From memes to viral comedy videos and dances, TikTok is all the rage these days and it is taking the world by storm.
When you think of TikTok, the image that comes to mind is teenagers and young adults who enjoy short comedic videos. While that is true, studies also show that TikTok is becoming trendy for people of older age. Countries such as China, Indonesia, and Malaysia have a high number of TikTok followers ranging from 25 to 35 years old.
As TikTok continues to surge in popularity, many brands are considering the ways that this platform is shaping our culture and conversations, and want to get in on the opportunity to increase their brand awareness. With more than 800 million active users worldwide, there is no doubt that TikTok is making huge waves across social media. Its network is larger than Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. By comparison, it took Instagram six years before it had the number of active users that TikTok does.
With this firehose of new content to consume, it’s staying power has become crystal clear and TikTok is unlikely to be a passing fad. If you’re thinking to yourself that at least some of those 800 million people must be in your business’s target audience, there’s a good chance you’re right.
This may sound like a marketing goldmine, especially because there may be less competition while other businesses hesitate to get on board. However, engaging with potential customers in a place where they go to be entertained requires a nuanced, careful approach.
The Rise of TikTok During COVID-19
Why is TikTok loved by so many people from around the world anyway? For starters, COVID-19 gave way to the rise of TikTok this 2020. In Singapore’s context, TikTok has become a hub of entertainment for stay-at-home citizens and social media influencers alike. For almost two months, the circuit breaker measures in Singapore urged us to stay and work at home for the time being. During those two months, many influencers realised that TikTok might be the perfect digital marketing platform as TikTok allows users to create original content for various purposes, perfect for stay-at-home citizens that have enough free time on their hands.
Another good reason is that TikTok is accessible to anyone, even children, making itself an ideal digital marketing platform for people of all ages. Long story short, the rising popularity of TikTok has provided many brands with opportunities to gain much-needed exposure. When it comes to social media marketing, TikTok is a powerhouse, right next to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other popular networking sites.
4 Benefits of Marketing on TikTok
1) Raise Brand Awareness
Similar to Instagram and Facebook, marketing your business on TikTok will help you raise brand awareness to reach your target audience on social media. The large audience base is already an opportunity for you to maximise your brand’s potential. Consider using TikTok as a social media marketing platform to help you create quality content for the right audience, and increase awareness as a result.
2) Drive Traffic To Your Website
TikTok can also help you drive organic traffic to your website if you know how to do it properly. For instance, try to promote your products or services in a funny and lighthearted manner, and then include a call to action (CTA) at the end of each video to encourage your followers to visit your website or blog. That way, you can increase traffic and improve your SEO rankings in the process.
3) Engage With Customers
Thanks to TikTok’s unique algorithms, it is easier to engage with your customers. Creating viral content will allow your videos to show up on countless users’ feeds, helping you gain leads as a result of your consistent marketing efforts on TikTok. Since 90% of users open TikTok every day, you can bet that a few people will click on your videos, even if you have an insufficient number of followers.
4) Establish A Brand Voice
The goal of using TikTok for digital marketing is to create a unique voice that will help users distinguish your brand from others. Doing so is an excellent way to establish a name for your business. To make it happen, you need to create original content for your videos and ads.
However, since most TikTok videos are funny or silly, try incorporating a bit of comedy in your ads. It will show your followers that your brand knows how to have fun while maintaining professionalism as well.
Is Your Audience on TikTok?
TikTok is most popular with people between the age of 16 and 24, which makes up 41% of the total user-base. Unfortunately, the social network hasn’t released much additional info beyond this, though it’s safe to assume 24-30 makes up another large part of its audience.
Aside from age, the other stats we know seem to indicate popularity fairly evenly across the board.
- 56% of TikTok users are male and 44% are female
- The app is available in 150 markets in 75 languages
- iPhone/Android usage is a 52%/47% split
As long as you’re in the correct age range, you can probably pretty safely find your customers. But, do keep in mind that there is an increase in the number of older users on TikTok.
Leveraging TikTok For Branding
As we’ve already covered, TikTok is experiencing a period of exponential growth right now which means there’s a huge audience ready to be tapped into by creative and fast-thinking brands. Brands who’ve successfully pivoted to TikTok early have reaped huge brand awareness rewards, often with very little investment. Publishers like The Washington Post have amassed followings of 400K + in under a year, positioning themselves as a creative powerhouse and potentially shifting their reach to a new, more global, and younger demographic in the process.
TikTok also has a fairly level playing field when it comes to achieving viral status on the app. Unlike Instagram or YouTube, even accounts with zero followers can get millions of views on a new video. Content really is king on TikTok. And alongside the huge potential for brand awareness and reach, TikTok could soon be making it much easier to drive traffic from the platform by introducing a link in bio. Only selected users can currently add a link to their TikTok bio, but chances are this will be rolled out more widely in the coming months. For the time being, all users can add links to their Instagram and YouTube profiles from their TikTok profile.
If you’re still not convinced about TikTok, another huge advantage is how quickly the platform is evolving to suit the needs of brands and advertisers. TikTok ads are already a proven marketing strategy for many brands.
For example, Guess used TikTok to promote their Fall’18 Denim Fit collection, encouraging the TikTok community to transform their style by wearing Guess denim to the soundtrack of Bebe Rexha’s “I’m a Mess.” The #InMyDenim ad campaign included a brand takeover on the app welcome screen, as well as 4 influencer partnership videos to demo the concept and reach more users. During the 6-day campaign period, #InMyDenim realized over 5.5K user-generated videos, 10.5M video views, 14.3% engagement rate, and over 12K additional followers for Guess’ account on TikTok.
