TikTok Translated: What You Need to Know for Your School
If you missed The Beauty School Summit 2022 and want to learn more about TikTok, this is the session for you! Our co-founder Stephanie Carter walks through the basics of TikTok, how it works, and why you should add it to your school’s current social media marketing strategy.
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Hi, everyone! I am so excited to be here today. As you can hear, I conveniently lost my voice this week. So, bear with me. I’ve got a cup of water. I just got a cough drop done. So, hopefully I’m going to survive without hacking up a lung. But anyway, I am so excited to do the foundational class on TikTok.
Why are we doing a TikTok class? Because we have not one, but two other sessions today related to the platform that everybody is asking about.
So this is going to give you the context that you need to start crafting what role TikTok is going to play in your school’s growth for 2022. And 20 minutes is going to go fast, so let’s jump right to it.
TikTok Is Being Used by All Demographics
Okay. You know what else is going fast? The adoption of TikTok by all ages and demographics. Did you like that transition there? Kind of smooth, huh?
I have been around in the marketing world long enough to remember when Instagram was the new thing. And it felt like it took a long time for a wide range of people to get over on Instagram. We were telling everyone, “This is where the kids are these days,” but to get the whole range, the whole demographic over on Instagram, took a little while.
But with TikTok, it is moving much faster. Social media is totally normal these days and you’re really seeing every demographic start to show up on TikTok, and it’s only growing.
So yes, the migration has, is, and continues to happen within this platform. And with whatever social media platform is next, maybe it hasn’t even been born yet, but we will probably continue to see these condensed quicker rates of migration to these platforms.
History of TikTok
To know where we are going, we have to know where we started. So TikTok has really gained traction in the past couple years, especially during the pandemic, but it’s been around longer than people realize, I think.
It’s really hit a point now where it feels like one of the big platforms and it’s not going to die out or just be a blip like Clubhouse. This is being recorded, so I hope that Clubhouse jab doesn’t come back to haunt me. But, to give you a sense of TikTok’s place in the hierarchy today, it is projected that this year TikTok’s ad revenue will be more than Snapchat and Twitter combined.
And in the US, if you look at the top 10 apps that are downloaded in this country, TikTok is number one, followed by Instagram and Snapchat. YouTube and Facebook do show up, but they show up on the lower end of that 10. So that’s pretty impressive and some good context for what’s going on in the TikTok world.
How Does TikTok Work?
Let’s go over the main points of TikTok. And this is the one that I really want to drive home. And that is the rise of short form video. Okay, we all know video is gaining a ton of traction in the online world. But even at the start of the pandemic, for example, I think people were still thinking of videos as horizontal, something you watch on YouTube, they are longer.
When Instagram released reels, which if you can believe it, was only in August of 2020, I think people realized, “Wow, these vertical, quick-bite videos are here in a big and permanent way.”
And it really is amazing how much you can say and do in these videos with even just 15 seconds. And this is really changing the way that people get information, consume information, find out about brands and the way that brands are storytelling.
In general, I’m sure you guys have seen a TikTok video. These are short videos. If it’s more than just a talking head, there’s a lot of edits, there’s a lot of transitions to keep it punchy and short. And audio is huge, right?
TikTok expanded also as well to make their videos up to 10 minutes long. Now, I don’t really see a ton of people taking advantage of this because in today’s world, 10 minutes is a Hollywood blockbuster video at this point. So I don’t know if that’s going to be anything we need to really worry about right now.
And then the other thing why I think people love TikTok is it’s said to be the platform that is the easiest to go viral on. Everybody just says, “TikTok’s algorithm is the best at connecting people with content that feels so relevant to them and that they’re going to love and that they’re going to engage with.”
How To Get Started on TikTok
So everyone is always like, “Okay, we get it. TikTok is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. People are there. Where do we start?” And honestly, I think the best place to start as school owners is so easy. Just start watching some TikToks. That’s it. I don’t have anything on my personal TikTok. I use it to consume TikToks and watch what’s going on in the world.
And I’ve actually only made TikToks for Beauty as a Business and Oozle’s accounts. But, the way that we got the ideas of what we were going to make, was just by, again, watching TikToks, figuring out what we liked, what made them fun, what made others kind of boring, and just consuming and observing and taking note.
So, I just wanted to show you how easy it is to be a consumer. Go to the discover area on TikTok, type in beauty school. And you can literally just scroll through videos. So, this is what it looks like when we scroll through videos.
