Aug 19, 2022

Creating Content for TikTok

Will Francis photo

byWill Francis

Posted on Aug 19, 2022

Are you making the shift to using videos on your social platforms? Have you started thinking about using TikTok but don't know where or how to start? In this week's episode, podcast host Will Francis meets social agency Simply Social who work around the clock to stay on top of trends for their clients. General manager Peter Shannon and Olive Maher offer advice on marketers looking to set started with TikTok, and keep going with it. Indeed if you're a brand starting on social media for the first time, TikTok is the way to go.

The Ahead of the Game podcast is brought to you by the Digital Marketing Institute and is available on our website, Apple PodcastsSpotify, and YouTube.

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Podcast Transcript

Will: Welcome to "Ahead of the Game," a podcast brought to you by The Digital Marketing Institute. I'm your host, Will Francis, and today I'll be talking to Peter Shannon and Olive Maher from Simply Social, a social media marketing agency in Dublin that specializes in social media strategy, management, and content creation, and that's exactly what we're gonna be talking about in this episode. Peter is the managing director of the agency, and Olive is the account manager. And welcome to the podcast, guys. It is great to have you on.

Peter: Thanks for having us.

Olive: Thank you.

Will: Yeah. I know that this episode's gonna be...I sense it already. I don't wanna jinx it, but I think it's gonna be popular because I know that it's a really hot topic. It's something that, you know, my job is teaching people about this stuff and everyone is floundering. Everyone's still adjusting to social media as an idea and has been doing for a decade, and now there seems to be a massive shift taking place, and a whole other lot of adjustment that companies are gonna have to make. I'm not sure they're quite prepared, so I'd like to talk to you about that.

So, let's start with that. Just let's set the scene. What's the crack right now? Like, what's going on in social media? What are you seeing just in the recent weeks and months happening in social?

Peter: I think the most evident and obvious thing anyway, first and foremost, is there's just been this seismic shift in kind of video-first content. So, you know what we're saying to all our clients is there needs to first needs to be a preference for everything.

You can see that with the kind of increase in the monthly users on TikTok. So, kind of what it would've been previous is like a client could have nearly gotten away with shooting a bunch of still content. They would've done them across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, but that's completely changed now. So, there's definitely a preference on video content.

Will: Now, is that just TikTok or is that for every platform?

Peter: Now, it's TikTok, it's Instagram Reels, it's YouTube shorts. So, yeah, it's definitely video first is where it's at in 2022.

Olive: I think what we've noticed kind of hugely is that a lot of the other platforms have very much responded to TikTok success over the last kind of few months here, and that's kind of why a lot of them are shifting to video-first content is because they're seeing the short form kind of very engaging from the get-go. Ten, you know, to 30-second long videos are just very much catching people's attention a lot more than still images.

And in kind of, I suppose, like as a result of that, Instagram are much more pushing the reels and any sort of video content much more than they are just still images. You're just not getting the reach. Like, we've noticed especially over the last month, the organic reach for stills is just not really there anymore.

Peter: Yes. It's not there anymore.

Olive: And these are clients that are like, you know, they'd have a very good following, always had a very kind of good, very engaging sort of audience. And we've noticed that it's just is essentially just the platform, and we've noticed across everyone.

So, we were kind of panicking for a bit going, "Oh God, what are we doing wrong?" But then we kind of noticed and spoke to other people in the industry and it is kind of a general consensus now that they are pushing video across all different platforms, Meta, especially. Yeah.

Wills: Yeah. I mean, I suppose the blunt question to point to there is, is there any point in doing still content anymore? Do we need to keep that up?

Peter: Yeah. It's a strange one. And I think for some brands, yes, like, we've seen...we work with a lot of FMCG brands here in Ireland, one of them being the biggest popcorn brand in Ireland, it's called Manhattan Popcorn. And we...funnily enough, the only still content that garners engagement is memes. So, there's kind of that middle ground where it's obviously been video first is preference, but there's still a humor play on memes, which is obviously still content.

So, I mean, it's also not feasible for a lot of clients budget-wise to be pushing out video content every single day on Instagram. So, yes, there will be a place for stills, but it's just not gonna be in the same kind of preference or same level...

Olive: As what it was.

Peter: As what it was. Yeah.

Olive: And I think, as well, like what we're noticing is the kind of, you know, the clients that would come to us looking for the very aesthetically pleasing sort of still images content. Obviously, you know, it's still a huge part for a lot of brands, but they're using it much more now. And we're also recommending it to be much more of like kind of a visual CV as to why when someone goes onto their Instagram profile, it kind looks very aesthetically pleasing. And like there's been a lot of kind stuff done as to if someone...if your feed looks nice just in the first nine posts [inaudible 00:04:59], you are more inclined to follow. So, they're using it more and more.

