TikTok Marketing Is Hard Work

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Marketing a brand on TikTok is harder than it appears. Hours of video footage could result in mere minutes of useful content. Editing is tedious and time-consuming. Ryan Magin, the founder of Viral Edits, an agency, knows the difficulties firsthand.

He told me, “I got started making videos about BMX training and selling DVDs out of my backpack. I put my face on camera. I understand what it’s like to get destroyed in the re-action, to have insecurity.”

Magin’s experience includes a YouTube channel that focused on men’s fashion. From there, colleagues and friends asked him for video assistance. That gave rise to Viral Edits, which he launched roughly two years ago to produce mainly TikTok and Instagram videos for companies and influencers.

He explained in our recent conversion the challenges of repurposing video, hiring skilled editors, software tools, and more.

Our entire audio interview is embedded below in the comments section. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.

Eric Bandholz: Tell us about Viral Edits.

Ryan Magin: We’re a digital marketing agency focusing on videos. We launched a couple of years ago, just before the pandemic. We went from zero revenue to half a million dollars in the first year. We work with brands and influencers on, mainly, TikTok and Instagram, improving their video presence.

Bandholz: A bit of disclosure for our listeners. Beardbrand’s been working with you for about a year. You manage and produce our TikTok account.

Magin: We work with a lot of brands. I prefer working with companies such as Beardbrand that have a constant stream of content coming in. You’re doing multiple videos on YouTube every week. You understand good content.

There’s a misconception that TikTok is easy and of lower quality. I disagree. It requires quality cameras, good filming, good setups — versus just using a phone. It’s a lot of work.

Beardbrand has a mountain of content on YouTube. We find the gems and repurpose them. We film directly for clients, too.

For repurposes, we have two people working on accounts simultaneously. One is watching videos; the other is editing. It’s a streamlined system. It’s been fun.

Bandholz: I love your help-wanted job description: “Come work at my company and watch YouTube all day.”

Magin: It’s a difficult position to fill. I’m trying to hire somebody that understands videos and marketing, but all she’s doing is watching YouTube videos. It’s mind-numbing. If you don’t stay attentive, you’re going to miss the 3-second clip that we’re looking for to build our video around.

That’s the secret. We find the most polarizing thing done or said in a video. Normal video editors can’t do that. Most people can’t watch a video from a marketing perspective and realize, “That’s the hook.”

We’ve streamlined the whole thing. Two of us do most of the time stamping. There are a lot of legalities. If we post the wrong thing or take something out of context, it could negatively tarnish the brand.

Bandholz: How do you pay your video editors?

Magin: We’ve tested a few approaches. It’s typically a base salary for a number of monthly videos. Every editor starts with two clients. Each client represents about 25 fresh videos a month and five reposts. We do reposts because a video that pops one time will pop many more times.

So the average editor does around 50 videos a month. Most of our edits take about an hour each. Most people don’t realize how time-consuming it can be. I’ve edited videos for six hours each that are 30 seconds long.

Our base salary starts at $1,200 per month for about 50 videos. We scale up the pay and incentives from there. If you’re doing 100-150 videos a month, you’re full-time, and it’s based more on performance. Editors receive a $100 bonus for every video that receives 1 million views.

However, we’re constantly testing incentives, performance, and pay.

Bandholz: You’re doing what no other agency does. You’re watching the content, understanding it.

Magin: Most agency owners have never been in a video. I have. I got started making videos about BMX training and selling DVDs out of my backpack. I put my face on camera. I understand what it’s like to get destroyed in the re-action, to have insecurity.

Bandholz: How do you make sure clients are a good fit and will see success on TikTok?

Magin: At the end of the day, we focus on what we can control. We want every video to be successful. We’ll ask ourselves, “Is this the best video we can produce with what we were given?” We especially like working with clients who have big followings on YouTube, say 250,000 followers.

TikTok is hard to monetize. It’s the Wild West. TikTok delivers massive exposure, however. So I tell potential clients, “You’re probably not going to make much money on TikTok. But if you want to grow fast and get a lot of exposure from people who care about your brand, then TikTok’s for you.”

But I can’t guarantee an ROI. So I try to be upfront and say, “Let me grow your company as fast as possible, and then worry about the money later.”

So I look for the clients that are not in it for quick profit. They want longevity, brand exposure.

Bandholz: Let’s talk about software. What do you use to edit?

Magin: I use ScreenFlow, a screen recording software for Mac. They have a PC version called Camtasia. When I started, with no employees, I used Adobe Premiere Pro. I had ScreenFlow for screen captures.

Then I started using it for editing because Premiere would crash once or twice during the day. I’d get the spinning wheel of death on my computer because I was maxing out the storage.

So I deleted Premiere from my computer and started using ScreenFlow for edits. It’s less bulky. It strips everything down to the basics. You can’t have anything fancy on TikTok, anyway, because it’s too fast.

I don’t care what employees use — the big three are Final Cut, Premiere, and DaVinci. But if you want to get faster, use ScreenFlow.

Bandholz: How can people reach out to you?

Magin: Instagram is best — @ryanmagin. I love talking on the DMs there. On TikTok, it’s @ryan.magin.

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