Preface: This post was written by Lauren Labeled, the top UGC creative agency for growing DTC brands. If you want your brand's ads to stand out with TikTok-style creative, harnessing the latest trends, go check out Lauren Labeled!
If you’ve been hearing about TikTok nonstop but aren’t sure how to navigate it for your business, you’re in the right spot.
TikTok is unlike any other competing social app. From the latest trends, sounds, challenges, humor, style, and pacing—it’s a whole world of its own. What worked on Facebook and Instagram most likely won’t work on TikTok.
TikTok is a fully immersive app that takes up the entire phone screen with vertical videos (9:16 ratio) and audio is on. We knew Instagram for its beautiful filters and curated aesthetic. We love TikTok for its candor, authenticity, and storytelling. So keep reading to understand the five steps to creating effective TikTok ads…
1) ESTABLISH YOUR GOALS
Of course, your goal is to sell more and grow your business, but in order to make sure we’re approaching things as efficiently as we can, let’s dive deeper. Is your main goal to reach a new audience? Promote awareness for a new product? Build brand awareness? Develop stronger customer relationships and build retention?
Whatever it is, make sure you make note of it so you know what success looks like.
Next, you’ll want to list your top 3-5 competitors and perform competitive research. Check out their TikTok accounts, search keywords in the TikTok top ads library, notice anything you think they’re doing well, and also note any gaps they left.
I also spend a ton of time reading reviews—good and bad—for both competitors and the brand I’m working on. This is a genuine opportunity to see customers’ experiences, pain points, transformations, keywords, and what they truly care about. The things they call out in negative reviews on competitor sites can be flipped on its head to use in your favor. For example, if your competitor sells medical scrubs but a negative review complains that it’s not water resistant, you know your ad should call out that it wicks away any water-based liquid.
Audit your own content, too. If you have any ads that did well, take those into consideration when working on new creative. Take the same angles and make different iterations.
While you’re researching, source inspiration. Top Ads library is okay, but organic TikTok is better in my opinion. Search keywords and filter by date and most liked.
3) WRITE BRIEFS
Now that you have all of your research and inspiration, you’re ready to get to writing. Before you start writing, it’s helpful to list all of the different use cases or scenarios that would lead to someone wanting to buy your product. Also, list out common questions, complaints, objections, and myths.
An amazing brief has:
- Inspiration and examples linked
- A killer hook for the first 3 seconds of the video
- An attention-grabbing visual
- Time requirement
- A compelling call to action so the viewer knows exactly what to do next
- Detailed script of what the creator should say
- Detailed visuals to go along with the script (include fun transitions whenever you can because this will make it more visually interesting and look more native to the app)
4) PICK CREATORS
If you’re not working with an agency, you’ll need to source creators on your own. You can do this manually through Twitter and/or TikTok.
Here’s what we look for:
- Do they have a good understanding of lighting and aesthetics?
- Do they look genuine and excited?
- Does their tone sound natural?
- Do they have portfolio videos of them talking on camera?
- Is it good quality?
- Do they match the demographic we’re targeting?
- Does it seem like they have high attention to detail? You can tell by little details that should be cropped out, messes in the background, using a product correctly, etc.
Whether your creators are responsible for post-production of the videos or you have an editor, make sure that the videos are edited to look native to TikTok. Here are some best practices:
- Use the same fonts and colors as the app
- Keep it vertical (9:16 ratio)
- Remember the buttons and overlays that appear on the app. Keep all text overlays in the “safe zone” towards the middle so they don’t overlap with any of the buttons
- Add subtitles
- Use background music. We opt for commercial use music. Even though it’s not as fun as trending sounds, we’d never want to risk any legal issues. Make sure the music and voiceovers don’t clash!
I hope these tips have helped and made you feel more confident in getting started on TikTok!