At this point, you’ve probably heard of TikTok. Even if you haven’t caved and downloaded the app, you’ve probably seen a TikTok video gone viral on your favorite social news feed or heard a coworker talk about the hours they wasted scrolling through videos last night. “It’s just so addicting!”
For those who don't know, TikTok is a social media video app that gives users all the tools to create and share short and entertaining video content. The app came to life back in 2017 when a Chinese IT company, ByteDance, acquired a (not so well-known) social media app, Musical.ly, which was then transformed into what we now know as TikTok.
A year later, TikTok started to gain traction among younger generations (specifically Gen Z), but it wasn’t until last year that app downloads skyrocketed and social media marketers began asking: “Could TikTok really be the next big thing?”
It's clear now, the app is here to stay.
TikTok installs are up 96% year-over-year, with the COVID-19 outbreak seemingly fueling increased adoption as people look to keep themselves entertained while reducing their time spent in public.
Content and Social Media Manager, Social Media Today
People love TikTok. People hate TikTok. Whatever your opinion is, everyone’s talking about it. Naturally, we had to talk about it on #SMTLive.
About 100 social media professionals joined us on Twitter for our weekly #SMTLive Twitter chat to talk about marketing opportunities and strategies for brands on TikTok. We discussed everything from the types of brands that are more likely to find success on this platform to available ad options to content trends and advice. To keep this recap concise, I pulled some of the best tweet responses that answer the following questions:
- Should your brand be on TikTok?
- What marketing and advertising options are available on TikTok?
- How do you fit-in and create engaging content on TikTok?
Here are the highlights and best takeaways from our conversation.
Should your brand be on TikTok?
To answer this question, there are a few questions you first need to ask yourself.
A2:— Nureen Velji (@nureenv) May 5, 2020
Questions to ask:
- does our brand have an audience on TikTok?
- does our brand style align with the style of content people on TikTok expect
- can we get away with being fun, light and casual if needed.#SMTLive
We suggest you begin by asking yourself the following:
- Is your target audience on TikTok?
- Can advertising on TikTok help me meet my goals?
- Will creative and fun video content compliment or harm your brand image?
- Do you have the resources to create and maintain a new social presence?
Just because a social media app is popular doesn't always mean it's the right platform for your brand to create a presence.
Completely agree with this! Yes, there is a big argument to go where the people are. But is the channel in line with your brand? Are you saying anything valuable? If not it may be more damaging than good #SMTLive— IC Thrive (@ICThrive) May 5, 2020
A1 - If it holds any value for our clients. It's hard to imagine promoting services like financial planning and commercial printing on this app... But we're ready to be proven wrong! #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) May 5, 2020
Don’t just jump on TikTok because it’s the “new hot trend” in social media. Make sure to review your goals, conduct research to see if your audience is using the app, and determine if your brand and team have the ability to create the right content for this platform.
Is your target audience on TikTok?
Gen Z, being the majority of active users from the start, is an audience that can be easily targeted here. If your brand targets Gen Z or younger Millennials, TikTok may be a great marketing platform for you.
We are going after young millenials and Gen Z's who are the ones using the platform. We are working with a fun brand so the channel fits their strategic direction. #SMTLive— JP Myler (@jaaypers) May 5, 2020
Similar here in the UK. I run social media for a course comparison website and think TikTok might be an interesting avenue to explore. #SMTLive— Safeera Sarjoo ???????? (@SafeeraSarjoo) May 5, 2020
As other groups have started adopting the ap, other brands with older audiences are starting to consider advertising here too.
Same! I don't have them handy, but I recently saw something that 25-30 or so was the fastest growing demo on TikTok.— Mike Kelley (@MKel26) May 5, 2020
What a great opportunity to reach that audience as they are just learning the platform. #SMTLive
Unfortunately, though, TikTok user stats are hard to find, so it might take some more manual research for these brands to determine if there is a significant portion of their audience actively using the app.
Can advertising on TikTok help me meet my goals?
Never forget to review your marketing goals to see if joining a new social platform is worth your time and resources.
I think that's where setting expectations come into play. This might not be a route to generate revenue, but a great option to build brand awareness and connect with your target audience. #SMTLive— Safeera Sarjoo ???????? (@SafeeraSarjoo) May 5, 2020
For example, if you know your audience is here and you have a goal of building brand awareness, joining TikTok is definitely something to consider.
Will creative and fun video content compliment or harm your brand image?
Inherently creative brands have great opportunities to shine on TikTok.
A2: I think this is where demographics come into play. If you know your audience and you know that your audience enjoys video, this would be a great social media platform. Also, if your brand is a little more creative, open to ideas, and willing to try new things.— Digital Agility Media (@Digital_Agility) May 5, 2020
A6 - I think it's just very authentic. It's hard to recycle content and you have to show some personality or insight as in to who you are (humor, dancing, etc.) #SMTLive— Mike Kelley (@MKel26) May 5, 2020
Do you have the resources to create and maintain a new social presence?
