31 May 2023

Adapting AV Professionals to TikTok

by Benjamin Powell, CEO of BetterCast


At this point, TikTok needs absolutely no introduction. Regardless of the controversy around it, there is no denying its effectiveness as a social medium, with over 1.53 billion users around the world. Nearly a third of all internet users use TikTok, watching over a billion videos every day.

TikTok led the trend towards short-form videos becoming the most prominent form of content on social media, with its competitors rushing to integrate and optimise such content on their own platforms. Naturally, this presents a wonderful opportunity for A/V professionals, but it also creates a lot of challenges. TikTok is such a radically different way of presenting video than any previous platform, using vertical format instead of horizontal and with tight limits on duration. Making use of its remarkable potential inevitably means breaking away from well-established practices.


Short-Form Video

“Attention spans are short, which is why short- form video works really well on the TikTok platform. Videos cannot be longer than 15 to 60 seconds, therefore the commitment to watch is not overly exerting,” wrote Rachel Calkins for Tripleseat – a sales and event management software solution.

This is an important point, especially for A/V professionals used to livestreaming days-long live events. While you can use TikTok Live for streaming a longer event, the platform’s strength is in shorter content, with the focus on brief moments instead of protracted periods. Those moments can be strung together across multiple moments to tell a longer story.


“There are many things that can be done in the span of 15 to 60 seconds – from demonstrating a quick cocktail recipe to designing a complex balloon structure, which are entertaining concepts as is. Then, with the help of added music, voiceovers, and editing effects on TikTok, you will have an engaging video that hooks any viewer.”

“Show what is unique and interesting in order to capture the attention of your ideal audience member. The benefit of the short-form video is that the viewer can easily get roped into watching a string of your videos in a row without even realising how much time has passed,” Rachel added.

Shooting studio for photographer and creative art director with production crew

A Look At The Life

A lot of industries can find picturesque and interesting moments to record and post to TikTok. The examples given above – mixing a cocktail or designing a balloon structure – are obvious ones, with both having very visible and attractive conclusions. However, not all industries involve such visually stimulating work. Surprisingly enough, that does not stop them from attracting a following on TikTok.

Luke Kostka is the co-founder and creative director at New Norml Media. In an interview for FreightWaves on how TikTok and other social media can help with sales and marketing in the freight industry, he said: “I think that social media is really just an extension of how we live as humans, so there’s no reason why we should leave any of ourselves out. See what people in your industry are doing. In freight there’s a lot of material that you can cover.”

A/V also has a lot to cover, as global events organiser Encore have proved. Their EMEA account gives glimpses into the lives and jobs of audio technicians, lighting designers, project managers and more, earning them a modest following of over 1,100 and over 4,000 likes (at time of writing). Agency EA takes a similar but more lighthearted approach, netting them a similar number of followers but over 76,000 likes.

Behind the shooting: video production and lighting set for filming commercial advertising.

Teach and Learn

The day-in-the-life approach certainly plays to social media’s inherent casualness, but may not work so well if you want to portray your business as highly serious and professional. Indeed, being too lighthearted could backfire on you. “As an event professional, your goal is to showcase your work and book clients,” said Emily Rochotte, a freelance social media manager and writer in an interview with BizBash. “If you start gaining followers based on different content, you’re losing your original audience.”

“I find that a lot of event planners and vendors are really succeeding on TikTok when they break the fourth wall, and just sit down and talk to the camera about their experience or give advice and tips.” Accounts by Endless Events, Statuesque Events, and others have found success with this approach. It is one that has great potential for growing a brand, especially if other creators share your videos in duets.

As Rachel Calkins added in her article, TikTok is not just a great place to share your wisdom, but also a place you can learn from others. She said: “TikTok prides itself on the community that the platform provides for users with similar interests. As you find accounts that are relevant to the hospitality and event industry, you may find yourself seeking out certain users for their expertise and unique perspective on the latest trends. Engage with other accounts by liking, commenting, and private messaging.

The power of connection over social media has been a monumental way that people have stayed connected throughout the pandemic, in the hospitality industry and beyond.”

It’s also worth noting that social media is inherently social. The best way to increase awareness of your brand in your industry is to be an active part of the community. “Whatever you do, don’t be that person on TikTok that just sprays and prays,” said Luke Kostka. “They just start recording and they don’t know exactly what they’re recording. Before you start your TikTok or before you start your social media platform, make sure that you have a goal in mind and then make sure you figure out something that people feel like they need to see.”


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