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Episode 156 – Coffee N5 – Grinding on TikTok: The Daily Buzz of Viral Content with Sara McCord

Explore the evolution of TikTok and its profound impact on thought leaders and communication in this insightful episode of Coffee N° 5. Lara and guest Sara McCord explore how the pandemic accelerated TikTok’s rise and why audiences are drawn to its intimate storytelling format. Gain valuable insights into navigating TikTok’s content saturation, building a community through your FYP, and crafting compelling narratives that resonate with viewers. Don’t miss out on uncovering the secrets to TikTok success and harnessing its power for your personal or business endeavors.

We’ll talk about:

  • The evolution of TikTok and its impact on thought leaders and communication
  • How the pandemic influenced the boom in TikTok
  • Why do audiences consistently choose TikTok
  • The intimacy and storytelling TikTok promotes 
  • Building a roundtable with your TikTok FYP
  • How to navigate content saturation

For more information, visit Sara McCord Communications’s Website.

Subscribe to Lara’s newsletter.

Also, follow our host Lara Schmoisman on social media:

Instagram: @laraschmoisman

Facebook: @LaraSchmoisman

About Sara McCord

I help thought leaders, businesses, and brands become known through viral content. (Think 1M views on TikTok in 3 days. 70M Organic Views on Instagram) I got my start in editorial over a decade ago as a Staff Writer/ Editor at the Muse and Mashable Contributor.

My 200+ published articles have been bylined or syndicated across Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Fast Company, Time, Inc, Newsweek, CNBC, Good Housekeeping, and more. I launched Sara McCord Communications in 2017 by partnering with small businesses too lean for marketing teams.

In 2020, business owners nationwide sought me out for communications advice that carried them through Covid. I spent 2021 diving into Web3building and scaling the number one morning show on social audio.

This entailed managing 80+ influencers worldwide, creating 50+ hour of live programming a week; overseeing a strategy that led to 100,000 podcast downloads in 75 days; pitching and managing sponsored and branded experiences; and building a community more than 100,000 strong.

I run a full-service, values-led marketing agency and we specialize in creating viral marketing campaigns and meaningful content. After more than a decade of helping thought leaders and brands explode their reach through written, audio, and now video content–I’m here to help.

Lara Schmoisman
This is Coffee Number Five. I’m your host, Lara Schmoisman. Hi, you guys. Welcome back to Coffee Number Five. And today, we’re gonna go social and maybe even viral. Why not? And things happen, and, yeah, incredible things happen. But I want to acknowledge something, how social is changing over the years. I started, I would say, from the beginning of social, and even for those over 40, you will remember my space, and, yes, you remember, too, and I’m sure if you’re over 40. And were seeing this, how it was changing, evolving during the years, and the latest thing was TikTok. TikTok. I believe that it changed social media, came to change the social media. And I really want to do a deep dive today and see how TikTok changed social media and how can we stand out in social media.

Lara Schmoisman
So I decided to bring us expert and who’s better than my friend, and she’s part of a community with me, the board, which we both love, and Sara McCord. So thank you, Sara, for being here. I’ve been in your training, and it was fabulous. So I really want to give my audience a little bit of it.

Sara McCord
Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for having me today. I’m excited to be here, and I’m excited to talk about TikTok.

Lara Schmoisman
Yeah. Okay, first, I have to ask you, why TikTok? Because you started a while ago in TikTok, and you have a huge background in web three building, and you work with influencers, so why switching to TikTok? What did you see there? What did you see that it was a game changer? How?

Sara McCord
Absolutely. Well, kind of dovetailing with your introduction to me, it really has to do with the evolution of social media. So I’m actually right there with you. I remember my freshman year of college when Facebook came to our campus, when it was college specific. I’ve been with you at social media, and one of the things that we’ve seen is how it’s evolved. As you were saying, year over year, and in my own career, I’ve always been focused on uplifting thought leaders and helping them become visible. So early in my career, well, over a decade ago, that was blogs. I was editing blogs for people, and then it turned out that I was doing a lot more in 2021 and early 2022, as you’re saying in audio, podcasting, web three, everything like that.

