Beat Your Competition by Being the First to Use TikTok

TikTok is the latest social media app that has taken the world by storm. It’s a social media app that lets its users record, edit and share short 15 or 60-second videos. You might be astonished by the funny videos populating your feed. The Chinese company ByteDance developed the app in 2018 by merging it with Musical.ly. 

In many ways it is reminiscent of Vine. This youthful platform contains entertaining but frivolous looping videos and odd music montages which will keep you distracting for hours. 

After only one year since its launch, it has recorded over 1 billion downloads! The fact that its user base is growing at an incredible pace makes it an attractive channel for discerning marketers. TikTok boasts over 500 million active users, making it a bigger platform than Twitter or Pinterest. And it’s only a year old! 

The main reason why TikTok hasn’t been included into an overall marketing strategy by most companies is that most people over 30 haven’t yet heard of it. The platform is popular with Gen-Z who like to showcase their creativity. Even though initially users used TikTok to make music videos, the platform has since diversified its content. There is now a wide selection of videos – from people doing standing up comedy to make up artists, foodies and pranksters – that is gaining popularity. 

Users aren’t afraid to include their favorite brands in their videos. 

Major companies have quickly leveraged the platform to gain brand exposure among younger generations instead of only generating traffic or capturing leads.  

Since the social media platform is designed to be fun, brands are using it to display their more whimsical side. TikTok released an advertising process a short while ago. At the start of 2019, TikTok began showing short ads. A more reliable measurement tool is also in the works. All of this indicates that the platform is rapidly opening up to comprehensive marketing campaigns.  

We will first take a deep dive into marketing on TikTok, before seeing how major brands are successful marketing on the social media platform.  

TikTok Demographics

Not surprisingly, users under 30 make up two thirds of the platform’s users, making the platform the preferred destination for Generation Z. This young generation is set to make up 40% of all customers in 2020, and represents one of the most influential consumers in the market today.  

Generation Z has a buying power estimated to hover around $44 billion, which balloons to an enormous $600 billion when their influence over their parents’ spending is factored.  

TikTok also has a strong international appeal: apart from the United States, there are many users from India and China. 

While there isn’t any detailed data, most marketers take it as a given that TikTok has a slight female bias, much like Music.ly had. By using TikTok as part of your marketing strategy, you have an unique chance to interact with this influential demographic on their own terms. 

How Can Brands Hop on the TikTok Train?

There is a number of ways how businesses can integrate TikTok into their overall marketing strategy. 

Firstly, they have the option to upload video content to their official channel on TikTok. Secondly, they can collaborate with TikTok influencers to gain more brand exposure. Thirdly and finally, they can go down the paid advertising route. Of course, the market is currently limited for TikTok since the platform is in its nascent stage, but its popularity is rising exponentially. 

Challenge the TikTok Community

One of the main drivers of content on the platform come in the form of an entertaining feature referred to as challenges. Challenges usually contain a hashtag in front of the name to make them easy to find.  

One of the most memorable challenges to date was started by the late night TV host Jimmy Fallon called #tumbleweedchallenge. The TV host challenged his viewers to film themselves dropping and rolling on the ground while western theme music played. Over 8000 people submitted their videos, which led to over 10 million engagements. 

Brands should take a page out of Jimmy Fallon’s book and start their own challenge. If you’re not a big brand, then the best way to spread the word about the challenge is to partner up with an influencer who will promote your hashtag challenge. Once the hashtag starts picking up steam, users can easily join the fun. This is a phenomenal way of increasing brand awareness.  

Get Users Involved

Gen Z isn’t a passive generation – they want to be engaged. This might explain why laying on the couch and watching TV isn’t as popular with this generation as it with others. TikTok gives you an ideal opportunity to actively engage your potential customers by giving them ways to interact with your product/service. 

For example, the Chinese restaurant Haidilao decided to include a “make-it-yourself” option on their menu. This creative call-to-action allowed customers to film their culinary skills and post it on the Chinese version of TikTok called Douyin.  

It only took a few customers to film their experience to inspire thousands of others to get on board. The end result of this marketing campaign was over 2,000 uploaded videos and over 50 million views! 

Attract New Customers by Showing Your Other Side

The Washington Post was one of the first major companies to use the platform. Their approach to promoting themselves on TikTok surprised many. Instead of uploading serious or informative content which you’d expect from such an organisation, they opted to post funny behind-the-scenes contents about working in the newsroom.  

The videos were lighthearted and musical and incorporated many of the app’s popular special effects. For example, they uploaded a video in which reporters were discussing a dating TV show called The Bachelorette instead of the Democratic debates.   

Image Source: TikTok

This is a quirky yet subtle way of targeting new (younger) people. Most of us understand that it’s a well-established publication that reports on serious issues. However, by  

How to Collaborate with Influencers on TikTok

There are tons of influencers on the platform with a large following. They also have a captive audience that can potential become your customers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to launch your marketing campaign on TikTok with the assistance of an influencer. 

For the most part, working with a TikTok influencers isn’t much different than with other video-based influencers. In other words, if your product/service resonates with the influencer, then they will successful promote your brand to their audience. And also give the influencer the final say on the content – they know best what will appeal to your target customers.  

You don’t want to them to make any compromises by promoting your brand because authenticity is key to their success. Since you’re engaging a very young generation by marketing on TikTok, you need to be sure that your offer is relevant to your target audience. Ask yourself whether the product/service is something that will appeal to Gen Z. 

Another thing to keep in mind when working with influencers is that technical quality of videos doesn’t need to be polished and professional looking. Users on TikTok will appreciate the originality of the video even if it comes off as clumsy and poorly filmed. 

This especially important since users today are tired of paid advertising, and people constantly trying to sell them something. The rough look of a TikTok video can show people using your product/service in a natural setting, making it more appealing.  

Bottom Line

TikTok is such a new platform but has already shown great promise in reaching out to new audiences in a fun and playful manner. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new strategies to find out what works for your brand. TikTok will get you trying out new things and thinking outside of the box. Social media giants like Facebook and LinkedIn already have established best practices or rules to let marketers get the most out of their campaigns. This isn’t the case with TikTok.  

If you come with an idea that might be able to entertain TikTok users, then try it out and see what the reaction is like. The sooner you start experimenting, the quicker you’ll get a feel for the platform. Even if you still are unsure about marketing on TikTok, keep an eye on it because it will continue to grow at breakneck speed and has no competition.  

TikTok is set to become one of the leading social media platforms in the near future. Therefore including TikTok into your marketing toolbox in 2020 will quickly pay dividends.