Will: It's like the brand's glossy magazine, isn't it?

Olive: Exactly.

Peter: It's like a shop front.

Olive: Exactly.

Peter: And Instagram are kind of realizing that as well. Like, there's new updates. Like, it's quite intense with the amount of updates that are coming to Instagram on a daily basis we're being fed. So, the big one that's coming as well in the not-so-distant future is you're gonna be able to're basically gonna be able to customize your grid. So, that's gonna be huge for brands as well.

So, like you said, when someone clicks on and they get an initial look or view of what your brand looks like, you in the past, you have to stick to your latest post where you're...where kind of what you look like, but now it's gonna be everything's customizable. So, for example, if you're a brand that's bringing up a new product, you can change your whole grid to be specified for that product.

So, yeah, there's a lot of changes happening, especially on Instagram. They're kind of chasing their tail a bit in terms of like, obviously the elephant in the room that is TikTok. So, as are kind of...we've chatted a bit about it before, but they're kind of trying to garner and engage bits from all different platforms. So, they robbed Stories from Snapchat, they robbed Instagram Reels from TikTok. So, they're kind the same way, they're trying to be everything, all in one, you know.

Olive: We'll see how it goes. Like, we're kind of...we are excited by the video kind of side kind of coming to light as well, especially on the TikTok front, because it means that a lot of the content we're shooting now is just a creativity side rather than having to spend kind of huge budget on professional shots.

So, it is exciting, but I think I can imagine Instagram will still try to know, have the sort of polished video look rather than TikTok which is the more kind of free form, kind of doing it on the cusp, very reactive.

Peter: Reactive. Yeah.

Olive: And I think, like, it could be good for them, but, again, we're just kind of...we take it day by day. And as Peter says, there's new update every day that we have to process, and try and figure out then how we're gonna...

Peter: Stay on top of it.

Olive: Yeah.

Will: Here's a question for you, if I started my own, let's say, eCommerce brand tomorrow, and I had a fairly small budget, maybe just like €1,000 or €2,000 a month, something like that, and it's a completely new brand, it's got zero presence, what would your advice to me be in terms of where to spend my time and money?

Peter: I'd say TikTok.

Olive: I'd say TikTok, 100%.

Peter: TikTok is where it's at. Like, in terms of starting a brand from scratch, that's where I'd be looking at anyway. Like, what we're saying is TikTok is kind of where Instagram was playing seven, eight years ago. So, at the moment, there's a real, real opportunity to succeed on the platform. So, in terms of, first of all, the amount of ads that are on the platform. For every 10 ads on Facebook and Instagram, there's 1 ad on TikTok. So, there's real, real potential there to get your product seen. It's like a really affordable time to be advertising on TikTok.

Will: Because it's less saturated.

Peter: It's less saturated in terms of campaigns you can run as well. So, in terms of building a core audience, you can run campaigns to gain followers on TikTok. So, if I was starting off an e-commerce brand, I'd maybe wanna build up a couple of thousand followers first to get eyes on product. So, you can gain that with campaigns running through TikTok, and then from there start retargeting consumers through paid ads.

Olive: Yeah. And I think like, you know, if you're going in kind of €1,000, €2,000 a month on Instagram, like obviously, you do have...the ad side still on Facebook and Instagram is there and is pretty prevalent in a lot of the brands we work with, but if you're starting from scratch right now, you've no kind know, again, no historic data. I would say you'd be kind of silly to put all that money into Instagram, Facebook, when TikTok is just sitting there waiting to be capitalized on. And as Peter is saying, like the advertising on TikTok, it is so cheap right now.

Like, setting up a few of the campaigns myself over the last few months, like noticing the price difference across every single type of campaign. It really is on sale just because there's not...obviously, every brand isn't on there yet. And we have brands that are pretty established coming to us going, "We have no idea about TikTok. Can you just kind of give us a hand to even starting out?" And it really is in the early stages still, even though it's kind of the Gen Z kind of generation. It might not seem like that, but it really is in the kind the brand and kind of business sort side of things.

Will: It's always the way. I mean, as you said, you know, it's where Instagram was many years ago. It took years for brands to get their heads around Instagram, and, yeah, clearly that's happening with TikTok. It's interesting because over the course of the pandemic, what's happened is the cost per click on platforms like Meta has gone up considerably. So, are you saying that if I was to drive clicks through TikTok, it would be a lot cheaper, and by what factor are we talking? Sort of half as cheap on average? I mean...

