What's in this session?

  • If IG Stories and Vine had a baby (1:40)
  • Most videos are 15-60 seconds in length (4:30)
  • Sound autoplays (6:20)
  • The content creation tools are mind boggling (7:00)
  • It’s unfamiliar and disorienting (7:55)
  • It’s repetitive (11:35)
  • Virality is probable (14:55)
  • Machine learning (18:00)
  • How often should you post? (20:00)
  • The demo is young now, so people will disparage it (20:10)
  • TikTok is prime real estate (22:20)
  • TikTok is driving the music charts (25:50)
  • Theforyoupage.com (27:50)

Show notes and resources

Free Bonus: Click here to download The Church Growth Calculator Spreadsheet – a ready-to-go spreadsheet calculator for accurately tracking & measuring church growth

The Transcript

Brady Shearer: TikTok is the newest emerging social platform, and like all social media evolutions, it’s weird, it’s unfamiliar, and young people love it. In this episode, we’ll be giving you a primer on everything you need to know about TikTok so you can begin exploring it with your church and student ministry.

Speaker 2: Amen.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Tools. This is the show to help you share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift in 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by Brady Shearer.

Brady Shearer: The biggest communication shift, and it keeps getting weirder, Alex.

Alex Mills: It’s shifting, and I’m not ready for it.

Brady Shearer: The new social platform emerging. It’s here. It’s called TikTok. Actually, the emphasis is on the Tik, not the Tok.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: But, I like to say TikTok instead of TikTok.

Alex Mills: I’m going to opt for TikTok.

Brady Shearer: TikTok.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: TikTok, TikTok.

Alex Mills: Now people are pausing and saying it out loud to themselves to try and figure out which way.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, yeah. It’s like the music festival that we went to when we were kids. It’s called Kingdom Bound.

Alex Mills: Yeah, or Kingdom Bound.

Brady Shearer: I had this one friend who was like, “Kingdom Bound.” No, that’s not how.

Alex Mills: It’s definitely not that.

Brady Shearer: It’s Kingdom Bound. He was like, “Kingdom Bound.” I’m still upset, 11 years later.

Alex Mills: What is TikTok?

Brady Shearer: We are going to break down for you 13 of the most interesting takeaways that we have gleaned from downloading and using TikTok. One of us has already gone viral on the platform. Spoiler alert, it was not me. This man right here. We’re going to talk about 13 things your church needs to know. Like most social platforms that are new, it’s very weird when you get on it. It’s the same feeling that I felt when I got on Snapchat for the first time.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: I was like, “There’s a lot happening here. I don’t understand it.” So, we’re going to help you make sense of it as much as we can.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Firstly, if we had to describe TikTok, it’s like IG stories and Vine had a baby. To quote Matt Schlicht, TikTok is the culmination of all social content platforms, leading up to today. It’s mobile first, short form videos, with a heavy emphasis on music, comedy, dancing, intimacy, and trends. You can follow people, you can browse popular videos, and you can explore hashtags. Now, Vine was a video platform, six second limit.

Alex Mills: Six seconds. Can you believe that? That’s short.

Brady Shearer: Made by Twitter, and it went extinct.

Alex Mills: Yeah, R.I.P.

Brady Shearer: We loved Vine…

Alex Mills: It was fun.

Brady Shearer: … because it was so funny. It launched the comedy careers and acting careers of many folk that got on the prime real estate when Vine was just coming up, but it’s gone, and it’s kind of left a void. TikTok is similar in that the content that we are consuming feels kind of like Vine videos. They’re very short videos that are very built around comedy, or dancing, or music. But, what makes it like Instagram stories is that TikTok, as an app, gives you these content creation tools, much like IG stories where you can create directly natively within the app, itself, a ton of content that you can’t elsewhere.

Alex Mills: Vine was super unique because it almost, in the same way that Twitter has its own style of Twitter comedy that can’t be translated outside of 140 or 280 characters…

Brady Shearer: You hate to see it.

Alex Mills: Those jokes don’t often work in real life, but they work on Twitter. Vine was kind of the same thing. It’s like, well, who would’ve ever thought of making six second videos? What can you do with six seconds? But it almost initiated a different style of comedy that now… Vine has been gone for I don’t know how long, but how many of us still go back to YouTube, search funniest Vine compilations, and you’re just watching…

Brady Shearer: I did last week.

