Unless you’ve been living under a rock these last two years, you’ve likely witnessed the social media platform TikTok catapult itself from obscurity into mainstream usage.
With over 700 million monthly users, it has quickly surpassed popular platforms such as Twitter and Reddit, and now sits second place behind social media giants Facebook and Instagram.
And with downloads and users increasing month over month, there’s no reason to believe this growth will stop, with most social media experts expecting the platform will continue to gain traction for many years to come.
If you’ve spent much time on the platform, you’ve probably witnessed the huge number of lip-syncing and dancing videos. In light of this, it’s easy to fall under the impression that the app’s primary users are kids and adolescents.
However, this simply isn’t true, and many businesses (law firms included) have taken to TikTok as a means of promoting themselves and increasing brand awareness.
Now, if you’re like most lawyers, the thought of trying to learn yet another social media app can feel like a chore, or possibly intimidating.
If this sounds like you, you don’t have to worry. As you’ll see in this guide, developing brand recognition on TikTok follows many of the same principles as any other social media platform, but with a few key differences.
What Is TikTok?
Okay, first things first. What exactly is TikTok?
TikTok began in 2016 under the name Musical.ly, and the primary focus was helping users create short lip-sync videos.
Several years later, the company decided to rebrand itself as TikTok (or Douyin in China), at which point it underwent a change from an exclusive focus on musical videos to short 15 to 60 second clips of just about anything.
Today, TikTok users create a huge variety of content, although lip syncing and dancing videos are still very popular.
Why You Should Use TikTok For Lawyers
Do you really need to learn yet another social media app? Do you or your law firm really need to be on TikTok?
Yes. Here’s why.
First, the United States is the fastest-growing user base on TikTok, and in 2020 the social media site received significantly more downloads than other popular competitors like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, and others.
Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok is not yet fully saturated and there is still tremendous growth ahead. In other words, there is far less competition on TikTok for lawyers than on any other social media platform. By establishing yourself or your law firm on TikTok now, it can pay big dividends in the future as more and more users adopt it.
What’s more, the majority of the top influencers on the site are American, which bodes well if you’re an American lawyer trying to establish yourself or your firm as an authoritative figure in a particular field or niche of law.
A Step-By Step-Guide to Using TikTok For Lawyers
Now let’s look at the specific steps you should take to start using TikTok to grow your brand. As you’ll see, most of the guidelines are not necessarily TikTok specific and can be applied to most other platforms as well. However, there are a few that are specific to TikTok.
Define clear, measurable goals
Before you start using TikTok, you need to define your goals for using TikTok. These goals will guide how you use the platform and help you measure your progress.
Your goals might include:
- Building a larger following
- Increasing brand recognition
- Attracting more clients
Goal setting is crucial to the planning process, since different goals will probably require different types of content to achieve.
When outlining your goals and desired outcomes, it’s important to define them in a way that is measurable. General, non-quantifiable goals are of little use since it’s impossible to determine how much progress is being made.
For example, let’s say your goal is to use your TikTok presence to drive more traffic to your website. While there is nothing wrong with this goal, it’s not particularly helpful unless you explicitly state what level of increase you’re after. A better, and more easily measurable goal is to use TikTok to drive 500 visits to your site each month.
Identify your target audience
To use TikTok successfully, you need to clearly identify your target audience. This will help you determine what types of content you should create, as well as relevant hashtags and keywords to include in the captions you use.
Furthermore, TikTok uses a number of data points, including one called “video integrity”, to determine which videos to show to users.
As far as the TikTok algorithm is concerned, video integrity looks at items such as copyright infringement, profanity, and content relevancy. While the first two don’t have much to do with identifying your target audience, the last point certainly does.
The better you can identify your target audience, the more relevant you can make your content, which in turn will lead to a higher video integrity score and higher visibility.
Optimize your profile
Before someone follows you on TikTok, there’s a good chance that they’ll look at your bio first. Because of this, you want to make sure that your bio is optimized.
Start by uploading a high-quality photo or video of yourself. Then craft a short, compelling bio about yourself that includes relevant information, such as the type of law you practice, who you serve, etc. You should also include a link to your website in your bio, although you probably want to use a link shortener like TinyURL or Short.io so that it doesn’t take up too much space.
If you use YouTube or Instagram, there are separate fields for each where you can enter your username. If you produce good content on TikTok, there’s a good chance people will also want to follow you on the other platforms.
Consistently produce genuinely helpful content
The best way to succeed with any social media platform is by producing high-quality, value-driven content. In other words, you need to regularly create content that is genuinely useful in some ways to your followers. Content that answers questions, solves problems, entertains, etc.