Olive: So, it is's kind of difficult to compare fully because a lot of...a huge portion of the brands, as Peter is saying, we work with FMCG groups, and a huge amount of alcohol brands we work with, so for their e-commerce on Instagram and Facebook, it actually looks pretty different to how a clothing brand would anyway just because of the nature of their business.

And alcohol brands still are not allowed to advertise on TikTok. And so I can't fully kind of give you like a, you know, this brand on this platform is this amount, and then on TikTok is this amount. But in terms of me just comparing the brands as a whole, I would say it's about a third, a quarter of the price right now in comparison of just even engagement campaigns I can kind of fully compare. I would say at least that.

And when you're starting off with a brand on TikTok, like what we found is with a lot of the brands we work with, they're only Irish. We're only kinda showing them to Irish audiences initially. And when it's that first initial push, like, I think the cost per follower, and they're like very targeted followers who obviously want to follow the brand, who know them, they're in Ireland, they're in a certain age range, it was maybe like 5 or 6 cents or something, which is like really cheap for a very good quality...

Peter: Targeted following.

Olive: Like, very, very cheap.

Peter: I think also, though, it's the opportunity for organic growth on it as well. So, you know, like that's the thing. Like, it's for these brands to jump on trends and then from there garner organic followers. And I don't know if you know the brand, they're big in the UK, Little Moons. They're like Mochi, like Mochi or Mochi balls.

Olive: Yeah, Mochi. Yeah.

Olive: Blew up over lockdown. And they have, you know, could be 300,000 followers on the platform, millions and millions of views on their profile just because they were kind of garnishing in that ASMR style, I guess it's kind of trend-led content through lockdown and they blew up.

So, it's not only a great place at the moment to start in terms of gaining followers through paid media, but it's also a really good platform organically to succeed on it because, at the moment, for Instagram, anyway, if you're not paying, you're not playing. So, it's like organically, it's really, really hard to reach your target audience.

It's also really hard to reach your audience even if they're following you in the first place. So, like, if you pop up a post, you cannot be guaranteed that your followers are gonna see it, which is a real pity for the amount of effort that goes into creating that content.

Yeah, So, now we're seeing for Instagram as well, a big push and just creating a number of stories, and then trying to repost your post as a story, so at least it gets a few more eyes on the content and it can be seen a bit better.

Will: Yeah. It's interesting that, you know, the algorithms were implemented on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and users weren't so sure about it, but it turned out it's better for them. Brands don't love it because organic reach got hurt. And there was a lot of resistance from us [SP] around algorithms, but then TikTok comes along and it is hugely algorithmically driven, like far beyond any other platform we've ever seen, and turns out it's actually a really good system because it doesn't matter who you follow.

In fact, why would you leave it down to me, the user, to follow all the right people to get the right content? Surely now a piece of software is far better at selecting, you know, the most interesting content for me. TikTok realized that.

So, it's completely algorithmically driven regardless of who you follow, and that just match makes the right content with the right people. And like you say, I suppose the opportunity for a small brand is if they create good content and it's clearly for a certain kind of person, the algorithm will put it in front of that certain kind of person if the content's good, right?

Peter: I heard someone say, you know, in terms of TikTok anyway, that, you know, before in the past, like it would've been very much so trend-driven, and it still is to this day, but it's also the amount of effort you're putting in right now really stands. So, you'll see a lot of these creatives that are on TikTok, they're posting, you know, some of them two, three times a day.

Olive: Yes. It's [inaudible 00:14:35].

Peter: And so, they're just really trying to get as much content out there and as many eyes on that content. So, yeah, it's a really interesting space, and it's gonna'll be interesting as well because I heard, you know, that someone said, "Oh, why don't Instagram just copy their algorithm?" These are really, really technical algorithms that aren't just switched on overnight. And so, yeah, it'll be interesting to see kind of which way it maneuvers over the next couple of years.

Will: Well, I think Instagram are trying to introduce more of that randomness and serendipity in the feed. They're showing us more and more content from people we don't follow.

Peter: It's actually not working though, to be honest, because...

Olive: I'm getting annoyed seeing random people's very structured, put together professional content, when, you know, I wanna just see the content from people I know.

Peter: Yeah. Your friends. Yeah, exactly.

Olive: Because Instagram still has that level of professionalism. Like, you know, I know like anyone who's posting on TikTok, it is a very kind of colloquial tone, much more colloquial than the Instagram. Like, even just my peers and everything, you know?

So, if I'm seeing kind of random posts from people I don't know on Instagram, there is, again, that level of polishness that it's just not really hitting the same as seeing a funny, random video from someone from across the world on TikTok because there's no one's minding their Ps and Qs in terms of that sort of professional look.

