TikTok is among the latest social media platforms, having evolved from Musical.ly. The trending nature of TikTok videos, as well as their highly viral format, makes it a lucrative outlet for business marketing.
TikTok has succeeded in establishing itself as a brand across a lot of countries and has claimed the number 1 spot on both Android and iOS in-app download charts in more than 30 countries. Marketers are slowly making their way over to TikTok and trying to establish their brand among the app’s young consumer base.
Why is TikTok good for your business?
Originally, TikTok was mainly used as a lip-syncing app, where users would upload small 15-30 second videos of them interacting with different music and voice snippets. Since then, TikTok has expanded and become much more mainstream, with celebrities like The Rock and Justin Bieber using it as a means to promote their new music or movies.
So why should you consider TikTok for business promotion?
#1. TikTok has a huge and active user base:
In November of 2018, TikTok analytics showed that there were 20 million active monthly users in the United States. Since then, TikTok’s popularity has skyrocketed, and the number of monthly active users is estimated to be 60 million people.
This is excellent news for marketers, as they are always looking for new avenues where they can increase their interaction with new people.
#2. TikTok has interesting user demographics:
A majority of TikTok users are withing the age range of 13-30 years. This information is especially pertinent for companies like Supreme which have this particular demographic.
By subtly incorporating their products in various TikToks through various influencers, they can improve their brand’s visibility among their demographic.
The same study also maintained that about 60% of the current TikTok users were from GenZ, the new trendsetters of the decade. Capturing GenZ’s attention through clever promotional campaigns can really boost a brand’s image among its target market.
#3. Marketing campaigns using TikTok are usually low risk:
Businesses pay anywhere between $200-$20,000 to influencers to promote their products in a creative way. If your product marketing campaign is funny and engaging then people will automatically flock to your product.
This type of marketing is relatively low risk and if done right, it can have a high return on investment.
A prime example of such marketing was for Target’s new Vera Bradley X Venues self-care product line. Victoria Bachlet, who had 2.9 million TikTok followers at the time, made a small back to school vlog in which she used these products for self-care.
How can you use TikTok for Business marketing?
Learning how to use TikTok effectively is crucial to making your marketing plan. Below, we’ve listed several important features that TikTok has below:
#1. The User Experience:
TikTok has two feeds that show up side by side once you open the app.
One showcases all the influencers you are following, and the other tab shows off a tailor-made feed of potential recommendations that are based on your previous search history.
Interestingly, about 83% of TikTok users have uploaded at least one video on their own profile. TikTok has a wide range of features that allow both creators and followers to interact with each other.
An especially unique feature of TikTok is the “duet” feature, in which anyone can make a video in reaction to someone else’s video. This particular feature has been subject to several trends throughout the years and allows users to interact in creative and fun ways.
#2. TikTok’s Video Format:
TikTok videos are shot vertically, and their looping videos were thought to be extremely similar to Vine. One major difference between the two platforms is that content up to 60 seconds long can be recorded on TikTok, as opposed to the seven-second window Vine provided.
#3. TikTok has Verified Users:
Much like any other social media platform, TikTok also has its fair share of verified users. This status is only achieved by a select group of influencers who have achieved a certain level of fame and recognition through the platform.
TikTok’s verification process seems super legitimate, as verified users produce quality content regularly. In the same vein, verification is a great way to ensure that your brand’s marketed content reaches its target audience as planned.
This feature makes using TikTok for business an extremely viable option.
#4. Captions and Hashtags:
Perhaps the most important aspect of any social media app is the ability to put content into different niches. While the hashtag system may have started from Instagram, TikTok’s hashtag feature similarly allows users to explore such hashtags to find relevant content.
However, TikTok allows only 140 characters in its captions, which means creators need to be smart when creating their captions and hashtags.
Generally, the most widely used practice is to use some niche hashtags, as well as some general hashtags. Once an influencer starts gaining traction in the niche hashtag, they can begin to climb their way up on the more widely used hashtag page.
Generally, as the character limit is so low, creators tend to put captions in the form of graphic text, instead of true text that appears alongside the hashtags.
Many brands and companies have utilized TikTok’s phenomenal hashtag feature to make certain trends go viral.
For instance, Chipotle managed to make the hashtag #ChipotleLidFlip trend in which people flipped the lid on top of their bowl without using their hands.
This example of viral marketing is one of the most effective and innovative marketing tools and makes it a necessity to use TikTok for business marketing.
#5. Embellishing your Bio on TikTok:
Like Instagram, TikTok does not have clickable links on the captions of any stories. This means that users have to add links in their bio to get people to go to other channels.
Much like the video captions, the information in the bio is also restricted to 140 characters.
#6. Analytics on TikTok:
Despite all the good qualities that TikTok has as a social media platform, their tracking analytics are somewhat lacking. Initially, it was not as viable to use TikTok for business promotion as their analytics only showed video views, comments, and follower count.