Leveraging TikTok For Marketing
The rising popularity of TikTok is making it easier for marketers to come up with efficient social media marketing campaigns to enhance their search engine optimisation (SEO) rankings. All you need to do is create an engaging TikTok profile and optimise it for SEO so you can reach as many active users as possible. Posting consistent content on TikTok will also help you optimise your profile for SEO if you maintain consistency in the quality of your videos.
Types of Content That Performs Well on TikTok
Unlike other social networks, TikTok has a huge trend culture.
So although the original, creative video concepts can work well, the best performing TikToks are often ones that are easy to replicate by the masses, or are a spin-off of an existing trend.
Take for example the #toosieslide trend. There are over 2.2M TikTok videos to Drake’s Toosie Slide song already, including mega-celebrities like Justin Bieber and Jason Derulo, attracting over 4.3B views and counting.
But TikTok trends aren’t just limited to dance routines. There are viral trends for almost everything: animals, lip syncs, fashion and beauty transitions, fitness workouts and tips, comedy moments, camera hacks, pranks, and challenges. Often, the most basic and fun concepts are the most successful on TikTok. Cats jumping over walls of toilet rolls, lip-sync impersonations, and people throwing miscellaneous objects into a cup are all simple but hugely popular trends.
Here are some of the common types of content that are popular on TikTok.
1) Hashtag Challenges
Challenges are an essential feature of TikTok’s community. TikTok’s users love taking up a challenge and making and uploading videos accordingly. These challenges are usually given a #-tag name, to make them both memorable and easy-to-find.
Perhaps the best-known challenge was US TV personality, Jimmy Fallon’s #tumbleweedchallenge. He challenged users to upload videos of themselves dropping to the ground and roll around like a tumbleweed, complete with a western music theme playing in the background. This led to over 8,000 submissions and more than 10.4 million engagements.
There have been challenges that were started by business houses themselves such as the McDonalds which ran #bigmactiktok challenge that not just involved customers but also gave them fantastic engagement on the social media handles as well. Challenges on TikTok despite having any offering or prize does get equal shout outs and traffic insights due to their popularity.
2) User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) has always been a huge asset to content marketers. And now it’s hotter than ever. In fact, 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than brand photos or videos. Again, this is a type of marketing that brands can either base from their own TikTok channel, or alternatively, work with influencers to encourage their followers to create user-generated content (UGC) supporting the brand in some way. If you can find a way to encourage your customers to share videos of themselves using or interacting with your products in some way, you’re likely to get a high buy-in.
Chinese restaurant, Haidilao discovered this with a DIY option on their menu. Customers who selected the DIY menu item created their own unique off-menu dish and then filmed the experience. Being Chinese-based, Haidilao encouraged their clients to share their videos on Douyin (now known as TikTok).
Once a few patrons uploaded their culinary attempts, others flocked to the restaurant so that they could also create their meal and video. Ultimately, more than 15,000 people requested the DIY option; 2,000 ultimately uploaded videos of their creations, and 50 million people viewed the videos.
3) Influencer Marketing
Of course, all the influence marketing techniques you see on other video-based platforms, such as YouTube, work on TikTok too. If your product suits an influencer’s audience, your TikTok influencer campaign should succeed. In most cases, you should leave it to the influencers to create the content (they know what their followers like).
As always, the key to influencer marketing success is setting appropriate goals, targeting a specific part of the purchase funnel. Often all a brand needs to do is to encourage influencers to make videos depicting them wearing or using the sponsor’s product. Again, this will only work if the influencer is the sort of person who would typically use the product. There is little value trying to encourage an influencer to promote an inappropriate product. You’re not going to sell retirement homes or hearing aids on TikTok successfully.
3) Original Content
Making your own content can be a powerful TikTok marketing strategy. However, it will take lots of time, creativity, and resources. TikTok is largely based on viral content, so your content needs to be viral too. Otherwise, it will likely be ignored by TikTokers.
The easiest, most effective way to ensure that your original content is popular and shareable is to dive into the “trend” culture. Use the Discover page to track trending hashtags, and then create your own version of the trend that includes an element of your business. Bonus points if it’s funny or silly to increase your chance of virality.
Take the #WipeItDown challenge for example. This one shows creators wiping down their mirror to the beat of the song “Wipe It Down,” where on the third wipe they’re revealed as a different version of themselves, only to return to their original version for the fourth and final wipe of the mirror.
Another simple way to create popular content is to offer how-to’s, tips and tricks, or insider secrets from your industry. If you own a bakery, you can show a visually appealing version of the steps in a recipe, like baking a cake to the tune of a pop song where the final version appears when you show yourself snapping your fingers.
This method is a doubly effective strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, where many in-person services have been forced to find a way to offer something different virtually.
Once you’ve created your content using one of these ideas or an original one you came up with for your business, always add a few relevant hashtags to your post before you upload it, since this is how users who don’t yet follow you will find it.
Given the rate of growth, TikTok is here to stay, and that could bring in a more diverse audience, including some who might be the age of the decision-makers you’re targeting in your industry.
TikTok may still be a bit of an unknown for many but TikTok marketing could be a crucial part of your 2020 social media marketing strategy. And since TikTok is one of the leading social media platforms today, it would be wise to market your business on the platform while consumers are still joining in the fun.
Get started with TikTok marketing with our one-day online course titled, TikTok Marketing: How TikTok Changes The Way Brands Market on Social Media Platforms