We’ve all heard of the TikTok hype. Friends and relatives have been on this new social media craze as we see them copying dances, lip syncing, following memes, and making their own comedic storylines. The video creating platform is popular for having short but amusing content that conveniently allows you to venture into a variety of videos perfect #foryou with a simple swipe.
Despite being a relatively young application, the video-sharing application has been growing and making a name for itself. TikTok was launched internationally in 2017, and statistics show that in 2019, it was the 2nd most popular free downloaded application with over 800 million active users worldwide. Companies, as a result, are beginning to see the opportunity that TikTok possesses—a new platform that they can use for their overall business strategy.
TIKTOK FOR BUSINESS
TikTok and businesses merging may seem like a paradoxical concept. The number of businesses that have already joined TikTok shows that corporations can also adapt to the application’s youthful branding. Recently, TikTok launched “TikTok for Business” to companies who are interested in further promoting their brand to its international community, allowing your content to be viewed in 155 countries. It also provides brands with marketing tools and promotional techniques that are distinctive to the video sharing application.
TikTok for Business advises companies: “Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks.”
Companies may see TikTok as a typical social media platform, but TikTok has its own culture for content creation. Instead, companies should analyze and align their branding with TikTok’s youthful behavior. Evan Horowitz, the CEO of Movers + Shakers, compares the usual polished Instagram ad to the unposed content in TikTok when he states that the biggest mistake you can make on TikTok is to follow the usual patterns and formats seen in other social media platforms because with TikTok you are more encouraged to put out “real and raw” content filmed in your bedroom.
TEND TOWARDS TRENDS
TikTok enables people to be creative and engage with people through content creation. The application has several trends that you can follow, each having its own genre and theme; whether it be humor, dance, design, or even the how-to or DIY route.
Chipotle is a perfect example of a company that used the how-to route. Due to the pandemic, it has become harder for customers to go out to stores and try new products. However, the brand has created their own hashtag challenge “#chipotlehacks” to feature ways on how one can customize the Chipotle menu.
A few of Chipotle’s most popular creative content teaches consumers how to best customize their nachos (623.6K views) and make their own avocado toast with Chipotle’s signature guacamole (272k views). Through these promotional efforts, their food immediately becomes more enticing as viewers are more encouraged to try Chipotle’s products despite the ongoing pandemic.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) also uses TikTok to their advantage by having a variety of trends present in their account. Currently, NBA has 11.3 Million followers on TikTok and 228.8 million likes combined; with their videos featuring touching moments, inspirational life stories, humorous content, and dance challenges from the players and their families alike.
Aside from leaning towards trendy content, do not be afraid to create your own trend no matter how weird it may seem. For TikTok, it is all about being original and creating your own authentic brand. Chipotle and Universal Pictures are examples of brands that are able to utilize TikTok and its culture.
Chipotle created comedic content by creating their own #GuacDance to promote their free guacamole of the day. Chipotle’s video ended up having 1.5 Million views and garnered 169K likes which helped invite other creators to join in the trend.
Universal Pictures also created their own challenge in 2018 to promote their fantasy comedy film “The House With a Clock in its Walls.” The challenge invited creators to create their own “magic” to help increase movie awareness through a trend entitled #FindYourMagic. They initiated the challenge by inviting 10 TikTok influencers to start the trend, and within 6 days the Universal Studios TikTok page gained 11,000 followers and the challenge rendered 19,000 user generated videos.
STUDY YOUR AUDIENCE
Knowing your audience can make it easier for you to create content. In TikTok, you are able to expand your target market to young consumers, which comprise TikTok’s largest demographic: 18 to 24 years old users.
Shopee Philippines now has its own TikTok account, where they have creators who make content that is fresh, relevant, and entertaining to TikTok audiences. The account features videos of Shopee products being shown in unboxings and trending TikTok dances with their own informative spin. Businesses should try to expand their audience by creating similar content that can be seen in the #foryou page.
Shopee is an example of a business that has successfully curated their content to TikTok’s young audience. Through this practice, businesses are able to expand their market and become versatile with their target market. Shopee successfully doing this shows that they have done their homework and keep users from not swiping down to the next video.
COMMUNITY IS KEY
The best thing about TikTok is its community because it allows people to freely express themselves and engage with people all over the world. It is evident that interaction is one of the factors that makes the video sharing platform successful. You can immediately interact and respond with other creators by commenting on their videos or by collaborating with them through the “Duet” option. With that, companies should not be disconnected with their audience because TikTok is all about inclusivity. The application’s interactive features give companies the opportunity to get closer to possible consumers that watch their content.
Some may consider this interaction as oversharing; however, engaging with your audience can lead to stronger brand relationships with your consumers. Cyberpsychologist Dr. Mary Aiken shares that online oversharing can be helpful as audiences are hooked to its truth and candidness as compared to face-to-face help.
A notable example would be chief executive officer (CEO) of Colourette and Fresh Formula, Nina Cabrera, who created her own TikTok account to regularly answer questions from her followers. These questions ranged from details about her personal life to her business.
Health professionals are also making their mark on TikTok as they merge comedic and musical trends with medical information to create short, viral, and educational videos. Mama Doctor Jones, a gynecologist on TikTok, caters to her viewers who are curious about sex education by providing information about reproductive health. She does this by having a variety of informational and comedic videos where she interacts with the TikTok users by duet-ing their own creations and answering frequently asked questions.
Like Dr. Jones, health professionals use this platform to promote their specific field by still indicating the necessary information and by merging humor and a good storyline. Despite the application being known for its entertainment value, Tiktok can cater to companies who come up with content that are more educational. It is important to see engagement is essential in TikTok; in fact, it is what makes the community inclusive and welcoming. The professionals stated above present themselves as approachable and accessible, and just like any other TikTok user.
Indeed, “Make TikToks, Not Ads,” could be a viable tune that companies can integrate with their marketing strategy. Businesses should remember that the platform’s huge and inclusive community stands as an opportunity for companies to reach out to young audiences, closely interacting with possible consumers through producing new and creative content. In the end, what matters is that businesses should be able to hop in the conversation, instead of applying traditional advertising techniques.
Visual by: Bea Velecina