With its popularity skyrocketing in 2020, TikTok has become one of the most downloaded apps in the world. This platform has reached 1 billion monthly active users worldwide and an has average watch time of 52 minutes per day. If you think that TikTok is only for younger audiences, think again! Users of all ages have joined the TikTok phenomenon, with celebrities, influencers, and household brands using this app to their advantage.
Below we’ll explore what type of businesses would benefit from using TikTok as part of their social media strategies.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a short form video-sharing social network that first found mass appeal with GenZ users. ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) first launched TikTok under the name of Douyin in China, before launching the TikTok app in international markets in 2017.
This platform is best known as the home of viral dance trends, challenges, and lip-sync videos. However, it has become so much more than that, we’re seeing so many new, innovative and creative trends emerge every single day on the platform.
How Does TikTok Work?
A great aspect of this platform is that will push your content to people who aren’t following you through the ‘For You’ page. When opening the app, you will land on the ‘For You’ page and be able to instantly start scrolling through videos. The more you scroll and interact with videos, the more TikTok will learn about what type of videos you want to see. This feature alone is what makes it so desirable for businesses as it allows for mass amounts of traffic.
Until recently, TikTok users were limited to 60 seconds for their videos, but in July 2021 TikTok gave users the option of uploading three-minute videos. This year, this limit has increased to 10 minutes! TikTok also has a wide variety of easy-to-use editing tools to help make your videos unique, engaging, and entertaining – You don’t need to be an editing genius to be able to navigate it!
Features unique to TikTok
TikTok offers other features that make this platform unique such as:
- Stitching – This feature allows you to take a snippet of someone else’s video and add it to the beginning of yours to change the plot, react or voice your opinion.
- Duetting – This allows you to create a video side by side with someone else’s. This is especially great for brands and celebrities as they interact with their consumers easily.
- Creating original sounds – If you create a sound that goes viral by having other people lip-sync to it or use it in the background of their video, it can bring a lot of traffic to your profile.
When it comes to interacting with videos, people can like, comment on, or share the videos they like with other users through direct messages or SMS, and other apps.
Once you have got a feel for how this app works, then you can start to think about the type of TikTok content your audience will engage with. We’d recommend using the app for 1 – 2 weeks to get some inspiration and understand what kind of videos you should be making. After all, the content and style of TikTok content are different from those on other social media platforms.
Why should you consider TikTok for your business?
TikTok has a fairly level playing field when it comes to achieving viral status on the app. Unlike Instagram or YouTube, accounts with few followers can get millions of views on a new video.
Still unsure of TikTok’s influence? Here are some stats from Hootsuite that show that this platform is worth considering
- TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, with 656 million downloads
- In total, it has been downloaded more than 3 billion times
- TikTok is the 6th most-used social platform in the world
- The average user opens up the app more than 8 times a day
- TikTok has now surpassed Instagram for popularity among Gen Z users (born between 1997 and 2012) in the United States, with 37.3 million to Instagram’s 33.3 million.
What Types of Businesses Work Well on TikTok?
We believe that with a good social media strategy in place, most businesses will be able to find success on TikTok. However, because of the content format limitations and the platform’s target audience, some industries are more suited than others.
According to openbusinesscouncil.org, the top five most popular SME business sectors on TikTok are beauty, fashion, jewellery, art, and home interior. This makes a lot of sense given that this app is incredibly visual and their largest demographic is young women. Businesses that have products/services in more creative sectors will find it easier to adjust to the type of content on TikTok.
Paid vs Organic Advertising
Paid TikTok Advertising
Businesses with a large budget have the option to use TikTok’s ad manager. Here is a list of the type of ads seen on TikTok:
- In-feed ads – When a user is scrolling through their feed, one of these ads will show up eventually. One of the best features of in-feed ads is that you can make them pretty much indistinguishable from regular content.
- Top Views – These are a special type of in-feed ad; they are guaranteed to be the first in-feed ad that users see after three seconds. They also show up at the top of the For You page and can support up to 60 seconds of full-screen video.
- Branded Hashtag – These challenges appear on TikTok’s Discover page. When users click on one of the hashtags, they’re directed to a branded landing page that provides information about the challenge, the brand’s website link, TikTokers who have already participated.
- Branded Effects – TikTok’s branded effects allow brands to create AR overlays that TikTokers can use in their videos. Like branded hashtag challenges, these can be effective because they encourage audience participation.
Unfortunately, these paid advertisements can be expensive. From our tests, we have noticed that whilst the traffic is cheap, the users coming from the platform don’t necessarily take valuable actions. The traffic from a Google search ad or an Instagram ad for example would be better quality. On top of that, TikTok currently has a minimum daily spend of £20 per campaign. This means that it’s harder to effectively test a wide variety of creative and targeting options.
