide to becoming a TikTok influencer overnight, but we will provide you with some key insights to getting started, and doing it so that you fit right in.
- Set up a TikTok Pro account. You’ll want to do this so that you have access to insights and analytics. These analytics will provide you with data around what content is working, and what’s falling flat.
- Be casual and authentic. TikTok is a casual platform, and you need to match the tone. The highly professional, buttoned-up videos that your CEO requested won’t cut it on this network. Your authenticity and human side needs to show through your videos.
- Discover what’s trending. This allows you to see what sounds and hashtags are trending. Adapting content that’s already trending puts you on the radar.
- Use the right hashtags. Start with #NonprofitTikTok, then dive deeper into your niche areas of expertise. This is going to come into play for Tip #7, too: Tapping into your subculture. Each subculture is differentiated by their hashtag.
- Test external video editors. If you don’t have an in-house designer or the time for your designer to be building TikToks, you can build your content in the app, but it will be watermarked so you can’t repurpose it seamlessly on Instagram, or other platforms. An alternative is to use external video editors, like WeVideo, to create the content you want to see.
- Do not repurpose content!! As tempting as it may be to post a popular reel from IG to TikTok, don’t. TikTok’s algorithm prioritizes content that’s native to the platform, and content that is duplicated will not be recommended by the algorithm.
- Tap into your subculture. TikTok has a whole underground world of subcultures, and it’s important that you find your people. To be clear: subcultures are not the same thing as trends. Subcultures are the communities, while trends are what's popular in the moment. Finding the right people will help ensure that your content is showing up for the people who will actually be excited about it. Each subculture has its own codes, jokes, and styles—spend time getting to know them to understand the culture, and figure out where you fit best.
- Channel that energy. Go into your video pumped up and excited. Leave any monotony and boredom in the dust. According to TikTok ads, opening a TikTok video with a powerful emotion, like surprise, created a 1.7x lift over content beginning with neutral facial expressions.
- Don’t go all-in with your time. TikToks can be 5 seconds to 3 minutes long, but aim for 12-15 seconds to keep your viewers engaged when you first get started. Once you’ve built up more of a following, you can create videos as long as 1-2 minutes, but we don't recommend using the full 3 minutes that’s available.
- Vertical is your best friend. It is critical that you shoot your videos in a 9:16 vertical format. Videos shot vertically have an average 25% higher six-second watch-through rate. This all adds up since vertical videos take up significantly more screen real estate, and, as they say, go big or go home.
As your nonprofit begins dipping your toes into the world of TikTok, do it with confidence and authenticity. Be yourself, and you’ll find your people. If you need help, our team has examples, more suggestions, and a knack for brainstorming—just reach out. Otherwise, send us what you create, we want to take a peek!