How TikTokification can help internal communicators build culture and community  


With the maturity and ongoing popularity of TikTok has come the phenomenon known as TikTokification — that is, an emphasis on bite-size, relatable, authentic and community-based content across platforms, online spaces and experiential activations.

The term has been circulating across sectors for long enough that the think pieces surrounding its benefits and drawbacks have come full circle. This brings us to today, when it’s clear that this style of content is here to stay thanks to its ability to capture attention amid the noise, as described in LumApps’ whitepaper, “Your Go-To Guide for Creating Impactful Videos to Enhance Your Internal Communications Strategy.”

The next generation of employees will enter the workforce having thrived on and even played a hand in shaping this content ecosystem. Earning their interest, attention and even loyalty will require employers to connect with them through familiar formats, much in the same way Slack and similar tools rose to meet Millennials’ workplace communication preferences.

Fortunately, it doesn’t require high production value or polished writing to create impactful comms that hit the same way a scrollable TikTok does.

According to TikTok’s 2024 What’s Next report, successful content creation in 2024 revolves around “curiosity, imagination, vulnerability and courage. … The unknown and uncomfortable is what creates the unimaginable — and those brave enough to create for it won’t just keep up, they’ll flourish.”

Whether that means creating TikTok-style videos or simply embracing what makes them effective, communicators may find new ways to connect with employees using these tips.

Don’t stress about polished production

Many of the videos that go viral on TikTok and Instagram are wobbly selfies shot while the creator is lying in bed or wandering the streets. This approach makes the creator personable, approachable and authentic compared to a shot obviously filmed by a crew.

Of course, this type of content isn’t suitable for every situation: Keep it more formal for layoffs and M&A. But if you have the opportunity to deliver a message with off-the-cuff, reactive video content, seize it. A celebratory selfie video from the CEO after a successful quarter may be better received and build trust more effectively than a stuffy, overproduced corporate video that puts distance between leadership and employees.

Push beyond comfort zones

Remind reluctant executives that sometimes it takes feeling a little cringey to get to a baseline comfort level with different media and formats.

“It is essential to consider both engagement and the desired outcome,” said Sean Winter, general manager, North America, at LumApps. “In other words, are you asking employees to consume something, understand something or act on something (or all three). This is where more modern forms of communication can really make a difference not only in how your employees understand, but also in how they then use that knowledge to get better at their job.”

Video can also help with efficiency: Can a 30-minute meeting be a 30-second video recap instead?

Get to the point, and keep it snappy

It’s long been known that capturing attention within the first three to five seconds is critical to keeping audiences absorbed in a piece of content. This usually takes the form of an exciting opening line or headline that makes audiences want more, but it can also mean getting creative with formats and narrative structure. Feed surprise and curiosity to keep eyes on your comms.

And of course, keep the message tight. Recent data has shown an appetite for longer-form videos on platforms such as TikTok, but you’re still looking at three to ten minutes, and that intro is vital for convincing audiences to stick with it. Get right to the heart of your message and ensure that every moment counts and every word is necessary.

Edutain your audience and tap into passion

One of the factors that keeps users coming back to TikTok, according to the What’s Next report, is its likelihood of introducing viewers to new interests, and humor remains a major draw for viewers. Communicators have the opportunity to ensure that their messaging sticks in employees’ minds by considering creative and entertaining ways to announce new policies.

Lean into employee interests to keep people invested. Have a lot of book lovers among your employee community? Look to #BookTok for discussion and engagement inspiration.

“Look at your favorite LinkedIn influencers (even humorous ones like Corporate Bro),” said Mary Davis, product marketing manager at LumApps. “They have engaging, funny and quick content that does a really good job of getting their message across.”

And don’t forget the music that keeps TikTok thriving: Verizon head of communications Andy Choi rewrote Beyoncé’s song “Texas Hold ‘Em” with a teambuilding message for a quarterly update.

Make it a conversation

Nothing translates a viewer to a loyal follower on TikTok better than the sense that they are seen, heard and valued as a member of a creator’s community. The same principles apply to comms content.

“Reply, reply, reply,” is a mantra for TikTok creators, and both communicators and leaders can do the same on intranets, in Town Hall Q&As and beyond to help employees feel seen.

Employees themselves also make the best subject matter experts for their roles. Consider working with employees in different departments to develop training videos for their colleagues and successors to maintain institutional knowledge over the years.

Keep community at the heart of the equation

“TikTok is a place where diverse voices, collaborative formats, and subject matters have flipped everything we know about traditional storytelling on its head,” the What’s Next report reads. “Content on TikTok is designed to be reinterpreted and built upon, so mobilize our community and give them an equal seat at the table to shape your brand’s identity and narrative.”

Crowdsourcing content from employees provides a wealth of top-notch content and helps employees embrace an organization’s culture. Ignite belonging by trusting them to authentically carry messaging forward.

For example, as part of its “Disney Cast Life” campaign, Disney Parks rallied its cast members to promote the launch of the Guardians of the Galaxy-themed Cosmic Rewind ride, allowing them early access to the ride and encouraging them to tease the experience with social media posts.

Make new tech your friend

Most communicators have an extensive archive of announcements, reports, policies, town hall messages, event videos, blog posts, emails and beyond. These archival materials can be repurposed into shorter-form intranet posts, social media materials, and vertical video. If you’re stuck or overwhelmed, try using an AI chat tool to adapt content that may have begun as a PDF into an engaging video script.

A communicator’s job today is much more than posting the latest policy updates to the intranet: It’s about helping employees feel they’re part of something. Look to platforms like TikTok, where communities thrive, to find out how to build loyalty and enthusiasm among your own workforce. Drill down into more tactical video production tips in LumApps’ whitepaper, “Your Go-To Guide for Creating Impactful Videos to Enhance Your Internal Communications Strategy.”

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