TikTok has built up a huge platform over the past few years. It now has over 1 billion users, spanning a wide variety of ages and demographics. Much of TikTok's most successful content consists of short, sharp, engaging videos. If you can get it right, it's a great platform on which to educate users, delivering information and engaging users in the space of a few short seconds.
Keep reading for some tips and guidance for creating educational content on TikTok!
Food for Thought
Before creating content on TikTok, it's best to start by exploring the app, watching other users' content, and getting a sense for what works on the platform. When you come to create your own videos, this will help you to see the app from a consumer's perspective and in turn build videos that engage your audience more effectively.
When starting your account and planning the content you'll create on TikTok, there are three main considerations you'll want to focus on. These are who your audience is, your positioning as an organization, and the voice you'll use to speak to your viewers.
Know Your Audience
It's good to think about your intended audience, as well as your potential unintended audience. Your unintended audience are those who aren't part of your target demographic, but might still enjoy your content. While your target audiences are your main concern, it's good to keep your content accessible to other groups who might find it helpful or interesting.
Find Your Thing
It's important to think about your organization's positioning within your sector, and within the TikTok platform as a whole. Find your "thing" — for us at TechSoup, that might be that we are the account people come to for information and advice about nonprofit technology. Think about how you want to be perceived, and what your overarching message should be, and build your content accordingly.
Build Your Voice
You can also cultivate your account's voice. Ask yourself what tone you want to speak in (light-hearted and funny? authoritative and urgent?) and build characteristics around that voice. It might help to create a sort of mission statement for your account and use "always" and "never" phrases to guide the content you create. For example: "Our account will always deliver accessible tips and tricks for budget-strapped nonprofits. We will never promote products we don't ourselves believe in."
You can consider creating a persona for your account, so that it feels more like the content is coming from an individual rather than a business. The American Red Cross is a good example of an account that uses a persona. The videos all feature the same person, giving them the homemade feel of an account run by an individual, while sharing useful, actionable safety information.
Structuring Your TikTok
When planning a TikTok video, start with an overall theme and topic. Is there a lesson you'd like to impart? A tip or hack? Then, it's time to build a compelling story. Consider the context a stranger needs in order to understand your message and what visual elements will help to drive the point home. If there's a specific piece of information, a feeling, or an inspiration to act that you'd like viewers to take away, use that to guide your storytelling. Now that you've honed down your message and story, you can plan the structure of your video.
For your educational TikTok video to reach a wide audience, you need to make it as engaging as possible. The completion rate, or the number of viewers who watch the entire video, is one of the key elements in how many new viewers are shown your content. It's best to keep your video between 15 and 30 seconds and to front-load the overall lesson of your video. Users will likely be scrolling through lots of TikTok videos, and so the goal in the first few seconds of the video is to convince them to watch the rest of it and not just scroll on to the next one.
Once you've drawn the viewer in with your hook in the first three seconds of the video, you can bring in your intro. This should give just enough context for someone unfamiliar with your organization to understand what you're about to tell them, but doesn't need to include any background about who you are or your brand. Keep it engaging and let the story speak for itself.
After this, throw in an interesting turn — something your audience won't expect. While front-loading your lesson will convince them to watch the video, a turn will deter them from swiping away by showing them that they don't have the full story yet. Throw in a fun fact or some additional information. Then add another interesting turn to convince them to finish the video. Right at the end should be something that the audience needs to do after watching. They're invested, and they want the conclusion to the story, or how they can act in response to what they just learned. It could be another twist in the tale, an actionable step they can take, or even a cliffhanger. You can also deliberately end your video a second or two early, since the abrupt end will encourage "looping behavior," which helps the information stick.
Educating on TikTok
TikTok is a creator-driven platform, mostly populated by individuals posting homemade videos. The most successful content matches this style, isn't too polished, and is fun and relatable for viewers. TikTok can be a great way to educate people about your cause, showcase your organization's expertise in a new way, and access a new audience. We can't wait to see what you create!
TikTok for Good has been established to help creators to use the platform to support great causes. You can use its account management services and analytics to fine-tune your account and content. You can also use promoted hashtags, which users can then use to associate their videos with your cause. This is a great way to tap into communities on TikTok that are passionate about what you're passionate about!
If you're in need of some inspiration, here are a few of our favorite nonprofit TikTok accounts:
- Get ideas from A Recap of TechSoup's First Digital Storytelling Mini-Conference.
- See How Nonprofits Can Use Instagram: 5 Easy Tips.
- Watch a webinar on Telling Your Organization’s Story with Video.
- Take TechSoup Courses' series on Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits.
Top photo: Shutterstock