Will: Hello. A quick reminder from me that if you're enjoying our podcast series, why not become a member of the DMI, so that you can enjoy loads more content from webinars, and case studies, to toolkits, and more real-life insights from the world of digital marketing? Head to, sign up for free. Now back to the podcast.

What's your process for managing this with clients? So, ideating, planning content, and then as you stick to your content calendar, being reactive to trends as they kind of crop up?

Peter: Yeah. It depends on the client we work with. Some clients tend to take a less is more approach. So, they'll be looking primarily at longer-term trends, and then they'll be putting just spend behind those trends. Some of the kind of larger clients we look at might be doing that.

In terms of kind of the day-to-day running in terms of how we work, so a lot of...for example, for Instagram, we shoot kind of once a month for most our clients, for example, lot of the alcohol clients, but in general, shoot once a month, and then a lot of the content or TikTok would be reactive as well.

So, we try and plan and structure as much as we can. And then the account managers, I guess, work with the brand managers on the other side, and we use a system called Planable. So, all the content's uploaded, copy is added, and then there's room for sign-off from both sides.

Olive: And on the TikTok side, it is slightly different. For most kind of brands, once we're having kind of onboarding calls with them, we do set the precedence pretty quickly that TikTok is, again, reactive. It is not gonna be that polished sort of content that they are looking for and know, want to have on Instagram and Facebook, and we kind of make that very clear and very apparent initially. And it's kind of one of our criteria as well for obviously us working with a client, let alone them kind of looking to work with us, is that little bit of flexibility, you know, that we can have so that we can just...they can just trust us to put the best sort of reactives up there.

Peter: Yeah. And that's, like you said, especially for TikTok, because if everything is super, super structured there, it doesn't fly. So, for example, there's a strange trend yesterday in Ireland that went viral of this guy just the way he was pronouncing a protein bar and it sounded like protein bor, and...

Olive: The [inaudible 00:18:35]

Peter: Honestly, it was everywhere all over TikTok. Like, if a video went up, three or four comments, someone just commenting him protein bor. And then a lot of brands you would've seen have just jumped on it, and created content around this protein bor.

So, that's how strange, and unique, and reactive you have to be that there can be something like that that comes through the door, and you have to be able to say, "We need to react to this now. We have our guys on the ground. Can they create content around this?" So, we have...within our agency, we have...someone's sole job is literally just to look at trends all day, and see what's trending, and then try to create content around those trends.

Will: Wow.

Peter: So, who knew that would've been a job 10 years ago? So, kind of media is's changing so fast and so quickly. So, it's kind of like how do we adapt, and how can we kind of stay on top of it ourselves, you know?

Will: Yeah. That's interesting. And in terms of like ideations, so, okay, you spot a trend, how do you come up with ideas? Do you have time to brainstorm, or does just one person come up with an idea and say, "Right, this is it. I'm gonna produce it."

Olive: It's kind of like the brainstorm, like it still happens, it just in a very different format to what it would be for, again, those very structured sort of monthly shoots. It would be kind of a case where someone would see a trend, we might put it into our kind of internal work chat, and then they might kind of say, "This would be good for this brand, this brand, this brand." And then we all kind of would pop out a few ideas, but it's very different to kind of the very structured sort of...

Peter: It's so creative.

Olive: ...storyboard.

Peter: It is though the most creative platform, for sure.

Olive: I think so. Yeah.

Peter: Like, there's just so much scope. I guess, a good way to look at it is, brands traditionally...traditional advertising, brands have to be so careful and safe, but, you know, that's changed massively. Look at the likes of Ryanair, look at their Twitter account, look at their TikTok account in the last two years. How much has that changed in the last 10 years?

So, yeah, it's an interesting one, and it's kind of, as you mentioned, just very, very reactive. But, again, it's fun and if your content as a brand goes viral because you're creative, everyone wins.

Olive: And I think as well, like, something that we're kind of realizing as much as brands are themselves is like, obviously, again, we have the Ryanair, you have the Duolingo, you have kind of those brands that are very, very kind of up for being very tongue in cheek, very out there with their kind of community management, that style of content.

And then also, there is room for brands on TikTok that, you know, aren't feeling as bold in terms of their tone of voice changing that much. It's's more getting their head around the having to have very, very polished content, but in terms of, yes, kind of the tongue in cheek, pardon me, tone of voice.

Like, it's not extremely necessary, but to go as viral as Ryanair have and everything, that's kind of what ties you over the edge as well as the content. So, again, there's different ways to approach TikTok, but what we're finding is brands are coming around to the idea more as each day kind of passes. Yeah.