Sara McCord
But one of the things that I’ve done throughout my career is just paid attention to how people are getting their message out on social media. What’s the platform of the moment? What’s the medium of the moment. What’s the best way to reach an audience? What’s the best way to share your message with the world? And there was a moment I truly felt during the pandemic where the social audio app Clubhouse and TikTok, I feel like there was a moment where they were kind of neck and neck, and it was kind of like, what –

Lara Schmoisman
Have to tell you, TikTok was too much. Not TikTok, Clubhouse. It was too intense for me. I didn’t have the time for those conversations.

Sara McCord
Yeah. So Clubhouse is a whole podcast onto itself. We won’t even get to TikTok if we deep dive clubhouse, because at one point, I was producing 50 to 80 hours of live programming a week there. And then I also wrote an article, so I am also a clubhouse super user, which we could save for a bonus episode. But here’s the thing. There was a moment where, as we know, the world changed. When you’re kind of saying, like, TikTok changed social media, we also know that the world changed, and were all craving connection and community from behind our phones. And I actually think it’s important that these two platforms were sort of happening concurrently.

Sara McCord
So you had Clubhouse, where people were in live audio conversations, really engaging people, and then you had TikTok, where there were, but, as you said, was a massive time suck and commitment, candidly, to get any sort of traction and community there. And then you had TikTok, which at the time, was this very bite sized, hop in, hop out, replicable video platform. And it’s a platform that really did an incredible job of people always talk about how the TikTok algorithm is so special that it finds a way to feed you exactly what makes you want to stay on that app. And so I think that TikTok has also grown and evolved over the years. So, again, so early on, it got this reputation as the viral dancing app, as this sort of just kind of fun hobby pandemic app. And then as we grew out of the pandemic, one of the things that TikTok did really well was that it innovated. It innovated the length of videos, it innovated the kinds of content that it was pushing out. It brought us a lot of different content creators. And there was actually this branding moment a couple of years ago where TikTok put out a lot of messaging.

Sara McCord
I can even send you this for your show notes, because I did a video on it a couple of years ago where TikTok said they really took the strong stance against Instagram and they said, the reason why we’re so successful is that. And they basically said, not in so many words, but pretty much this exact language. Instagram influencers are fake and inauthentic, and TikTok creators are real, and that’s why you want to spend time there. And TikTok sort of took that as their brand premise. And a lot of people who had felt so excluded historically in social media, who’d felt like they didn’t have the aesthetic to succeed on Instagram, I think –

Lara Schmoisman
TikTok, what it did was embracing the imperfections and that it was okay with that. Honestly, I had that love hate relationship with social media, that people saying, taking a romantic walk with my wife. How romantic it can be, really, if you’re taking pictures and you are trying to pose and you’re interrupting to post it wasn’t natural. I know a lot of people that even deleted their accounts because they were tired. It was actually depressing them to see how the others wall was perfect, which we know that it wasn’t, but it’s just how they were portraying it. And I think that’s what TikTok brought to the world. And now it changed other social medias, too.

Sara McCord
It absolutely did. I couldn’t agree with you more. And they really, intentionally, as a platform, wanted to spotlight this authentic creator. And we saw these sort of new, almost like, mini mediums start to emerge in TikTok. So we saw cultural deep dives. We saw the very popularized get ready with me, which is also, again, highly personal. I remember when Alex Earle first started going really viral over a year ago, and when she was storytelling her get ready with me, I did a breakdown of that, and I said, and you’ll appreciate this also with your beauty background. I think a lot of, especially little girls and maybe children in general, have that moment where their mom’s getting ready in the morning.

Sara McCord
It’s this very warm, sort of familial moment of being around someone before they put their makeup on and as they put their makeup on and talking to them about their day. And then you think about as you get older and you’re getting ready with all your girlfriends to go out and you’re putting your makeup on, you’re talking about who likes who, and whatever the case may be. And so the fact that – and then a ton of other influencers mimicking this style brought us into that. And again, back to exactly what you were saying. Instead of giving us the Instagram full glam, they brought us in and just talked to us while they were getting ready. And it was so powerful to be invited in to a story, into a literal bathroom, like, into a space that previously only a bestie would be.

