Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn…
…99% of you will have had some sort of interaction with ALL of these social networks.
But there’s a new social beast on the rise and it’s continued growth is just too big to ignore…
Many of you will have heard the name, maybe even know a few things about it, but how many of you are actually using it to market your business?
I’m guessing the answer is very few.
There (have been) a ton of reasons that brands have not utilised the platform yet, but the list of excuses is wearing thin…
The size (and the speed of growth) of TikTok is frightening and yet, most online business have completely ignored it in favour of other networks that are more popular in the marketing community.
I’ll give you the facts, figures and explain why TikTok should be in your thinking in just a minute, but first…
…I want you to leave your hang-ups, fears and TikTok bias’s here.
When you first approach a new social network, particularly one where you have no friends, followers or little idea of its functionality, it’s common to feel overwhelmed.
But, the majority of brands are in the same shoes as you. In fact, the only real businesses who have ‘conquered’ TikTok are those with massive social media marketing teams, with the resources to explore emerging channels.
If you’re fast and effective, you can easily capture a decent slice of the TikTok pie (before your competition gets there).
In addition to this, there’s another reason that brands have avoided TikTok marketing:
Brands have a serious bias against TikTok, believing that it is nothing more than a lip-syncing platform aimed at teenagers.Click To Tweet
I have news for you, it isn’t. In fact, there’s so much more to TikTok and tons of potential marketing benefits.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a video sharing social network that is only available on mobile.
TikTok videos are recorded on a vertical display (full mobile screen) and can run for up to 60 seconds (per post). Text only posts are not available on TikTok, with the network specifically targeting video.
Video creators (AKA TikTok Users) are given access to tons of video editing tools (much more extensive than any other social network for video) including filters, videos, timers, text and effects, as well as tons of different music and audio options.
Recording and editing is super simple for creators, making the network even more desirable and addictive for its users.
Post viewers have the option to like, comment and share content (from their ‘newsfeed’) as well as following the videos creator.
TikTok, A Brief History
The reason that marketers have been so sceptical about a social network that is growing so rapidly, is its history.
TikTok is the birth-child of two different platforms, Musical.ly, a music video creation and sharing network (primarily used for lip-syncing) and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
Musical.ly was acquired in 2017 for $800m by Bytedance, the owners of the Douyin app and the parent company of TikTok.
Bytedance retained the branding and name of Douyin in China, while relaunching Musical.ly to the rest of the world as TikTok.
Despite TikTok’s history, it’s a different platform to the aforementioned Muscial.ly and offers a much broader range of functionality for its users.
Why Should You Start Thinking About TikTok Marketing?
OK, so now you know more about TikTok, let’s look at why I’ve put this post together, why you’re reading it and why TikTok is fast becoming one of the most mentioned networks in marketing…
Move Over Uber
TikTok’s parent company Bytedance is now the most valuable start-up in the world (valued at $75 Billion) which surpasses the previous occupant, Uber.Click To Tweet
A Billion Reasons
A company executive announced that the network has more than 1 Billion monthly active users, whilst outside sources report the figure at closer to the 500 million a month mark…
…to put that in perspective, even if we take outside sources as the accurate figure, that’s more than networks like Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn…
…but if we take TikTok’s word for it, that’s the same size as Instagram!
TikTok is the 3rd most downloaded app in 2019, surpassing FB, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix, Uber, Snapchat, Amazon, and has held the number 1 position (at some point) in over 40 country’s app stores.
Want to know the top two most downloaded apps of 2019? Find the answer at the bottom of this post!
More than 90% of TikTok users log on multiple times a day…
…and their engagement levels are sky-high!
BTW: To prove this point I created a completely new profile and recorded one of the Einstein Marketer staff with a filter and some music. I had no followers, but in less than an hour the video had 400 views, 23 likes, 3 comments and gained me 4 followers.
If I had done the same thing on another social network, the engagement and views for such a simple post wouldn’t even be comparable.
The primary type of content that you’ll find on TikTok are either humorous, entertaining or music based videos.
I’ve spent some time searching around the app and discover pages and struggled to find much educational content. This gives brands the opportunity to share their personalities and truly open up to their audience on this platform.
Challenges also do very well on the social network, with TikTok users regularly taking part in the video challenges set by the app and other users.
In addition to this, users can also share their reaction to a video and place their video over the top of somebody else’s before sharing it as their own (creating even more exposure and reach for the original post).
But…the best thing about TikTok (especially for marketers) is their newsfeed algorithm.
The majority of social networks attempt to show their user’s the best content from the people they already follow. However, TikTok has two different newsfeed-style pages:
- Following: These are posts from people you are already following
- For You: This is a feed of posts from people that you don’t follow. TikTok assembles this content by other posts you have interacted with, attempting to show you content relevant to your preferences.
The ‘For You’ newsfeed automatically plays as soon as the TikTok app is open, encouraging users to discover new creators and find fresh and relevant content…
…and this is what makes TikTok such an amazing opportunity for brands.
The ‘For You’ feed allows users to scroll through full-screen videos that play automatically, giving your brand the chance to reach people who already like content similar to yours.