Will: So, when you spot these trends, is it, you know, is it appropriate for brands to stitch other creators' and users' content?

Peter: A lot of brands take a lot of inspiration, let's call it, from each other, from other creators, so that's what a trend is. You're just copying and making your own spin on someone else's piece of content. Like, I mentioned earlier, that protein bor thing, like the weirdest things can trend. So, it's like, how do you adapt that to your brand? The stitch element to TikTok, Instagram have it too now, is really, really good. So, you can just react to someone's video and put your own spin on it.

Will: Well, that's it. And is it appropriate for a company to literally stitch another or duet with another piece of content?

Peter: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We do it all the time.

Olive: What I would say is the kind of issues, I think, arose initially with TikTok when it was more, I think, just regular people were kind of doing dances, that sort of stuff and not crediting, let's say, the initial person who created it. I remember there was loads of issues around then, and kind of even bigger kind of influencers would be doing these dances, and not giving credit to the original creator. But I find now all that sort of stuff is much more transitioned just into trends, so there's very few dances.

I mean, like they wouldn't be on my kind of homepage anyway, but it's not as big anymore because, obviously, the audience ages has changed quite drastically, and there's never really any issues now with kind of trends being hopped on because I suppose a trend becomes a trend, usually not by creation of like a dance. It is just something that catches on, like your man with the protein bor, you know. So, yeah, any issues that kind of were there initially have kind of fizzled out. [crosstalk 00:23:44] anyway.

Peter: And plus, [inaudible 00:23:44] to see like, for example,, for brands anyway, there's a big kind of gray space that comes into play with copyright for music. It's now TikTok download if you have a business account, but you can use trending sounds always. So, that's kind of what a lot of them do because there won't any kind of copyright issues there.

Olive: Yeah. Because it's not music, it's just sound of, you know...

Peter: Yeah. Sound or a remix or something. So, you can actually click on that sound or remix that you see in a video, and then what'll pop up is all these videos that brands and other people have used it. So, that in itself is just creative inspiration.

I was lucky enough to be in TikTok HQ in Dublin a few weeks ago. We got invited to chat with the CEO, and he was mentioning one...or he was kind of asking, "What one thing do you think that would really benefit you guys in terms of working with the brands you're working with?"

At the moment they have a section in TikTok for Business Creator Studio that you can see what are all the trending sounds that are within your country at the moment. And I said the one thing that would be really useful for brands if you have that, but just for trending sounds. And again, maybe a false promise, but he said he'd look into it. But, yeah, that's kind of... They're really interested in actually trying to make the platform better for you. And that's something that we found as well. I know you were saying it earlier massively in terms of the difference between Meta and TikTok. You're assigned an account manager and they're actually really, really decent.

Olive: Pretty hands-on.

Peter: Pretty hands-on. Yeah.

Will: I think in terms of that whole business portals...I mean, I don't even understand why this is a big ad for TikTok, but like, you know, they've clearly made a lot of effort. So, they've got their ads library, which is really useful because they'll show you the top performing ads. You can look at the ads with the biggest clickthrough rate. I mean, I've never seen anything like that on any other social advertising platform where you can find out what the most successful ads in the UK or Ireland or wherever is. You know, it's...

Peter: No. The creative inspiration on that ads platform is really, really great. I mean, like the only other thing I can compare it to, and it's not [inaudible 00:26:06], really is a transparency on Facebook. So, you can see, for example, going to Reebok, going through their Facebook page, you can see what ads they're running at the moment, but there's like you said, there's nothing there that says this... Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Olive: And something that I actually noticed in the last while, I don't know when they actually introduced it, but I think it takes maybe about a month or so after a new ad account of a brand starts advertising, and they give you an option to auto target, which sounds like kind of a media buyer's hell, you know, not being able to configure everything manually.

And like, I remember when I first saw it, I was like, "Absolutely, I'm not touching that." But for the engagement ads and for the follower campaigns, I did a bit of research and actually, this auto-targeting essentially does all the work for you in terms of just pushing the videos out to people's feeds who will essentially respond to them as much as possible.

Will: The algorithm knows better than any of us. We're definitely gonna see more of that. I mean, Google Ads, the most traditional, the biggest ad platform, at some point in the next couple of years, they're gonna get to the point where you literally just give them your website URL and they write your ads, choose your keywords, and...

Peter: [inaudible 00:27:20] do the work.

Will: Yeah. And we're gonna see algorithms doing more of the work. I mean, when was the last time you adjusted your bid on any ad platform? And we used to always have to do that. That was like half the bloody work, you know, years ago.

