TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps out there, and it’s quickly become a go-to platform for Christian leaders to reach younger audiences. But what do you need to know about TikTok for churches before diving into this app?
At one point, people questioned whether TikTok was worth their investment or just another short-lived trend, but time has shown this platform is here to stay. In fact, over 1 billion users are active on TikTok monthly.
This blog post will explore how church leaders can use TikTok to create an effective social media strategy that engages with their followers and promotes the gospel.
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Table of contents
- 1. Understand How TikTok Works
- 2. Look at TikTok’s Demographics
- 3. Have Fun With Your TikTok Content
- 4. Understand the TikTok Algorithm
- 5. Reach the Younger Generation on TikTok
- 6. Build Community With Your Members
- 7. Find the Right Video Length
- 8. Take Advantage of Trends
- 9. Focus on Sharing and Entertaining Over Marketing
- 10. Get Your Church’s Youth Involved
- 11. Find the Right Hashtags
- 12. Develop a Content Strategy
- 13. Partner Up to Reach People
- 14. Churches Can Make TikTok Better
- 15. Suggest Users To Check Out
Best Tips on TikTok for Churches to Reach More People
Vertical video has taken over social media, and that’s primarily thanks to TikTok. As the popularity of this platform skyrocketed, other social platforms jumped on board to catch up and compete for users’ attention.
No, you don’t have to chase every social media trend that comes along. But TikTok is no longer “up and coming,” it’s setting a standard for all social media.
If you’re stuck on how to get started, be sure to check out our ideas for TikTok content.
Now let’s dive into 15 tips to get your church’s channel running smoothly and attracting visitors.
1. Understand How TikTok Works
TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short vertical videos. If you remember Vine, it might seem familiar.
Originally, videos could only be 15 seconds long, requiring creators to get the point across quickly. Now you can upload up to 10 minutes of video content, but most users continue to prefer and focus on shorter videos.
Quick, eye-catching videos work well for the TikTok audience. Users scroll through, viewing one video clip after another and don’t want to invest much time.
TikTok provides users with a wide range of creative options such as filters, music, effects, and more that TikTok creators love to play around with.
2. Look at TikTok’s Demographics
TikTok was briefly known for being a lip sync and funny dance platform for teenagers, but things changed quickly. The platform has evolved to become a major player in the world of social media, with brands and users of all ages jumping on board.
The app has been downloaded 3 billion times, but just who is using it?
Age and Demographics
It’s true that TikTok is one of the most popular platforms for Gen Z, and around 44% of users are under the age of 24. But millennials and older generations are also jumping on board. Most brands have also stepping in to create educational and entertaining content.
3. Have Fun With Your TikTok Content
Don’t take yourself too seriously on TikTok! This platform is all about being fun, spontaneous, and authentic. While you have to filter through some questionable content on TikTok, overall, you can find some amazing gems.
And users love comedy! Even if you don’t get all the inside running jokes, you’ll start to pick up on TikTok trends over time.
TikTok is also the king of video challenges. Users are eager to try to create their own version of the latest video memes, try copying a dance, singing karaoke or adding their own rant to the mix.
Overall, short, fun and engaging is the way to go with TikTok.
4. Understand the TikTok Algorithm
The TikTok algorithm is a somewhat mysterious entity that decides which videos appear on the For You page and how many views they receive. The algorithm takes into account a variety of factors, such as user engagement, video length, hashtags, etc. in order to determine what videos will be given the most exposure on the app.
Videos that perform well generate lots of likes, comments, and shares from other users. Additionally, videos that use popular trends or hashtags are more likely to be seen by a larger audience and thus get more views.
Overall, don’t spend too much time trying to manipulate the algorithm. Just make sure your videos stand out from the rest because the TikTok content you create is interesting and engaging for viewers.
Getting subscribers is important. Users can choose to follow other profile and brands that they like. The more they customize TikTok, the more than AI behind the network customizes their feed to show them more content they might like.
This means you have a chance at appearing in users’ feeds organically based on other types of content users like. You don’t get this kind of exposure as easily on Facebook or Twitter.
5. Reach the Younger Generation on TikTok
More than anything, TikTok for churches is a unique opportunity to reach a younger audience. Teens are often at an age where parents are letting them choose whether to go to church or not.
Reaching out to them on a platform they love gives them a chance to see church in a new way. Even teens who’ve rarely or never attended church may engage with your videos and start exploring their faith. It’s an opportunity to spread the word of God’s kingdom to those who may have been left out.
Creating engaging TikTok content may get their attention better than any other marketing or communications tactic out there.
6. Build Community With Your Members
Before you start using TikTok for churches, talk to your younger members. See if they’re using TikTok. Talk to them about what they like to watch and why.
Since you’re reaching out to a youthful audience, you need their feedback to create the right type of content. A few short video clips of your sermon probably aren’t going to cut it. You need to clue into what makes people want to interact.
Maybe that’s behind the scenes footage of church or “man on the street” style interviews after service. Or it could be a more casual word from your pastor church leaders.
Once you set up your TikTok profile, be sure to invite your church members to join you on the platform.
7. Find the Right Video Length
TikTok no longer limits you to 15 seconds. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you should create 10 minute videos. While we’ve said “video” throughout this post, “clip” is a better way to describe what you watch on TikTok.
Users typically prefer videos under a minute, with some of the top content coming in around 10-15 seconds. So, shorter is typically better.
