The latest social media app to become a viral sensation, TikTok presents an opportunity for brands to engage with users through short-form video content.
But for all its popularity, is TikTok really suitable as a serious marketing platform? Well, that’s what we hope to dive into in this latest article, kicking things off with the all-important question for those new to the platform:
What exactly is TikTok?
Arriving on the social media scene just 2 years ago, TikTok has Rapidly grown to a following of 800 million active users worldwide.
The platform features short-form video content up to 60 seconds long, with creative use of audio and visual filters being a USP for its content creators.
Users can find your content by following you, through hashtags, by the sounds/music you use, or through the “for you” discovery page. With all these ways to find content, it seems that TikTok videos have a longer shelf life than most media platforms as old content can start trending again long after being posted if, for example, a song used in a video has a surge in popularity.
Some of the unique features that initially drew people to TikTok were:
- Duets: This allows you to collaborate via split screen with another user’s existing video content.
- Visual Filters: three of you? an ARMY of you? How about a green-screen effect? These are no longer exclusive to those with video production companies as the TikTok app has made them more widely available on mobile devices.
- Music: There is an extensive music library behind TikTok and picking the right sound is essential for the success of your video
These playful features and creative freedom are just some of the reasons why casual users, influencers and professional content creators are drawn to the platform and perhaps why the app appeals to younger generations.
Should my company be on TikTok?
The answer is a strong “maybe”. As with any platform, it is important to make sure that the content will provide value to both your brand and your customers.
Consumers now watch an average of 16 hours of online video per week, so some form of video content is a good idea. However, you should consider if TikTok specifically is the right one for your brand identity. The platform is all about fun and creating visually appealing (often musical) content, which may not suit direct selling.
Instead it’s helpful to make your TikTok content personal by showing people, not just your products. Behind-the-scenes approaches have been effective for some companies, giving a sneak peek at company culture and showing creativity, humour, and relatability.
If your team has the capacity to create that kind of content and the informal, fun tone is right for your brand, then you should definitely get on TikTok. Otherwise, it may not be worth spreading your resources too thin.
One approach could be to use the platform indirectly, associating your brand with influencers creating TikTok content to promote your products or services and become ambassadors for your business; this would work well for consumer product brands as part of an overall social media/influencer marketing plan.
An important thing to keep in mind is: use TikTok in a way that still keeps in line with your core brand and style!
If your products or services would normally align with an older audience, then we wouldn’t advise using the platform to create funny videos and memes just to try and appeal to the younger generation. This may result in your brand looking like that Steve Buscemi meme…
Which brands are using TikTok well?
If you think that it’s a good platform for you, try learning from a few companies that have been successful with their content.
Here are a few brands that have been using it well:
User generated content is Chipotle’s strength; because the fast food chain has such a dedicated base of consumers that just *love* their product, there are a lot of people already talking about them. It’s easy for Chipotle to share these videos and it makes the customers feel more involved with the brand.
Videos range from humour, to art (someone decorated their Nikes to be Chipotle themed), to how to compost your Chipotle bowls after usage.
The Washington Post creates content for TikTok that serves a few purposes; Their videos might help people quickly engage with news stories, show more about their staff team, or simply be funny current events-related memes (which are used sparingly to good effect).
For a brand that doesn’t have as much of an enthusiastic audience as the likes of Chipotle, they regularly create great content that helps raise their brand profile and reach an audience that doesn’t normally connect with the news.
What About TikTok Advertising?
While brands like the Washington Post and Chipotle are doing well with organic content, it’s also possible to get in front of an audience through paid methods on TikTok.
There are a few main ways that you can advertise on TikTok using video media.
- Native Video: Appearing in the For You page native feed
- Hashtag Challenges: An ad on the discovery page that encourages user participation in campaigns
- Brand Takeovers: The ad that first appears when users are opening up TikTok
- Branded Lenses: Creating branded lenses, filters, stickers and other augmented reality content for use when editing videos.
Paid ads can be useful to get new followers and help reach consumers that might not be aware that you’re on TikTok just yet. Like most social platforms, there’s an integrated advertising interface to help you manage your various campaigns.
Still not sure if TikTok is for you?
If you’re still unsure about using TikTok for your business or have no idea where to begin, the Marketing Team at fatBuzz are here to provide strategy, management and support to help your brand develop a strong digital presence.
We can help your business find its message through a brand Tone of Voice exercise, provide social media management to get you on the right channels and publications, manage your online advertising and create content that really creates a buzz with your audience.
Get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0141 427 0727 to enquire today about our marketing services.