So, yeah, clearly the algorithms, because, at the end of the day, our dumb human assumptions and decisions are never gonna quite match that, so that is an interesting direction they're taking things in. So just thinking back to the process, so, yeah, you've got this kind of plan, and then you've got the reactive stuff, and you kind of, you know, quickly call the client, "Can we do this as a guy pronouncing protein bar wrong," etc.

Okay. So in terms of then the production, I'm curious because I haven't worked in an agency for a few years now, and with TikTok, what are you doing? Are you getting all the expensive equipment out, and making polished stuff, or is it all shot on phone? Is it all edited in CapCut and TikTok? Like, how are you doing it?

Peter: First of all, we're a social first agency. And I know that kind of seems wishy-washy too, you know, like a lot of kind of bigger communication agencies, that would run full-scale campaigns happen to offer social. On the flip side, we're 100% social, everything we do, we live and breathe it.

In terms of the agency then it's split in half. So, we have half our team is purely content creation, and half the team is solely management, community management, advertising management, and social media management obviously.

In terms of content, and how it's created in terms of the style for TikTok, so we work with some e-comm brands, and we want the style of content to be looked like it's shot on the phone, but we might shoot it on the camera. So that's just stylistically. But then on the flip side, for a lot of the FMCG brands we work with, you know, it could be as simple as jumping on a trend, putting eyes on a bag of popcorn, that's obviously shot all on the phone.

Olive: For which depends like...

Peter: Yeah. But the majority, I'd say, would be shot on the phone. For kind of some of the, I guess, higher produced quality content that we'd like to cross-contaminate across Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok would obviously be shot on a...professionally produced.

Will: And what's in the toolkit? I mean, I don't know how close you are to the content creation team, but what's in the toolkit, what kind of apps, and software, and tools, and gadgets?

Peter: It's mostly the Adobe suite. They work with the guys too. And then in terms of shooting, we shoot with a Blackmagic. So, yeah, it's really decent gear, but, again, it's kind of flipped on its head sometimes when you're like, "Jesus, that video just blew up with a couple of hundred thousand views, and it was shot in 10 minutes on an iPhone, edited in CapCut." Do you know what I mean?

So, sometimes you're bewildered with why something actually works. Like, I was chatting to an account manager in Kinetica [SP] Nutrition, which is like a sports nutrition brand here in Ireland, and they're in the UK as well. And he was saying that, you know, one really, really simple video that blew up was literally just someone dumping amino acids in a drink and shaking it. But at the time, it was...I forget the actual footballer in the UK, but there was controversy over him at the time, and just because he was dropped. And just because someone might have been searching his name, the video that was posted 2 months ago blew up to over 2 million views. So, like, you just don't know sometimes why certain videos blow up and certain videos don't, but I guess that's the...

Will: That's the randomness of TikTok, isn't it? Yeah. And of course, yeah, you have to keep that look and feel of TikTok or Reels content. So you have to...presumably, still someone has to, you know, put it in the app like TikTok, Instagram, whatever, and then use stickers, and captions, and built-in functionality. Do you think then it's important for most content for it just...yeah, to avoid it looking like a repurposed TV ad, essentially?

Olive: I think it depends, again, kind of on each brand, and what we were saying kind of about, you know, how brands who were scared of TikTok initially and still are kind of coming around to it is because of the fact that, you know, they have the ability to create content that, again, isn't as sort of as personable as, let's say, the kind of phone-shot content. But they are able to create the sort of like ASMR, let's say food content, that will do really well but that's very professionally shot and everything.

And then they can obviously repurpose it across all the different platforms. And those cost a little bit more money, but that's kind of how those brands that were scared of it are kind of coming into the platform is that there is a market for them too which is different.

Peter: And they also wanna get a good bang for their buck. So, as we mentioned a lot of food brands we work with, on a big thing, big trend that's been around the clock for two years is ASMR-like content. So, we work with beer brands, [inaudible 00:32:39] cheese. You can't go wrong with ASMR-style recipe content around cheese as well, you know? So, you're making nachos, crunching of the crisps, everything.

So, we run a campaign for them where we created a bunch of recipe that had ASMR videos, and that performed really, really well on TikTok because it landed into that trend, ASMR, but then we could also repurpose it across Facebook Reels, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts. So, that's where brands are like, "Okay, hey, can we get the most bang for our buck here, and we can create X content that will live across X amount of platforms?"

