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Finding your voice on TikTok

26 July 2022

Within today’s rapidly evolving (slightly daunting) social landscape, remaining agile and understanding platform popularity is key. Therefore, as a charity that supports young people, Childline knew TikTok was the place to be.

Data indicates 78% of Gen Z TikTok users discover new brands and products on the platform, so being on TikTok would enable us to raise brand awareness, showcase our services, and gain trust in the place our target demographic spend most of their spare time.

Surprisingly, we’ve already learnt a lot in what feels like a very short time, like how to talk about and engage your audience on different topics, the type of content which performs best, and how to set up and manage platform challenges. Intrigued? Here’s what we’ve found:

Plan, Prepare and understand

I’d highly recommend spending a lot of time on the platform first. I spent two months researching what TikTok’s algorithm favours, the type of analytics it offers and the most popular type of content.

During this time, I also made a few connections with TikTok itself by reaching out, which provided invaluable information and advice, including how to get verified as soon as our channel was live, using our unique selling points to make our channel stand out and also the 2:1 ratio to follow for reactive and proactive content.

I put together a list of other organisations to assess, making note of what they post, how often and their channel performance. This helped me understand how we could approach our content, like the social tone of voice, and how we could measure success via realistic benchmarks. It also helped me and our organisation understand whether TikTok was right for us, by seeing how similar messages are talked about and received online.

Know what different trends, filters and sounds can offer you

We all know trends come and go. But on TikTok, utilising a trend at the height of its popularity is essential. Try to have as many people checking TikTok regularly as you can, as it increases your chance of finding a relevant trend, filter or sound. This way, you can view a wide range of videos from different creators, and find more than just the ones that appear on your personal FYP (for you page).

Also, trends emerge every week, so finding the right one to tap into can be difficult. When we find a trend, filter or sound, we look at how it’s already being used by other creators or organisations to help us think about how we could tie it into our messaging. Something we’ve learnt along the way is that if you feel like you’re forcing an idea into a trend, it’s probably not one for you to use. Trends that you can easily and seamlessly use to link to your organisation or message will usually generate the best performance, as these will feel the most authentic to your audience. Like trouble with friends, feeling unsure about reaching out, talking about sexuality, highlighting our 1-2-1 chat service or around mental health misconceptions in general.

https://www.tiktok.com/@childline/video/7104318881170263302?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7057452431881799173

Music can be a challenge

When launching onto a new platform, there will inevitably be some challenges, one of which for TikTok was the music. TikTok has strict limits on the music available for brands to use, and accounts set as ‘creators’ can only use royalty-free music. Any music from mainstream artists are unavailable without permission, and will say “This sound isn’t licensed for commercial use”.

After initially running into the issue, we’ve been able to comfortably work around it by finding accounts that remix or recreate “unavailable” music so others can freely use them – like this remix from Lil Jon, his take on the ‘Reading Rainbow’ theme song. Plus a lot of the time, most trending sounds have been created by users and are OK to use.

In my opinion, another challenge is that TikTok requires you to be reactive, more so than any other platform. It can be hard to plan posts, and popular content lends itself much better to on-the-day creation. Having a bank of images and videos to utilise has helped with this enormously.

We worked with the creative studio MILK to create a series of selfie-style, unscripted videos featuring young people doing various things, like getting ready for school, going out for a walk. Instead of having to rely on a staff member or creator, we can pair a pre-filmed video alongside an on-the-day trend to be reactive and balance resource.

@childline

You’re not alone…anxiety feels different for everyone and can be overwhelming sometimes. But Childline has advice and support to help you cope. #anxiety #anxious #anxietyawareness #MentalHealth #anxietyattacks #fyp #advice #support #Childline

♬ original sound – anna ❤︎

Moderation can create an engaged and safe community

On any social media channel, moderation can feel daunting. But TikTok, very helpfully, offers lots of options for how other accounts can interact with your content.

When we first launched on TikTok, we turned comments off to focus predominantly on creating content and evaluating performance. When we turned comments on, we chose to have them filtered, meaning no comment would go live without approval. This meant that we could monitor all comments before they were posted against our social media house rules, creating a safer and more supportive community.

Comments have not only allowed us to answer and ask a range of questions about our services, specific issues and how they’re feeling. But it’s also enabled peer-to-peer advice. Young people are answering each other’s questions – creating a community where they feel seen, heard and supported.

To conclude

Planning, preparing, and launching a successful social channel from scratch isn’t easy. But sharing your organisation with TikTok’s 732 million monthly active users enables you to engage with your audience in a more personable, light-hearted and approachable way.

Don’t let the size of your organisation, your target audience or the possible challenges stop you. Give your organisation the opportunity to evolve alongside one of the world’s most popular social apps.


Our next social media event is coming up. Stay tuned via the event page for further details.

Want more TikTok inspiration? You may enjoy these:

Banner Image: Eduardo Cano Photo Co on Unsplash

Ellana Salt

social media officer, NSPCC - Childline

As a social media officer, Ellana is responsible for creating all of Childline’s organic social content across every channel, reporting on performance, creating platform strategies and working alongside the celebrity team to work with a range of content creators and influencers. Ellana is a lover of plants and nature and spends time after work watering/looking after a collection of 88 houseplants.