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TikTok Live: Best Practices for Marketers and SMBs

The verdict is in: people on social media don't just want to double tap on pretty pictures and watch videos with cool transitions. They also want to interact with brands in real-time, which is why there isn't a better way to engage and nurture genuine relationships with your audience on social media than hosting a live stream. 

While live streaming on social media has been hugely popular since the good 'ole days of Periscope, it's exploded in popularity in recent years - and now it's possible to go live on nearly every social media platform. TikTok is among the latest platforms to introduce their live option, TikTok LIVE. And if you're not taking advantage of TikTok LIVE to build your brand, we highly recommend it! Here's why: 

Top 3 Benefits of Going Live on TikTok 

#1 Authentically connect with your audience in real-time.

People on social media are craving human connection, and by going live, you're adding a huge human element to your brand. 

You can use TikTok LIVE to give your audience a sneak peek at new products or services, make a major announcement, answer questions, and so much more. And the best part is that it requires far less preparation than a regular social media post. 

#2 Gather Market Research.

There is no better way to gather relevant insights to help you better understand your audience and what they want to see from your brand than asking them yourself! Use TikTok LIVEs as an opportunity to learn the pain points of your audience, gather feedback on how they feel about your offerings, and enable them to be a part of your product development process so they can feel invested in your brand. 

#3 Grow Your Audience.

Collaborating is one of the best ways to grow your audience on social media because it introduces you to a group of new people from a source they already know, like, and trust.

Have we convinced you that it's time to start hosting TikTok LIVEs yet? If so, let's get into how TikTok LIVE works and how it differs from Instagram Live.

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How to Start Broadcasting a TikTok LIVE 

First things first, you must be 16 years or older or have at least 1000 followers to broadcast a TikTok LIVE. If you meet these requirements, you can follow the following steps to get started:

Step 1: Open the TikTok app 

Step 2: Tap the '+' button on the bottom center of your screen as if you are about to post a TikTok video. 

Step 3: Look below the 'record button' and select the 'LIVE' option.

Step 4: You will be prompted to add a cover image and a title. Add a title that is short, informative, and engaging, because this is what will show up when TikTok notifies your audience that you are going live. 

Step 5: Start your TikTok LIVE stream!

If you're already used to going live on Instagram, TikTok LIVEs should be a breeze for you! However, it is important to note a few key differences between Instagram Live and TikTok LIVE.

Related: A Complete Guide to Going Live on Instagram

Follow Us On TikTok

TikTok LIVE Vs. Instagram Live 

TikTok LIVE has its own feed. Unlike Instagram Live that appears in your Instagram Stories bar on the top part of your Instagram feed, TikTok LIVE appears on its own feed. To check out livestreams on TikTok, tap the 'LIVE' icon located in the upper left corner of your For You Page (FYP). Aside from its own LIVE feed, TikTok is also starting to recommend live streams on users FYP. A preview will appear in between regular TikTok videos. 

You cannot save your TikTok LIVE to your feed. On Instagram, you have the option to publish your IG Live as a video that your audience can watch later if they were not tuned in live. This is not possible with TikTok LIVE, however, you can download your live stream by going to Settings and privacy > LIVE Replay. Once you download it, you can choose to repurpose it for TikTok videos in the future.

TikTok LIVEs have a live gift option. LIVE gifts is a feature that allows your users to react to your TikTok videos by sending you 'Diamonds,' which you can redeem for money. 

Note: To be eligible to collect Diamonds through LIVE Gifts, you need to meet a few requirements:

  • You must be part of the Creator Next program.
  • LIVE Gifts must be available in your location (this feature is currently not available everywhere).
  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • You need at least 1,000 followers and your account must be at least 30 days old.
  • Business Accounts are ineligible to participate.

If you want to make the most of your TikTok LIVE session, here are a few best practices to keep in mind: 

4 Tips for Hosting a Successful TikTok LIVE

#1 Check your analytics to know when your audience is most active.

Make sure that as many people in your audience can join you on TikTok as possible by digging into your analytics to see when your audience is most active.

You can check your analytics to see what time your audience is active by going to Menu > Creator Tools > Analytics > Followers. 

#2 Let your audience know that you're going Live on TikTok.

You can use TikTok's LIVE Events feature to let your audience know when you're going live so they can register and get notifications. To set up a TikTok LIVE Event, select the LIVE Events icon from the top-right corner of your profile page. Name your event, list the start time, give a brief description, and then submit your TikTok LIVE Event for approval. Once it is approved, it will be visible to your audience so they can register. 

PLANOLY Pro-Tip: Sharing with your upcoming LIVE event, allows for easier discoverability and registration. This is great for promoting your brand and ensuring more people attend. Users can register by heading to your profile and tapping on the upcoming LIVE event below your account’s bio. 

#3 Check your lighting and sound.

Make sure that your audience can clearly see and hear you by testing your lighting and sound before you hit 'live.'

#4 Plan out your TikTok LIVE agenda 

Create a general flow for how you'd like your TikTok LIVE to go, and jot down any key notes you want to mention. 

And with that, you're ready for lights, camera, action on TikTok LIVE!

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Gabriella Layne-Avery

Gabriella Layne-Avery is a Content Strategist, Creative Director, and the founder of the content marketing agency Strut Communications. Known for coining the term ‘sustainable social media,’ she believes it’s 100% possible for small business owners to leverage social media to cultivate engaged, loyal communities for their brands without spending 24/7 doing so.

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