Alex Mills: … 12 minutes of six second clips, and they’re hilarious. It almost initiated a new style of content, and we’ve seen different platforms imitate these kinds of breakthroughs before. Vine is extinct, and now you see TikTok kind of on the back of that style of comedy, but we saw it with Snapchat. When Snapchat stories were succeeding, Facebook jumped in and said, “Hey, now you have this exact same feature on Instagram.” What I found really interesting, and I had to read this online because this app is not available in Canada. It’s an app, called Lasso.

If you’re in the states and you have this app, let us know in the comments if you use it or what it’s like, but this is an app that Facebook launched last year that, what the internet says, is basically a carbon copy of TikTok, but Facebook introduced it to the market last year and says, basically, “We see something really viral happening on TikTok. We need to invest in this.” I think that’s social proof enough to say that if a big social media conglomerate, like Facebook, is looking at TikTok and saying, “We need to double down on this,” it’s worth paying attention to.

Brady Shearer: The second thing you need to know about TikTok, most videos are 15 to 60 seconds in length, but the vast majority are on the shorter end, which is unique because growing up in social media, I feel like we always would use the maximum amount of time allotted with video.

Alex Mills: Sure.

Brady Shearer: You knew that 60 seconds was the amount allowed on Instagram, and most videos would be that long. Or with Instagram stories, 15 seconds. We’re using the 15 seconds limit.

Alex Mills: 15 seconds.

Brady Shearer: But with TikTok, most of the videos are 10 seconds, 6 seconds, very similar to Vine. It’s as if the users of TikTok, or the machine learning, which we’ll get to in a moment…

Alex Mills: Sure.

Brady Shearer: … are recognizing that the shorter the videos are, the better they perform, and so that incentivizes users to create shorter videos, even though you can create longer ones. I don’t know if you experienced this, but when I was first kind of going through the videos, I remember coming across one that was really long. I was so confused at first, because I hadn’t seen the long video yet.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I just assumed that there was an 11 second limit or something like that. I’m watching this video, and I’m like, how is it still going? I was transfixed.

Alex Mills: And then did you swipe away because it’s too long?

Brady Shearer: No, I watched 90 seconds. You know what the video was? It was this guy at a fair, at a carnival. It was like, “If you hold on for 100 seconds, you get $100.” And so, he’s hanging…

Alex Mills: You’re just watching him do it?

Brady Shearer: Yeah. The comment was like, “Oh my gosh, wait until the end.” I was like, “No worries, it’s 11 seconds.”

Alex Mills: I got to wait, yeah.

Brady Shearer: But there’s no time code. It doesn’t show you how long the video is. I was holding it like a fool…

Alex Mills: Still waiting.

Brady Shearer: … just waiting. Guess how it ends?

Alex Mills: He falls?

Brady Shearer: Yeah, he just falls, and then it auto swipes to the next one. I was like, “What? I waited all that time.” I got TikToked.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and that behavior is the next thing that you need to know about TikTok, is that not only do the videos auto play and auto swipe away, but TikTok auto plays with full sound on. I don’t know. I’m still new to TikTok, so I don’t know if there’s a way to turn this off, but when I open the app, I swear, I’m clicking on anything to get me away from my homepage because I know a video is just going to start playing so loud. I’m in the doctor’s office or just waiting in the store.

Brady Shearer: Going to do the hoedown and-

Alex Mills: Yeah. It’s like, why do you have to play so loud? TikTok will auto play with sound on, contrary to your Facebook videos, which of course, auto play without sound.

Brady Shearer: The content creation tools we mentioned earlier are truly mind-boggling within this app.

Alex Mills: Unbelievable.

Brady Shearer: It has this motion graphics engine, like an after effects light.

Alex Mills: Basically.

Brady Shearer: But it allows anyone to create videos with motion graphics directly on them within the app. This is an evolution of social media creation natively within apps that we haven’t seen before. It was a big deal when we could just color grade our photos, and now we’re adding motion graphics directly within an app and publishing all in one. That’s kind of a rundown of what you can expect from the actual ins and outs of the app, how it works. Let’s talk about what your experience will probably be like when you download this app and begin exploring it.

Alex Mills: I’m just going to say, before we get into it, I think this is very dependent on age. This is the first time that I have been on the other side of the fence.

