Is your brand on TikTok yet? The video-based social media app has more than 1.65 billion downloads to date and more than 91 million monthly active users in the United States alone. TikTok is still in its early stages, so now is the time to dive in to create brand awareness and engage younger audiences. At the same time, you need to make sure you are building the right strategy because when it comes to TikTok, “you have to do things as you’ve never done them before.”
Joe Flowers, who goes by Joe Floww, is a 22-year-old content creator and Storyhunter freelancer from St. Louis, Missouri, who has more than 240,000 followers on TikTok and 10.5 million likes. Joe makes energetic fashion videos and says he “uses his love for fashion and style to encourage others to be themselves and wear what they want.” He has worked with brands like Levi’s, Doc Martens, and ASOS. He breaks down the five things you need to ask yourself before getting on TikTok.
- What is the purpose of the brand campaign?
When conceptualizing your brand strategy, the first thing you need to do is nail down the message you want to communicate. Joe collaborated with British footwear and clothing brand Dr. Martens to create a TikTok video. “The intent of Dr. Martens’ campaign is to show people how to break into their Doc Martens in a fun way,” Joe explained.
In the video, Joe danced in his new Doc Martens, performed ballet, and ate cereal with milk from one of the shoes. Now, that took an unexpected turn. But, that is the point, which we will explain in more detail later in this post.
Joe also worked on a brand partnership with American clothing company Levi’s to promote their “buy better wear longer” campaign and overall commitment to sustainability. “I talked about how they use cottonized hemp and water and the importance of buying better, which is their campaign,” Joe said. “It wasn’t just ‘Look at my cool Levi jeans. And this is what I wear with them.’”
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2. What need can I fulfill?
People on TikTok not only want to be entertained but also want information that will help them. So, what is your value add? Joe created the video beliow on his go-to poses. It garnered 1.2 million views on TikTok and 14,000 views on Instagram.
Instagram Creators came across this particular video and asked Joe to create one for Reels (one of the platform’s latest features that lets people create short-form videos set to music, similar to TikTok). Joe tailored it to Instagram’s audience, who love taking photos. In the video, he offers tips on how to take your own Instagram photos using a self-timer app and how to spice up your poses using different lenses.
“Everyone tries to take pictures, but they don’t know how to do it themselves. I fulfilled that need by saying you can use a tripod and clicker,” Joe said. “Let me show you how to do it. Here are three poses, and here are three poses not to do.”
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3. What’s the story I want to tell?
It always boils down to storytelling. In the Levi’s video, Joe walks around a city on a spring day in his Levi’s. But, without a narrative, the video would fall flat. Instead, the piece titled “How I Stay Loose & Sustainable in my Levi’s” promotes the company’s “Buy Less Wear Longer” campaign by showing how this particular fit inspires Joe to get outside. “The story was why I wore these Levi’s. It’s because they are more sustainable, which is better, ” he said. “It wasn’t, ‘I’m cool and this is it.’”
There are techniques you can use to capture an audience’s attention on TikTok. One is to start your video with movement or action, for example, jumping into a frame. You have about three seconds to hook your audience, so it is crucial to think of this while storyboarding.
4. What is going to make people engage?
TikTok’s algorithm will recommend videos based on a combination of factors that includes user interaction, such as comments and shares. So, how are you going to make someone comment on and share your video?
Doc Martens had sent Joe some ideas on how he could break in his new pair of shoes, but Joe looked for ways he could make it his own. “What can I do that’s different? They gave me a list of five points like swimming in them, sleeping with them, or running on a treadmill with them. Those are all great, but what’s something that I would do? Or something that’s out of the blue?”
Joe decided to pour milk and cereal into his Doc Martens to grab people’s attention. “I wanted people to comment, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Did he really just do that?’ and share it with their friends.”
If you want to stir engagement, find creators who are authentic and align with your values. “There are tons of creative people out there. But some of them just might not hit the mark of being original, like themselves,” Joe said.
5. How can I be authentic and true to my brand?
Most of Joe’s outfits are from thrift stores or hand-me-downs. He shares a similar ethos with Levi’s, and that’s why it was such a natural partnership. In this way, brands need to find creators who align with their values.
Joe also has this piece of advice for brands: “don’t try so hard to fit in.” He says TikTok users can easily spot a brand that is hopping on the latest trend in a way that is “cringy.”
“Gen Z will attack. And I’ve seen it happen to people and brands,” he said. “They’re like ‘delete this’ or ‘who are you?’” Instead, focus on creating content with a cause that is true to your mission. “When brands fight with us, people like that a lot, especially Gen Z.”
Now that you’re armed with the right questions. Get started on Storyhunter here.
By Shivan Sarna, Head of Stories