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Emplifi Community Corner: Lika Tan

Evelyn Taylor - Community Manager, Emplifi

Community Corner: Q&A with Lika Tan

Mastering long-form video on Reels and TikTok

While short-form content once ruled the social video scene, users and platforms have begun to shift towards videos with longer run times. Emplifi data shows that longer videos (over 90 seconds) outperformed shorter videos on both Instagram Reels and TikTok in 2023, posing an opportunity for social media marketers to revamp their social video efforts this year.

Social media marketing expert Lika Tan is an avid TikTok and Reels user, managing content creation and strategy for Canadian shipping service company Stallion Express. Emplifi asked Lika to share her top trends and best advice for marketers looking to embrace long-form social video in 2024.

We’d love to get to know you! Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in social media.

I'm Lika! I started taking social media seriously for the eCommerce business I started when I was 16: selling iPhone cases. I filmed my process and decided to start posting that behind-the-scenes content on my social profiles. I shared it on Instagram and TikTok, and I found that TikTok always picked up engagement faster because my target audience was Gen Z.

I created such a big community of followers because of my brand, and that’s when it clicked in my head — this was something I wanted to do full-time. Five years later, I’m currently a social media coordinator at Stallion Express. My goal there is to build a community of entrepreneurs and business owners, and bring value to our social pages by simplifying operations.

What are some of the biggest trends you’re seeing in social video (TikTok, Reels) this year that brands should be incorporating into their marketing plans?

One trend that has really picked up in the last year is brand personality. Ryanair on TikTok is a great example because they’ve found a personality that works and stuck with it. Their team also comments on other users’ and brands’ TikToks with that same consistent voice. 

I’ve also seen a lot of storytelling on social video. XXL Scrunchie & Co. is an eCommerce business run by a Canadian creator, and she shares a lot of content tying her experiences to her brand story. I think that kind of personal storytelling and transparency will continue to grow this year as brands and creators seek out human connections with their audiences. 

Why do you think long-form video is generating more views and engagement on TikTok and Reels in the last year?

I think people tend to feel more invested in long-form videos these days because there’s usually a story being told. You’re hooked in the first few seconds, and you want to see how it ends. You’re curious about where the story goes. With shorter videos, you watch it, you know pretty quickly if you like it or dislike it, and you move on.

@loveshippsy Are you a stanley or an owala girl? 🥰🧡 #shippsy #stanleycup #owala #shoppingtipscanada #targetfinds #targetmusthaves #targetcanada #crossbordershopping ♬ original sound - Shippsy

Long-form content, especially from influencers, can also be attractive because it feels like you’re on Facetime with a friend. We spend hours on social media every day, and it can be comforting to hear a story from a real person. Some of Alix Earle’s most viral videos are just her talking to the camera as she gets ready, but we love it because it’s so real and honest. I think brands are starting to do something similar by featuring real people — employees, creators, or customers — in their social videos and letting them share their experiences.

What are your best tips for brands leaning into longer videos on TikTok and Instagram this year?

For brands, I think showing a face in your video is really important. When you’re telling a story and a real person is on the screen, your viewers feel more connected to your brand. I remember a viral video of a UPS driver, who had recently immigrated to the US, reacting to his first paycheck. After that, UPS started featuring more of their drivers’ stories on TikTok and Instagram, and that human component really resonated with people. We love to hear from each other as people rather than a faceless brand.

Remember to provide value to your audience with your video content. Consumers, especially Gen Z, are using social media as a search engine to find information and knowledge — we don’t head straight to Google anymore. A great place for brands to start is with suggested searches on TikTok and Instagram. Start with a topic, check out the top-performing videos and popular keywords that come up, and look for ways to incorporate that into your own videos.

Are there any shifts you expect to see soon in the social video landscape?

One thing I’ve been looking into is TikTok stories. Right now, TikTok is really trying to push this feature to users, and when the platform is pushing something new, content using that new feature is going to be more visible on the app. I think that’s something brands can take advantage of. Just like on Instagram, stories are often more authentic and less polished than a static post, giving you a casual but engaging way to share video content.

What’s your best tip for a social media manager asked to “go viral” with a social video?

“Going viral” doesn’t always mean you’re going to post a video, go to sleep, and wake up with a million notifications. I realized recently that some videos can actually pick up steam later on, even a month or more after they’re published, because of what’s trending. I posted a video with a Stanley tumbler a few months ago, and it just recently started getting a lot of views because Stanley was trending again. I think a lot of social media marketers can get discouraged when they don’t go viral overnight, so it’s important to share content you think is valuable and have patience after you post.

In general, I’d say pick a trend, jump on it right away, and try to start conversations. I recently shared a deinfluencing video reviewing a popular water bottle brand, and it got over 100k views because everyone wanted to share their own opinion in the comments. Open up the dialogue with your followers and reply to comments to keep that conversation going.

Any last thoughts or insights you’d like to share?

To me, social media is all about being real and being you. Some brands will spend a lot of time and budget to shoot a professional video, when the more authentic, raw content like UGC will actually perform better. Be you, be honest, and be transparent.

Connect with Lika on LinkedIn.

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