Even if you’ve never used it, you’ve likely heard of TikTok. It’s the new social media platform taking the world by storm. This has led many Christian leaders to start using TikTok for churches.
While it’s not right for every church, those trying to target a younger audience might just find success.
The most important thing to know is you’ll likely need a different social media strategy than you’re used to when using TikTok. However, the right strategy helps your church spread the gospel in a brand new way.
1. What Is TikTok
If you remember Vine, TikTok might seem familiar. The network is a short video sharing platform. It has content creation tools built in, making a kind of mix between Vine and Instagram Stories. If you’re already on Instagram, you probably have a little experience creating short videos for social media.
Quick videos work well for the audience. Users scroll through, viewing one video clip after another. They don’t have to invest much time.
Something else that sets TikTok apart is the sound plays by default. Most social networks, such as Facebook, mute the sound. So, this means sound and video are equally important on TikTok.
One final thing to know about the network is users are constantly looking for the next big thing or trend. You’ll quickly find it’s a platform that focuses heavily on trends.
2. TikTok’s Demographics
When using TikTok for churches, it’s vital to understand the site’s demographics. As of February 2020, the platform had 800 million monthly active users. The network also boasts a billion video views daily. This means it’s a highly active network, but just who is using it?
If you’re in your late 20s and up, you might take a look at TikTok and say to yourself “I just don’t get it.” Of course, this is exactly what people said about MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and so on. But, right now, TikTok is definitely more for a younger audience.
By young, this means teens. Of course, this is usually the age group that helps launch social networks. Currently, 41% of users are between 16 and 24. While some people over 24 use the platform, approximately half of all users are under 34.
Users enjoy the app, with users spending an average of 52 minutes a day using TikTok. Plus, 90% of users check in at least twice daily to see new content. A lesson to take away from this is you may want to consider uploading content twice a day.
If you’re using TikTok for churches, you’re not trying to reach out to parents or seniors. Instead, you’re reaching out to teenagers and those in their early 20s. Those are the ones keeping TikTok active and they’re the ones who view, like and comment on videos to help them go viral.
3. The Most Popular Types Of Videos
Forget trying to be serious on TikTok. That is definitely not what this network is about. While there is definitely some questionable content on TikTok, overall, users want comedy. Even if it’s comedy you don’t exactly get yourself, teens might find it hilarious.
In addition to comedy, dancing and karaoke videos do great. Fun rants also rise to the top quickly. A common theme around most trending videos is it’s something others want to try to emulate.
Think about all the random YouTube challenges. TikTok is 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. How Does TikTok Work
For the most part, TikTok works much like other major social networks. The only type of content you can upload is video. However, it can be an actual video or a picture with sound.
Users can choose to follow other users 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.
Uploading content regularly gives you the best chance of getting noticed. Naturally, you’ll want to create content that people actually want to see, which we’ll cover momentarily.
5. Why Use TikTok For Churches
More than anything, TikTok for churches is a unique opportunity to reach a much 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 and let teens feel more in control over deciding how they feel about God’s word.
Since their parents aren’t really controlling how they interact on the platform, it’s the teens’ choice. Creating engaging content gets their attention even better than you might be able to in church.
6. See If Your Members Are Using It
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. A silly dance to a modern Christian pop song will work much better.
Let your younger members help guide you. At first, it might seem pointless, but you’re not going to be preaching God’s word in a traditional way on TikTok. You’ll need to have fun and think way, way outside of the box.
7. Picking The Right Video Length
Unlike Vine, TikTok doesn’t limit you to just six seconds. This doesn’t mean you should create 10 minute videos either. 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 better.
Instead of a long video, create a series of short clips. This gives you more posts and users prefer watching multiple short clips over one long video.
8. Users Love Creating Duplicate Content
Remember how we talked about trends earlier? When you check out TikTok for the first time, you’ll notice a lot 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.
This type of duplicate content is flattering on TikTok. Users like to feel like part of the community. So, they jump on board trends to not just view or like them, but become a part of them.
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.
Dash Hudson’s post on Medium about TikTok trends is a must-read. It showcases some of the top trends and why they’re so insanely popular. It’ll also help you see what type of content users love.
9. It’s Not About 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 as it is simply getting users interested in God’s word.
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 anyone to come to church. 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 magically come up with everything 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 to create Christian-based videos. 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 makes other teens feel more confident in following God. Of course, this also encourages other teens to create Christian-based content too. Suddenly, TikTok is spreading God’s word while still being fun.
11. Hashtags Are Important
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.
12. Decide On The Message You Want To Spread
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.
By creating a theme, it’s easier to create new content. 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 your theme catches on.
Whatever message and theme you decide on, try to mesh it with current trends as much as possible. You’ll increase your chances of being seen and engaged with.
13. Get Involved In The Right Trends
Your church doesn’t need to jump on every trend that happens. You’ll find there are some trends that definitely aren’t appropriate for churches. Sadly, themes around bullying and even violence sometimes make their way to the top.
Your job as a church is to get involved in the right trends. Believe it or not, there are constantly trends that involve kids and their parents. Use these more wholesome trends for your church.
You’ll also have a better chance of reaching the right audience. Plus, you’ll show that your church actually understand the trend and TikTok. After all, you don’t want to seem like the out of touch parent trying to be cool. Though, there actually are videos about just that.
14. Churches Can Make TikTok Better
One of the best reasons to use TikTok for churches is to make the platform a better place. You’ll find profanity and a lot of questionable content. However, you don’t have to contribute to that portion of TikTok.
Every social network has its bad side. 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. Show their parents that there is wholesome content that’s still fun so teens can have fun online with their friends.
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 type of content users view.
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 social network, 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.
Want even more ways to grow your church’s online presence? Start with an engaging church website that keeps visitors coming back.