21st March 2024

TikTok: Let’s go back to basics

By Vic Banham

Director

There’s no doubt that starting your TikTok journey can be incredibly daunting. There's such a huge variety of creators, brands and users all creating different types of content and, for new brands entering the space, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate. We’ve found a few ways that have alleviated that stress and help you know how to start a TikTok account from scratch.

Competitor Analysis

Your competitors have already done the hard work for you. They’ve shown what works, what doesn’t and how to (or not to) talk to the audience. Start by looking at as many competitors as you can and really analyse what they’re doing. Are they:

  • Creating trends
  • Creating original formats
  • Experimenting with tone of voice (is it super salesy or nice and TikTok-y)
  • Engaging with their community

From there, you can take note of what does work and immediately cut the corner and make sure you don’t create content that directly reflects what clearly doesn’t work for your competition.

What’s The Community Saying

Whilst it’s important to note what your competition are doing, it’s arguably more impactful to understand what the wider community is doing. Type in key search terms that resonate with your brand (these can be broad to your industry or specific like your brand name) and have a snoop at what users are creating. The top videos on each subject will be what’s trending and these change regularly, so use these videos to understand how the community is packaging up the content in your space. It’s here that you’ll be looking for:

  • How they edit the videos - is it choppy and fast, or is it a one clip wonder
  • How do they record the content - is it face to camera, aesthetically engaging visuals, on a camera or on their phone
  • Their hooks - you’ve got 2 seconds to grab your viewers’ attention, so what do their first few frames look like and how has that impacted the performance of the video
  • Their tone of voice - are they witty, uncensored, using TikTok specific language, or are they more serious, and how has the audience responded to that

TikTok has always been about the community, so replicating popular content that lives organically on the platform is a sure fire way to immediately win over your audience.

Pick A Lane

It’s very easy to look at all the content on TikTok and think “I WANT IT ALL”, but that’s potentially the worst thing you could do. Some of the best brands on the platform have found a singular content format and stick to it (my favourite thing to do is scroll to the very bottom of accounts to see how they started vs where they are now). At Antler, we stand by a “3 pillar approach”.

We outline 3 content formats that are broad enough that you benefit from longevity, but narrow enough that there’s clear consistency across those videos to be able to derive accurate data from. These three pillars won’t be your forever strategy, but it’s a brilliant way to start to understand what your audience is engaged with and only evolve that content when you have a couple of months worth of data to back up the plan.

For example, for our client Pitch Golf, we started off with

  • TikTok Trends - taking trending sounds on the platform and putting a golf spin on it. This was great for reach, immersing ourselves into the community and to sus out the audience without alienating ourselves.
  • Golf Tips - working with their pro’s to offer short and snappy golf tips in under 30 seconds. This one was fairly formal, but brilliant for credibility.
  • Aesthetics - Pitch is more than just golf. It’s a space for drinks, food, socialising, partying with a DJ and our job was to showcase that with aesthetically pleasing content.

Within 2 months, we had enough data to understand the patterns in our pillars in order to tweak the strategy for a stronger approach. We learnt that Golf Tips had the best reach, but minimal engagement, so we repackaged this as “Golf Challenges” where we challenge both the pro’s and amateurs to take part in well known golf challenges in the Pitch Golf simulator, for example a game of “nearest the pin”, “longest drive”, “hit a straight shot whilst blindfolded”. Since we honed in on the pillar, our views have increased by 1200% in 2 months - a true testament to the test and learn approach, followed by refining and perfecting. We listened to our audience, created content they specifically asked for and identified the best characters to reappear in content.

So, can you start a TikTok account from scratch?

You can! Overall, the beauty of TikTok is that it revels in experimentation - there is no “wrong” answer. If a video underperforms, you have learnt something! But knowing how to start is the difference between starting off with a bang and tapping out early. Take the time to explore the options on the platform, build out your strategy and don’t panic if a video doesn’t perform the way you thought it would - unfortunately that’s the nature of TikTok. Working out “why” is a valuable action. Take your time to evolve your content strategy and, most importantly, listen to your audience and what they want.