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Have You Met the New Kid on the Block… TikTok?
With 500 million active users worldwide, TikTok is not to be ignored as one of the big players in the social media marketing space. It took Instagram six years to gain the same amount of monthly users that TikTok managed to obtain in just three years (Oberlo).
As if out of nowhere, the platform has made a big name for itself amongst Gen-Z users who share lip sync videos, comedic sketches, viral dances and take part in hashtag challenges. The #chinesenewyear trend is a great example of how each TikToker takes a trend and makes it their own.
@frazer_5#fyp #foryou #foryoupage #chinesenewyear #gotexpelled #nearlygotexpelled♬ Chinese New Year – SALES
@jeremylynchofficial🤣🤣🤣 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #funnyvideos #funnyvideo #chinesenewyear #tiktok wrightyofficial♬ Chinese New Year – SALES
@worriedaboutmikeBeen Told I’m NOT WELCOME back into TOPMAN For Doing This! 😆They Thought I Was Trying To Steal As I Ran Through the Store! #chinesenewyear #foryou♬ Chinese New Year – SALES
TikTok is a creative platform that serves as a mouthpiece for the younger generation and is a hotbed for popular culture, shaping what the youth of today are talking about and deeming as important.
In Q4 of 2019, TikTok was one of the most downloaded apps worldwide with nearly 220 million installs (firstpost). There’s no doubt TikTok has a large audience of users, but 41% of these users are aged between 16 and 24 (Oberlo), meaning that the platform’s main reach is concentrated to one generation of users.
Although the app was created with the intention of engaging an under 18s audience, there’s great scope for TikTok to become popular amongst users of all ages. After all, the very nature of the app creates trends that are hard to resist and addictive to watch, regardless of age.
Grandad Frank is one TikToker, with over 400K followers, who is leading the way in demonstrating that the older generation can enjoy TikTok as well.
@grandadfrankkhe didn’t realise i started recording, so when he heard the music he started doing his own thing🥺🥺#fyp #grandad #renegade♬ Lottery – K Camp
TikTok’s predominantly young following means that utilising the platform as part of a marketing strategy will not be right for every business. If, however, you want to target an active audience who are eager to engage, TikTok should be an essential part of your content marketing strategy.
How to utilise TikTok for brand recognition and consumer engagement
TikTok only launched advertising across the platform in April 2019. Still relatively new to the platform, advertising on TikTok has its limitations. Targeting options are slim, allowing you to only target users with four main categories: Age, Gender, Location, and Interests. These targeting options are not as sophisticated as some other social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, highlighting the app’s infancy in the social media advertising space.
There are four main ways to advertise on TikToK:
- Brand Takeovers | The user gets shown your ad as soon as they open the app, before they’ve started watching any videos.
- In-feed Ads | The user will get shown your ad while watching videos in their feed. These in-feed ads blend seamlessly with other organic video content on the app.
- Sponsored Hashtag Challenges | Brands can partner with TikTok’s marketing team to create a hashtag challenge lasting 6 days. This is a great way to amplify user generated content and instigate widespread engagement with your brand.
- Branded Lens Filters | Brands can create an AR filter, like the ones on Snapchat, for TikTokers to use in their own videos.
Although advertising on TikTok may be fruitful for larger brands like Guess or Universal Studios, building your organic content and reach may prove more valuable in the long run. TikTok has opened up a great opportunity for brands to encourage user generated content, allowing consumers to decide what becomes popular, and feel more invested in the brand interacted with.
If your brand can become an unmovable part of consumer and popular culture, you’re more likely to get a loyal customer base who are invested in your brand, what you do, and how you do it.
One great example of content marketing on TikTok is Gymshark’s 66 Days Change Your Life Challenge. The brand launched the 66 Days campaign to encourage users to upload regular progress videos illustrating how they are forming positive habits to change their life and achieve fitness goals.
The brand launched a competition to fuel the creation of user generated content, with a selection of prizes on offer if users post regular videos tagging @Gymshark and #Gymshark66. Gymshark also enlisted the help of a number of influencers who have large followings on the platform to spread the word of their hashtag challenge.
Gymshark were able to target 19.8 million fans, and received 45.5 million views of videos tagged with #gymshark66 (mediakix). The activewear company also post regular videos on their TikTok account, showing off impressive workouts and fitness stunts, sustaining engagement with their brand after organised campaigns have ended.
@gymsharkJumping from one bad decision to another like 🌪 sydneybrown_xo #gymshark #makeitlegendary #flying #thisisreal #acrobatics #foru♬ Nightmare – Halsey
Take a look here at some more great examples of brands who are nailing their content marketing and user generated content on TikTok.
@chipotleTFW guac is free. Online/in-app only 7/31 #GuacDance Terms: chip.tl/avoday♬ The Guacamole Song – Dr. Jean
@washingtonpostFour million a year is still a lot though #demdebate #kamalaharris♬ mom im famous – chiefokeefe
The most interesting example is that of The Washington Post, who use TikTok not to post their usual investigative serious content, but use it instead to show a human and comedic side to their reporting. The Washington Post tailor their TikTok content to their younger viewers on the platform, making their brand less intimidating and gaining trust with an audience who aren’t their traditional target market.
The real beauty of TikTok comes from its ability to engage users, create viral trends and make an impact on popular culture in the real world outside of the app. Tones & I’s single “Dance Monkey” spent a record breaking 11 weeks at Number 1 in the UK charts at the end of 2019 after it had been popularised on TikTok. There’s no doubt that TikTok can make a real impact on what its Gen-Z users deem as important and relevant.
In summary, TikTok is a great platform to:
- Encourage engagement with your brand
- Join in viral trends and be a part of popular movements
- Show a more personal, fun and human side to your brand or company