Plan and Schedule TikToks in Advance

TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021. It now has more than one billion users.

Domain & Hosting bundle deals!

Did any of us at Buffer predict such a rapid rise when TikTok first landed on our radar?

For fun, I did a quick search of our Slack archives to see if I could find out. The first mention of TikTok was by Ash Read, our former Head of Content, in August of 2018. TikTok had just acquired as an entry point into the U.S. market.

A screenshot of the first mention of TikTok in our marketing Slack channel.
A screenshot of the first mention of TikTok in our marketing Slack channel.

The next mention was in November 2018, when another former teammate of mine, Alfred Lua, was working on a blog post about the 21 Top Social Media Sites to Consider for Your Brand. At that point, TikTok was number ten on the list with 500 million monthly active users, just behind Tumblr and just ahead of Twitter.

A screenshot of the next mention of TikTok, a couple of months later.
A screenshot of the next mention of TikTok, a couple of months later.
A screenshot of the response to whether anyone was using TikTok.
The only response to whether anyone was using TikTok.

Fast forward back to today and TikTok is nipping at the heels of incumbent platforms like Facebook and Instagram and has grown in a way that I would never have imagined. It’s also now the most visited domain on the internet, ending Google’s fifteen-year reign.

It doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. With the rise of short-form videos, powerful creator tools, and features that drive virality inside and outside of the platform, TikTok achieved more than forty percent growth last year.

It’s not only content creators and influencers that are sharing TikToks every day. Businesses of all kinds are taking advantage of TikTok’s capacity to deliver a vast amount of organic reach in a short space of time. With the right plan and creative execution, there are opportunities abound to build a massive audience (without the need for a massive budget).

I’ve been learning this first hand from Buffer customers, thanks to a steady stream of feature requests, asking for an integration with TikTok. And, of course, it makes sense. Like every other social platform, you get the best results if you plan your content ahead of time and post consistently.

A few of the feature requests we've received for TikTok scheduling.
A few of the feature requests we’ve received for TikTok scheduling.

People were so keen for us to integrate with TikTok, they even started sharing product mockups to inspire our designers.

A customer mock-up of the channel connection screen in Buffer, including TikTok.
A “mock-up” that was sent to us by a customer.

So, we started thinking. What is the fastest and most valuable way that we can help marketers plan and schedule their TikTok videos, today?

Using reminders to help with TikTok planning

Two of our product principles are to keep things simple and to add value incrementally (we don’t wait to add everything at once).

With that in mind, we looked at how we currently support Instagram Stories scheduling. Perhaps we could replicate a similar workflow.

The way it works is:

  1. You upload your video content to Buffer.
  2. Then choose a date and time you’d like to publish the post.
  3. When that time comes, Buffer sends a reminder notification to your phone, with everything ready for you to finish the post in the app.

This “reminder” workflow is already very familiar for social media marketers and in the graph below you can see how it has grown in popularity among our customers. About 19,000 Instagram Story reminders are created and scheduled through Buffer every month.

A graph showing Instagram Story Reminders trending upwards
Instagram Story Reminders have been trending upwards

Given the success of Instagram Story reminders, creating something similar seemed like a natural first foray into the world of TikTok.

Moving fast with mobile

TikTok is a mobile-first platform, with the vast majority of content coming straight from the creator’s phone. So when it comes to scheduling, we decided to build TikTok Reminders into our mobile apps, to begin with. We considered adding to our web platform too, but in the spirit of building quickly and adding value incrementally, we’re excited to release it on mobile and then add it to web once we have more feedback and advice from our customers.

Andy, one of our iOS engineers, was able to whip up the first prototype in less than two hours.

A screenshot of the conversation between Andy and Julia, after Andy had built the first prototype.
Julia, one of our customer advocates, was excited to see the prototype!

From there, we fleshed out the prototype over the course of about a month, tested the finished product internally, and submitted it to the Apple app store and Google Play store for review.

How TikTok Reminders work

With Buffer’s mobile app you can plan and schedule your TikTok videos in advance, alongside the rest of your social content. It’s pretty simple; upload your video, add a caption, and schedule a posting time. When the time comes, we’ll send you a notification to publish the video on TikTok.

Step 1: Load your TikTok content into Buffer.

Select TikTok under the Reminders section of the navigation panel. From there you can create your TikTok post by adding media and a caption.

Screenshot of the navigation drawer of the Buffer mobile app.
TikTok Reminders are now in the navigation drawer of the Buffer mobile app
Screenshot of adding media and a caption to the post in Buffer.
Add your media and your caption to the post in Buffer.

Step 2: Schedule a time to post to TikTok.

Choose the date and time to receive a reminder to post.

Screenshot of choosing a date and time to get a reminder notification.
Choose a date and time to get a reminder notification.

Step 3: Finish the post in TikTok.

When it’s time to post your TikTok, Buffer will send you a push notification that will guide you to the TikTok app to publish your content.

Screenshot of the final step before finishing the post in TikTok.
Buffer will prepare the post and prompt you to open TikTok to finish the post.

Getting started with TikTok

TikTok can be a little daunting if you’re not familiar with the platform. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a great dancer or video genius to kickstart your TikTok presence. I’ve compiled some of my favorite TikTok marketing resources below. I hope you find them useful!

  1. TikTok Creative Playbook for Small Businesses [PDF] – TikTok
  2. Small Wins: How small businesses are unlocking the magic of TikTok – TikTok
  3. 41 TikTok Video Ideas For Small Businesses – Lightricks
  4. How to Use TikTok Marketing to Make Your Business Go Viral [Youtube Video] – Shopify
  5. A Guide to TikTok for Ecommerce Businesses – ReferralCandy

We’d love your feedback

TikTok is a new area for Buffer and we’d love to understand more about how we can help you save time and grow your TikTok presence. Would you like to schedule reminders through our web dashboard, too? Are we missing anything from our mobile app? What sort of advice and resources would you like to see from us?

Let us know by sending us a tweet @buffer or by dropping us a note (or mockup!) using our feature request form.

You May Also Like