Sara McCord
And so you have this sort of brand value that keeps building this really intimate style of conversation. And then that, I think, opened the gateway for all kinds of content, both short form video, which we saw TikTok famously do better than any other platform, and lead to the introduction of reels on Instagram and Facebook and shorts on YouTube, but really videos of all different lanes, just bringing forward both replicable content and video trends. And then also this really authentic storytelling, the latter being a lot of where I spend my time.

Lara Schmoisman
So now the million dollar questions. How do you get into the TikTok algorithm and how you really can stand?

Sara McCord
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, like, the perfect question, based on what I was just saying. So, TikTok, I would say the best way to get involved with the algorithm is to pay attention to what’s currently trending, because it’s an algorithm that shows you content that you’ve already indicated that you like. So, again, most famously, people who consider TikTok the dancing app will think about the fact that if you hear a song and watch a dance one time, TikTok will show you that dance more times. Assuming that you also want to see the breakdown and you want to see other people do it, and people do it well, and people fail, if you hear one sound and you watch it through because you think it’s funny, it’s going to show it to you how a few other people reimagined it.

Sara McCord
And again, that’s how we initially sort of conceptualize short form video. How I specifically help thought leaders go viral is I take that same concept around a really significant moment of conversation, oftentimes in pop culture. So kind of like that thing that everyone’s talking about will trend the same way as that dance that everyone’s doing.

Lara Schmoisman
Let me ask you a question. Let’s make it a little more hands on, because I seen a little bit of how your mind works, because we have some chats together, and I can see that you always mention it. Oh, you guys saw this? And how this is trending today, and how did you initiate these conversations? You are watching what’s going on constantly. So let’s give any hands on example. Like today, for example, if I want to go and get a TikTok that maybe goes viral, what should I do?

Sara McCord
Today, all of TikTok is talking about Reesa Teesa. Reesa Teesa is a creator who literally, when you talk about an overnight success, gained more than a million followers in less than 70s because she did a 50 part episodic series called who the f, did I marry? That was like her own dateline true story, where she did 50 ten minute videos and she told them in such an engaging way that, again, she has a million followers. It’s estimated that she monetized $86,000 off of it. She’s like a TikTok Cinderella story. Everyone’s watching her and everyone’s talking about her. And Risa tissue is a great example of where I think a lot of different people in a lot of different areas of expertise could potentially talk about her content. And here’s where anyone can really break your own TikTok.

Sara McCord
You might initially think like, oh, the only people who could really talk about what she’s doing are social media experts or anyone related to influencer marketing or storytelling. But actually, how interesting would it be for it’s almost tax time. How interesting would it be if a financial expert talked about making that kind of money through TikTok overnight? You know what I mean? Someone could watch her videos and they could talk about, there was a whole thing with her ex husband and real estate and all of these things that went on that were a real estate expert could.

Lara Schmoisman
I love that. Just to take things out of context and give it a note from a different point of view. I love that.

Sara McCord
Because, again, one of the things that, and this is actually saying, the training that you took, I think we’ve all had that human experience where you’re watching a show on tv and you see an actor and you’re like, oh, my gosh, I know who that is. And you google them. So, like, you google the episode, you’re like, who is guest starring on this episode of Grey’s Anatomy? And they come up, and then because of that, you see, like, five other names, and you click on that name, and then because of that, you click on what they were in, and then you spend, like, an hour on Google. TikTok does that for you.

Sara McCord
So if you’re watching deep dives of Reese Satisa and they want to keep you on platform, they’re not just going to show you marketing takes after marketing takes, because ods are, you’re going to burn out on that. But if you’re like, this is so interesting, I want to build my own little documentary, rabbit hole. Then seeing a realtor and a tax person and a marketing person and a makeup artist and all come in and comment, you get to build your own really fascinating roundtable, and it keeps you on the platform, and it highlights those experts and you learn something. So that’s where the magic happens.

Lara Schmoisman
Amazing. Okay, so TikTok was born as a dancing platform, but now we have also TikTok shop 100%. I’m amazed by TikTok Shop, but it’s a lot of work. A lot of people say TikTok Shop doesn’t work, but you have to put the time.