As a marketer who understands the importance of reach, TikTok is a platform that works to improve post reach like no other (and the key marketing benefit of TikTok).
I’ll be honest, as an agency, we have yet to run any ads on the TikTok network…but watch this space, because when we do, I will be back with an article about the results and what we learnt.
I can’t comment on conversions or ROAS on TikTok yet, and therefore can’t talk about BOFU, but because of the reach and exposure that TikTok provides, we can definitely speak about its importance to TOFU and in particular, brand awareness.
If you’re able to create content that appeals to TikTok users and reach more new people on the ‘For You’ page, you’ll quickly boost your brand awareness and perhaps even your following on other social networks.
BTW: 41% of TikTok users are 16-24 years old, demonstrating that the network is favoured by a younger audience.
As mentioned earlier, I created a really simple video (it took about 30 seconds to record and post) and it gained more then 400 views in less than hour (as my first video, with 0 followers).
It’s this kind of reach to new audiences that can make a massive difference to your brand, especially if you take the time to consistently post on TikTok.
You could start by simply repurposing old content from other networks and analysing their performance, recording short behind-the-scenes snippets or asking staff to have some fun creating entertaining (and brand personality building) videos.
TikTok Marketing Tactics
I am by no means a TikTok marketing expert, but I do have a deep understanding of the other large networks, particularly when it comes to marketing…
…and after being on TikTok for just a short period, I can see some big opportunities for brands to boost their exposure and awareness on the network.
Here are four TikTok marketing tactics, that you should consider:
Just like the other social networks, TikTok influencers are a real thing and they’re growing in popularity for brands.
And, similarly to Influencers on other channels, there are also ‘agency’ websites that list TikTok influencers who are open to brand collaboration. (I can’t recommend any yet, but try a Google search and see how many results it returns!).
Before going ahead with a TikTok influencer, be sure to check their content and engagement levels. Likes are one thing, but comments and shares demonstrate a real interest and care from an audience.
If you’re really smart, you could even use a TikTok influencer to help snowball our next TikTok marketing tactic…
Challenges are incredibly popular on TikTok, providing users with regular content ideas for their followers.
Trending challenges are also featured on TikTok’s ‘Discover’ page, aggregating all the top content for a specific challenge.
This creates a great opportunity for brands to encourage users to record their own content, provide social proof and increase their reach (and exposure).
The most popular challenges on TikTok are fun, engaging and easy for the average user to record in their own environment.
The key to a successful challenge on TikTok is to quickly harness the power of the snowball effect. This may mean asking your friends and existing followers to take part and share their attempt at the challenge (at the very start)…
…or try using a TikTok influencer to reach more people!
The great news for social media marketers is that TikTok use hashtags to categorise content and help their users find relevant content.
I’d recommend using a hashtag on every post you publish, as well as using the #fyp and #foryou to help you become more discoverable on the For You page.
You should already have a good understanding about how to market your brand with hashtags on social, particularly Twitter and Instagram…
…but just in case you don’t, or your Hashtag strategy isn’t working as well as you’d want, you should read more about How to Use Instagram Hashtags (and How Not to) in 2019, and apply this knowledge to TikTok!
TikTok only introduced ads to their network this year and although this doesn’t present brands with much data or (any) case-studies to learn from, it offers an early-adopter advantage to anybody brave enough to give them a shot…
…and that’s exactly why we’re going to try them out.
TikTok have a very engaged userbase, who’s newsfeed is already built-up of auto-playing videos. This will make the best TikTok ads easily blend into content and drive action from target audiences.
A TikTok ad that appears on this newsfeed is very difficult to spot, with just a small ‘Sponsored’ text note appearing in the bottom left corner.
I’d advise creating ad content that compliments a user’s existing TikTok feed (you’ll discover this by spending some time on the network) and captures the audience’s attention early.
Try to use the first 3-5 seconds to capture attention, before getting into your core value proposition or ad message.
And make sure you test, track and analyse, just like any other network.
Ready for TikTok Marketing?
If you haven’t already, join the masses who are already downloading the TikTok app and see what all the fuss is about.
Set yourself up with an account (you can do this with your Facebook, Twitter, Insta or Google logins) and explore the content.
BTW: Until you have an account, TikTok will guess what kind of content you like. When you have a profile, they will show you much more personalised stuff that you actually like!
The best way to understand the social network is get on there yourself and explore.
Try making a short, simple TikTok video (use a filter and audio file if you’re stuck for ideas) and see how many people view your content before you even have a following! You’ll be surprised!
And when you’re ready to level-up, try some of the marketing tactics mentioned in this article.
I’ll be back with more when we’ve performed more tests on the network, until then, give it a shot yourself!
Want more social media marketing goodness? Try one of these for size:
BTW: The top two most downloaded apps of 2019 are Instant Messaging services Whatsapp and Messenger (both of them are owned by Facebook, so you best get to grips with optimising their ads ASAP!)
Josh is an award winning content marketer and the Director of Content at Einstein Marketer, previously working as a content manager, freelance copywriter and marketer. He writes, edits, proofs and strategises content for Einstein Marketer’s agency and their clients, sharing the most successful tactics and strategies with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links (above) so he can get back to writing as himself.