5 Ways Brands are using TikTok as a Marketing Platform
Love it or hate it, you cannot seem to ignore TikTok anymore.
Since its introduction in September 2017, it has amassed users as no other social media has. Can you believe that just 2 years after release it has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times (that’s more than Instagram?)
Not just that, the average monthly active users on the platform is 500 Million – that’s a lot. And to think that the app managed to pull this off in just 2 years is nothing short of a miracle.
So, what makes TikTok such a massive hit?
Well, there are three main reasons behind that.
Firstly, it’s super easy to use, making every person with a smartphone a creator. It gives users a powerful tool for expressing their creative talents like never before. Secondly, the 4-minute video format fits well with the short attention spans of the younger generation which is reluctant to watch long video content.
However, the biggest reason is probably the connection between the content and the audience. Unlike other social media platforms or content generation platforms, TikTok is completely user-generated, making the content more relatable, more genuine, and more likely to be liked by the audience unlike other digital marketing services provided by traditional agencies.
Combine that with the sophisticated algorithm guided by well-defined hashtags and you have the recipe for the perfect social media platform.
How are Brands using TikTok?
Let’s look at some of the most successful ways that brands are using TikTok to drive engagement:
Ever since the inception of social media, the independent voices of regular joes and janes have garnered more attention than the traditional brand ambassadors compelling the brands to divert their attention from well-established celebrities to the emerging and independent influencers on social media platforms.
These influencers have a dedicated following in specific industries or domains that make them a niche audience that’s easy to target, promising a higher rate of conversions. These influencers are trusted by their followers which eliminates the brand’s attempts at building trust (although it is still important) and makes it easy for them to reach out to their most ideal customers.
While earlier they needed to find the right clusters of ideal customers, now the brands need to only identify the influencers that align most closely with their business.
Once that’s established, posts by these influencers promoting the brands will drive huge engagement.
User-generated content is probably the most effective and yet the least trodden path towards social media marketing success. That’s most probably due to the fact that it’s fairly new and people are still wary of giving customers the liberty to create content for brands.
However, many successful campaigns, like the one by Guess on TikTok, stand as proof that user-generated content has the potential to keep people discussing about a brand for days if only the brand is willing not to take total control of it. As mentioned earlier, it’s very easy to create content on TikTok which is why more people are willing to jump on the bandwagon.
These discussions on social media could lead to a heightened awareness of the brand and a wider reach to new groups of the society – groups that wouldn’t have heard about the brand if not for their friend’s cousin making a video about it on TikTok.
Challenges are a rage on TikTok where a user starts by challenging his/her followers to perform an act and record it using #chalengename after which the challenge snowballs into virality in no time.
From the Haribo Challenge (featuring Adele’s someone like you) to the Raindrop Challenge, TikTok sees a lot of activity around them. When it takes shape, a challenge runs haywire – there’s no one driving it and probably that’s what excites the audience about it.
A well-thought and rightly-timed challenge on TikTok will never go wrong as far as brands are concerned. But the brands need to tighten their control over the content that’s generated because the only thing that’s more precious than the internet, to this younger generation, is unmotivated and unrestrained fun.
TikTok allows all its users to create customized stickers to be added to the videos. This could provide a great opportunity for a brand to build a brand personality that the audience would not have expected.
Show a different picture of your brand through these stickers or maybe highlight the men behind the curtains – the people that work hard to make your brand what it is. This will provide an insight into your customers – an insight they didn’t know they wanted.
Your stickers would act as your subtle marker, a nod to your presence without disturbing the unofficial, non-advert aura of your content. Remember, your brand is not on TikTok for business, it’s just there to add more fun.
Influencers became popular because they were not gods on earth, they were regular people with regular lives who, either due to curiosity or plain boredom, decided to share their lives with the world. These people and their struggles were none to the normal, regular people and that’s why they resonated well with them – a stark contrast to big-shot celebrities with their glitz and glamour that have been advocating for brands for years.
With TikTok, this section of relatable content creators niched down even more. All the regular Joes and Janes started making all these videos for fun becoming micro-influencers in their own right. However, their content was even more relatable than the influencers which made them even more loved and appreciated.
The more relatable the content is, the more trust people have on the content creators, and the higher the chances of conversions if the user recommends or promotes a product or a brand.
The Rise and Rise of TikTok
The increasing popularity of TikTok is not lost on the brands and many big names, from NBC to Guess and even The Washington Post has been able to successfully driving engagement on the platform. A noteworthy commonality between these brands using the platform is the fact that all generated content is meant for fun rather than driving leads or traffic. This could be seen in the backstage reveals and quirky videos from NBC and The Washington Post.
However, this could change in the coming years as TikTok changes its policies with the inclusion of TikTok ads for businesses. As you start considering launching your next marketing campaign on TikTok, it’s important to find out if it’ll do you any good beforehand because digital marketing is a tricky business. What worked for all these brands might or might not work for you as well.
That said, adopting TikTok now would serve you better because, in spite of being such a massively used social media platform, it’s the least utilized by the brands and getting on it now will give you an early mover’s advantage over your competitors. So, here’s a checklist to see if your business could benefit from creating content on TikTok:
Your Ideal Customer is the Youth
TikTok was primarily made for teenagers and the young adult has been their most targeted group. Although registered users on TikTok are anywhere between 14 to 60, the most active group has been 16-24. So, if you cater to customers in that age group, TikTok might just be the right platform for you.
Your Customers are predominantly Female
A large percentage of the active uses on TikTok are girls and young women. If your targeted customer base is mostly female or you sell products specifically for girls and young women, TikTok could be a good bet for you.
You have Deep Pockets
Although creating content on TikTok will not cost you any money, hiring influencers or approaching them for paid promotions could be money crunching exercise because these influencers charge quite a large amount for a single post (thanks to their gargantuan following).
You Know your Customers Well
It’s a no-brainer for all kinds of digital marketing services but it still deserves to be mentioned because it is not as significant as it is on TikTok because most of the people on TikTok understand the internet language like their native tongue, whether it be memes or pop culture references. You’d need to know what kind of content they love and what they absolutely hate.
TikTok is a fairly new addition to the social media market and there’s more to learn about it as we move forward but its impact is undeniable and cannot be overlooked anymore.
As they move towards the introduction of advertising and monetizing the content, it can be expected to see a rise in businesses and brands on the platform. As more brands adopt TikTok for their marketing campaigns and strategies, if the platform would be able to retain its popularity among the masses remains to be seen.
Until then, it’s worth a shot!
The Go-To Guy! Is an end-to-end branding and digital marketing agency that creates compelling brand stories and campaigns for brands to help drive higher revenues and increase brand awareness while maintaining brand reputation. From Brand Identity creation to SEO, SMO, and PPC, The Go-To Guy! does everything for you.
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