Sara McCord
TikTok Shop is super fascinating for so many reasons. And one of the things that I think is super fascinating, I think that when Elon Musk bought X, a lot of people were saying that he was going to make it the first super social media platform that had everything integrated, like monetization and messaging and this and that and whatever. And what’s sort of interesting is I kind of feel like, well, everyone had all eyes on what Elon was going to innovate through Twitter X. TikTok went.

Sara McCord
And TikTok Shop, I think, has been a really powerful way to take the platform to the next level because it makes it feel, know, it makes it experiential, like, suddenly, and this has happened to me, I have seen the mom brushing the daughter’s hair that looks exactly like my daughter’s hair and bought the brush from TikTok shop right off of that ad. As a user, it elevates your experience. And so the thing is that for brands, there’s this unbelievable opportunity because you’re having these creators create the exact ugc that your avatar wants, because they’re your avatar. So your exact customer is using your product in a way that resonates with them so that the exact audience buys it. I mean, there are so many levels of it that I think are so brilliant. There’s also a lot of things that I think are sticky.

Sara McCord
Do I have concerns for individual creators that we could see, like a lularoe type scenario where they think that they’re going to build a sales empire of their dreams, but really, they spend so much time trying to generate momentum around their business and how much do they actually monetize? It’s a super nuanced topic, but I can say just at a very high level that 100%. I think it’s very interesting for the platform, I think it’s very interesting for the end user. I think it’s very interesting for creators, and I think it’s a must for brands to spend time considering, because, again, you can remove a friction point for people to be able to directly buy your product.

Lara Schmoisman
This is the feedback that I’ve been having from brands that it’s very hard to connect with the creators or to get those creators to accept the gig or the percentage.

Sara McCord

Lara Schmoisman
It’s been like you have to go and ask for 300 creators, 500 creators, just to get ten.

Sara McCord
Wow. You know what, I will tell you candidly, I think just like we see UGC creators and influencers operate in two different styles and two different pay skills and everything else, I have more familiarity when brands partner with influencers than when brands are partnering with these smaller UGC TikTok shop creators. So I think that the rules of engagement are being formed kind of as we speak. As you’re saying, everyone’s sort of figuring out the negotiation as they go of what feels good to them, how they’re going to monetize this. Yeah, it’s a super interesting, it’s super interesting.

Lara Schmoisman
And I think we are not quite there. I think we’re going to see a lot more from TikTok shop and it’s going to change and evolve because they are learning. This is completely new.

Sara McCord
And I also like, to my point earlier, the fact that TikTok seems to be, it still seems to be net successful for everyone. Like, I’m curious what additional pathways they’re going to build out to the platform to make it like this more and more integrative platform.

Lara Schmoisman
What are your thoughts?

Sara McCord
I don’t know.

Lara Schmoisman
What would you ask? What would you be your wish list?

Sara McCord
Wow, that’s a really good question. What would be my wish list if TikTok could build anything out? Let’s see. We already have shoppable videos. They’ve added horizontal, obviously, to make it more for people to be able, do things for YouTube. What would be my wish list?

Lara Schmoisman
You know what I’m letting know offhand.

Sara McCord
I don’t even know.

Lara Schmoisman
Okay, I’m gonna let you think about this and then we’re going to post this in TikTok when it comes out and you’re going to be able to comment on this.

Sara McCord
Okay. All right. I love that idea.

Lara Schmoisman
Okay. But let’s talk a little bit more about the comments because you’re a big commenter on other videos in TikTok.

Sara McCord

Lara Schmoisman
You do that and how that helps you with the algorithm.

Sara McCord
So actually you’re getting an exclusive because I’m working on an article on this, right?

Lara Schmoisman

Sara McCord
About what brands are doing. The very best brands on TikTok are in the comments. Like, the number one thing that the top brands are doing right now is commenting on viral posts and not on expected posts, if that makes sense. Not on the post of people using their products, not on the posts of testimonials, but the viral posts. He broke up with me. Can’t believe I spilled coffee all over my outfit, completely unrelated to their product. Viral post brands are in there commenting like a bestie.

