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Lights, iPhone, Action!

Born Social Creative and TikTok extraordinaire, Rhiana Kalsi, shares her top tips for producing content on TikTok and Reels.


Rhiana Kalsi

29 Apr 2021

POV: You’re a brand and want to start making content for TikTok and Reels. Where do you start?

If you’d asked us this a year ago, we’d have no idea. Several questions would be running through our minds: What should we be shooting on? How rough and ready should this be? Do we even have the right kit? Will it look totally unpolished? These platforms are practically the same, right?

The realm of “low-fi content” can be mind-boggling at times. To help you navigate the way, here are our top five tips for shooting TikTok and Reels content, with some best practice examples.

Embrace the low res

It’s natural that every brand wants the highest quality content on all of their social accounts. But it’s important here to highlight the low-fi nature of TikTok and Reels. This is what makes these platforms so appealing! The barrier to entry is low, meaning pretty much anyone can take a shot at it. And all with the device in their very hands...

On TikTok, M&S Food consistently show us that all you need is a good idea to make good content. The production quality is quite simply not a factor on TikTok. Plus, who doesn’t love Percy the Pig?

It can take a little adjusting, if you’re used to polished posts and videos. However smartphone camera quality these days is pretty damn good. So get yourself an iPhone and embrace the low res, because it’s here to stay.

It can take a little adjusting, if you’re used to polished posts and videos. However smartphone camera quality these days is pretty damn good. So get yourself an iPhone and embrace the low res, because it’s here to stay.

Invest in a bit of kit

This is probably the most simple tip of the lot. Whether your social department is made up of a team of one or ten, investing in a bit of basic kit will elevate your video hugely.

We’re talking about a simple phone tripod and a ring light. They won’t cost much and you’ll reap the benefits.

Apple collaborated with TikTok creator Rhegan, for their AirPods Jump challenge, resulting in a super smooth paid video. If smooth transitions are something you’re looking to create, you’ll need a tripod. And of course, amazing skills like Rhegan.

Craft in context

When coming up with ideas for your TikTok or Reels, it’s easy to lump them together. They’re both short form, vertical video, right? However they should be approached differently.

TikTok ideation should focus on sound-first or trending ideas. This is a place where your following isn’t taken into account, you could end up on the FYP (For You Page) purely because of the content, and the sound or trend it’s linked to.

Reels on the other hand, is integrated into a platform that we may already be established on, along with all of our likes and followers. The difference here is where you want your Reel to live: on the feed with your other content or in it’s own place, within your profile. You have the option to combine with your current content or separate it, therefore hitting your audience with the best of both worlds.

A great example of this is Terrazzo Parazo’s incredibly satisfying work-in-progress Reels. With one gaining over 3.5 million views, this clearly highlights how Reels serve their own purpose on her channel, fully thriving, without being directly on the feed.

It’s also good to note here that as a brand or business account, you might not be able to partake in all sound-based trends due to commercial licensing. Instead you’ll have access to a smaller music library for commercial use on both platforms.

Plan like it’s a normal shoot

You might be thinking “because TikTok and Reels aren’t as polished as other content, I might as well just open my phone and go for it”. And that can work sometimes!

But, while TikTok and Reels definitely aren’t the same as a high production TV ad, it still requires an element of planning. Just a short, simple list of your shots, cuts or your desired messaging will ensure your content is getting across everything you need.

One thing that’s also worth bearing in mind: the intent. What is this video intending to do? Why will anyone watch it? Keep these things front of mind while shooting.

To shoot in app or not to shoot in app?

That is the question. However we’ve come to learn it’s completely dependent on the type of content you’re shooting.

For example, certain TikTok effects and filters will require you to shoot within the app. But if that’s not the case, shooting via your iPhone camera in shorter clips and editing this together using an app like Premiere Rush, allows you a little more control. From there, simply export to your camera roll!

This is also a nice loophole around Instagram’s algorithm changes. As it's filmed out of app, Instagram won't de-prioritise the content as there's no TikTok watermark, meaning you’ll be able to post your video to both TikTok and Reels. (As long as it’s crafted for both platforms, of course.)

Nando's UK has got it down to a T when it comes to shooting in app content. The triple threat combination of trending sound, native text and a TikTok filter, takes it to the next level. The views say it all.

If in doubt - collaborate?

Reach out to a content creator/influencer and lean into their expertise of the platform. Make sure it’s someone who is affiliated with your brand/is a natural fit.

Boss’s #BOSSUpYourGame Challenge was launched on TikTok with an array of creators, prompting them each to make their own “trick shot” style video while wearing their new Boss x Russell Athletic collection. The beauty of this? Each piece is unique in itself, while also sitting within Boss’s overarching campaign. Tega Alexander was one of those involved, crafting the super smooth video below.

Get in touch with us…

We’ve created TikTok and Reels content for Nando's, Kiehl’s UKI, Valspar and more. From strategy and ideation, to shooting original video content, to crafting the right campaigns with the right creators aligned with your brand, email us at shout@bornsocial.co.uk to find out how we can help you with your TikTok and Reels content.