Olive: I think there's...yeah, there is like the I would say actually, it's almost there's two sections to kind of brands and TikTok. We have those ones that, again, are coming on and they're, again, trying to...well, I say trying. They wanna kind of remain the professional sort of style, but it's still very digestible, pardon the pun, cheese ASMR for people viewing it. But then you have the other side of people who, again...brands who are happy to be very blase, and hop on all the trends, and just shoot everything with the phone, and it could be a five-second video and that blows up. Yeah.

And those ones will blow up much more than, unfortunately, any of the professionally-shot content. Professionally shot content can still do well organically. It's just in terms of trends, that's what gets your name out there and that's what... Yeah.

Peter: It tends to go, a trend will start, everyone will jump on it, and then a brand will jump on it, and then it will die very, very quickly. So, it's like you're just trying to catch onto that tail end of the trend before it crashes a quick death, but then that's, as I mentioned, why we have someone that's just on trends all day.

Will: And in terms of driving the authenticity of the content, what more brands are doing now is know, is realizing that they're never going to have that kind of authentic look and feel, and so they're getting creators to do the content for them. Are you working with creators or influencers much in that way?

Peter: Influencers, traditionally would've been, you know, quite affordable to work with, but they, over the last couple of years, obviously, have realized their worth and their reach. But no, we do work with a number of influencers across different brands. What we found is as well, like we work with a company called...a brand called Lambay Whiskey, and we just paired with a...he's an influencer, but he's a creator, Brendan Mariani is his name, to basically create content. He's a TikTok influencer, so create content around the whiskey brand, and then push it through his following.

That's a really, really, I guess, effective way of utilizing an influencer, especially for an alcohol brand because you can't advertise on TikTok yet. But, yeah, we work with a number of them, but like I said, some of them are a lot more effective than others.

Olive: And what we actually found out recently TikTok are setting up is like a...I can't remember what the exact terminology is, but like a creator studio almost. So, it'll be a case where, let's say, one of our brands wants to utilize an influencer for a campaign. There's gonna be like a whole directory of influencers under the alcohol category, or the food category, lifestyle, and then you can kind of pair up that way.

And what TikTok allows you to do that Instagram doesn't is, let's say we worked with an influencer, and we got them to post the video to their page because, again, they have the following rather than the brand. We can then, let's say, on the brand side, we can utilize that video on the influencer's page, and run it as an ad that will direct to the brand's page.

So, like a lot different to Instagram, and a lot more kind of flexible in that kind of time. You know, like rather than having to upload it separately and, you know, brands aren't gonna get the reach that influencers are, they can post it organically to the influencer's page and utilize that video as an ad, yeah, which is great.

Will: Yeah. That's what...I mean, that's definitely what I'm seeing more of from brands. And you're right, TikTok have this influencer...well, this creator directory.

I think the fact we're calling them creators gives some indication of where we're going. I think this idea of just buying influence as if like influencers are this media channel that you buy impressions on or something. I think definitely another shift that's taking place is moving away from that, and working with the same people, but we're calling them creators, and they are essentially collaborators.

Peter: Yeah. Creators makes them seem a lot more I guess legit, isn't it, as well? It's not as diluted compared to influencer.

Will: Well, we're buying their creation. We're buying their content creation. We're buying the fact that they can create content our audience cares about in a way that it looks more authentic and relevant to the audience. We're not just, yeah, buying views, right, which is a good thing.

Olive: And I think it's because people have become a lot more aware of ads, and, you know, how to notice them immediately, and if they're authentic or not. And I think, yeah, I think it's kind of been something that I think has been necessary for a while, or the shift has been kind of obvious because there was a period where people just were almost kind of allergic to ads from influencers, obviously that they know, you know, wouldn't have known the product or anything.

So, it's good that brands are taking their time now, and influencers also, in terms of partnerships because the authenticity is key, and the creative side is much more important than, I think, it used to be as well.

Will: Okay. I think our listeners are pretty on board with the idea that they need to get more video-centric, and invest certainly in TikTok to kind of future-proof what they're doing, and reach more people. Tell us what our listeners should do immediately after this episode finishes to get started leveraging video, leveraging TikTok. I'll get a few tips from you in turn, if that's all right. Olive, I'll let you go first. What would you suggest people do right away?

Olive: The main thing, obviously the advice we're giving now could change by next week as well, so that's also something to keep in mind. And I think that's actually a point I would make is like, a platform we use is called Social Minds. I don't know if you've mentioned it before, and it constantly, every single day...and we get at least...I get at least one email, and that kind of gives me all of the kind of roundup updates for the last day. So, it's not even a platform that kind of tells you this week or this month. It is like a daily update on social media, what's happening, algorithms...

Peter: Every platform.

Olive: Every single platform. I would say Social Minds. That's it. Yeah.