Brady Shearer: It’s over for us.

Alex Mills: Yeah. I just feel out of touch here.

Brady Shearer: I’m 28.

Alex Mills: Yeah. I’m 26, and I think…

Brady Shearer: It’s over.

Alex Mills: I think we’re too far gone.

Brady Shearer: We’re done.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Because downloading and using this app, it was unfamiliar, and it was disorienting.

Alex Mills: The perfect word. Just opening this app and things are playing right away… I haven’t followed anybody, right?

Brady Shearer: He just opened it, and someone’s like, “Going to do the hoedown,” and spinning around.

Alex Mills: Yeah. I’m like, okay, I didn’t ask for this. It’s so loud. How do I get away? I can only swipe down. Another video is auto playing. I don’t know how to get out of here. Then when you get alone, you turn the volume down. It’s like, okay, I’m going to start watching some of this content. It doesn’t make any more sense. It’s like, I don’t understand this.

Brady Shearer: What is happening right now? What are they doing? Why is everyone doing this one dance?

Alex Mills: Why is it kind of like karaoke, but kind of not?

Brady Shearer: Everyone is getting their parents in front of the camera, playing vulgar music, and just watching how their parents react.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: But I can’t look away.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: This is what every evolution of social media is like. We have been doing social, let’s say, for 10-20 years now. We’ve done the newsfeed. What made Snapchat stand out? It was unlike anything else we had seen so far.

Alex Mills: Sure.

Brady Shearer: It kind of was building upon what social media already was. TikTok does something very similar where it takes what’s working, and combines them in a unique and new way, and it is caught on with the younger people. This is what all innovation is like, right? It catches on with the young folks, and everyone older doesn’t get it, and that’s why young folks use it, because it feels like something that belongs to them.

Alex Mills: It feels exclusive, yeah.

Brady Shearer: They don’t want us to get it, and we’re 26, and we’re screwed.

Alex Mills: I’m nervous.

Brady Shearer: If this is what’s happening now, we’re done.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It’s over for us.

Alex Mills: I figured this-

Brady Shearer: We do this for a living.

Alex Mills: I know. I figured this would happen so much later in life when my kids are teenagers, right? “Hey, Dad, come look at this thing,” and be like, “Sorry, kid, I don’t get that.” I don’t even have kids yet, and I’m trying to relate to the kids at church, who are not that much younger than me, and I’m just like…

Brady Shearer: They’re clowning you.

Alex Mills: … “I need your help.” This Sunday, after the service, I went to some girls because we’re going to talk about it in a few minutes. I did have a video that kind of went, I mean, viral to use a relative term, and I went to these girls after the service, who are in the youth group. I open my phone. I said, “I’m on TikTok.” They go, “We know. We saw you.” I said, “Okay, you got to tell me what’s happening. You got to tell me what these comments mean. You need to tell me, what do I do next? What am I doing?” They’re like, “I don’t know. I don’t even know how you got that many views.” I was like, “I don’t know, either.” None of us know, but these kids, they love it, these kids.

Brady Shearer: They saw you…

Alex Mills: They did.

Brady Shearer: … on TikTok.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: I have an account. I have not published a single video yet.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: But have you seen me on TikTok?

Alex Mills: I have, only because I noticed it said, “Pro Church Tools has followed you.”

Brady Shearer: Okay. This hasn’t happened to you yet. This was the most disorienting thing that happened to me.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: I’m scrolling through endless memes that I don’t understand.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: Then it’s my face, “Hi, it’s Brady Shearer.”

Alex Mills: Stop it.

Brady Shearer: Yes.

Alex Mills: How?

Brady Shearer: I don’t know how. It’s that part of Facebook.

Alex Mills: What was the source?

Brady Shearer: It was ours, like social media program ad. I got to talk to marketing, because apparently we’re on TikTok.

Alex Mills: They’re advertising to the 12-years-olds on TikTok, like [crosstalk 00:11:08].

Brady Shearer: We got them all on the social program. Yeah. It was like, “Have you upgraded your nucleus account?” I was like, what is this? What is happening?

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: That was weird, seeing my own face.

Alex Mills: That’s disorienting.

Brady Shearer: I was kind of trying to be on there, like a little stealth.

