Social Media

Using TikTok And Reels To Inspire Creativity

I have made it a point to try out different approaches in the classroom in my never-ending quest to equip my pupils with the relevant, marketable skills they’ll need to thrive in today’s competitive job market. This is especially true in the ever-evolving and ever-changing social media market.

Whenever I teach a unit on social media, I always include the same set of homework (ex. personal brand assignment, strategic plan, etc). But, I always allow one assignment, which I call “Let’s see how this works,” to count for a portion of the final mark in the class. For a local firm, this task has moved from creating a Foursquare strategic brief (wow, I feel old just writing that!) to creating a Snapchat filter or geolocation filter.

This task came along fortunately by chance. The idea originated in my lesson from last year, where we used a product to make videos for the video sharing platform TikTok (last year was M&Ms). I limited the students’ time for content creation, stressing the importance of quick thinking, flexibility, and originality. Picture a social media version of “Chopped” on the Food Network. To create content for this brand, the students had to think on their feet without any prior information about the company.

What’s the deal with these particular labels?

One, I warned the class that neither brand was established in or very well-known in Louisville (yet!). This would prevent them from doing any extensive background study in advance. The pupils got some hints from me about the brands, but not too much. In reality, I hid references to both companies like easter eggs throughout the material we covered in class, but I never said one of them was the main emphasis.

Second, they’re both young companies looking to expand their customer bases. I think more people should be aware of both businesses because of how well they have been marketed, branded, and represented here.

I’ll give you a high-level picture of the project I assigned my class below:

  • You will be able to plan and produce this material about Louisville during class time.
  • You have two options: 1) solo work, or 2) pairing up.
  • Ideas for promoting the company in Louisville need to be discussed.
  • Create this group content on any platform you choose (TikTok or Reels)
  • You are free to make brand-related material, but posting it to your social media profiles is optional (you can create a mockup video instead)
  • Each student should produce a one-page brief that details the following: 1) an overview of the brand product; 2) the industry in which the brand operates; 3) the content’s goal; 4) the content’s creative strategy; 5) a storyboard of the content idea for TikTok / Reels; 6) the completed piece; 7) the content’s evaluation and key performance indicators; and 8) three social media takeaways.

Just what conclusions can you draw from this? Some key insights I gained from examining their material are as follows.

Several students and groups devised various strategies for completing the assignment.

It was fascinating to watch how different students and groups tackled the same assignment in their own unique ways.

I also contributed content creation for these companies.

As the old adage goes, “you get what you give,” so I made sure to implement the same standards I was teaching my pupils.

Let students to submit their work in either TikTok or Reels.

The content of their personal channels is of great importance to them, and as such, students should be given the opportunity to choose. Perhaps as a parody video if they’d rather not publish it themselves.

Choose companies or goods that will get students enthused.

Professors, I believe, would do well to take note and listen in order to learn which companies students are most enthusiastic about and for which they would be willing to provide high-quality, brand-appropriate content.

It was helpful to let students pick which outcomes to concentrate on. I loved that the kids could pick their own topic of study on the brand they were most interested in.

Making room for originality is essential while completing tasks.

When I asked my pupils how they felt about the project, several of them replied it was something they were looking forward to doing. If you are an educator or working professional, consider this: how often have you heard students (or an entire class) express enthusiasm for a project and a desire to contribute original work? Naturally, we have to hand out assignments that align with our learning objectives and the program’s expectations, but we may also do it in a way that allows and supports students’ creativity. There’s a dire need for more work like this in our industry.