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TikTok, don't stop

publication date: Feb 10, 2020
author/source: Emma Jenkin

Yes, this is an article about TikTok, the wildly popular app that lets users create and share creative videos. But stay with me. This isn't about adding TikTok to your organization's roster of social media platforms. Or how to use it to raise money for your cause. This is not about finding the next Ice Bucket Challenge.

This, simply, is looking at what TikTok does so well to improve your organization's video content. To begin with, TikTok videos...

Are short

You know that attention spans are short and you have at most eight seconds to grab someone's attention. How quickly do you scroll through your social media feeds? The average TikTok video wraps up in a handful of seconds and still sticks in your mind. Could you tell your story that succinctly?

Are low-cost

Easily what fascinates me most about TikTok is that the creators can create amazing stories that stay with you without dropping a dime. They successfully capture your attention and admiration without fancy video equipment or expensive editing software. Your limited budget or lack of access to tech doesn't need to stop you from highly engaging video content.

Have a reward

TikTok videos are great at setting up a twist or a punchline. Consider it an actual reward for sticking around for all 15 seconds. What reward are you giving your audience? Hopefully it's more than just your logo and URL.


Are vertical

In web development, mobile-first design capitalizes on the fact that increasingly users access content from their smartphones. Snapchat, Instagram stories, vertical drama (竖屏剧), Netflix previews, Facebook ads, and Four Fundraisers all take advantage of the real estate of a full, beautiful, vertical screen. How do you maximize your presence in the hands of your audience?

Vertical screen example video

Are to be enjoyed

There is a pure joy of videos being created by users for nothing more than the fun of it. A New Yorker article, in which the author recounts their first experience with TikTok, puts it well: "I found it both freeing and disturbing to spend time on a platform that didn’t ask me to pretend that I was on the Internet for a good reason." Your audience has had a hard day. Are you assigning them homework with your video content? Or are you delighting them?


If you're already creating video content for your organization, it's likely that you can incorporate any of these methods to make your videos more engaging. So why not borrow some of these tips from TikTok and see where it takes you?

Emma Jenkin is an award-winning creative professional working in the non-profit sector connecting great people with great causes.

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