Love it or hate it, there’s no getting away from the popularity of social media app, TikTok. Launched in 2016 by Chinese tech company ByteDance, the addictive video-sharing platform boasts more than 1 billion users and a net worth in the region of $USD 50–75 billion. That’s some serious reach for marketers to consider.
But is TikTok right for your business?
If you’re thinking, ‘I’ve enough social media’ or ‘it’s just for teenagers; they’re not my target audience’, then your business could be missing out on a fantastic opportunity for exposure, engagement, and growth.
Read on to find out why a fun and creative TikTok marketing strategy could be just the boost your business needs.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is social media app that allows both amateurs and professionals to create, watch and share short videos on their smartphones.
Originally limited to 15 seconds, videos can now last as long as 10 minutes, which is great news if you’re looking to build up a loyal following and keep your audience engaged for longer.
However, it’s the authenticity and light-hearted nature of the videos that makes TikTok so engaging and addictive. TikTok is primarily a ‘feel-good’ app that makes people feel happy – and who doesn’t want more of that in their lives?
Now available in more than 150 countries, the growing popularity of the platform is nothing short of phenomenal. In 2020, it became the most downloaded non-gaming app in the world, more than doubling its worldwide user base between 2019 and 2021.
And while TikTok is still currently outranked by social media giants, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, its continuing growth and potential makes it a serious rival that no marketer should ignore.
Isn’t TikTok just a fun app for teenagers?
It’s true that the app attracts a younger audience, but the largest demographic of users globally is, in fact, young adult women aged between 18 and 34. Research also shows that TikTok’s user base is starting to age up – over 24% of both male and female users are over the age of 35.
It’s also worth noting that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all started out as ‘young’ platforms, seemingly offering little value to businesses and marketers in the early days.
And let’s not forget, it is still early days for TikTok as the platform is only six years old.
But what makes TikTok stand out is its incredible scope for creativity and exposure. Brands that saw its potential and jumped onboard in the early days are now reaping the rewards.
Is TikTok right for my business?
While TikTok may not be suited for every industry on the planet, there are plenty of brands that are thriving on the platform. Think beauty, fashion, lifestyle, sports, and e-commerce, just for starters.
To give you an idea, the following companies are nailing it by using TikTok to grow their brand awareness and engage with followers in a fun and authentic way:
NBA – the US basketball organisation uses TikTok to promote their lighter, funnier side, with athletes working out to music, answering fan questions, and joking around. It humanises the brand and makes it appear more authentic and likeable. Result: they’ve managed to increase their exposure worldwide and enhance global awareness of US basketball.
Fenty Beauty – rather than just focusing on a big sell, the beauty brand specialises in tutorials, product reviews and launches. How-to videos are increasing in popularity and can be adapted to a whole range of brands, not solely health and beauty. Just think about the myriad ways customers could use your products and services. Don’t just tell them – show them.
Chipotle – the American casual dining chain wanted to engage with customers on a personal level, so it began producing content with a down-to-earth, casual vibe. Since joining the platform in 2018, Chipotle has built up a loyal community by sharing fun, light-hearted behind-the-scenes footage, setting up brand hashtag challenges to get its audience involved, and posting fans’ own content, such as Chipotle recipe sharing and menu hacks.
Before you start looking at TikTok for business, it’s important to establish what you want to achieve from the platform. Used the right way, TikTok could help:
- Grow your brand awareness
- Show your authenticity
- Further your reach, both locally and globally
- Engage with, and educate your target audience
- Build and nurture relationships
- Find potential customers and employees
Once you’ve determined your business goals, it’s time to get creative…
How do I use TikTok for marketing?
User engagement is far higher on TikTok than any other social media platform, so it’s crucial to plan your marketing strategy carefully, using relevant, high-quality content that the TikTok algorithm will pick up on and promote across the platform.
There are four main ways to successfully market on TikTok:
- Start a branded channel – experiment with different types of formats, follow relevant and trending hashtags and build your brand authority with relatable content that appeals to your target audience.
- Start a hashtag challenge – one of the most popular marketing tactics on TikTok, setting your target audience a simple, fun challenge is a great way to get them involved and engaged. It’s also one of the quickest ways to organically boost your brand awareness.
- Find an influencer – influencers are big business on TikTok. And thanks to the platform’s Creator Marketplace, it’s easy to find a niche influencer who shares a similar audience and suits your brand.
- TikTok advertising – TikTok paid advertising starts at just $USD 50 per day, and offers choice of formats such as in-feed ads, top views, branded effects, and brand takeovers.
Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, TikTok allows you the creative freedom to experiment. It’s an opportunity to move away from traditional advertising formats and enjoy a more light-hearted approach to marketing your business.