Alex Mills: Sure.

Brady Shearer: And then I’m there already.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Didn’t even know it.

Alex Mills: You beat yourself to TikTok.

Brady Shearer: Let’s talk about the two things that will help you understand the experience of TikTok the most. The first is that it is incredibly repetitive. Content creation revolves around, what’s called, sounds. Maybe it’s a song clip. What ends up happening because of this is 99% of the most popular videos on TikTok are always people doing the exact same thing as everyone else. On TikTok, everyone is making the same content. So instead of the content being changed by the person, the person is being changed by the content.

The best analogy that I have for this is, think of a cooking show, two different ones. On the first cooking show, you have a list of five contestants, and each one is allowed to create whatever they want. They can bring to the table whatever ingredients that they choose, and they can create a dish from scratch, versus TikTok where it’s one of those cooking shows where you get five ingredients, and all five contestants are forced to create something with those same ingredients. Everyone loves those shows because we love seeing how everyone gets the same starting point, and then, what’s each person’s unique take on these five ingredients?

Alex Mills: Right, and the playing field is the same. It’s even for everyone. So, if there is somebody who is super viral on TikTok, if I’m a 12-years-old girl, I can create the same post archetype as they did. I think what’s important to note here is the foundation of all of this is that TikTok was formerly Musical.ly, right? That app where it was just this music feature where you kind of singalong with the songs. I never really got into it. I didn’t understand it, but if you download TikTok today from the App Store on your phone, you’ll see, it’s the actual company name. The app is called TikTok, but the company name is still called Musical.ly. That’s where this post archetype comes from, and that’s why you see a lot of the content is kind of the same, but just interpreted differently by different people.

Brady Shearer: There’s this one meme. It’s called Choices. The sound that you use is a song by E40. Essentially, it’s just going, “Yup, nope, yup, nope, yup.” When you create your video, you’ll put on a motion graphic on top of it. It’s a video of you, and you’re just kind of standing there like bip-bopping. I saw one with Amish… No, no. It was like five Mennonite girls.

Alex Mills: Oh, yes.

Brady Shearer: It was like, “Are we Amish? Nope. Mennonite? Yup. Are we sisters? Nope. In Christ? Yup.”

Alex Mills: Yup.

Brady Shearer: It’s like, oh, that’s a great take.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: Five Mennonite younger girls, and they create this really funny video, using this meme. I’m getting geo-located targeted, so a lot of it is Canadian content.

Alex Mills: Sure.

Brady Shearer: It’s like niche Ontario town jokes. It’s like, “Are you from Scarborough? Nope. Are you from Mississauga? Yup.”

Alex Mills: Yup.

Brady Shearer: I’m like, GTA.

Alex Mills: They got you.

Brady Shearer: Stuff like that. That’s just one of the memes. Basically, you kind of tap into one of these memes, and then you create something on top of it. I saw a comment from someone in our company. They were like, “I don’t get it. It’s so boring. I downloaded it. Everyone is doing the exact same thing, and I got rid of it,” but that’s exactly what the users of TikTok love, because everyone is jumping on the same bandwagon, and eventually, a meme will run its course, and then you move on to something else.

This is where the second incredibly wild thing about TikTok that you need to understand comes into play. Virality is probable. To quote Matt Schlicht again, which we’re going to link an article that he wrote. It’s the best article I have found so far. It’s a beginner’s guide to TikTok and how to use it. We’ll have it linked in the show notes. He’s-

Alex Mills: Taught us old folks how to use it.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, exactly. We’d be lost without you, Matt. Thank you. He says, “TikTok has found a way to give you an infinite number of chances at getting hit by viral lightning, and it’s like nothing you’ve seen before. If you want to have a viral video on YouTube, there is no formula. It’s a lot of luck. You can create a certain type of video that seems more likely to go viral, but you could create something amazing and have no success over, and over, and over again.”

I have two friends in my life, named Alex. Both have already gone viral on TikTok. Let’s talk about Alex Wilson. We mentioned him on videos in the past. He does Insta Church. Alex Wilson, right now, on TikTok, as of this morning, so it will certainly be way more, has 70,000 followers and 1.4 million likes on his videos.

Alex Mills: And has not been on TikTok for a month.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, not a month. 70,000 followers, one and a half million likes. Alexander Mills has posted two videos.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: One of them already has 15,000 views. Likes? Views? Yeah, views.

