If you’re struggling to keep up on TikTok, you’re not alone. Succeeding on TikTok requires both adaptability and finesse, whether you’re a creator or a small business working to find your niche.

Coming up with a deep well of TikTok ideas — and good ideas, at that — takes practice, trial and error, and sometimes…the willingness to learn a viral dance.

We talked with Amanda Simpson, TikTok Business Marketing Creative Strategist and Danielle Johnson, TikTok’s Head of SMB Strategic Sales, to understand what qualities certain TikTok content possessed to keep viewers coming back for more.

“It’s time to start thinking TikTok first. This is because thinking TikTok first provides an unprecedented opportunity to connect with your audience and invite them to create alongside you. When brands advertise on TikTok it may deliver like an ad, but it is loved like native content, and this is because the best branded content on TikTok looks, feels, and sounds actually like a TikTok.”

Amanda Simpson, TikTok Business Marketing Creative Strategist

Want the low-down on TikTok ads?

Bookmark this guide to TikTok specs, ad types, and more.

5 winning strategies from creatives at TikTok

Don’t worry — the experts have plenty to say on this. Simpson and Johnson’s secrets are deceptively simple, and can be boiled down to one simple premise: Tiktok embraces imperfection.

Here are their top five takeways for Tiktok ideas people will love:

1. Be vulnerable and human, not a content machine 

“The best way to get started building your brand is to really embrace the fundamentals on our platform. Our platform is low risk for brands to experiment on because our community expects content on TikTok to be imperfect, weird, funny, but mostly human,” said Simpson. 

2. Use co-creation tools to keep conversation flowing on TikTok 

It’s recommended you post on TikTok around 3-4 times per week. “The top 100 brands with the highest engagement rates post, on average, a little more than four videos per week on TikTok,” said Danielle Johnson, Head of SMB Strategic Sales at TikTok.

But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you post. That’s where the magic of co-creation comes in. Here are a few popular co-creation techniques:

  • Post your reaction. Remember when dermatologists went viral reacting to Gwyneth Paltrow’s sunscreen routine?
  • Make it a duet, where you record alongside the original clip
  • Reply with a video 

3. Think sound-first, always

Other social media platforms are starting to pay more and more attention to sound — take Instagram Reels, for instance — but on TikTok, sound was always OG. On TikTok, dubbed over audio or wacky sound effects can be the punchline for a joke or an integral part of the video.

“Sound is really the soul of the TikTok experience. It’s always on, it’s the first thing you hear when you open the app, and it hooks viewers and pulls them in from beginning to end. So, we have music, voice effects, and sounds, and they all really drive storytelling and trends on our platform.”

Amanda Simpson, TikTok Business Marketing Creative Strategist

According to Simpson, “Consumers were more likely to indicate that sound was disruptive and annoying on other platforms, but nearly 90% of TikTokers said that sounds on TikTok was integral to the overall app experience.”

When you’re thinking up your next great TikTok idea, remember to make it so that consumers can’t watch with the sound off. You want them to feel like they’re missing out on something without the audio.

4. Lean on other creators and the TikTok community

No TikToker is an island, and without an engaged community interacting with your content, there’s little incentive to keep posting. Because co-creation is the name of the game, you can perpetually find inspiration in other accounts. Surround yourself with other small business accounts in your niche, and be sure to follow the big players, too.

“Creator partnerships…are critical to our platform and allow you to engage with and capture the intention of new audiences,” said Johnson.

Johnson urges creators and brands alike to join Tiktok’s Creator Marketplace, which facilitates meaningful organic and paid collaborations. According to Johnson, they connect over 31,000 TikTok creators with partnership opportunities that increase their reach and create new connections.

5. Just join in — the water’s fine

Being a commenter on the Internet today can feel like you’re shouting into the void. Not on TikTok. This is one corner of the world where commenting is encouraged, especially for small businesses just getting started at building their community.

“When you are interacting in the comments section or interacting with those who come to your videos, seven out of 10 brands with the highest engagement rate actively participate in discussions with their users via comments,” said Danielle Johnson.

Want more? Watch the video below for in-depth TikTok insights (that you can put to work right away!) 

Stand out as a small business with a few of these TikTok ideas 

Send a simple message

TikTok is all about quantity > quality, and small businesses should use this to their advantage! Instead of focusing on telling your entire product story in one video, make one (or more) vid for each selling point. Not only does this spread your communications out over multiple videos, but it gives your audience the opportunity to learn specifics about your product. Think: intro not masterclass! 

Glyph 

Keep copy short

TikTok moves quickly, so should the content that you publish on it! Keep your written copy short and sweet, and make sure your voiceovers are understandable if you need to speak quickly to finish a thought. Tip: use adjectives/adverbs sparingly, if ever. 

Deux 

Make use of templates

We built Vimeo Create templates specifically for small businesses looking to advertise on TikTok. Working in templates allows you to focus on your message and branding without wasting time editing or syncing music. Use them as a guide to get a concise message in a beautiful package, every time! 

Self-Care Shower

Self-Care Shower aims to level up your relaxation routine with beautiful eucalyptus delivered straight to your door. Their simple unboxing routine features videos from real-life happy customers, showing their relaxing “self-care hack” in action. 

Don’t sweat the DIY visuals

Natural-looking cellphone videos often outperform those that look like they were made in a studio! Users are also more likely to engage with a video that shows a person’s face at the start. That being said, we offer a huge library of licensed stock footage for you to choose from for filler footage, or should you not have the time or capacity to film. You can also take a hybrid approach, merging stock footage with your own clips.

Lively

Take Lively for example. They interpolate clips from real people making music in their bedrooms as well as interviews and stock imagery of recording studio equipment.

Rinse and repeat 

Don’t be afraid to reuse videos and photos in fresh ways! The beauty of Vimeo Create templates is you can tell a completely different story using the same footage in a fresh, reimagined way — and no one will ever know! 

Power WearHouse 

Here are two ads from Power WearHouse side-by-side. They have similar footage and visual themes, making it easy to recreate these videos again. andagain.

Be yourself

The bullsh*t meter on TikTok is high, which means users respond much more positively to genuine content than anything too polished or over-rehearsed. This is the perfect opportunity for small businesses to explore their voice and try out a silly video or trend they think might resonate with some. 

Ahimsa

Ahimsa was created by a pediatrician on a mission to make stainless steel, kid-approved kitchenware free of harmful chemicals. Brightly colored rainbow plates and cups make lunchtime more fun for even the pickiest eaters. 

Ready to make a TikTok (or two) for your small business?

Try our TikTok-ready video templates.