With this as your guiding principle, there are a few factors that are unique to TikTok and that you need to consider when creating content.
Provide Writing On The Video – The TikTok algorithm likes to see text displayed over the video. Adding text is very simple and can be done using the TikTok video editor. Think of ways you can creatively incorporate text into your videos wherever possible.
Use A Variety Of Video Backgrounds – Aside from text, the TikTok algorithm also likes to see a variety of backgrounds. They even provide a green screen function so users can use images for backgrounds. Videos that have the same background for the majority of the videos are usually penalized for being repetitive. When this occurs, it won’t get as many views.
Videos Must Be Clear – The AI TikTok uses is sophisticated enough to determine when a video is shot in clear lighting and when it is not. As you would guess, using poor lighting will result in fewer views, so remember to always shoot your videos as clearly as possible.
Participate In Trends – TikTok does an excellent job at letting users know when something is trending on its platform. Usually the trends involve someone performing a particular action, as well as an accompanying hashtag. One of the best strategies for getting your videos in front of more people is by incorporating the trending topic into the video. Of course, most lawyers and law firms on Twitter strive to maintain a professional appearance, which may make using some of the trending topics difficult at times.
Utilize popular hashtags on your posts
Hashtags are one of the best strategies for building your brand on TikTok, and doing so without using them can be really difficult, if not almost impossible. It’s also important to understand that hashtags play a much more vital role on TikTok than on other social media sites when it comes to deciding who sees your video. If a person regularly views videos with a particular hashtag, TikTok is much more likely to show them new videos with that same hashtag.
In light of this, if you want to use TikTok to increase your brand awareness, you should definitely spend some time researching hashtags before you begin.
Another way you can use hashtags is by creating hashtag contests or challenges. In the most general form, hashtag challenges/contests have people perform some sort of action and include the hashtag in the caption. The winner is often awarded a prize.
An excellent example of this was the Chipotle Challenge, which had people post videos (using the #chipotleroyalty hashtag) explaining why their favorite item menu was the best. The winner, as selected by Chipotle, was eligible to win $10,000.
Because most TikTok videos are only a minute or less in length, it’s important to consistently make content if you wish to attract a following. On top of this, the TikTok algorithm is much more favorable towards new content when it’s deciding which videos to show users.
One simple strategy to increase your posting consistency is to record a bunch of short videos in one batch and then release them over time.
Collaborate with influencers
One of the best strategies for developing your TikTok following is by collaborating with influencers. While the term influencer is thrown around quite a bit, there’s no clear definition as to what makes a person an influencer. Usually though, the word influencer is used to refer to anyone who has a significant following and can influence their followers to take specific actions (like purchase something).
Sometimes, collaborations with influencers are organic, meaning that both parties benefit each other. Other times, influencers will charge a fee to anyone who wants them to endorse their product or service.
When considering which influencers to work with, you want to ensure that their audience cares about the services you offer. For example, if you’re a tax lawyer, it wouldn’t make much sense to partner with an influencer who’s audience was mostly under the age of 18.
Engage with comments on your posts
Followers like it when TikTok creators take the time to engage with them in the comments section. It adds authenticity to your profile, and that you actually care about what your followers have to say.
Take time to respond to comments on your TikTok videos. Obviously, you don’t (and shouldn’t) have to offer legal advice. But you can clear up confusions and questions people have about various aspects of the law.
Experiment to determine what works best
Creating viral content isn’t an exact science, and sometimes, even if you’ve done everything right, the results don’t come. When this happens, it’s time to experiment a bit by mixing up the video formats, changing the way content is delivered, and maybe even shifting your focus to different topics and subjects.
When it comes to gaining a following online, experimentation is part of the process, and very rarely do brands, and businesses get it right on the first attempt. If you or your law firm are seriously considering using TikTok to increase brand awareness, then be ready to experiment.
Measure your results and adjust as necessary
Earlier on, we mentioned how important it is to define goals in a way that allows them to be measured. At set intervals (monthly, quarterly, etc.), you should measure the results your TikTok efforts are producing and then compare them to your original goals.
Don’t just look at followers gained, number of views, and the number of likes you’ve received. Is TikTok helping you achieve your business goals?
If for one reason or another, the results are lackluster or significantly behind what you hoped for, it’s time to re-examine your strategy, look for ways to improve, and adjust.
Time To TikTok
If you’re a lawyer considering using TikTok, the time to get started is now. You have a unique opportunity to get an edge over your competition. Many businesses, law firms included, aren’t on TikTok yet. If you get started now, you’ll have a much easier time gaining a following than if you wait until other lawyers start using the platform.
Time is ticking. Start TikToking.
If you need help with your digital marketing, feel free to reach out for a complimentary consultation today.