Is it a meager replacement for Vine, whose disappearance left a hole in our hearts? Is it basically Musical.ly? How did this app suddenly become one of the largest apps in the world, and how can I take advantage of it? How can I leverage it for social media marketing? The explosive growth of Tik Tok has spawned hundreds of questions, but there is only one thing for certain. If you are not optimizing your social media marketing for this next social media giant, you are going to sorely regret it.
TikTok the lip-syncing mobile app is disrupting social media platforms and going viral! And if your leveraging social media for your business just like we do, pay attention. If you don’t know by now TikTok, a Chinese social media app known as Douyin (抖音) allow users to create and share 3-15 second music videos and 3-40 second looped videos has taken the world by a storm with over 1.6 billion downloads worldwide through the App Store and Google and has surpassed social media giant Instagram by 200 million downloads.
Created by BYTEdance originally named “Douyin” loosely translated to “Shaking Sound” was launched in China in September 2016 then rebranded to the west under the name “Tiktok” transcended cultures and borders from east to west going viral first to India then spreading to the west…
As the only app in the “Top 5 Downloaded Apps” section that isn’t owned by Facebook, it’s not surprising that TikTok is seen as both a wonder and a potential threat. But what makes TikTok different from your average social media application that fosters content and personalized profiles, such as Instagram or Pinterest?
Why should companies consider TikTok for social media marketing, and how should companies go about operating their TikTok accounts for the most coverage? While this guide is not a video with the latest memes or dance craze, we intend to cover all these important questions extensively so you have a better grasp of TikTok’s meteoric rise and potential.
What Is TikTok?
A match made in heaven back in the summer of 2014 two best friends in china named Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang launched Musical.ly fast forward to 2017 Bytdance acquired Musical.ly and merged it with chinas hottest new app “Douyin” a couple of years later. The Tiktok app has a user interface much like Instagram but all video formats which allow users to create accounts and hashtag content much like Instagram. It’s like some magical hybrid of Instagram/vine and Snapchat combined but what makes it truly unique is the option to create videos with or without filters soundtracked by major artists or movie tracks, simple speech or lip-synced choreographed dance looped videos.
The 15 to 40-second limit seems to fit well with the dwindling attention span social media has adapted us to. Nonetheless, brands, influencers, and artists are all over Tiktok with hashtag challenges, behind the scenes short takes, rants, hilarious clips and some highlighting some downright awesome talent. With over 500 million active monthly users it is easy to see why social media agencies are all over the app!
Where else can you accumulate 1200 views within an hour and by the end of the day millions? Well, television and movies are just about where you can find that kind of marketing. Tiktok also offers paid ads as well and as the app becomes more and more popular brands, business even freelancers will be leveraging content because simply it’s fun! As of 2019, Tiktok became the fourth most downloaded non-game app, and quickly rising to the biggest social media platforms.
Well, Tiktok filled the void of 200 million vine users when they shut down 2016 and the once quirky app grew exponentially proving its popularity and it seems there is no stopping them. With so many users on Tiktok and its steady climb, social media marketers are wondering if and how to leverage such a large audience for social media advertising. While its growth is impressive and audience relatively small in comparison to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest most in the industry are cautious about expending efforts following the fickleness of apps such as Snapchat which has been in decline.
But with so much obsession over TikTok and no end in sight how can you Leverage TikTok for Social Media Marketing? Well, we put together a guide for you on how we see you can leverage and implement TikTok into our social media strategy.
What’s the Difference?
The main difference between TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest is the format of content produced on these platforms—TikTok produces viral videos that feature lip-syncs and challenges, while Instagram users primarily post photos for their profile, and Pinterest allows users to collect pieces of related content and access them in one centralized area. Demographic-wise, TikTok and Instagram attract more from the 18 to 25-year-old crowd whereas Pinterest has a more spread out demographic with at least 30% of its users older than 30-years-old.