Alex Mills: I 15,000 views.

Brady Shearer: How many followers do you have? Dude has no followers. He has like 61 followers.

Alex Mills: And well over 3,000 likes. The engagement rates are out of this world, and this is where I needed the girls’ help at church because what was happening on this video that kind of went moderately viral for me was, people were commenting FYP, F-Y-P.

Brady Shearer: #FYP.

Alex Mills: I asked the girls at church. I’m like, “Why are people commenting this word that I don’t understand on my pictures?” They started laughing out loud. They said, “It means For You Page.” I said, “Well, what does that mean?”

Brady Shearer: That’s not helpful.

Alex Mills: And so, I’ve learned that it means that the people who were commenting FYP are telling me that that’s how they saw that video. It came across their For You Page.

Brady Shearer: Which is kind of the default homepage when you open the app.

Alex Mills: Yeah. It’s like the Explore page on Instagram. It’s a curated feed of posts that the algorithm thinks that you’d be interested in, but for me, I have two posts. They’re both about coffee, and I don’t follow anyone. At this point, I didn’t have any followers.

Brady Shearer: You were brand new to the app.

Alex Mills: Right, but TikTok, for some reason, funneled me into some sort of engagement algorithm that put this video in front of at least 15,000 people who have watched it so far. The engagement rates on this platform are wild. Virality is absolutely probable, especially because we have these kind of meme archetypes set out for us. Right? For that E40 song, the yup, nope, thing, it’s like it’s a joke that… It’s like a template for a joke. You just have to fill in the punchline.

Brady Shearer: It’s like ad libs.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and so-

Brady Shearer: Mad libs, sorry.

Alex Mills: Exactly. Everyone gets a chance, right? Different people can use that same archetype and become viral in different ways, but using that same archetype. There’s a wild opportunity for engagement on this platform, unlike I’ve ever seen on any social platform before.

Brady Shearer: As far as we understand, the algorithm is based upon machine learning. This is what makes TikTok different, because it uses this AI to determine precisely just how good your video is, and then ranks you on a scale of, oh, this deserves tens of views to tens of millions of views. It’s not too dissimilar from other algorithms where, basically, they show your post to a small group of people, and then depending on how they respond to it, it will then be shared with even more of your followers, except instead of your followers, TikTok is just like, “Oh, this video will be seen by everyone, and you’ll get 100 million views, or 15,000 views, or 1.5 million views.”

Alex Mills: Well, when you’re scrolling through Instagram and you see a post from someone that you’re not following, it’ll say, “Shown to you because it’s similar to accounts that you follow.” Right? But I was reading this article from Hootsuite, and they were talking about TikTok and said that TikTok revolves less around people you follow and more around introducing users to new content. It’s less about kind of an echo chamber of the types of people you follow because these 13-years-old girls who are following me now don’t follow other coffee influencers. Right? They’re following other 13-years-old girls. It has nothing to do with the type of people they follow. it has everything to do with what the machine said my video was worth.

Brady Shearer: Speaking of 13-years-old girls, this is now the second time that Brady Shearer, the handle, has been stolen by a 13-years-old girl from Texas.

Alex Mills: Wow.

Brady Shearer: First it was Snapchat. Now, Musical.ly/TikTok.

Alex Mills: She beat you to TikTok.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. I have no hope because by the time that I’m going to come across the next social platform, she will have been on it for six to eight months.

Alex Mills: Sure, yeah.

Brady Shearer: So, there’s no hope for me. Problem was, my Snapchat handle, which is BradyShearer1. I don’t use Snapchat anymore. It was also taken on TikTok.

Alex Mills: So, what are you? Brady.Shearer?

Brady Shearer: No, I put in Pro Church Tools because it wasn’t taken.

Alex Mills: Oh, right, right.

