Social Media

The How-To of TikTok and Reels

In our last blog we went over how and why you need to be utilizing TikTok and Reels for your brand or business. In this blog we will be following that same trend, but focus on how to become a master of doing so.

Woman using a mobile phone stand while cooking

Little Bit of Background on TikTok and IG Video

TikTok launched in 2016, growing major popularity in 2020. Following the growth of the app, Instagram scrambled to catch up, launching its version of the video giant with Reels in August of 2020. Since then, short-form video content has taken the world by storm and continues to do so. Most marketers believe that sooner rather than later most content will be video.

So, what do you do with all this information? You know you need to be posting TikToks and Reels, but where do you even begin? It’s a common question many creators and businesses struggle with.

Luckily for you, we’re here to help make it easier. Let’s begin with TikTok.

TikTok 101 – What Your Brand Should Post

TikTok has more than 1 billion active users, it has the highest social media engagement rate per post, and its usage per day continues to increase.

When looking at what performs best on the app, it’s not what you would think. (That’s right, you don’t have to dance.) The highest-performing content is best described as a “Behind the scenes look.”

So, if you own a clothing business and are looking to create a TikTok, you don’t have to constantly post glammed-up, edited, stage-lit videos. Rather, it is recommended you post more of the clothes being made, for example, or your story of how you started the business, what inspired you to do so, and even a look into your day-to-day of being a business owner.

The new generation of rising consumers isn’t interested in outdated beauty standards. They know when something has been over-edited or photoshopped, and they don’t like it. Most creators, even some of the biggest ones, record their videos with the appearance that they’ve just rolled out of bed and the fans love it. They can relate to it.

If you want to simplify it all, that’s exactly what TikTok is: messy, relatable content.

How To Make Your First TikTok Post

Your phone is the best tool for creating authentic video. You will need decent lighting, a good microphone if possible (headphones with a mic count), and some quick edits to keep the content moving.

TikToks can be 5 seconds to 10 minutes long, but aim for 12-15 seconds to keep your viewers engaged. You also need to shoot in 9:16 vertical format. Videos shot vertically have an average 25% higher six-second watch-through rate by taking up the most possible space on the screen, which best grabs the viewers attention.

A Look at the TikTok Algorithm

The TikTok algorithm bases recommendations on a user’s interactions with content on the app. What kind of interactions? Anything that offers clues about the kind of content the user likes, or doesn’t like; it even keeps track of the content you seek out on the discover page and how far into each video you watch.

The good news for all new TikTok users, or those who haven’t yet built up a large follower base, is that TikTok does NOT necessarily base recommendations on follower count or on a history of well-performing videos.

So, if you create content that speaks directly to your audience, you have as much of a chance to land on their FYP as an account that has had previous videos go viral (this includes even the biggest TikTok stars).

Grabbing Your Audience

The tricky aspect of TikTok is that  you have a very minimal amount of time to get your viewers attention, and when we say minimal, we mean you have roughly 3 SECONDS to hook your audience.

We recommend not to waste time with an introduction or explanation but to simply begin as if you were talking to your best friend. This way the viewer feels as if you’re talking directly to them, and not over-selling or promoting too much. It also creates a space of comfortability and familiarity that most can relate too.

Captioning TikTok Videos

Your caption is going to be an accessory to your video.

We usually like to keep ours short and sweet—add an intriguing question or just reference the trend of your video if you’re using one. You have 150 characters to do whatever you want. So, make that your own, just make to sure to add related #hashtags.

This increases the engagement and the algorithm’s ability to pick up on your content.

Built-In Features

According to TikTok itself, using the platform’s built-in features, such as text and visual effects, helps the video feel more native to the app and can lead it to ending up on more For You pages.

So make sure you’re editing in-platform, utilizing text overlay whenever possible, using audio captions (they’re vital for accessibility), and using a green screen effect here and there.

For the greatest TikTok algorithm impact, try experimenting with trending effects—TikTok identifies these within the effects menu.

Trending Sounds

Sounds are the bread and butter of TikTok—they’re what makes the platform so unique. It has evolved to use sounds in the way we’ve used visual memes in the past to convey a joke or idea. You can plug different concepts into a trending sound to express almost any notion or feeling.

