Whether you think TikTok is entertaining or cringey, you can’t deny that it’s addictive. The app’s infinite scroll and short videos perfectly satisfy our ever-shortening attention spans and need for amusement. Once more negatively associated with lip syncing videos and problematic challenges (remember the #dontjudgeme challenge?), TikTok now boasts a community of an astonishing 689 million users and has become an authority for memes, trends, and social discourse, especially among youths (Datareportal). As much as many have tried to resist, this silently presents an ultimatum to non-users: join TikTok or forever stay out of the loop.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
Given the app’s popularity, tons of significant figures have been flocking to the app, from celebrities and influencers to brands: companies like Chipotle and Warner Music have successfully run campaigns on the platform to drive traffic and sales to their own products. Whatever your objectives on TikTok are — to grow your following or simply have a good time — a key aspect of the app is content creation. Sure, it’s good to know how the app works to use the algorithm to your advantage, but creative and engaging videos to begin with are unquestionably essential.
Unlike Twitter or Instagram, you don’t need a large follower base to get your video out to the masses on TikTok. The For You page means that you can view videos from anyone, anywhere, regardless of whether you’re a follower or not. However, getting on it requires a little bit of finessing, and a good video can exponentially boost your chances of it.
When in Rome…
One of the easiest video ideas you could make use of are existing trends and challenges on the app. These trends can take on almost any form, including trending meme formats, audio clips, songs, and even certain food ingredients (rigatoni pasta was one of them at one point!). A big benefit to hopping on trends is that they’re more likely to appear on the FYP, since using a popular audio or hashtag means that you’re more likely to get noticed by the algorithm.
A word of caution, though: trend cycles on TikTok are extremely short. Challenges could die out within a week, so once you take notice of one, it’s smartest to whip out your phone ASAP. Current trends include the #CherryBonBon format, the Backyardigans’ Castaways and Into The Thick of It songs, and the 4Liferz audio, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve faded into obscurity by the time this article comes out. A trend that might remind you of Circuit Breaker days is making Dalgona coffee, which you can recreate from @setherinosdraws’ video.
If you’re concerned about originality, don’t be. Following trends doesn’t have to be mindless! It’s possible, and even encouraged, for you to put your own spin on a trend or meme. Take a look at @kevintristan99 video dancing choreography to the trending Castaways song. Not only would your video be more memorable, but also injects your own personality into an otherwise common format. You could even start your own trend or hashtag if you wish.
Works in progress
Another video idea you could capitalise on is a process video. It’s exactly what it says on the tin: you film the process towards a product or outcome. Both individuals and companies have made use of process videos since it gives viewers an insider’s look into product creation. From niche interests like glass blowing and ant farm rearing to packing videos for companies, process videos are often sprinkled into the FYP. Up-and-coming small business Threadsbysabs filmed a milestone where she finally retrieved tag labels for her clothing.
You are the main character
Vlogs are a staple format on video platforms like Youtube and Instagram, and TikTok is no different. Vlogs often give off a more personal feel, since it’s more likely that you will converse directly with the viewer throughout the video. These videos don’t have to follow the more traditional day in the life format. In fact, what’s been more prominent on TikTok’s For You page are follow along videos, where the video literally takes the video through almost anything, from trendy thrift stores to cafes and tourist attractions. This video by @ohsnapzit features hiking at Henderson Waves in a calming, cinematic setting.
These are great for driving more likes to your video. Viewers keen on visiting your location of choice, or those planning to take inspiration from your day’s activities, may save them for future reference. This format is also fantastic for almost any interesting feature, and its flexibility enables you to incorporate more original ideas to make your video more unique. Take a look at @_iwani’s day in my life video and how her monologue adds a humorous twist to an otherwise conventional day!
Flex your editing muscle
Like any video platform, good production techniques and editing skills are highly prized. Filming techniques often overlap with trends found on TikTok. For instance, most makeover trends require camera skills to create a seamless transition between the before and after. Besides camera techniques, high camera quality and editing can be a breath of fresh air among a sea of memes, which usually don’t require much production-based forethought in the planning stage. With TikTok’s new SDK, it’s now easier than ever to externally edit videos to upload onto the app after.
As with every video idea we recommend, editing videos can fit any format, and be used for genres from fashion to food. Brands have even collaborated with TikTokers known for high-quality videos, and for good reason! This video by @711briyani shows off his film photos with a refreshing and edgy edit.
What do you think?
A video format you could also use are viewer engagement videos, which often flood the FYP. These videos strategically ask the viewer questions, often driving them to comment or share with their friends to ask for their opinions. For example, a popular video format fashion Tiktokers use is to ask viewers which outfit they should wear. Where SHEIN and Zara hauls are currently popular, some users ask their followers to help them decide which articles of clothing to keep or return, seen in @DamnDar’s video. Driving engagement is extremely helpful to increase your chances of appearing on more users’ For You page, and is also great for building an active follower base.
The Hunt for Originality
While video ideas are a dime a dozen, creativity is something that ultimately depends on you. Whether you mould an idea to suit your own niche interests or use an entertaining personality to intrigue viewers, it’s definitely important to inject your individuality into your videos. People are drawn to authenticity, and if you’re successful in showing yours, they’ll be drawn to you. Best of luck in your TikTok pursuits!