Organic TikTok Advertising
However, TikTok is a great platform to grow organically, create brand awareness, and ultimately drive traffic to your website. Here are some tips to help ensure you make the most of
- Focus on your target audience – Remember, you won’t be able to get everyone to like or view your material. You should focus on a specific target audience who will be interested in your products/services.
- Keep up with the latest trends and stay active – Engaging in popular trends will increase your exposure and your organic following as the creation of a movement. Starting trends is also a good way to try and increase traffic to your page.
- Use relevant hashtags – Make sure they’re are short and straightforward, as shorter hashtags are more effective than lengthier ones.
- Post various types of content – Posting new material regularly is a great way to grow organically. It also helps you identify what is working and rule out what isn’t. Posting the same sort of material over and again will make your page boring and irrelevant
This rise of TikTok has shown that Gen-Z and Millennials prefer to be involved as opposed to passive when it comes to the content they’re consuming. We would strongly suggest finding a way to encourage your customers to share videos of themselves using or interacting with your products.
The Rise of TikTok Influencers
Influencer marketing involves a brand collaborating with online influencers to get more exposure and build brand awareness. This form of marketing can bring a lot of success to your business, especially if you’re targeting the younger generations. Influencer marketing comes across more like a recommendation from a friend than as an advertisement. It instils trust in the viewer and makes them more likely to buy. Typically, the more followers an influencer has, the more expensive they are to work with. However, the ROI has the potential to be very high. Find influencers who work within your industry and whose personalities align with your brand’s values.
Unlike platforms such as Instagram and YouTube, TikTok’s main demographic is less interested in flash camerawork and high video production values. You need to trust your influencers enough to produce their videos their way – even if it looks amateurish compared to other social media advertising. TikTok users are a lot more interested in the originality and fun, rather than the quality of a video.
TikTok Live Shopping
Recently, TikTok has been working with popular influencers to create live shopping events. Viewers can watch them talk about products and simply click on the links to each product if they’re interested.
How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?
TikTok is well known for keeping its “For You” page algorithm a secret. However, from our first-hand experience using the app, we have a good understanding of what the algorithm likes.
- Exposure is based on the performance of each video
- The TikTok algorithm considers multiple indicators such as re-watches, video completions, shares, likes, and comments
- Initial exposure is based on geo-location – according to Later’s Social Media Coordinator Lindsay Ashcraft “Because of this, there’s a lot of potential for smaller businesses to benefit from being on TikTok to increase local brand awareness.”
- Using trending hashtags and sound can help increase the discoverability of your content
- Older videos on your page can go viral out of nowhere – for example, if the Sound or hashtags you’ve used suddenly spikes in popularity
Ultimately, much like with other social media platforms, being consistent and staying up to date with current trends is the most powerful way to “hack” the algorithm.
How to Create a TikTok Social Media Strategy
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about how TikTok can work for your business, here’s a step by step on how you can put it into practice:
- Get a feel for the platform by experiencing it as a user
- Define your target audience and do your research into the TikTok content they enjoy
- Set out goals that align with your objectives as a business – Using the S.M.A.R.T framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) can help you with this!
- Check out all the unique editing tools TikTok has to offer to ensure your content is engaging
- Create a content calendar to make sure you are posting regularly
- Switch up your content from time to time to keep your videos interesting
- Track your process to keep on top of what kind of content is working for your business
Should I Be Using TikTok For My Business?
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to jump onto new changes that happen in the digital marketing world. Not every new tool will be right for your business and TikTok is no exception. It is relatively new to the business world and therefore is less saturated than Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
However, we believe that TikTok is a great platform for any business that can be creative and have fun with its content. This platform has something for everybody, so even if your brand caters to a niche group of people, we’re sure you’ll be able to find them on there. If you can adapt to TikTok’s style of content and make it entertaining, we are positive that you will be able to generate a sizable amount of engagement.
We believe that TikTok can be a great platform for brands to be creative with their content. If your marketing strategy is centred around strong visuals, using TikTok can help drive more traffic to your website. However, if your business’ products/services can’t entertain or engage your audience through visual means, we wouldn’t recommend this platform to you.
It is important to also consider the time-consuming element of creating videos. If you don’t have the time available to do so this might not be the platform for you. TikTok can be great for organic visibility, but there is a strong chance of a high bounce rate (people clicking onto your site and coming off straight away). Paid advertisements on TikTok can produce cheap traffic, although the quality of it might not be as good as Google or Instagram ads, more exposure will always lead to more opportunities.
Lastly, TikTik’s location targeting options for paid ads are some of the worst we have seen from any social media platform. This makes running ads towards localised areas very difficult. Therefore, if you’re a local business looking to run paid ads for a local audience, then we would suggest using the more established platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Are you considering using TikTok Ads for your business but are not sure where to start? Contact us to find out how we can help you with your TikTok marketing strategy!