Brady Shearer: But now I don’t feel like that’s even good.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: I’m in trouble, man. Come on, Facebook, just do something to make…

Alex Mills: I know, help us…

Brady Shearer: Actually, no. We all hate you, Facebook. No one likes you. How often should you post on TikTok? It’s been recommend to us one to two times per day. The demo is young right now, so people will disparage it. We saw this with Snapchat. You see this with every new social platform. It happened with YouTube, which seems crazy now, but the demo right now on TikTok is going to skew very young. We’re talking teenage young, not young adults, teenagers young. And so, we had someone, again, in our company that was like, “There’s no reason to be on this platform, because it’s only young people, and that will not translate in any way to business success.” Not only is it just young people, it’s just young people trying to get jokes off. So, likes doesn’t mean actual true engagement. Just because you get 1.5 million views, that doesn’t mean you’ve actually gained any influence whatsoever, and that is a valid point.

But on the same token, this is how every social media platform begins. It starts with young people, and they want it and like it because it’s only their thing, and then all of the business people come in, and it gains maturity, and eventually it becomes a viable business model. We saw it with Facebook. We saw it with Instagram. We saw it with YouTube. We saw it with Snapchat, until Facebook came in and copied it. Getting in early is always a wise move to understand a platform and to kind of just grab up that prime real estate. Let’s use Alex Wilson as an example. Alex starts Insta Church, and he’s on Instagram, and Instagram is a highly-saturated platform, and it’s kind of hard to gain traction. It takes a lot of work and a little bit of luck, and especially good timing.

The timing isn’t as great now because the platform is so saturated. He’s trying to do that same thing on YouTube, and it’s even more saturated than Instagram, even more mature at this point. Then he goes on TikTok, and what he’s doing, no one else is doing because he just got there before everyone else. He gets up some of that real estate, and who knows? In three years, he might be one of the top five Christian influencers on TikTok because he got in there early, and that timing was great. With social nowadays, it’s not necessarily if your content is good. It needs to be good, but you also need to have some luck and some timing. There are people that probably have much better content than you if you have any type of success, but the timing just wasn’t as good. A huge part of our success was that. We just were here seven years ago, and now it’s seven years later.

Alex Mills: Good thing our content has improved.

Brady Shearer: Well… TikTok is prime real estate right now.

Alex Mills: Yeah, sure is.

Brady Shearer: People will disparage it, people will make fun of it, and there’s no guarantee that it ever parlays into some type of action or influence that your church truly values, but it’s kind of like every new social platform is like this lottery ticket. If you don’t have one, you can’t actually win, but it’s a really good odds lottery ticket, like way better than an actual real lottery ticket.

Alex Mills: Yeah, but I think this is unique for churches because for someone like me, I’ve been wrestling with the same question, right? Some video gets some traction on TikTok, but for me, it’s like, 12-years-old girls aren’t drinking coffee, and I’m not going to have an opportunity to sell them a how to home brew handbook, or a T-shirt, or whatever. So, who am I talking to on TikTok? But for churches, and I’ve learned this from Alex Wilson and his success on TikTok…

Brady Shearer: Absolutely.

Alex Mills: It’s like, it doesn’t really matter if they’re ever going to come to your church because they’re hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, right? That’s kind of all we need, is a hearing ear. We don’t need a butt in a seat. We need to seize the 167, those hours that we aren’t at church, and for Alex Wilson, over 1.5 million views, 1.5 million people have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ because he got to TikTok. For churches, it’s okay if we don’t convert them into paying customers, because we don’t have paying customers. We just have people who we think need to hear the story that we’re telling.

Brady Shearer: If you’re a church, unlike Alex’s audience or Pro Church Nation, your audience includes 13-years-old girls.

Alex Mills: Well, exactly. In church, how many times do we have the conversation, like, how are we going to reach the next generation? Well, we know where the next generation is. They’re on TikTok. We know what they’re doing. They’re just watching mindless videos. Let’s get there and put a phone in the hand of your youth pastor, who is a goofball, anyways, right?

Brady Shearer: Exactly.

Alex Mills: Who may be on TikTok already, but if they’re not, once they got on, they’re going to be like, “This is the platform designed for me. I just get to be a lunatic on here.” Get them to make funny videos, and that’s the kind of content that’s resonating with kids on TikTok right now. This is the perfect landscape for church youth ministries in 2019.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. Youth are mostly on Snapchat and TikTok. I think most churches would perceive TikTok as a much preferable alternative, because as far as I understand, everything is public. There’s no private messages that are disappearing and make it kind of sketchy for your senior leadership to be on, because we don’t want to have any type of perceived in proprietary that’s happening. We can’t trace anything, which makes it suspect… None of that’s there. You get to, again, kind of like with YouTube, we’ve talked about the best student ministry strategy for YouTube is just to get your kids to make the videos for you. Get them to make the videos for you. Oh, also, all the videos, you don’t have to come up with ideas. They’re all there. Do you know how many yes, no videos you could do about fun youth ministry things?

