One of the newest but fastest-growing social media platforms, TikTok is a video app which offers users the chance to use stickers, filters and augmented reality to create and share short videos with their networks.
Originally a popular app called Musical.ly, which hosted predominantly lip-sync videos, the app changed and adapted to appeal to a wider audience and now offers the chance to create and share videos across almost any subject. TikTok videos are up to 15 seconds long but there is the option to create longer 60-second Stories-type videos for those with more to say.
Why should this be of any interest to marketers?
Well, TikTok’s popularity has risen at an impressive rate. It was downloaded more than 660 million times in 2018, and there were 188 million downloads in the first quarter of 2019 alone.
TikTok is currently used in 154 countries and has around 500 million active users and has consistently been in the top 10 downloaded apps in the App Store throughout the year. What this means to you, as a marketer or brand, is that there is a huge, untapped audience available, which most marketers haven’t yet attempted to break into.
Who uses TikTok?
Another reason that TikTok is a fantastic place to advertise is that it is mainly used by young people, a key demographic for sales across a huge variety of industries. 66% of the app’s users are under 30, and over half are female, a coveted demographic who tend to be more motivated to buy, and who are likely to remain loyal to brands.
This same age range is why now is the best time for businesses and brands to think about marketing to TikTok users – most business managers and marketers over 30 have never even heard of it.
The user experience
The TikTok app features two side-by-side feeds, with a main feed on the right which boasts a stream of constantly updating content tailored to the user (similar to Instagram’s browse page). Users can swipe through this feed and follow accounts or engage with individual posts as they see fit.
The feed on the left of the screen just shows posts from accounts that the user has already chosen to follow. Until a user starts engaging with content, their main feed will be totally random, and their preferences will be saved and updated as they use the app more.
How can brands use TikTok?
There are a variety of ways in which brands can use TikTok to engage with and get noticed by their chosen audiences, and it is preferable to use a combination of these for best effect.
The combination you use is entirely up to you and your business, although it is best that you have your own TikTok channel and updated content as a jumping-off point.
Whilst it is a great idea to have your own channel with your own advertising content and interesting videos to draw people in, one of the most successful and simple-to-engineer tactics you can employ is user-generated content.
Younger people are less happy to take a backseat when it comes to entertainment, preferring an immersive experience that allows them to have their input and enjoy a more active experience. Find a way to allow users to get involved in your marketing campaign, perhaps with a sticker or filter that they can put in their own videos, or a competition that requires them to share videos of themselves interacting with your products in some way.
A classic and yet still always popular method of marketing on social media is the hashtag, and TikTok has a really comprehensive and useable hashtag system. Each video caption must be less than 140 characters, though, including the caption for the video and any hashtags.
When adding hashtags, newer brands would do well to find niche hashtags that will allow it to be found by the right people amongst all of the videos on the site. Once your popularity rises, you can use more popular hashtags and still appear in the news feed.
Another popular idea is a hashtag competition. Popular on Twitter and Instagram, encouraging users to tag videos with your specific hashtag in the hopes of winning a prize can very quickly raise your visibility.
The age of the influencer is still very much upon us, and so it is a great idea to bring an influencer in on your marketing campaign. Influencers offer access to their fanbase, which will often be vast, and they know how to create content that their audiences like, so that you don’t have to worry about how to appeal to followers.
You need to choose the right influencer for your product – one who might use your product anyway and whose audience is your ideal demographic – and then approach them with certain goals and targets in mind to see how they can help.
Trust your chosen influencer to market to their followers successfully. Although the low-production value of these videos might not make sense to larger businesses, there is a reason that an influencer is able to command so much attention and respect from their fans.
How to create great content for TikTok
Look at current trends
Whilst TikTok started out with lip-syncing and still has a vast range of videos dedicated to this practice, there are lots of other types of videos on the site now, and the current trend seems to be for users to create sarcastic or funny tributes to popular songs to amuse their followers. Looking around the site to see what other users are posting can help you to identify and capitalise on current trends.
Have a plot twist
One of the things which makes a TikTok video memorable and gives it high shareability is when it features a plot twist at the end. Not only does this shock and entertain the user, but they then want to go and look at it again with a fresh perspective, and then do so again to share with friends and see their reactions. This is a simple but very effective trick that could help your videos to go viral.
Create unique audio
Once you have created audio on TikTok, you get attribution for that sound for all time. Other users can reuse your audio clips and this will redirect people to your account. Not only does this mean that a great sound effect could give you a spike in viewers early on, but you could see benefits from it weeks or even months later.
TikTok is a prime example of a generation app, those below the age of 30 use it all the time, and those above that age have probably never heard of it. This means that savvy marketing managers who are targeting the younger generation have an advantage over their older and less aware contemporaries. So, if you are in the latter category now maybe the time to investigate this incredibly popular communication channel and see what it has to offer your brand.
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Posted on Monday, October 7th, 2019 in Social Media.