However, since the advent of TikTok, their analytics have expanded to define where your traffic is coming from which can help provide marketing insights.
It is pertinent to note that this feature is only available to pro accounts on TikTok.
It is essential for brands to know all of this information about the inner workings of TikTok so that they can be sure that they are getting a fair deal, and any advertising they are doing through influencers is as well-received as possible.
How can you successfully use TikTok for business advertising?
TikTok may be the next big thing for social media marketing, but it comes with its own set of unique challenges.
A recent study showcased that 51% of GenZ users make use of ad-blockers while they are browsing. The same study also outlined that 82% of GenZ simply skips any blatant ads they see while they are scrolling their social media.
Brands, therefore, need to be prepared for this major fallacy and create content that manages to promote their brand in a successful manner.
#1. Build a community:
TikTok is all about finding your niche and building a community. Its collaborative nature and ability to make unprecedented things go viral is a huge attraction point for most brands.
Unfortunately, some brands find difficulty in shedding off some of the stiffness in their posts, which can make their content seem cold and disingenuous.
Brands that are building their own channels on TikTok should be putting extra focus on giving their brand a multi-layered personality.
The NFL TikTok account has managed to just that and has amassed 2.3 million followers to date.
Their content is usually made in a playful tone, allowing fans an inside view or behind the scenes of the NFL. At times, they do small feature pieces on popular players and even gently roast some performances in a funny way.
Clever marketing of this nature garners the attention of many fans, and some of their more generic content can be enjoyed by anyone at all.
This approachability and friendly brand personality make the NFL among the most popular TikTok profiles, and other brands should take a similar note.
#2. Stay Authentic:
The current consumers of TikTok are extremely concerned about authenticity. About 91% of millennials stated the importance of authenticity when it came to supporting a brand.
So, how should brands go about making content that is more appealing and authentic?
To improve authenticity, brands are usually informed to market themselves by using influencer-driven content. If viewers are identifying themselves in the content being created, they can be more open to subtle marketing cues.
User-generated content encourages viewers to share and showcase their own experiences. This method can ultimately snowball, and can allow the brand to get a lot of additional free publicity.
For instance, Kroger, a highly popular retail chain in the US, created a hashtag dubbed #TransformUrDorm.
In this particular challenge, Kroger enlisted the help of 4 influencers, who collectively had an audience of 13.8 million followers at the time.
In this challenge, users were encouraged to post their own version of their dorm transformations, using items being sold at Kroger. This campaign was thought to be highly authentic, as influencers displayed their own personalities behind their dorm upgrades.
The influencers’ videos managed to garner about 3 million views, and the hashtag of the challenge itself got approximately 890 million views.
Kroger was exploring the new “Hashtag Challenge Plus” feature that TikTok introduced which allowed users to shop for products that were linked to the campaign hashtag.
#3. Go viral:
On social media, trends come and go incredibly fast, and being able to make use of such viral trends can propel a brand’s visibility.
Slowly, users are moving away from lip-syncing and moving towards using other sound clips, audio clips, or rants.
Jumping on trends and making use of the natural flow of a trending topic can really improve a brand’s relatability.
Viewers can be more open to such branded content if they are managing to remain on-trend.
Brands can either jump onto a pre-existing trend or they can create a viral trend on their own.
For instance, Gymshark used their niche of fitness influencers to create a “66 Days: Change your life Challenge”.
In this particular challenge, users were encouraged to state their personal goal which they hoped to achieve at the end of the 66 days. This particular competition was tied to Gymshark with the hashtag #gymshark66.
This challenge was supposed to culminate at the end of 66 days, where participants with the best before and after pictures, would receive a year’s supply of Gymshark goods.
This campaign managed to get 2 million likes and the competition hashtag itself received 45.5 million views.
#4. Celebrities can help:
Besides using influencers to market your brand, you can also utilize mainstream celebrities who are now flocking to TikTok as another social media.
Celebrities already have an established media presence on several platforms online.
Utilizing their wide audience can really improve a brand’s visibility, and at times brands are reluctant to move away from traditional media, and established celebrities can help to dispel this trepidation.
An example of such an ad campaign was Walmart’s Black Friday campaign, which used the hashtag #DealDropDance. In it, users were asked to dance in a Walmart store and they would be entered in a lucky draw where they could potentially win a $100 gift card.
Celebrities like Terry Crews, a mainstream actor starring in Brooklyn 99 and Old Spice commercials, was asked to be a part of this campaign, along with other influencers.
Overall, the campaign hashtag managed to amass 4 billion views and Walmart was able to sign off on another successful marketing campaign.
To summarize, TikTok may be a relatively new social media, but its viral nature and high download volume speak volumes about its success.
Brands are slowly realizing that capturing younger generations as an audience requires a lot of advertising using untraditional means.
The quicker the move is made to social media like TikTok, the easier it will be to establish their brand as relatable to their new audience.