How to tell an engaging story on TikTok using the HBVC method

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So far we’ve taken you through TikTok’s best features, the exact things you can do right now to get started as a startup looking to increase brand awareness and now we’re back with an article on how you can tell your brand’s story using TikTok. 

We’re basically giving you a TikTok crash course over here! 

Brands everywhere are struggling to figure out how they can use the app to tell their story and get the general public on board - after all, it is a short form video app. 

But I’ve got you covered! Here’s how you can tell an authentic story on TikTok that draws people in with the HBVC technique (Hook, Build Up, Value and C.T.A). 

You need a great hook. 

The fast paced nature of the app is a huge double edged sword. While a recent update has made it so creators can now make videos up to 3 minutes long, a large amount of content that does well on the platform lasts no longer than 2 minutes. 

With the algorithm feeding users a never ending stream of tailored content, brands are finding it harder and harder to catch the attention of users who now have so much choice and limited attention spans. 

But there’s a way around every challenge and a great hook is your ticket into TikTok virality. 

As an avid user of the app, you have about 5 seconds to catch my attention. Use this time effectively by promptly introducing a problem statement that you know your target audience struggles with. Use that time to challenge a widely known assumption or make a bold claim  - using the shock factor here can set you apart from the crowd! 

An important thing to remember with the hook is to always cut out the fluff. Avoid unnecessary long introductions and get right to the point. 

The caption is also an important factor of the hook. As a TikTok creator myself, I once assumed that people didn’t look at the captions of TikTok and kept their eyes on the video itself - I was wrong! 

A lot of viewers take both into account and will decide if a video is for them by reading the caption first and if it doesn’t speak to them they’ll skip right past the video without a second glance or a 5 second trial. 

So make those captions relevant and snappy! 

It’s time for the build up

It’s one thing to catch people’s attention and another thing to keep it! 

That’s what the build up is for. Ideally, you’d want to have something going on in the video that keeps people interested and itching to know what’s next and you can do this through the language you use, your movements and adding captioning the video to make it more accessible. 

This is the general rule of thumb that I’ve followed before that has brought me lots of success on TikTok : making sure that every sentence I say is a sentence that has the potential to be a hook too. 

Filtering the content of the story I’m telling through this lens means that I’m never saying anything boring but I’m constantly peaking the viewer’s interest at each turn of the story. 

You can dig a little bit more into the problem that you’re addressing with your story or maybe the consequences of not finding a solution to the issue you’re speaking about. This would then allow you to bring your product in as the solution! 

At the end of the day TikTok is a video community app, so the visual part is just as important as what you say. I find that a montage of video clips of past events that visually represent the story I’m telling helps keep viewers engaged. 

For example, I would use a corresponding voice over recording of me telling the story and make sure that the clips correspond well to what I’m saying. 

For videos of you telling the story in real time without any pre-recorded video clips of past events, you want to make sure that you’re subtly moving the camera around throughout the video. 

You could play around with angles and space! For example, having the camera super close to your face for the hook and then super wide for the duration of the story. You could even bring it back to the regular frame for the last part! 

Bring in the value!

It’s time to deliver the value that you planned to give with the story you’re telling. Maybe the value this time is just to motivate your target audience to make the same leap of faith you did with your brand, or maybe you’re introducing them to your product through this super personal story about your upbringing. 

Either way, it’s time to introduce it here! 

You could say something like: 

“And that’s why I started (Insert brand) because everybody deserves to feel confident!” 

Finally, a call to action

Audiences are extremely smart but it always helps to be very clear on what it is you actually want them to do with all of this information and personal anecdotes you’ve left them with. 

After you’ve done all of this and laid the foundations for a great story, you want to include a call to action to finish it off! 

This could be anything from following your other social channels to going to your website and engaging with your brand or product whether that’s through sales or signups. 

Now you’ve managed to connect authentically with your target audience through a concise but clear story. You’ve addressed their concerns by being vulnerable about how they were once yours, and you’ve provided them with a solution - the solution being your startup! 

And more importantly, you’ve let them know where they can go to find out more, get involved or also acquire the product that’s going to help them. 

Congratulations, you’ve told an amazing brand story on TikTok (and probably have a good shot at going viral!). 

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