So again, there’s tons of content out there. And I think before you jump in and try and start making any videos or doing anything kind of crazy, just go and see what’s happening out there, and get a sense of the land, and get familiar with the platform and how it works.
TikTok’s Advice for Businesses
But, you don’t have to just take my word for it. Here is some advice straight from the horse’s mouth, so, this is from TikTok. One of the things that I love, TikTok gives a slogan to small business owners, and they say, “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.” And I think it’s really important here. This part where they say, “Shrug off the old rules, have some fun and entertain your audience.”
That’s what they want this platform to be about.
TikTok Best Practices
People Want To Be Entertained
So when you are ready to start creating, when you are thinking like, “Okay, let’s jump in as a school. Let’s figure out what this looks like for us.” Here are some things to think about. So first how people are consuming TikToks, they want something eye-catching, hook me right when I start, and remember that they came here to be entertained.
“Are you not entertained?” I feel like this was a really missed GIF opportunity right there.
Create Content Consistently
But for real, for folks that are like, “But how do we make this happen?” I do want to say this. Something that you have to be aware of is the truth is, we are in a stage right now where people are having to make a lot of content and consistently “feed the beast” is what I call it.
TikTok and Reels want people engaged. They want them on the platform, and the way to do that is to have a steady stream of great content.
And I think that that’s one of the hardest things when schools look at getting started on TikTok is because it does feel overwhelming. It does feel like, “Oh, my gosh. Well, I don’t know that I want to make a TikTok every day and post it every day.” And it feels like a lot to ask.
We’ll get into a strategy around that in just a couple slides from now. But I do want to acknowledge that that’s definitely a thing, and it’s a truth that we have to reckon with.
Use High Resolution Video and Follow Audio Trends
And then of course, remember that you are going to want high-resolution video. Watch out for audio trends, audio is such a huge thing on TikTok.
And what I will say is, a lot of schools have been asking us, “Oh, what kind of profile should we have because on Instagram we obviously have a business account?” I would say, until you’re ready to run ads on TikTok, I might consider playing around with the default account, maybe the creator account, mostly because one of the downsides of having the business account is the audio is a little bit limited.
And so you can’t do, sometimes you can’t use the trending audio. And so, again, I think it’s okay to just have a regular profile and start playing around there until you’re ready to run ads, and then you will need a business profile for that.
What Are We Trying To Do With Tackling TikTok?
Let’s round up here. What are we even trying to do when we say, “Okay, it’s time for us to get on TikTok.”
And look, I think if history is any indication, at some point there’s going to be another social media platform that we’re trying to master and tackle. And so, regardless of whether it’s TikTok or Instagram or, again, this unknown thing that’s coming next, I think all of these principles stay true for schools. So, for schools, I think it boils down to this.
Social Media and the Power of Paid Ads
First of all, I do think you have to acknowledge the power of paid ads.
All of these platforms have a pay to play option, and you’re going to get more info on that later today, Oozle Media is doing a session on TikTok ads for schools. So, I think, stick around for that. Get more context, educate yourself on the opportunities there.
Next, you are building a community for long-term benefit of your brand, your students and your alumni. And honestly, this is the most valuable part of social media, is that community building. This one is kind of obvious, but to quote The Little Mermaid, “You want to be where the people are,” right?
Where people are spending their time is where you want to be. Where the eyeballs are, is where you want to make sure that your brand shows up.
I don’t know if some of you guys have heard, but Netflix’s stock has just taken a huge dive. And in their earnings call, they were talking about competition. And one of the things that I was telling my husband last night is, it’s so funny when they were talking about competition, they were talking about Disney+ and all these other streaming platforms. And the truth is, instead of watching Netflix at night, I noticed that both my husband and I actually, when we chill out on the couch, we’re opening our phones and we’re going to TikTok.
So, I actually think TikTok in our household is what is kind of cannibalized away from our Netflix time.
TikTok and Brand Awareness
And, again, I think that you cannot underestimate the power of brand awareness. This is really what it comes back to is, you do not want people in your area Googling, “beauty school near me,” because then you are going to show up with all your competitors.
I think what you want to do is figure out, “How can I find them higher in the funnel so that they become aware that we are a beauty school, that we’re awesome, that we offer this education, this career opportunity, these skill sets. And I want them to Google my name. I don’t even want them to ask who else is in the area or just check out my competitors. I just want them to come straight into me.”