Lara Schmoisman

Sara McCord
And you see everyone else commenting back that it makes them feel, going back to what I was saying before, obsessed with the brand, the rapport that they’re building in the comments section of people being like, Duolingo is a great example. They are just savage in their comments. Or Spotify is always in the comment section. There are certain brands that are just always. I said, the best way for me to describe it is like commenting like your best friend would, and you see everyone liking the comment and commenting with Duncan usually has great comments and everyone’s like, oh, my God, I just love this brand. It builds this huge brand affinity, that this is a brand that cares about TikTok, just like I care about TikTok because they’re in the comments, which is my answer to the question that you posed.

Sara McCord
I think part of being in the comments is a few things. Like, first of all, you’re showing that it’s a social media platform, that you’re not just going to post and ghost, and also you’re having the opportunity to build relationships in the comment section.

Lara Schmoisman
Yeah. And also for the creator of the content, it’s like, wow, dunkin donuts. Like my video, it’s a wow moment. I have to say that one day I got some big name, someone liking my comments, and I was, oh, my God, how this happened. Then I realized that it was fake. But still, for a moment, I had like a wow moment.

Sara McCord
I actually have a moment like that. I have had some dms with Miriam Webster, the dictionary. And I even did a post where I was literally like, all I want in my dms in 2024 is, like, business development and the dictionary. That’s what I want for myself.

Lara Schmoisman
Let me ask you a question, because I see that a lot of people thinking that the only way to succeed in TikTok is by creating original content. When a lot of people just try to go in front of the camera and I do it sometimes and give some thoughts.

Sara McCord

Lara Schmoisman
What’s your take on that?

Sara McCord
So what we recommend in our content plan is always a mix of that’s what I consider core content or pillar content. Because when you have a viral video, it’s human nature that if people are deciding whether or not to follow you, they’re going to go and click the three or four videos behind it. So certainly that content is valuable because it reinforces for anyone who lands on your page. Oh, this is Sara. This is what she talks about. In general, the reason why that content, it’s more lightning striking than it does particularly well than expected. It does particularly well even if you have great insights, even if it’s well edited, is that content is oversaturated. That content is oversaturated in this moment. The fact is that it’s a little bit like LinkedIn career advice.

Sara McCord
The fact is that there are so many people who’ve had an interesting and meaningful career journey, who have interesting and meaningful career insights to share. And so what’s going to help you break through the millions of other people who are also interesting and valuable and spending the time creating content every day? And I think the answer to that is a few different things. I think one is to see if there’s something that differentiates your particular style of your particular post. Is it your storytelling? Is it the format? What is it? And then the other real secret sauce. And what we really talk about is being in conversation with other users is utilizing the social fact of social media. That’s where, for us, trending content comes into play. So you can take some of those same ideas.

Sara McCord
Like, I have core principles around marketing and brand values and social media strategy, that those are the same, whether I make like 20 face to camera videos about them, or whether I pull those ideas into a response to something that everyone’s talking about.

Lara Schmoisman
Do you have a plan of what you want to do or you go completely?

Sara McCord
Okay, so I am my own worst client. I do the same. All of my clients have content plans. And then I throw myself the time that’s left. I mean, here’s the other thing that I will say. I’m really fortunate at TikTok in this moment. I have a super engaged community of followers. And so, like, six days out of seven, when I wake up in the morning, someone has tagged me on a post and asked me what I think. And so usually my plan is to just, like, I plan a little bit of time each day to look at my tags and reply to what I’m tagged in. I also hear saying, for my clients, and because we are a TikTok first agency, I myself spend, I want to say, at least an hour on TikTok today.

Sara McCord
It’s probably more like two or three, just to be so fully immersed in the content that if anything comes up for particularly the industry that any of my clients are in. But like were saying, even anything that could be relatable, that could be significant, that could be a learning lesson.

Lara Schmoisman
But at the same time, TikTok is so timely that how do you work with the clients? You just call them and say, now go post on this. Go and comment on that.