Make sure to see what sounds are trending, and which ones are up and coming. You can do so in the search icon in the upper right hand corner of the mobile app or from the TikTok home screen: tap the + icon at the bottom, then tap Sounds on the Record Video page. You’ll see a list of top trending sounds.

88% of TikTok users said sound is “essential on the platform. Fast-paced tracks that play at 120 or more beats per minute have the highest view-through rate. 67% of TikTokers said they prefer brand videos featuring popular or trending songs.

Content Timing

Another thing to keep in mind with the platform is posting time and frequency. You can get an idea through the analytics TikTok gives you in the app, which you can access by clicking the 3 dots icon in the top right of your screen. Everyone’s account will be different depending on what times of each day works for them, so make sure to stay on top of the unique preferences of your viewers.

For post quantity, TikTok recommends posting 1-4 per day.

Instagram 101 – How and What to Post

Instagram is currently the fourth most used social media platform in the world. It launched in 2010 and has grown exponentially since. It created a new type of social landscape and changed the way people live their lives. It is almost the parent figure of all modern social media, teaching us all about the world and what we like or don’t like.

And, as it ages out of relevance, it scrambles to keep up with the trends, even if sometimes it just shouldn’t even try. With reels launching in 2020, it has fed the obsession with video content even more so. An assortment of Instagrams Reel content is created in-app, and some is rolled over from TikTok. However, 87% of Gen Z users who have used both platforms agree that Instagram Reels is “basically the same as TikTok.”

If you do find yourself to be fully team Instagram, the good news is that Reels receive 22% more engagement than regular Instagram video posts on the app. Hootsuite’s study showed that Instagram Reel posts get 300 to 800 likes per post. Meanwhile, IGTV and feed video posts have been phased out entirely to make room for the TikTok dupe.

This creates a whole new ball game for IG content. As for what Instagram Reels’ tone is, it feels slightly as if they’re trying too hard. Whereas TIkTok, as we mentioned before, has a very laid-back feel. This is where the contrast begins.

How to Post Instagram Reels

Just like TikTok, your phone is going to be your best friend when creating content for Instagram Reels.

There are the same prerequisites: decent lighting and microphone, and the ability to make some edits here and there. If you want to jazz up your content more than the casual post, you’re in luck. Instagram Reels is absolutely the place to flaunt your curated edits and themes

When logging into the app, Reels live on the bottom middle of your screen. The button that looks like a movie director’s clapboard. From there you can begin creating or just scroll through your FYP.

If you find yourself in the mood for creating a Reel, just click the camera Icon in the upper right hand corner, and let your imagination lead the way!

Sounds on Instagram

Uploading sounds in the app is very similar to TikTok as well, and it is recommended to follow certain trending sounds on Reels too. Sounds usually follow each other across platforms, but don’t let that distract you. Certain sounds are native to the platforms and you can’t find it on one or the other. So, always make sure to stay up-to-date on trending sounds and filters.

The explore feature on Reels isn’t as robust as TikTok’s, so we recommend scrolling through reels, saving popular sounds that you come across naturally, and using those for your own content.

Instagram’s Algorithm

Instagram describes their algorithm as a “variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose.”

They “want to make the most of your time, and . . .  believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that.”  Instagram has made some major algorithm updates in 2022, some being:

  • The introduction of “Following” and “Favorite” Home feed views — a new version of the “chronological feed” to provide more customized experiences (with less algorithmically suggested content)
  • More suggested content in the default Instagram Home feed view (favoring Instagram Reels in particular)
  • Prioritization of original content (read: the algorithm will favor content that hasn’t already been shared by someone else on the app)
  • De-prioritization of content that contains visible watermarks from other apps (if you do want to recycle a TikTok, there are converters available online that will remove the watermark)
  • Improved content categorization. Instagram’s algorithms are getting better at identifying what an image or video is about based on keywords and content.

The Most Important Thing

Whether you choose to post on TikTok, Reels, or both. It’s important to remember this one last thing. This is the most important key aspect of any and all of the tips we’ve given you: Just remember to have fun.

If this seems a little overwhelming for you. Not to worry, we have a team of content creators and social media extraordinaires that are waiting to create them for you!

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