On top of this, while every social media app requires aesthetically pleasing visuals to attract an audience, not every application is built the same marketing-wise—Instagram influencers develop content that has a more “in the now feel,” but those on Pinterest who want to build a following need to serve as a reference point for users, cultivating posts with links to helpful resources and strong keywords. In short, between Instagram and Pinterest, the most essential difference in their use is Instagram is more centered on users producing content specific to their profile and building a personal brand for their audience while Pinterest is more akin to building resources that inspire and provide information for users who plan on undertaking future projects and trips.
In comparison to Instagram and Pinterest, TikTok’s main focus is short video clips up to 1-minute long. The application also provides filters and effects so users can also create their videos as well, giving more power to the users to produce their content with built-in features. Commonly explained as a mash-up of Snapchat and the now-defunct Vine, TikTok uses artificial intelligence to identify content users prefer to see as well as content users would rather not view.
Considering TikTok’s particular features, how does it fit into the realm of social media marketing? While TikTok has a steadily growing base of A-listers since its release in 2016, many do not have the same clout and exposure as more established content creators such as YouTubers given TikTok’s relatively young age.
Does this disqualify TikTok from becoming a potential social media marketing tool? And if companies are interested in investing in the current trends and starting their own TikTok, how should they go about doing this?
Who Uses TikTok?
It seems as just about everyone is using Tiktok now from teens to celebs to corporations to small business all the way up to corporations and its popularity is growing like wildfire and brands are capitalizing on it is remarkable success. This is the platform to market “Gen Z” with over 66% of its users under the age of 30 according to Sensor Tower but that stat is changing quickly crossing over to all age groups and mommy bloggers now that’s some great parenting!
How do you promote on TikTok?
At Social Motto, we have a saying “Post With A Purpose”. Before you do anything you want to study the platform, search what related businesses are doing and what type of video content they are creating and what type of hashtag challenges they are doing (I’ll get more into this in a bit). Tiktok is all about fun and creating visually enticing videos so take a look at the trending videos for inspiration get creative and know your audience, just because most users are the ages of 16–24 according to last year’s report from GlobalWebIndex that is changing rapidly. While you could get wild and wacky it may not be on-brand so highlight what you do best, make it interesting, keep it real and authentic and engage but don’t treat it as a sales pitch there are other social media platforms to use for that such as Linkedin.
TikTok’s Strong Points
Despite its age, TikTok has not only many appealing features that attract a base of content creators but also has many strong points going for them when it comes to social media marketing. We list the top three points that make TikTok the next social media marketing venture to invest in:
1. Foster a Future Customer Base
While TikTok has been espoused as an app for a younger generation—millennials and those born in Generation Z—their potential consumer power shouldn’t be dismissed; given the fact that these app users will eventually grow to become the future consumer base, it would be a grievous mistake to underestimate the marketing potential of TikTok just based off its cringe compilations and meme-y materials.
One of TikTok’s pros is its diversity. Due to TikTok’s system of artificial intelligence that chooses what users see and don’t see, it’s very easy for a viewer of TikTok to wind up watching a variety of content for the same topic or trend. Video creators and viewers from all fandoms, lifestyles, and hobbies are gathered on this app, forming not only just their niche communities but also actively pumping out new content as well. This is a great boon to businesses with a niche focus or who want to focus their marketing strategies on a specific audience.
3. Start a Trend
From hashtag challenges to duets—videos where users react to or imitate a pre-existing video—the trends of TikTok seem ever-flowing and endless. Though it may appear intimidating for the first-time user to jump in, the flexible nature of content creation in TikTok means that just as it is easy to post a video reacting to a hashtag challenge or even starting a new challenge. Given the Internet’s database on the latest TikTok challenges, Know Your Meme, even the less Internet-savvy have an abundance of resources to draw on for TikTok inspiration.
Things to Consider for Your Business’s TikTok
With the power to reach millions of teenagers and young adults, TikTok has grown exponentially as an advertising platform as companies have become more conscious of the platform. From Chipotle to Guess, many businesses have already jumped on board to not only advertising their products/services but also to creating their viral hashtag challenges and participating in the hottest content circulating in TikTok’s channels. However, before you jump on the bandwagon, make sure to keep these four pointers in mind when starting your business’s TikTok:
1. Choose Your Target Audience
Choosing your target audience is the basic foundation for any marketing strategy and the same applies to social media regardless of the platform. Compared to other social media apps, an overwhelming number of TikTok’s monthly users are within the 16 to 24-year-old range. On top of considering age, try to factor in the different community groups that the app is home to—which niche community do you want to specifically cater to and what type of content would work best in accomplishing your business’s end goals?
