If you’re familiar with TikTok, chances are you have a teenager in your life. Launched by Chinese company ByteDance in 2017, this app has Gen Z’ers and Millennials buzzing – and of course, dancing.
Reminiscent of Vine, which was discontinued in 2016, TikTok allows users to create short 15-60 second videos with music, filters, and more. It is endless entertainment designed specifically for the quirky humor and short attention spans of Gen Z’s and Millenials. It’s funny, it’s cringey, and it’s helplessly addictive.
So addictive that the app already has over 800 million users – a milestone that took Instagram over seven years to hit. It’s quickly becoming the fastest growing app on the internet, and in the same way that Instagram took over Facebook, TikTok is the next major social media platform.
From the NBA to Chipotle, businesses are finally catching on to the app’s potential for gaining the attention of a younger audience.
However, should TikTok be your business move? Is it worth investing your company’s valuable time and money into building a TikTok presence?
I’m going to answer this question and share the secret of how to use TikTok successfully.
Let’s take a look.
What is TikTok?
Formerly known as Musical.ly, TikTok is an iOS and Android app used for creating and sharing short videos. It includes everything from makeshift music videos, clever comedy sketches, and viral dances.
Taking a page out of Snapchat’s book, TikTok encourages approachability and authenticity. While Instagram provides polished and perfect content, TikTok’s users reward content that is down-to-earth, realistic, and even somewhat ridiculous.
There’s no end to the information and entertainment you’ll find as you scroll. You may discover a one-minute cooking lesson on how to make gnocchi or a crafty tutorial for restyling old jeans. You can watch a quick clip on skincare followed by a video of a golden retriever. No matter what your niche, there’s something for everyone.
Should my business be on TikTok?
Let us make this easy for you.
Is your target client/audience Gen Z or Millennials?
No? Then TikTok may not be the top priority for business right now.
Yes? Well, you should definitely be on TikTok.
While a few hip grandparents are rocking the app, over 40% of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 16 and 24, making it the perfect platform for reaching the elusive Gen Z – a demographic that many companies are failing to connect with.
Unlike Millennials, Zoomers don’t remember a time before the internet. While we can reminisce on the days of landline telephones and dial-up internet, Zoomers are used to the quick and constant onslaught of information. As a result, they are quick to recognize inauthentic content, and flashy, polished marketing can be ineffective.
Marketing to Gen Z’ers isn’t hard; they just ask that you play by their rules.
So, if you decide to use TikTok to build your brand, it is imperative that you know how – merely reposting Instagram content on TikTok will not yield the best results.
Let’s take a second to understand TikTok’s unique algorithm and audience, and see how some companies are successfully using the app.
How to use TikTok for your business
1. Understand TikTok’s algorithm
Like any app, understanding TikTok’s algorithm is key to your business’s virtual success. While some of the general rules of social media apply (post high-quality content and post consistently), TikTok has a few unique rules of its own.
With TikTok, your first move can be fatal. Unlike Youtube, where you can flounder in the abyss of unseen content while you find your voice and style, on TikTok, your first post is make or break. The first video posted by a new user on TikTok receives an instant spike in impressions. By “throwing you a bone,” the app encourages you to post frequently and tries to convince you that becoming TikTok famous is easy.
Ever the ruthless judge, TikTok will rate you based on your first video. And while it is certainly possible to build your following from the ground up, it is best to hit the ground running with a killer first video. So before you post, spend a few minutes (or hours or days) scrolling the “For You Page” of the app to get an idea of what successful content looks like.
2. Create fun, unique content
Don’t think a container of SPAM wearing googley-eyes is the way to promote a newspaper? Think again.
The Washington Post has over 450 thousand followers on TikTok, but instead of posting news headlines or ground-breaking journalism, The Post uses the account to post humorous behind-the-scenes clips or comedy sketches with just the right level of absurdity for a Gen Z and Millenial audience.
Sam loves newspapers.
While this may not cause Zoomers to rush out and buy the latest issue of The Washington Post, it both creates brand awareness and establishes itself as an approachable and trustworthy source.
3. Pay attention to trends – or start your own
The key to gaining attention on TikTok is to make it onto the “For You Page,” and the key to doing that is by paying attention to the latest trends – whether it’s a new dance, song, or challenge.
Or, follow in Chipotle’s footsteps and create your own. On National Avocado Day, Chipotle draws on a popular meme reference and posts The Guacamole Song music video with the caption, “TFW guac is free. Online/in-app only 7/31 #guacdance.
TFW guac is free. Online/in-app only 7/31 ##GuacDance Terms: chip.tl/avoday
While it was the video was a blatant plug for free guacamole, the video sparked a viral #guacdance trend, and became the highest-performing branded challenge at the time.
Although it can be difficult to make a challenge or trend go viral, posting or encouraging one can increase brand awareness and a sense of accessibility for your brand.
Staying inside won’t stop @charmladonna from celebrating ##airmaxday. Can you hit the moves like her?
Now it’s up to you. What are you waiting for?
Need help developing a TikTok strategy for your company or personal brand? We’re here for you.