Sara McCord
So it’s a yes. And so, first of all, for all of my clients, we generally have trending days scheduled. So, for example, most of my clients, I have one client who every Monday, she’s going to have trending topics in her airtable. I have one client who, that’s every Wednesday, she’s going to have trending topics in her air table. And so we make sure that we pull those within 72 hours of when she’s going to. So that’s whether it’s myself or someone on my, like we know, okay, Amy shoots on, like, we’re pulling Amy’s topics on Sunday. So that way they’re going to be timely regardless. And that’s the time that she wants to carve out.

Sara McCord
With that said, to your point, if there was ever a moment, and the other thing, too, again, like I said, because we comment on a variety of different things, you can plan it a little bit. So if you know Thursdays, when we talk about trendings, you just pull the trendings the 48 hours before Thursday. With that said, as I said, if there’s something that goes so viral that I’m like, I want you to comment on this, and I want you to comment on this before anyone else because you’ll go viral. Like all of my clients, I will text them. There’s one client who actually, he’s the best, but he’s kind of reluctant sometimes to do trendings. And something went super viral in his field.

Sara McCord
And I texted him probably four times in a 24 hours period and was like, you have to make this video. You have to make this video. You have to make this video.

Lara Schmoisman
That’s really hard sometimes with clients, and I face that all the time because the clients are busy, too. And I found them many times that it’s hard for them to put themselves in front of the camera and just turn on and go.

Sara McCord
So first of all, it’s totally fair. And second of all, they’re the clients. At the end of the day, if they don’t want to make the video, they don’t have to make the video. I think that there are a few different things that I will say, though, going back to your first point about the fact that TikTok is such an authentic platform. It’s not a polished platform. So, first of all, one thing I remind my clients is that it’s okay if you make this video in transit without full hair and makeup, without a film crew, wherever you can make it in your kitchen pantry, just take a second and say something. You know what I mean? So I think that helps. Second of all, I’m looking at my stuff.

Sara McCord
All of my clients, I make sure that they have a tripod and a portable light and whatever they need, so that it’s very easy for them to just set their phone up and go. I also send them little. Like, I’ll send them the angle, the coaching, the hooks. So that part that could take you 30 minutes to conceptualize. How do I want to talk about this? I would be like, listen, as an expert in axe, could you weigh in one of these four pieces of this with the video? Here’s what the hooks might be. So they really just have to go. And then the other thing, too, is, I feel like everyone sort of self selects who they work with. And people know me, and I’m very energetic in my approach, and I’m also very honest.

Sara McCord
So if I had a client and every time I told them something’s majorly trending and they didn’t do it, I would be super honest with them. When we reviewed their metrics at the end of the month and be like, hey, at the end of the day, you always get to choose. And also, I imagine had we done these videos, I sent two, your metrics would look like this, and then they get to do what they want with that information.

Lara Schmoisman
Yeah, absolutely. So, I know they are TikTok first, but what about. How do you reinforce it with other social media platforms?

Sara McCord
So, the reason why I say we’re a TikTok first agency is that in this moment in time, content just trends on TikTok, like, three days to two weeks before it’s everywhere else. I actually, for the first time, I’m seeing that window shorten and shorten. That’s what I said across 2023, and now I’m seeing things happen on TikTok, and creators are starting to talk about it on LinkedIn later that day. The next day. People are starting to talk about it on Instagram later that day. The next day, mainstream media is picking it up. So the reason why I say we’re TikTok first is because I think that we are past the time in social media content creation where the best practice is to make sure that your content is differentiated across every platform.

Sara McCord
So we start with making the video on TikTok, and then we will carry that through thematically to YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn. Now again, and also Pinterest now, it can vary. For example, if it’s longer than a minute video, you might decide on YouTube, am I going to do a series of shorts? Am I going to just pull a minute out? Similarly, on Instagram, am I going to cut it down? Am I going to cut it down to just a micro?

Lara Schmoisman
What about the watermark?

Sara McCord
Oh, I stripped that on something called SnapTik app.

Lara Schmoisman
Okay, that’s a question that many people.

