TikTok Tips and Trends for Libraries

Last month, I wrote an introduction to how TikTok can be leveraged by libraries to connect with younger audiences. I’ve spent a couple of months making videos on the app now and I’ll admit it was intimidating at first. Despite the initial crisis of confidence, it quickly became clear to me that you can do things on TikTok that just aren’t possible yet on Instagram (or Twitter or Facebook). There are also trends that are visually appealing and plain fun to watch that libraries can use. I’ll start with some basic TikTok tips and move up to some more advanced features.

  1. Captions, captions, captions 

Obviously captions are an accessibility must. Not only do captions help the 5% of people who are hard of hearing, but people just like captions. I know I use them when I’m surreptitiously watching TikToks at work. According to Verizon, 80% of people say that they’re more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available. 

Luckily, TikTok has an auto caption feature which, honestly, is not terrible (they’re WAY better than Instagram’s, in my opinion). They’re not perfect though, but luckily you can go through and edit them line by line to ensure an error-free transcript. Easy peasy.  

  1. The Green Screen

Basically, you can make your video’s backdrop any photo or video without any other equipment besides the app. Take a look at Columbus Library’s hilarious use of the green screen here. You can even “clone” yourself by recording yourself and then using that as a background to a second video with yourself! I’ve used these on our account to make tutorials about how to use the library’s website and it was pretty easy. You can see the green screen in the background as you record, so you can point and comment on it.

Here’s a video to show you how the green screen is done. 

  1. Auto sync

A good TikTok video has to have good music to soundtrack it. But, choosing music can be really hard because you’re not sure what people are going to like. TikTok has this (I think) crazy feature that will automatically sync your videos from your camera roll with sounds that are currently going viral. Because you’re using popular sounds, TikTok’s algorithm is going to favor you and show your video to more people. 

This video will show you how to do it. 

  1. Fun transitions 

These are eye-catching ways to transition from one scene to another in a seemingly seamless way. It looks continuous but an element changes. It’s kind of like a video magic trick. There are so many different types of transitions, but some common ones include the finger snap and the jump. While tricky to master at the start, transitions get easier to make with practice. They’re also wildly popular and a guarantee for higher engagement. 

Here’s an example of a book transition from library TikTok’s MVP, @gvhslibrary. 

  1. Voice effects

You can use voice effects to accomplish a couple of unique things on TikTok. The simplest and easiest effect is to add the voice change filter. This basically allows you to alter the sound effects of your voice. There are lots of options, including “Chipmunk” and “Baritone.” You can also do voice over in order to narrate your videos. You can use your own voice or, again, add a voice change. 

It’s also possible to overlay another video’s audio onto yours and do a lip sync. These are very popular. I’ve never done it, so if any of you readers have any words of advice, please let me know.

As always, let me know if you have any questions/suggestions/insights!!

Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash.


Melissa Grasso lives in Boston and is in her second year at Simmons University. She works as a library assistant where she specializes in course reserves, copy cataloging, and social media management.You can find her on Twitter @grassbro or LinkedIn.

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