How do you keep a swirling ball of energy entertained during a national lockdown? That ball of energy is my 8-year-old son Finlay and we started a TikTok.

To all my fellow parents out there—this homeschooling thing is hard, isn’t it?! I’m even more appreciative of teachers than I was before. Closing schools was definitely the right thing to do, but I feel for our kids who are missing out on lessons, seeing friends and running around the playground. Fin’s an only child and I can tell he’s really missing his pals from school and Judo already (sorry wee guy.)

Top tips to start your own TikTok channel

A few weekends ago, Fin and I decided to try something fun—we’ll make a TikTok video. That one video spiralled into hours of laughter and a new TikTok channel called ‘EntertainingDad’ (well, that escalated quickly.) We’ve now made it our personal mission to become TikTok famous (we all need a goal). 

Andrew Dobbie Tiktok Phone Entertaining Dad

Over the last weeks, our TikTok channel has really helped us during the lockdown and I highly recommend that parents team up with their kids to create some TikToks of their own.

Here’s why…

It’s a creative distraction

The nature of TikTok is to create something fun, clever and silly. During these crazy times, it has been a welcome distraction for both of us. If we weren’t making these videos together, Fin would be missing his friends even more and I’d probably be scrolling through the news, growing more anxious by the second. 

It keeps your stress under wraps

If we think for a moment about how stressful this Covid-19 is for us as adults, put yourself in the mind of your child(ren) for a sec. As a father, I’ve been acutely conscious of how our own stress and behaviours could be rubbing off on Finlay. Kids don’t understand how businesses or governments function fully or the impact of everything that’s happening. And to a certain degree they shouldn’t have to. I’ve been trying my best when around him not to show any of my stress (easier said than done, right?) but these TikToks have given us something fun and stress-free to do. In that moment, all I’m thinking about is creating something cool and having fun with my son. 

It’s educational

Fin’s adapting well to homeschool but I wanted to add some alternative learning to the curriculum (besides, maths has never been my forte.) With every video we make, he’s learning about ideation, acting, content creation, lighting, videography, editing and even branding. He’s only eight and already beating me to the punch with all these great ideas! On the flip side, I’m learning loads too. TikTok is a huge opportunity for brands and the more I can understand about it, the more I can incorporate it into ideas for our clients and our own brands. 

  • Andrew Dobbie Tiktok Phone Entertaining Dad

It provides structure

Every couple of days, we’re not searching for something to do, we know we’re going to make a TikTok video. It’s the wee things, like having something fun to look forward to, that really helps. 

It could become an income stream

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, companies have been known to pay from $200 to $20,000 per branded TikTok video, which is certainly more than I earned on my first paper run. If we grow a following, Fin could be on track to having the coolest first job ever! 🤘🏼

  • Andrew Dobbie Tiktok Entertaining Dad Finlay

It’s a great way to bond

I figured out the other day that one of the great things to come out of this tough time was that I get to spend more time with Finlay and my wife, Pam. We always try to do lots of activities together anyway, but in the current circumstances, TikTok has become our ‘thing’. I hope, when we look back at this time, that’s what he’ll remember. I know I will. 

12 tips for starting your TikTok channel

1. Use ‘challenges’ for ideas. On the app, head to the ‘discover’ page. Scroll through for the latest hashtag challenges. Basically, these are ‘briefs’ for you to join in on trending content, which are great prompts if you’re stuck for ideas. 

2. Name your channel to reflect your content. So, instead of going for ‘FinandAndrewDobbie’ we chose ‘EntertainingDad’. It has a double meaning—one, Fin is entertaining his dad (me) and two, our videos can hopefully entertain those who are watching them.

3. You have 180 characters in your bio—use them wisely! Again, it helps if you have a content niche. Here’s ours ‘I’m Fin & he’s my dad ☝️ Follow us for fun, nonsense & the odd bit of magic’

4. It’s best to only use five hashtags. Make three of them generic (eg: #sofunny, #tiktok and make two of them niche to your video, #frenchbulldog, #foottransitionchallenge)

5. If you can, get a phone tripod, it’s one of the best tools you can get for TikTok. They’re especially useful if you’re doing transitions. 

Andrew Dobbie How Tiktok Can Save Parents And Kids And Keep You Creative During Lockdown

6. Put captions ON your video and try to evoke action. Eg: We’re dancing to 1000 followers—follow us to see what happens next!

7. If you come across content you like, comment on their post with #FYP. It means ‘For You Page’. Apparently, TikTok will feature that video on other’s ‘For You’ page (which is essentially a homepage.) For content creators, try to encourage your audience to comment #FYP in response to your videos. 

8. If, like us, you want to grow your channel, try and post regular content every couple of days.

9. Follow the masters! People like Will SmithJeremyLynchOfficial and Lizzza create kick-ass content on there.

10. Share your content on other channels. TikTok have made it really easy for you to download your videos and share them on other channels (very clever TikTok.) It doesn’t just have to live on the platform where it was created and you can make new content for your other channels. I’ve found that sometimes a TikTok video can actually perform better when it’s not on TikTok, because it’s not what people expect to see on other channels. One of our videos got a couple hundred views on TikTok, but almost 25,000 on LinkedIn. 

11. Give away your secrets. I’ve noticed that some of the best-performing TikToks also include some behind-the-scenes content. Where possible, create your video and another post on how you made it. 

12. Remember you don’t have to just use the TikTok tools. If you want to up your game explore using software like Adobe After Effects to raise the bar.

Do you think you’ll start a TikTok? What are some of your favourite accounts? Let me know on Linkedin!

Originally posted by Andrew Dobbie here.


Pssst… Need some help with your TikTok strategy? Get in touch.

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