A newbie guide to TikTok

Looking at starting a TikTok account for your not-for-profit, but hesitant to take the plunge? 

We understand - it’s tricky finding your feet on a new platform. Starting from scratch, putting ads out or building an authentic following can be a huge undertaking. 

We’ve put together a list of the top things you need to consider for your not-for-profit’s TikTok ads and profile. 

1. Decide whether TikTok is right for your not-for-profit and your goals.

Simply put, deciding whether or not to get onto a new digital channel comes down to your audience. Are they on the platform, or are they elsewhere? 

TikTok is heavily used by people under the age of 25, with 60% on the platform. This is great if you’re wanting to raise awareness about your cause or drive engagement in content & stories. The likes of UNICEF and World Vision International use it to speak to young people.

If you’re hoping to fundraise, it’s still early days for the platform. We know that  not-for-profits should be targeting a slightly older demographic of 25 years and above when it comes to raising funds. So while you shouldn’t expect it to be a successful fundraising channel, it is great for top of the funnel awareness building.  

2. Get creative, but make it fit-for-purpose.  

You can’t approach organic or paid TikTok without having a creative-driven strategy. If the creative isn’t hitting on TikTok, nothing else will, either. Here are some tips and tricks to make your creative pop on TikTok.

Make your first second count.

TikTok and Instagram Reels have incredibly short attention spans. While you may have a 3-second window to grab someone's attention on Facebook, remember that TikToks have a thumbstop of less than one second. So design your ads assuming supporters will only see the first thumbnail. Be catchy with headlines and audio to draw in your audience.

It also means you should arrange your creative in reverse chronological order. Start with the end result and show viewers how you made that journey to catch their eye, before diving into the story.

Be authentic. 

Content with a high production value doesn't fly on TikTok. Users value authenticity. Make your ads more authentic by: a) entertaining viewers with an earnest performance, like a comedy skit, and integrating your product or b) educating via product demonstration and a believable, emotional reaction of someone experiencing the benefits.

We made sure to include TikTok in our client, Alpha Australia’s media plan to drive sign ups by young Christians. It proved to be an excellent way to reach younger audiences, and their content is a good example of how low-budget, authentic creative can leverage current trends and be engaging at the same time!

Test, test, and test again! 

Ads time out faster on TikTok than any other ads platform. To stay ahead of the curve, set up an always-on creative testing campaign in your ad account. Test new creative on a weekly basis, and move winners into a campaign with your top-performers. 

Don’t be afraid to hop on trends.

Don't create ads. Create TikToks. Use trending audio or video effects in every video you produce. The more organic, the better. Also, use captioning and voice-over to reinforce your core message and help keep viewers engaged. 

Unicef is a great example - most of their content is user generated using footage from supporters, staff and volunteers. They also make use of trendy audio features like voice overs and speech to text.

@unicef 🪑Pull up a chair! Children and young people deserve a seat at ALL climate negotiations. #climatechange #climateaction ♬ Immediately No - odafin.t.schultz

3. Leverage the best TikTok platform features.

TikTok is a relatively new and unique platform. Tried and tested strategies that work on Instagram and Facebook aren’t always the way on here. So how do you leverage TikTok’s tech to your advantage?

Install the TikTok pixel.

TikTok requires heaps of data to optimise your ads. The TikTok Pixel is a powerful measurement tool that tracks your TikTok ads' impact on your website. Even if you aren't ready to experiment with ads yet, consider installing the pixel early so you will have better targeting and ad optimisation from the get go.

Set up an organic brand profile. 

Unlike Facebook or Instagram, an organic TikTok account is not required to run ads on TikTok, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Setting up an organic brand profile before launching ads allows you to test content types and find your audience. Once you find a formula that works, use engagement and video view data for targeting and lookalikes in your ads.

Tap into digital word-of-mouth marketing. 

Products get discovered on TikTok organically when people gush over and share remarkable finds. Design your ads to mimic hashtag trends like "TikTok made me do it" or "things I found on the internet" to make use of this existing behaviour.

TikTok (like any new social media platform) is a platform that seems daunting at first. But if your not-for-profit is hoping to target a younger generation, then it’s an important one. 
If you want to incorporate TikTok into your marketing plan, but you’re not sure how, get in touch.