Sara McCord
Yeah, just strip the watermark off. The other thing too is that when you’re going through and making the video, if you expand where you do the on screen captions on most phones, depending on whether or not you’ve updated it, underneath the caption, there’s a little arrow like this that says save. And it’ll save it to your album before you post it live. So if you save it before it goes live, or if you use snaptick T-I-K app after you upload it, you strip the watermark. And then again, I think then what you decide. Repurposing it platform over platform. Do you just want to carry the video over platform? Do you want to talk about what the video is about and link to it platform over platform? Or do you want to repurpose it platform over platform?

Sara McCord
So one thing that I’ve done before, when I’ve done a marketing deep dive on something is I’ll transcribe the video. I’ll take that transcription over to my blog. I might then link to my blog on LinkedIn or put that in my LinkedIn newsletter, or put that blog in my email list. I might pull a quote from it and make it a short. The great thing about being TikTok first and making a video is that you can then pick how you want to repurpose it platform over platform.

Lara Schmoisman
That’s great advice. Let me, one more question, and I promise I let you go because we can keep talking about this forever. But yes, because we have been talking about personal TikTok brands. How can we really utilize TikTok for brands? Because it’s really hard to create content. It’s hard to create content for products when you don’t have the budget many times.

Sara McCord
So my best advice for brands is always to spend time on the platform or work with someone who does, because you will find that the content around your brand is out there. So what I mean, by that is, I actually posted a TikTok yesterday. This two slide carousel came up in my feed, and the front was a screenshot of a series of text messages, and the second was a wedding photo and the caption was like, thank you, hinge. And at the end of the day, even though before we’re talking about how much it costs to pay creators, if you’re a brand like hinge, think about how much marketing budget you would actually have to spend to idiot a successful TikTok campaign that showcases your value and all this other stuff. And here you have this post that got 2 million views and 212,000 likes.

Sara McCord
You already know it resonates, right? Going back to Risa Tissa, who were talking about earlier, there are all of these creators. I even stitched a video who said that this specific BMW that comes up as a character in her story, that BMW could gift her that car, the Stanley cup brand, saw a woman who did a video that her car caught fire, but her Stanley cup survived. And again, they actually got her a said. Whether it’s like UGC, like a woman who got a multi thousand dollar wedding dress at goodwill, that I imagine goodwill could have done that, or a woman who went to Sephora for a shade match, or whether it’s like being in the conversation, like were kind of saying, to know what people are talking about so that it doesn’t just feel like.

Sara McCord
It feels a little bit like trying too hard and the content falls flat. When someone’s spending just enough time on TikTok to only pull out one ingredient and it’s a mismatch, right? So if you have a brand and they take a really slick, polished commercial, and all they do is pull a piece of trending audio that feels like a very square peg, round hole kind of feeling. But if you’re actually spending time on TikTok and you’re sort of watching what the style of video is around your brand, you can come up with a lot of ideas. Like, I’ll give you one more example. I saw one the other day. It’s a bag brand, and they had their whole team just come into a staff meeting and share which of the bags they were wearing and rank the one that the most.

Lara Schmoisman
Oh, I saw that one. It was.

Sara McCord
But it’s like the more time you spend on TikTok, the more that it’ll just feel so natural to you to kind of get a sense of what is this sort of really warm, authentic content look like? And also, is there something going on that I should be commenting on a part, you know, where all the conversations are that your brand should be a part of.

Lara Schmoisman
Well, that’s super useful. And I know that you guys will have a lot of questions, but we’ll post this everywhere and you can tag Sarah and ask her a question. I’m sure that she will for you.

Sara McCord
Also, I will share. I have a course go viral on TikTok. Learn more about TikTok from me directly or if you want to reach out or anything. I’m sure all my information will be in the show notes.

Lara Schmoisman
Yeah, it will be. Well, Sara, thank you so much for being here. This was very informative.

Sara McCord
Thank you. I had a great time.

Lara Schmoisman
I’ll talk to you, too. And to you guys. I will see you next week with more Coffee Number Five. Find everything you need at or in the episode notes right below. Don’t forget to subscribe. It was so good to have you here today. See you next time. Catch you on the flip side. Ciao. Ciao.


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