TikTok has reached the point where it’s now a good option for many brands looking to connect with their audience. This article breaks down everything you need to know about whether TikTok is the right channel for your business - and if it is - why it’s time to add the platform to your marketing strategy.
The Social Media Life Cycle
Social media platforms follow a somewhat predictable life cycle.
The life cycle starts with the introduction of a new platform, its growth from being a niche platform used largely by younger people, a phase of hype when adopted by mass market audiences, maturity and eventual decline.
As social media develops, we can expect the past to repeat itself, with the main difference being the speed with which new platforms develop and move through the cycle.
Between 2021 and 2022, we have seen TikTok grow quickly with entry into the hype phase. The hype phase is characterised by older audiences spending more time on the platform, encouraged by increased mentions of TikTok in the media.
Other characteristics of the hype phase include the opportunity for strong organic growth in a less crowded market, and the chance to experiment with what works for your brand. Brands are also incentivised to adopt new ad formats.
TikTok will not be right for every brand, now or in the future. Given the speed it’s growing, it is important for each brand to make an informed decision about if and when TikTok is a channel that supports your strategy.
3 Things You Need to Know About TikTok
TikTok is a social media platform based on short-form video.
What makes TikTok different is its algorithm, which works to serve personalised content to users that makes discovery effortless. One of the consequences of this is that it’s far too easy to spend hours scrolling through content - and people are flocking to it!
#1 Who’s Using TikTok?
TikTok has over 1.4 billion global monthly users, with tens of thousands of new users joining each day. What caught our attention is that over 40% of those users are over the age of 30. If the target market for most brands includes adults over the age of 30, and people over this age are using TikTok regularly, then there’s a strong argument for adopting TikTok as a marketing channel.
#2 How Much Time Do People Spend on TikTok?
It’s not just the number of people using TikTok that’s impressive, it’s the amount of attention we’re all spending on the platform. Over the course of a month, people are spending three times longer viewing TikTok compared to Instagram, and nearly twice the time they are spending on Facebook.
#3 Why Marketers Should Care About TikTok
While only 5% brands are reported to be using TikTok, this is sure to change due to the growth of the platform and decrease of perceived effectiveness of advertising on Facebook and Instagram.
A Hootsuite survey also reported that 67% of respondents said videos on TikTok inspire them to shop when they weren’t planning to. Furthermore, 37% of respondents said they discovered new products and brands on the app, with 73% reporting a deeper connection with companies they interact with on TikTok.
As mentioned above, TikTok is not right for every brand, but it is time to give it some proper consideration.
Who is Using TikTok Well?
There’s no golden formula for success on TikTok. What we’re seeing in 2022 is brands who are embracing the tried and true principles of using video on social media are the ones winning. Those principles are two-way communication, participation in the community, and embracing a sense of fun.
Some good examples of this include:
Nike’s #MagicBoots Campaign
Nike sought to ignite awareness and engagement for Nike Football’s latest product launch by asking fans to show what they’d do with a pair of #magicboots in their TikTok challenge.
The campaign was a success, resulting in over 317 million views, 160,000 videos created, and 215,000 new followers generated.
This campaign encouraged participants to showcase their football skills while wearing Nike boots. The incentive was entering a draw to win new boots, with each video needing to include the branded hashtag (#magicboots).
#MagicBoots was a multichannel marketing campaign, meaning the hashtag challenge was not limited to TikTok.
Nike partnered with popular footballers that are using TikTok, including Mason Mount and Kevin de Bruyne, to lead the campaign.
This campaign used a mixture of paid ads on TikTok, as well as organic content.
Gucci jumped on a user-generated trend of people dressing up in mismatched outfits inspired by the company’s models and runway shows, using the satirical hashtag #GucciModelChallenge.
Rather than be embarrassed by the parody, Gucci got involved by reposting some of the more chic looks, with some users selected to be part of an upcoming partnership with Gucci.
The campaign took off and Gucci has won itself millions of new fans and potential customers.
The brand joined in on an existing organic hashtag challenge.
Users started dressing in Gucci’s style using mismatched items they already owned, inspired by the brand’s fashion show aesthetic and influencer marketing.
Utilised some of the more chic TikToks and reposted to their own page.
