TikTok is hugely popular, with users watching 167,000,000 videos on the social media platform per minute! No surprise then that it’s the fastest-growing social media platform of all time.
Last year the City of Houston launched its TikTok account which already has over 42K followers. During a recent Houston Social Media Breakfast, social media manager Michelle Duvall shared insights on what’s made Houston’s account so successful.
Be Willing to Try New Things
Michelle recommends a combination of carefully thinking things through and a willingness to try different things. What goes viral can be surprising, such as this video about potholes.
“A lot of time with TikTok, most of the videos that go viral are the ones that you [as a brand or company] weren’t even really paying attention to,” she says.
Creating videos that are montages of clips or recordings and inserting trending audio has been a winning strategy, according to Michelle. This keeps interest high and also enables the team to use previously recorded and older content in new ways.
Planning and Flexibility Both Have Their Place
Michelle is a strong believer in strategy, explaining that “I always like to have backup plans, so I will go into a filming with a plan, but then also [have] Plan B as well.” Thus, for example, when filming the original video she’s planned to shoot, she also films b-roll footage of other things nearby as a backup in case the original doesn’t work out.
“TikTok trends come-and-go like that, so sometimes when you’re preparing and you’re filming these videos, by the time you get [the video] produced, that trend has already gone,” she says. “So you have to be able to maneuver and be like, okay, well, what’s trending now and how can I take some of this footage and slice it and make it make sense.”
Most videos function as standalones, but you can also repackage a series of videos to tell a more powerful story and keep your audience’s attention. This can encourage them to revisit your channel and look forward to your videos.
You can create a common thread out of several of your own videos, or leverage the popularity of other’s videos and duet or stitch with them. To do this successfully, you need to be watching TikTok so you know what’s offered on the platform and what’s getting the most views. Then you can act quickly and capitalize on a trend.
Make sure you have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your community, whether that’s a specific geographical area or an industry, so you know what people in your audience group will be interested in.
Also allow yourself to be inspired by what others are doing so you can refer to it later when you need to generate your own content creation ideas.
“Because I’m consuming content [on TikTok], I pay attention and I’m like, ‘oh, I like that video’ and I’ll send it to my phone” for future reference, Michelle explains.
Batch Content When Starting Out
When just starting out, Michelle recommends having a few videos already created and uploaded so a channel doesn’t look like a bleak, no-man’s land. An empty channel runs the risk of being regarded as a robot account by TikTok.
When viewers discover a new channel, they’re eager to see what else it has available. If they only find one video, they’re not as likely to think it’s worth coming back again.
For a brand new channel, a good strategy is to post once a day until your first video goes viral. After that it’s safe to post about every three days or so, if more frequent posting isn’t feasible. Also look at the different posting times to see which gain the most traction.
If you have an existing channel, you might have to post more often at first to gain traction.
The City of Houston uses three different windows throughout the week – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1-3 p.m., and 4-6 p.m. – and consistently examines its channel’s analytics to determine when a post will likely have its greatest impact.
To get even more insights and tips from Michelle, watch the full replay! 📽️