No matter how you approach it, creating content for TikTok will be a time investment. Even if you can check off every box to proving why your brand should be on TikTok, if you don't have the time and resources to create content, engage and maintain a presence, you should reconsider your plans.
So true! Nothing worse than abandoned accounts that were created because the business thought they’d be cool at the time but then didn’t actually have the resources to maintain them ???? #SMTlive— Imaginative Group (@imaginativegrp) May 5, 2020
What marketing and advertising options are available on TikTok?
When it comes to organic marketing on TikTok, you have a myriad of options just as you would on any other platform.
Many brands have built a following and found success organically.
great idea— Jason Bradwell ???? (@JasonRBradwell) May 5, 2020
Especially those that can pair an organic presence with UGC and content collaborations with already established TikTok influencers.
What we've found at @3headedMNSTR is that it's a must especially for a brand. You need a blend of original content built through the platform, curated UGC from brand advocates and finally influencers to drive traffic to your profile/initiatives.— Dante Loquercio (@DanteLoq) May 5, 2020
When it comes to paid advertising, your options are a bit more limited. Hootsuite recently outlined all available ad options on TikTok:
- In-Feed Videos - Ads appear in the native news feed of TikTok on the For You page.
- Brand Takeovers - Ad appears when TikTok users open the app and completely take over the screen for a few seconds before turning into an In-Feed Video ad.
- Hashtag Challenges - Ad appears on the Discovery page. It encourages users to participate in user content creation challenges. These can include a shoppable component for retailers.
- Branded AR Content - Ad appears as branded lenses, stickers, and other 2D/3D/AR content for TikTok users to use in their videos.
- Custom Influencer Packages - Ad appears as part of sponsored content created by a TikTok user with influence in your market.
There are plenty of brands, particularly B2C, finding success using these ad-options to drive clicks and get users to their site.
although it's heavy on app installs, food and fashion brands have used the hyperlink ability to get users into their funnel on their website where remarketing does the rest— Dante Loquercio (@DanteLoq) May 5, 2020
Your re-marketing efforts will be key to making those clicks turn to customers.
Not everyone can get access. For example, individuals and people looking to promote personal websites need to request access and will be put on a waitlist.
How do you fit-in and create engaging content on TikTok?
First and foremost, it's critical that you "get" the TikTok culture and keep up with the trends so that you don't stand out (for the wrong reasons). You need to create content that naturally fits in.
a3.— Jason Bradwell ???? (@JasonRBradwell) May 5, 2020
you have to use the platform
TikTok is unlike other Facebook, Twitter, etc. it has very clear trends that ebb and flow
if you’re not using the platform as an individual to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s in trend, you’ll probably fall flat#smtlive
A3: Nicely said. You gotta know the environment and that includes knowing your competition. #SMTLive— J Fritz PR (@JFritzPR) May 5, 2020
Take your time to understand the app and the content style. Take notes on trends, play around with the video features and create test content before sharing anything live.
Agreed. It comes down to spending time on the platform and understanding the jokes/trends.— Jason Miller (@Jay_Miller_Live) May 5, 2020
Sidebar: I cannot count how many times I have had to look up a slang word that I learned from the platform. #SMTLive
Here are a few great examples of brands who've mastered TikTok:
To recap, we suggest you ask yourself a few questions before joining TikTok. Review your audience, goals, brand image and content creation abilities first. Do the research to see if your audience is here and make sure you're brand is able to create the type of content that resonates with TikTokers.
A2: Look to your audience or target audience!— Jordan McBride (@JordanLMcBride) May 5, 2020
If you're trying to reach Gen Z or younger Millennials, then it could be a good move. BUT, first you should make sure that you're actually prepared to create the kind of content that resonates well on TikTok. #SMTLive
Creativity is key. People look to TikTok for the unique and creative content and, mostly, a good laugh.
Q6- I think people at this time really needed a release. A fun way to pass time with friends/family but also watch. I personally have not laughed that hard on social in a VERY long time. #SMTLive— JP Myler (@jaaypers) May 5, 2020
TikTok allows everyone to be a creator and share their passion and creatively express themselves through videos. It's why Vine was so popular and you see many of those same users killing it on TikTok #SMTLive— Dante Loquercio (@DanteLoq) May 5, 2020
Lastly, if you can make a business case for joining TikTok, make sure to spend enough time on the app to learn content style and trends. You don't want to harm your brand image with "cring-y" content.
ICThrive) May 5, 2020
If you're interested in being part of our next Twitter chat, you can learn more and RSVP here. And for all those of you who want to be a regular participant in these chats, sign up here to join our #SMTLive Tuesday Twitter Chat Club.