Noted in their captions that some users will be selected to be part of an upcoming project with Gucci.
Gymshark inspires loyal followers by engaging actively within the TikTok community and leveraging first-mover-advantage.
The team at Gymshark recognises the importance of community-led brands that align with the values of their customers. With a large community on Facebook and Instagram, and a strong fitness community already on TikTok, it made sense for the brand to invest in building their presence on the platform.
Gymshark uses a mix of organic and paid content, influencer partnerships, giveaways, and participation. The brand posts consistently, using workout tips, current trends, entertaining and relatable content and motivational videos (notice how they don’t just promote products) to fill out their content pillars.
As a result they represent best practice when it comes to how brands should approach TikTok.
8 Tips For Brands Using TikTok
As we mentioned, there is no golden formula to using TikTok. However, there are a few things to be mindful of that are currently considered best practices when it comes to posting on the platform as a brand.
#1 Keep it Grassroots
TikTok is a platform that is more influenced by bottom-up culture, consisting of unpolished production. Brands should showcase more raw, honest and authentic content to create a sense of affinity with their audience.
#2 Be Human
The TikTok community is built on a foundation of sharing joy. Brands can engage a community by making them laugh, making content that holds value after the video is finished and is relatable to them on a personal level.
#3 Post Consistently and Frequently
The TikTok algorithm rewards users who post regularly and consistently, pushing their content towards more people’s feeds. Due to the way TikTok’s algorithm works, there’s no need to worry about posting too much. We recommend posting three variations of each post, at least three times per week.
#4 Stay on Trend
Stay relevant in the fast-paced and dynamic TikTok landscape by jumping on trends and using trending sounds and filters on videos. This also helps boost discoverability.
#5 Partner with Creators and Influencers
TikTok influencers are just as effective as other social media platforms for creating brand awareness and showcasing products. Micro influencers have the highest engagement rate.
#6 Test Paid Ads
There are a number of different ad formats available on the platform. Ensuring the ads blend into the normal feed is the key. Where you have the budget, test paid ads to learn what works best for your brand.
#7 Hashtag Challenges and User-Generated Content
Jump on hashtag challenges or create your own hashtag and encourage users to make their own content. Provide an incentive. In addition, be sure to like and comment (duet or stitch even) other people’s content. It’s all about two-way communication.
#8 Video Length and Captions
Videos between 21 and 34 seconds long have higher impressions and performance. Text captions on the video also boost engagement. Test and learn what works best for your brand and your audience.
Current Advertising Formats on TikTok
As of August 2022, there are six advertising formats currently available on TikTok.
Appear full screen upon opening the app.
Can be targeted and include a link to direct customers.
Great for brands seeking mass awareness.
Limited to one advertiser per day.
A slightly delayed brand takeover ad.. The difference is instead of appearing when first opening the app, they are the first in-feed post after 3 seconds.
Up to 60 seconds long with auto-play and sound.
Include a custom link.
There are currently two options for in-feed ads including video and collections.
Up to 60 second video ads.
Appear in between user videos as you scroll through the ‘For You’ page.
Appear as organic user generated content at first glance.
Need to be instantly engaging - only a few seconds to capture attention.
Can include multiple CTA’s.
More affordable option.
Branded Hashtag Challenge
Way to harness organic user generated content, no guarantee it will catch on.
Usually partner with creators at the same time.
Can also pay to have it show up under the Discover banner.
When users click on the sponsored hashtag, they’re taken to a landing page for the hashtag with a description, links and other videos created.
Branded Effects Ads
Can create their own original shareable stickers, filters and special effects.
Can catch on organically, or encourage followers to create content in exchange for a shout-out or prize.
Enables brands to sponsor already trending organic content aligning with their products (e.g. if an influencer features a bikini in their organic post).
Can convert the existing content into in-feed or top view ads, boosting the performance of the organic content.
Blends into the feed seamlessly - good way to maximise brand reach and resonance.
So, if you’ve decided that TikTok is a worthy addition to your brand’s marketing strategy and approach to social media, take a leap of faith and sign up. If you’d like to discuss how TikTok might support your strategy further, contact us online or give us a call on 9368 0777.