Oh, Hello Branding Group
What Is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media platform that has skyrocketed in popularity in the last year. It originated as the app Musica.ly, where users recorded themselves lip syncing to popular songs. According to By Traject, the app has an estimated user base of 800 million. While Musica.ly was mainly people lip syncing, TikTok has a variety of videos including lip syncing, dancing, educational, and funny skits that range from 15 seconds to 1 minute.
Who Is Using TikTok?
TikTok is very well known for being popular among Generation Z, and while that demographic is by far the biggest % of TikTok's user base, you definitely cannot say that “TikTok is for 13 year olds”. According to Wallaroo Media, the % of users aged 18-24 fell from 41.1% in January to 35.3% in April 2020. During that same time period, the share of 25- to 34-year-olds rose from 22.4% to 27.4%, and the 35-44 demographic grew from 13.9% to 17.1%. There is also a niche market for content creators that are professionals in their field (marketing, real estate, doctors, lawyers, etc.) and they share TikToks about how they got where they are. While the initial audience of younger users who joined the app for the lip syncing videos definitely still exists, TikTok is not exclusive to that age group.
What Kind of Businesses Should Be Using TikTok Marketing?
TikTok marketing isn’t exactly the same as Instagram or Facebook ads like you may see on other platforms. While companies do pay for short video ads to appear on the feed, from a user experience, those types of ads show up very, very rarely. TikTok marketing can be separated into two categories: original content and sponsorships/influencer marketing. Influencer marketing on TikTok is very similar to how it works on other platforms, like Instagram for example. A brand will reach out to influencers that fit their target demographic and ask them to create a post using their products. These types of ads can be run with both “micro” influencers and some of the biggest creators on the platform. Some of the hype for TikTok from a brand perspective is that the sheer size of the audience is enormous. For example, David Dobrik’s TikTok follower count (18 million) recently surpassed his YouTube subscriber count (17 million), even though he only recently became very active on TikTok in mid 2019, and has been regularly posting YouTube videos, weekly since 2015. In fact, Dobrik recently did a brand deal with Chipotle on TikTok, encouraging users to use the hashtag #ChipotleSponsorMe and they would receive a Chipotle Celeb Card (which gives them the ability to get unlimited free Chipotle for a year). The hashtag has 2.08 billion views. So, what kind of business should be utilizing this kind of TikTok marketing?
Later.com listed 18 brands that have successfully pivoted their marketing efforts to TikTok, and some notable names include:
- The NFL
- Fenty Beauty
- The Washington Post
- Saturday Night Live
So there is not just one specific industry that is killing it on TikTok, there are brands in entertainment, beauty, sports, food and beverage, and even newspapers. The point here is that TikTok marketing can be very effective for your brand no matter what industry you're in - because the app is all about going viral.
You also may be looking at that list and thinking, “Well, those are all huge companies but I’m a small business. Can I still use TikTok for marketing?” Absolutely. The great thing about social media is that it’s completely free to use and small businesses can use strategies to grow big followings on social platforms. Any small business can use TikTok to market their business just by creating content.
If I Want To Go The Content Route, What Type of Content Should I Post To Market My Business?
There is really no black and white answer. You can spend hours studying TikTok’s algorithm if you wish, but you would make better use of your time by studying trends in your industry on TikTok, following other similar pages, and studying overall TikTok trends.
TikTok could be described as a very “real” social media. Many users on the app do not hold back and can easily see through insincerity. If you’re going to use TikTok to market your small business, this is why studying the trends that already exist in the app and in your industry’s presence in the app is SO important. You cannot use TikTok for marketing like you would for other social media platforms, because users on TikTok could be quickly turned off from your content if it seems disingenuous. With that being said, TikTok can be a really fun social media platform to do creative marketing in ways that wouldn’t be traditionally accepted on other social media. You have access to a wide library of different filters, green screen effects, voice changing effects, and other features which make very unique videos.
So, Should Everyone Be Using TikTok Marketing?
No, TikTok should not be used to market every type of business, because it wouldn’t make sense for some businesses. For example, a lot of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and nurses make educational videos on TikTok informing people about their daily life in their career, and how they got to where they are. For some, these videos are purely educational, but for others, they still educate in the video, but they add in a call to action. For example, a real estate agent giving tips on finding a house and then saying “DM me to find your next home”. It really depends on what business you have, what your demographic is, and what type of content you want to produce. Let’s say you are the owner of a small ice cream shop. You could absolutely use TikTok for marketing. You could join the trend of stereotyping people who get different ice cream flavors or you could film your employees doing a popular TikTok dance. But if you just try to repost a video ad that you use on Facebook or your website, you won’t get a positive response.
Before you start using TikTok for marketing, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is the demographic for my business, and are they using TikTok?
- Are the users on TikTok coming of age, and would they benefit from educational content in my industry which could turn them into customers?
- What are other professionals in my industry doing on TikTok, are they even using it? What type of content are they posting?
- Do I have valuable content to be posting? Or would I be posting content that I already use for promotions on other social media? (Do not do this, it will come off as disingenuous.)
If you have gone through the questions above and decided that if you use TikTok for marketing, it would add value for TikTok users AND help market your business, TikTok is definitely for you.
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