Here we summarise 7 key lessons for using TikTok for your church. We were inspired by the Church of England Digital team webinar on TikTok we joined last week, in which they spoke with Revd Anne Beverley, who has grown her church TikTok channel to more than 50,000 followers!
- What is TikTok? TikTok is the fastest growing social media app, particularly among the under-30 age group. TikTok is all about short 15—60 second videos, and has its own particular look and feel, featuring people talking directly to camera, music, text, and reaction and duet videos, where someone adds reactions alongside an existing trending video.
- Getting started. Because TikTok has its own “language” — it looks and feels different to other social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram — you should spend some time initially just following accounts and watching videos and learning about TikTok’s unique style before you start posting your own content.
- What content should your church post on TikTok? Revd Anne Beverley shows that it is certainly possible to share the Good News in a meaningful way on TikTok, using reaction videos, music, short chats, dancing, passages from the Bible and hymns. You only have 60 seconds, so you want to think about delivering a short, punchy message.
- Using music. TikTok is made for music! The vast majority of TikTok videos have music, which is free to use within the app. You can search via genre, trends, or keyword and easily click to add the music to your video.
- Growing an audience. Be authentic, have fun with the TikTok format, and use hashtags! Hashtags are the key way TikTok links and suggests videos to viewers. Some of the hashtags that have helped Revd Anne Beverley grow an audience for her church are #christian #God #foregiveness #priest #churchofEngland
- Dealing with negative comments. Revd Anne Beverley had some good advice, which was not to engage directly with negative comments, but instead delete them. She felt this was important particularly because of the effect the comments could have on her congregation. She prayed for the commenters when she deleted the comments.
- How much time is this going to take? Revd Anne Beverley explained that the huge growth of her church’s TikTok account meant that she had to spend around an hour a day on social media. This is because she took the time to answer prayer requests, like comments, and delete inappropriate or offensive comments. She regarded this as part of her ministry, and had made it manageable by getting help from members of her church.
It is really important to consider how you are going to sustain a TikTok account if you set one up. How and when will you respond to comments and prayer requests? How often will you make new videos? Where does this fit in to the overall mission of your church? Does your church membership support the idea?