Peter: I think it's an extension of Social Chain.

Olive: Potentially. Yeah.

Peter: That's a really good point.

Olive: Yeah. Obviously, again, the video content we've already kind of spoken about, and kind of that' is very relevant, but I think the main thing is that, like, everything we've talked about today could change by next week, and I think staying up to date and kind of relevant with what's happening in social media is the most important thing.

So, yeah, Social Minds would be a kind of a good place to start in terms of kind of subscribing to them, and it's free. Like, it is free at all. You know, it would just come to your inbox every day, and seeing what is working, and what is inevitably not gonna work in the next few weeks is important too. Yeah.

Will: In terms of setting up shop for producing, you know, more and better video content in a place like TikTok, any kind of, you know, practical things. Like, if you were telling a friend down the pub who's, you know, about to embark on some marketing or some content marks in there, what would be your kind of first three or so steps that you'd say, "You've gotta do these things at the very outset."

Olive: I would say going into TikTok...if you're going into TikTok, obviously, in a business sort a business way, in a business mindset, I would say, start to tailor your For You page to give you the trends to give you those sort of...

Peter: Inspiration.

Olive: Yeah. Those sort of inspiration, like, you can. So any single sort of business marketing account you kind of come across, follow it. And those sort of accounts, I mean the ones that inform you of trends, like, there are literally accounts that are dedicated to telling you this trend is happening soon. And having notification bells on for them. That's what I would kind of be saying.

Will: Tune into accounts that are giving advice on how to grow on TikTok, how to grow a business, how to do ads and better content, and how to formulate good video.

Peter: Yeah. And [inaudible 00:41:36] we have...or I have a separate TikTok account just for marketing. So, I'm just searching digital marketing, social media tips, and if I have a couple of extra minutes during the day, I just jump on that and see, you know, you can... The thing is a lot of people [inaudible 00:41:51] Gen Z stuff or Generation Alphas. People aren't Google searching anymore. They're TikTok searching. So, yeah, it's definitely's a good point. Definitely, something that [inaudible 00:42:02] a lot of information from.

Olive: Because I think, you know, we can all say go on and hop on trends, and create videos, but like, obviously, in terms of actual practical advice, I'd say start in a place where you'll be able to then be fed the videos that will actually work for you rather than just hopping on right now, and seeing what's working for certain people. Yeah.

Will: Okay. Good. Cheers. Olive. Peter, what kind of, you know, actionable bullet point type tips would you give to someone embarking on this...on a journey in video and TikTok?

Peter: I think the biggest thing, especially if you're starting your product or brand from scratch, the people really like supporting people starting from scratch, I think a big thing is getting your personality through the platform. You know, so if you are willing to jump in front of the camera, do, you know, because a lot of people will invest in that. And you see that constantly with #blowmysmallbusinessup, or people like supporting people, rather than obviously much larger MNCs.

So, yeah, I guess, one thing would be, as Olive said, researching what your niche is, and then trying to actually bring, and basically highlight your personality through the platform.

Olive: Just to add on to what you're saying also, don't be afraid to ask teenage, like your nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, cousins, anyone for advice because as much as, you know, in the business world, they may be out of depth. In the TikTok business world, I can tell that they definitely won't be. And I can tell you that they will know how to spot an ad immediately.

And they'll also be able to tell you if a video that you're looking to run as an ad will kind of blend in seamlessly to their For You page or not. So, I would say reach out to those Gen Z-ers around you as well, asking what they digest, and what works for them because I think you'd be surprised. Yeah.

Will: Yeah. I think that's good advice. Yeah. Okay, cool. Well, look, our time is up, unfortunately. That whizzed by. I've got one more question to ask you, of course. Just tell me where people can find and connect with you online after listening to this.

Peter: Yeah. So, I guess LinkedIn is the best. So our website's obviously, Instagram handle's, And then our LinkedIn, mine's obviously Peter Shannon, and the company page Simply Social.

Will: Good stuff. Guys, Olive, Peter, thanks so much. Thanks so much for your time. That was great.

Peter: Thanks for aving us.

Olive: Thanks for having us. Yeah.

Will: If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And for more information about transforming your marketing career through certified online training, head to Thanks for listening.

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Will Francis

Will Francis is a recognized authority in digital and social media, who has worked with some of the world’s most loved brands. He is the host and technical producer of the DMI podcast, Ahead of the Game and a lecturer and subject matter expert with the DMI. He appears in the media and at conferences whilst offering his own expert-led digital marketing courses where he shares his experience gained working within a social network, a global ad agency, and more recently his own digital agency.

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