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: It’s already done for you. You don’t have to come up with any ideas, just bandwagon on the stuff that’s already working right now.

Alex Mills: Oh, man.

Brady Shearer: Churches love that stuff. We all just copy the other church down the road. Now it’s actually a good strategy.

Alex Mills: Can you imagine having a youth night where all your kids bring their phones, and it’s a competition, a TikTok competition to get them to create some sort of… You choose a post archetype, create some sort of content, and then all those posts get posted from the church page. One of them goes viral. Your kids are addicted to sharing the good news of Jesus on TikTok.

Brady Shearer: We didn’t understand TikTok at the beginning of this episode.

Alex Mills: I understand it so well now.

Brady Shearer: And now we understand it. We just did it.

Alex Mills: Yeah. We can’t post this episode, because we just unlocked it.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. We need to keep that for ourselves. It’s not safe to hang a note to everybody. Another final thing you should know before we… We’ll give you a resource if you want to learn more about TikTok, is that TikTok is driving the music charts. Old Town Road, Lil Nas X, song of the summer, the longest-running number one single in Billboard’s history, to quote Lil Nas X, “I promoted the song as a meme for months until it caught on to TikTok, and it became way bigger.”

Alex Mills: The song was a meme.

Brady Shearer: Before it was ever on the charts, and I heard it, it was just a meme on Musical.ly or on TikTok, and people were making funny videos because it was such a fun and unique song. Now, this is an aside, but we need to get this on the record. New Music Friday came on Spotify. I went into it, and I heard this song, and I declared on the day of… What did I declare, Alex? Tell everyone.

Alex Mills: You declared that Old Town Road would be the song of the summer.

Brady Shearer: And everyone laughed.

Alex Mills: I thought it was, A, too early, and B, I thought the song sucked, which I still stand by. But, you were right. Song of the summer.

Brady Shearer: You were wrong on both occasions.

Alex Mills: Not only song of the summer, song of the Billboard, ever.

Brady Shearer: Yeah, song of the life.

Alex Mills: Yeah, yeah. It started as a joke on TikTok, and now his life has been changed forever.

Brady Shearer: Absolutely.

Alex Mills: But it’s something that all of us can relate to. We’ve all heard that song, right? It just started on this weird little app.

Brady Shearer: And so, if you think, it’s only for young people, young folks drive culture, whether you like it or not. The most popular song in the world was driven by young people on their dumb meme video app that I love and is addictive, and I want to understand more.

Alex Mills: Yes. So, keep your eyes out for some hot meme content coming from Pro Church Tools.

Brady Shearer: I have zero followers. Oh, no, Alex followed me.

Alex Mills: Or @brady.shearer123.

Brady Shearer: They won’t let me change my username right now.

Alex Mills: Oh, okay.

Brady Shearer: [crosstalk 00:27:31] once every 30 days, but I’ve opened it like three days ago. So, @ProChurchTools on TikTok. Please follow me. I have no friends. If you want to learn more about TikTok and how brands are using it and how your church can, as well, great resource is theforyoupage.com. We mentioned Matt Schlicht, I think, is how you pronounce is last name. He’s the founder of a company, but he’s creating content and sharing everything he’s learning about TikTok as he goes along, and he’s using it for his brand, and we can learn how to use it for our churches, as well. This is one of the few times where there’s a social platform that Pro Church Nation will find more value in than I will.

Alex Mills: Sure.

Brady Shearer: Because usually, Facebook makes more sense for Pro Church Tools than an individual church because we’re reaching them a worldwide audience where a church is more local, but we don’t have really young kids in our audience, whereas your church does. The time to strike is now.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: You will not understand anything that’s happening.

Alex Mills: It’s okay.

Brady Shearer: That’s how it works.

Alex Mills: Get your username now.

Brady Shearer: You’ll figure it out.

Alex Mills: Go do it.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. Don’t end up like me. Don’t have a 13-years-old girl steal your church’s handle on TikTok. That’ll do for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.

Speaker 2: Amen.

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