A year on TikTok: 10 things we’ve learned as a cultural institute

Nov 16, 2023 | Blog, News

No long-winded introductions. We’ll just get to the point, like on TikTok, you’ve got to move fast!

Start with a hook. It helps to have a keyword or teaser on the cover to let the audience know what the video is about and how they really really don’t want to swipe by!

Put a face to it. People like to look at people, it’s that simple. We’ve been lucky that our staff and particularly interns are not shy of getting in front of the camera.

Use trends wisely. Jumping on a trend can be a great way to talk about things going on in your cultural organisation, but don’t let trends be your only guide. There’s no need to try and do every trend (whether it’s a dance or a trending sound), that would be a full-time job! Just pick and choose the ones that really resonate with you.

Which come to our next point. Be yourself. It doesn’t sound very original but putting up a TikTok video about something that you genuinely find funny or interesting shows, even if no one else really knows what the hell is going on. Share what you know and what you are passionate about, even if it’s just from behind-the-scenes.

Plan, but not too much. Our videos alternate between spontaneous, off the cuff clips and scripted. Sometimes we’ll have a brainstorming session on ideas that could work with promoting artists and events then we will write a short script. This saves A LOT of your time and you don’t waste anyone else’s time (especially if you need your Director to make an appearance!) It also helps in editing, if you already have a storyline in mind and as you get more experienced you can also plan in the best camera angles that will make your video just a little bit funnier (that zoom in to our Head of Programme’s face, pure gold!)

Learn from your interns! It is likely that as the Communications Officer that you are not as up to speed with every dance/meme/joke whizzing around on socials, so make sure to get them involved in the whole process.

Check where you put that text. Don’t over do it with explanations and text. Of course it’s important to make things accessible, but don’t start adding stickers and hashtags and long sentences that cover up half your video content and overlap with the comments and TikTok icons. Also, keep the description short. It is very likely that no one even reads what you have carefully worded down below. So make your point, add your hashtags and leave.

Have fun! Cliché, we know, but really, have fun! We have found that making TikTok videos is a fantastic way to break up the day. Asking your colleagues to take five minutes to go outside and jump up and down, say it’s for TikTok and they’ll do it! We have had so many laughs filming the last year, if nothing else it’s great for team building. It can also be a nice way to get your network to work together. Did someone say Eurovision?!

What will we be trying out on TikTok next year? Questions are apparently a great way to get comments, so we’ll be giving that a go. Because apparently the more comments you get on a video, the more likely TikTok’s algorithm will favour it, which means more people will see it. So far, we have mostly been playing around and experimenting to see if TikTok is a platform for us. We have definitely found we reach a new audience but we need to focus on getting our audience engaged and involved. Bring on 2024, it’s time to LEVEL UP.

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