But the only way you’ll know for sure is with a bit of experimentation. Try different length videos and see what resonates with your audience. You can look at your Analytics to dig into the audience response to your videos.
8. Take Advantage of Trends
Remember how we talked about trends earlier? When you check out TikTok for the first time, you’ll notice lots of similar videos. For instance, if a meme takes off, you might see thousands of clips of people creating their own version of the meme.
The same applies for video editing tools, templates, filters, and trending sounds.
This type of duplicate content is flattering on TikTok and part of the culture. Users like to feel like part of the community. So, don’t be afraid to jump on these many trends.
Often, trends deal with music. For example, it could be lip syncing, dancing, parents’ reactions and even animals moving to the beat. Of course, there are non-music trends too.
9. Focus on Sharing and Entertaining Over Marketing
While brands do use TikTok for marketing, that’s not really the main point of the platform. Using TikTok for churches isn’t so much about getting people to attend your church and events as it is simply engaging with people and sharing your faith.
Simply marketing upcoming events or asking for donations isn’t going to work. Instead, create engaging, fun content. Focus on the message itself versus trying to get something out of people. When users like what you post, they’ll start on their journey toward attending church in person, wherever they may be located.
10. Get Your Church’s Youth Involved
You don’t have to come up with all the short videos on your own. This is the perfect chance to get your church’s youth involved in a church activity they’ll love.
If their parents approve, work with your church’s youth ministry to train up some young people to volunteer social media creators. Ask them about the trends they’re enjoying right now and challenge them to create a Christian version.
Seeing other teens sharing a Christian message can help other teens feel more confident in following God and being involved in church.
11. Find the Right Hashtags
Unsurprisingly, hashtags are important. Much like Instagram and Twitter, hashtags are one of the main ways users find new content. Users can check out trends simply by following a hashtag.
Whenever you’re posting a new video, use the appropriate hashtags. You’ll increase your chances of the video getting seen by new audiences.
Common advice for TikTok hashtags:
Here are some of the most common tips we hear when it comes to choosing your TikTok hashtags:
- Use 5-10 hashtags
- Research popular hashtags for your type of account (i.e. churches)
- Use a mix of broad and niche hashtags
- Include hashtags that describe the content of your video and the intended audience you’re trying to reach
12. Develop a Content Strategy
It’s important when using TikTok for churches to decide on the type of message you want to spread. For example, you might choose to focus on a specific passage for a few weeks and create videos around that.
Or you could post create a specific type of content on certain days of the week.
Creating themes and a content calendar makes it easier to create quick videos. You can even create custom hashtags around your theme for fellow Christians and churches to use. You may even find your hashtag going viral if something catches on.
Whatever message and strategies you decide on, try to incorporate current trends as much as possible. You’ll increase your chances of having your short videos seen.
13. Partner Up to Reach People
You don’t have to create all your short videos from scratch – you can partner up with other users to build up your TikTok account.
UGC stands for User Generated Content and this is a popular term in social media. The idea is to get other users to create content about your “brand”. In this case, it could be your church, services, and events.
Stitch and Duet Features
In addition, two the Stitch and Duet features in TikTok make it easy to incorporate other users content into your own videos.
With Stitch, you can combine clips from different videos and accounts to create a dynamic, interesting blend. Sometimes people use this to respond or add to another user’s video.
The Duet feature allows you to post your video next to another creator’s video. They appear side-by-side in a split screen and play at the same time.
As a church, just be sure you’re using content from accounts you know and trust.
14. Churches Can Make TikTok Better
Some churches avoid TikTok is because of the profanity and questionable content. But you can find a way to steer clear of the junk and add quality through your own video content.
Every social platform can be used for good or bad. Your job is to make TikTok a better and safer place for Christians. Give them content they can relate to in a sea of negative content.
It can be discouraging when you see all the bad stuff, but the more you create and share, the more users you’re reaching. You’ll help change the tone over time.
Plus, if you’re creating positive content, you’ll help them create more positive feeds. When they like your videos, TikTok’s AI system starts to show them more related content. That’s the power your church has.
15. Suggest Users To Check Out
TikTok is a relatively new social media platform, so you don’t have to be the only church sharing Christian content. Help users find the right type of videos to watch by suggesting new users for them to follow.
There are many Christian influencers showing their love for God and Jesus. There is even a Jesus hashtag with over 85 million views. That bodes well for churches wanting to start using TikTok. People are interested. They just need more content to consume.
Influencers are using the platform show God’s love and spread a positive message. As a result, they’re gaining an audience eager to listen. Your church can do the same thing.
Next Steps: TikTok and Your Church
Hoping to get your church started on TikTok? If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, or you’re new to the TikTok game, here are the first things you need to do:
- Set up your account with a descriptive name, bio, and profile picture.
- Create a content strategy that incorporates current trends and themes. Keeping a consistent message is key to gaining followers.
- Partner up with other users and volunteers from your church.
- Start posting videos – experiment with different styles and content until you find your rhythm.
- Check analytics and adjust based on what resonates most with your audience.
The most important thing is to start! Spending too much time planning and analyzing won’t get you very far. Start with an idea and run with it. You’ll learn more as you go along, discover what works and what doesn’t, and eventually build your TikTok presence.
How is your church currently using TikTok or other social media platforms? Let us know in the comments below!
Also, be sure to check out the following resource if you’re interested in more TikTok content ideas for churches.
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