So again, investing in your brand is huge here, educating about what you do, why you do it. I think this is something that’s come up, where I hear a lot of school owners talk about, “Do people understand the importance of what we do? Do they understand the importance of the education that we’re offering, and why it matters that we have even the amount of hours that we have?”
And I think that these platforms and TikTok, these short-form videos, offer another opportunity to let people see what do you do? What does happen? Why is this important?
It’s a platform to share your mission and your story, and we should be utilizing it. And then of course, again, TikTok comes back to, they really want to focus on having fun. They really want people to come in, have a laugh, learn some things, and feel like the time that they spent basically wasn’t wasted, that it was worth it.
Okay. So later today, I am going to be back. I’m going to pop another cough drop, hopefully get a little bit of my voice back, and we are going to talk with a student. A current beauty school student who has more than 770,000 followers on TikTok. That’s closer to a million than it is to 100,000.
So, her content is all about beauty school and she is going to talk with us about how to help your students make more content, what kinds of things people are asking about beauty school on TikTok, what misconceptions there are, what she feels like people don’t understand about schools.
I think this is a great research and demographic opportunity to understand what people and potential students in your area, especially in this Gen-Z generation, what they might be asking, what they might be wondering and all of this matters, because… I mean, this was so important to us that we get an actual student to come talk about this because you guys have heard me say it before, student-generated content, okay?
Utilize Student-Generated Content Through TikTok
If you come to me and say, “Steph, I really, really don’t want to be dancing in front of a camera.” I get it. I totally get it. I don’t know that I want to either. I don’t have the skillset for that. But this is where we can utilize the content that our students are making on TikTok.
When our students create TikTok and tell the story of their journey in beauty school, this is organic content, it’s native to the platform, it’s a great endorsement of your school.
And again, remember, a good social media strategy is when you talk about yourself and you show up, but the best social media strategy is when other people are saying great things about you, especially your students.
That is so powerful, when a potential student starts researching your school and kind of digging around to see what they can find. And they see other peers that look like them, that have the same story as them, saying, “I love what I’m doing. This was the right choice for me.” That’s so validating to the things that they’re starting to think about as they’re checking out schools.
And another cool thing is TikTok is really working on, and I think it’s gotten even better, on how to help brands utilize user-generated content for ads.
So, they’re really trying to make this as easy as possible for brands to collaborate with people who they see making content about them and being like, “Hey, we’re going to boost this post” or “We’re going to use this to help market our brand and get it out there.”
What About Instagram Reels?
Okay. So, really quick. What about Reels? Here’s what I will say about this. I’ve got some tips on this slide that you will just want to be aware of, but utilize the content on both platforms.
If you’re going to make a TikTok, make sure that you share it on the short form video areas for Reels and Facebook. Get on Instagram, get on Facebook. Not everyone is exclusively on TikTok, so it’s still important to be in other places and on multiple platforms.
What Is Beauty as a Business?
Okay, this is my real quick pitch. Thank you for hanging in with me. I hope you have got some great context for TikTok so that when we talk about it later today, you’ve got some images in your mind, some things to do.
What is Beauty as a Business? You just heard Jamie Dana preach the gospel, right? Of the truth of marketing, how important it is for our current students. Everything that Jamie went over is in the Beauty as a Business curriculum. This is a digital social media marketing curriculum for beauty school students in all programs, covers Instagram, everything Jamie went over.
TikTok is coming this summer. We just approved the script. We’ve got a date set for filming. It’s going to be awesome. Go over Google reviews. Google to me is the secret power of marketing that so many stylists are underutilizing, and it’s just because they do not have a foundational understanding of how to use Google and websites.
Every time we go teach in a school, we spend a good 10 minutes with students asking us about their websites, what they should look like, how it would help them. All of this stuff is in the BaaB course.
Go sign up, get a demo, and guess what? We are giving away 20 free seats today. Chris and Parker are going to announce that during some break. Again, you’ve got to be present to win, but 20 seats of lifetime access for your students to go in, get this curriculum, and revisit it when they’re out in the professional world, like Jamie was talking about, and really make a difference in their booking, making sure they don’t have gaps, making sure that they’re succeeding in the industry.
And then finally, Parker, Chris, before I turn it back over to you, I’m going to say, go follow us on Instagram, @beautyasabiz. We also have a TikTok. Again, I don’t love dancing on there, so you won’t see a ton of me, but I think there’s a lot of great tips and tricks to be picked up, especially on our Instagram account.