2. Type of TikTok
Just as on YouTube you have a diverse array of video content such as vlogs, reaction videos, playthroughs, compilations, DIYs, and taste tests, TikTok also has its variety of channels—lip-syncing, hashtag challenges, react videos, duets, and dance videos. Though users don’t have to necessarily stick to any one type of content, and you shouldn’t worry about having to constantly create new hashtag challenges for the TikTok community to eat up, it’s important that whatever content you upload to your TikTok is not only just dynamic and eye-catching but also helps in memorably building your brand’s presence.
3. Keep Time
While TikTok allows for the upload of videos up to 1-minute long, this doesn’t mean that you should push to create videos hitting that maximum—it’s not about the length of the video, but rather the content. Though the prime period for a TikTok video is 15 seconds, which is more generous when compared to former viral video powerhouse Vine’s 6-second limit, making a video that runs over this time will do more harm than good. Studies have shown that the longer a video advertisement is, the higher the chance a viewer will disengage from the video entirely.
4. Scope of Engagement
In comparison to video ads on other social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok allows for a more casual type of engagement; instead of solely focusing on pushing a particular product/service, businesses can use TikTok for purposes outside of PR. From HR training sessions to how-to videos, the possibilities are endless. Engagement also doesn’t have to stop at the viewer level; many companies also use TikTok as a chance to feature collaborations with other companies and entities, essentially promoting two brands at once while fostering a mutual-benefit relationship. While engagement is scaled to a business’s unique situation and needs, TikTok offers various strategies that companies can use for their marketing strategies.
How Can Brands Use TikTok?
- Create A Channel
- Work With Influencers
- Advertise on TikTok
*You can do combinations of different methods. By doing so, you’ll be able to know what works best for your brand.
How Do Brands Market Through TikTok?
There are five popular ways on how you could level up your brand’s image:
1)Hashtag Challenge Ads
Hashtag Challenges Ads is a kind of advertising where the user gets to see a banner ad that will take the user to a page with instructions for the challenge. It is usually seen on the discover page of the app. The results of this option can be measured via clicks, views, engagement, and a lot more. It often targets specific consumers.
2) Hashtag Challenges
The hashtag has been synonymous with social media as it has been used by others like Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook. It gathers audiences and helps spread brand messages throughout the app. It is usually non-sponsored but could make brands accessible to its users and consumers with just a simple hashtag. Influencers can also be a big part of how hashtag challenges will work as they have far more audiences, and it can have an extensive reach. With the right challenges and making the hashtag challenges fun and engaging to the viewers, then this marketing strategy will be a success.
4) In-Feed Native Ad
TikTok has In-feed native ads that will help you add website links and order now buttons. It will eventually land on the page directly that tells more about the product that you are marketing. It has skippable ads and multiple options when it comes to designing the ad. It can also be traced through views, engagements, and click-through rates.
5) User Participation
User Participation is the most accessible as well as very engaging when it comes to advertising on TikTok, and you would want this as a marketing strategy. This is when users can promote brand causes, which enable them to post different content themselves. Brands or businesses need to think of a unique way of how they want their subscribers to be engaged that would help them promote their products.
6) Brand TakeOver Ads
A form of advertising in TikTok and is considered as one of the purest forms. It is where images, clips, or videos turn out to be the predecessor of the products that you want to make from its landing page or hashtag challenges. However, only a single brand can be involved per day as it is known to be category exclusives. This kind of strategy is more effective because of its simplicity and known for user-friendly techniques which will help in putting your brand out there.
As the first Chinese social media platform to achieve success overseas, TikTok’s growing fame and popularity spell a new age of content creation on social media. It involves not only giving users the platform but also the interface to cultivate their brand through catchy, addictive videos. While only time will tell how Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, will move forward with the app, like anything new and upcoming, the best way to understand TikTok’s intricacies is just to jump in for the ride and give the app a spin.