TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform in the history of the genre! So, ignore it at your peril.

However, do you need to be ‘TikTok famous’ and how would that even be possible for a commercial organisation?

TikTok app insights

To put it simply, TikTok is a social media platform that allows you to share short videos with people all over the world. We realise that doesn’t sound very exciting these days with Twitter and YouTube kicking around, but it’s taken off faster than any cryptocurrency does when Elon Musk tweets about it!

Though it was already well-known at the time, it saw an enormous popularity boost during COVID-19 lockdowns. Making funny videos or short ‘how to’ guides was a universal way to have fun at home.

The big question for marketing teams is whether that makes TikTok a key part of every social media marketing strategy post-pandemic. The statistics are impressive, to say the least.

Globally, there are over 689 million active users each month, with some estimating an excess of 800 million active users. TikTok has been downloaded a mind-blowing 2 billion times across 155 countries – that’s a lot of dancing and cooking videos!

As the world creeps back to normality, will the video-sharing platform’s growth fade away like that New Years’ resolution you made to go to the gym 3 times a week? Or, will it continue growing into an even bigger whirlwind of ridiculous dance crazes and memes than it already is?

To be honest – we’re not sure!

It certainly appeals to Generation X, Y and Z’s love of technology and moving imagery. It connects even more obviously with their devotion to filming everything from food prep to singing in front of the mirror, to prancing around famous places and lip-syncing to the latest hits.

However, there’s always a chance fickle young ‘uns will find a new place to put their crazy antics.

Younger audience

That last point needs to be expanded.

Dig a bit deeper into TikTok figures and it is clear users are primarily under 30. In the US, we are talking 62 per cent!

This gives you vital context for evaluating the benefits of marketing via TikTok. Its reach is colossal, but only if your target audiences is a younger demographic. Don’t expect your marketing campaign for a tea bag organiser to do very well on TikTok (unless it becomes ‘ironic’ or something).

Marketing opportunities on TikTok

On one hand, TikTok isn’t saturated with ads and commercial content like Facebook and Twitter (for the moment anyway). This leaves it wide open to companies so that they can post creative visual content. Hooray!

On the other hand, TikTok’s targeting features are rather broad in their current form, which means you won’t be able to narrow down your targeting and gear it towards the people who are more likely to respond. While this does sound a bit naff, TikTok’s advertising platform is still quite new, so there’s a fair chance they’ll expand on their advertising features in the future.

Wide-open, or too unstructured to monetise? Much depends on the next point.

The sort of content that works on TikTok

The trick for anyone contemplating product or service promotions on this platform is to make your posts synergise with what’s already there.

Other social media options have a raft of different ways to engage with users – paid for and organic. TikTok is deeply rooted in entertaining and attention-grabbing videos. Direct to camera and often a solo performance by an ‘influencer’.

An influencer is someone larger than life, who can ham it up and connect through body language, entertainment and delivery – as much as content. Influencer marketing can be extremely powerful, especially if your objective is to increase awareness of your brand. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Raycon earbuds and the mobile game Raid: Shadow Legends, and the overwhelming amount of influencer marketing they do is probably why!

Traction is gained when influencers gain followers and people share their content, including on other social media platforms. At that point, it’s basically free advertising!

Clearly then, you have to invest in the right ‘face’ for TikTok to work for you. That’s unlikely to be your CEO! Then, you need to pack a lot into 15-second video segments (you can string four together to create 60 seconds of exposure). A good rule of thumb with video advertising is to make the first 2-4 seconds of the video the most eye-catching and convincing part, in order to maximise the chance of someone engaging with your ad.

TikTok is coming of age

TikTok creators are starting to add more content that moves it away from fluff and fun to more meaty matters. Such as life skills and physical/mental health. That’s not to say they’re switching over to a traditional ‘corporation-style’ method of creating content – they’re applying their usual methods of creativity to more important matters.

For example, one affable TikTok influencer solely confines their ‘talking head’ to discussing financial matters, and has amassed over a million followers. Not bad!

Personalities with something to sell have also used humanising content to gain greater exposure to a younger audience. Such as chef Gordon Ramsey, who clocked up over 17 million new devotees thanks to joint content with his children and prank visits to various restaurants chains – such as Costa. (We think he’s a lot more entertaining than a wet-wipe like Jamie Oliver. Or should I say ‘idiot sandwich’?)

This suggests a couple of things, for anyone considering the merits of adding TikTok to social media strategies:

  1. Collaborations with young people are the ideal way to get sufficient followers.
  2. Content must be quirky, irreverent and creativity informal. Serious or mundane videos are likely to bomb harder than Matt Hancock’s popularity.

Paid for TikTok exposure

This creativity must be applied to the growing range of advertising opportunities on TikTok, something major brands like Nike, Sony, Pepsi, Calvin Klein and FIFA have quickly grasped.

Their commercial TikTok content hinges on videos by relevant, audience-engaging influencers. As well as content that invites viral spread, such as hashtag campaigns and physical challenges.

You also need to manipulate your sales messages into areas of interest for young people – such as food, skincare, fashion, pets, money advice, home improvement ideas and fitness.

Get me on TikTok!

If your audience is young and you’re hungry for new ways to exploit social media for sales – get in touch with us!

We can put together TikTok campaigns that connect you to users and optimise the latest ways to engage and influence without your CEO making a pillock of themselves (unless that’s what you want!)