Organic TikTok Success
6 Things We’ve Learned After 60 Million Organic TikTok Views
At Bandolier Media, we’ve created scores of TikTok videos for clients and for our own properties, such as Unemployed Wine Guy and Casserole Queen. Here are some lessons we’ve learned while creating those elusive viral hits and content series for brands like Lowe’s, Duke Cannon and even TikTok (who is also a client).
1. Don’t try to be something you’re not: You wouldn’t create a TV commercial that doesn’t reflect your brand’s core values or personality. Yet many brands treat social as their chance to get weird, silly or just different. If anything, TikTok is your chance to be even MORE of who you are, more often.
2. Listen to your audience: Let the comments guide you and inform new types of content ideas. For example, we initially created a tool video for Lowe’s that showed off a new trend. When it went viral, we were flooded with requests in the comments for similar videos. So, instead of moving on to another piece of content, we developed a series around the comment suggestions, and encouraged more requests. What could have been 1 million views turned into 15 million across more than a dozen (iPhone) videos.
3. Always be experimenting: As screenwriter Bill Goldman famously said, nobody knows anything. True, but he never met the TikTok algorithm. That algorithm knows what people will like, so it pays to experiment and try different things until something gets the engagement you’re looking for. You may have one hypothesis, but the algorithm usually has a different answer.
4. Use native tools: TikTok does seem to reward videos that use the native tools (supers, effects, sounds) over videos that are edited outside TikTok and just uploaded as a finished piece. We’ve had a lot of success with videos that are edited partially outside the app and then touched up with native bells and whistles.
5. Engage first, educate second: This could also be stated as entertain first, brandify second. Nobody wants to watch boring branded content. They just don’t. They will, however, love branded content if it entertains or engages them first. That’s kinda the whole point, right?
6. Paid starts with organic: The highest-performing paid posts begin with creative that earned solid organic engagement. In other words, you can only pay your way to success if you start with good creative. For example, if your goal is account growth, we’ve seen videos that can convert nearly 10 followers for every dollar spent on promoting them, but we’ve also seen videos that only get .5 new followers per dollar. Full disclosure: As TikTok’s agency focused on small business clients, we’ve spent the last year promoting the platform’s ad tools. Which means we’ve seen this organic+paid formula work very well.