TikTok allows users to create, share and discover short-form videos.
The social media app is relatively new on the scene and has a very different genesis from the fairytale start-up stories we have come to know from the likes of Facebook and Google. TikTok actually went through three major evolutions before it became the platform we know and love today.
The first iteration was Musical.ly, which launched in Shanghai in 2014 but had strong US business links and a healthy audience in that major market. In 2016 Bytedance (a Chinese tech giant) launched Douyin, a similar app that accumulated 100 million users in China and Thailand in a very short period of time. Finally, in 2018 Bytedance rebranded Douyin as TikTok after the acquisition of Musical.ly for $1bn (773m) in 2017.
The rest is history, TikTok became the most popular app in 2019 and 2020. It was downloaded 693 million times in 2019 and 850 million times in 2020. Despite only launching halfway through the decade TikTok became the seventh-most downloaded app of the 2010s.
TikTok has grown into an essential social media tool boasting over 1 billion monthly active users. The Statistics now show that If your brand's target audience includes anyone between the ages of 13 and 60, you should be on TikTok right now.
Getting started on TikTok can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to the platform. But don't worry: In this blog post, we will be covering our list of tips for launching a winning TikTok strategy.
From a business perspective, it's important to understand the differences between TikTok and other social media platforms. The main difference is that TikTok is dedicated to short-form video content where users share videos of themselves singing, dancing lip-syncing and even making comedic sketches. The app allows users to create videos and share them across a community.
The potential for brands on this platform is huge because it gives them an opportunity to reach a younger audience in an authentic way. Users are more likely to engage with brands that make their content relatable, so it's best if your brand has some fun with the content you post on TikTok.
It's no secret that TikTok is most popular with younger generations. Recent studies show that in the UK alone 24% of the user base is 25 years old or younger.
Many small businesses will use the excuse that there's no point in developing a TikTok Strategy as their target audience simply isn't using the app. While to some extent this may be true, by no means should TikTok should be entirely dismissed.
As we have seen TikTok attracts an overwhelmingly younger demographic, 60% of TikTok users are members of Gen Z (people who were born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s). Gen Z is now creating trends that ripple up and affect the behaviours and preferences of older generations and consumers around the world. Next year, 74 million people in the U. S. alone will be part of Gen Z, which will make it the largest generation of all.
Brands should really consider TikTok as a channel of great opportunity to engage with this demographic and communicate value through creative types of content while building brand awareness at the same time. A strong TikTok strategy now could really pay dividends for your business in the future.
TikTok is so successful that other social media platforms feel threatened by the competition, and are shifting their focus towards short-form video content in order to keep up.
On 3 May 2022 Instagram began testing a new 'immersive viewing experience for the main home feed'. This testing places Reels as a priority on home feeds and both video and photo content have been reformatted to take up more space on the screen. This is obviously a change made in response to TikTok's success. The popularity of full-screen, short-form video content has prompted Instagram to reshape itself in TikTok's image. It's no surprise really as in April, the parent company of Instagram, Meta announced that Reels were making up 20 per cent of the time people spend on the app.
However, this change in content experience has not been supported by all users of the app. Many of those who preferred Instagram the way it was are less than thrilled with the new look. More than 130,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on Instagram to go back to how it was. Most notably, American media personality, Kylie Jenner has penned her name to the petition. Boasting over 360 million followers, her opinion is sure to have Instagram and Meta questioning their strategy.
For regular people and businesses, having two popular social media platforms with a very strong emphasis on short-form video will likely make our lives easier. Re-purposing content from one channel to another will be very straightforward allowing social media managers to only make slight tweaks to the posts that go out on TikTok and Instagram.
Research suggests that over time more and more people of all ages will adopt social media platforms such as TikTok as part of their daily lives which means no matter what industry you're in there's potential for success if you're willing to put in the work.
Now that we understand the importance of TikTok as a social media marketing channel, we can now take an in-depth look into how you might go about creating a successful brand on TikTok.
TikTok marketing can take on several different purposes. The main ways TikTok can benefit a business are:
There are three key techniques a brand can use to market on TikTok to achieve the above objectives.
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing in which companies partner with influential people or those with large followings to promote products and brands.
Dunkin Donuts' partnership with TikTok creator Charli D'Amelio is perhaps the best example of a TikTok influencer campaign. As of July 2022 Charli is the second most-followed creator on TikTok with 144.3M followers. She collaborated with Dunkin to promote her favourite beverage from the coffee and baked goods chain.
The drink was called The Charli, a cold brew with whole milk and three pumps of caramel swirl. The campaign was a runaway success, with sales of cold brew going through the roof, downloads of the Dunkin app were up 57% and #thecharli hashtag on TikTok received 83.9 million views.
The Charli TikTok campaign succeeded in boosting sales but also introducing new demographics to the Dunkin brand. Charli D'Amelio has a strong reach to the Gen Z and Millennial audience, arguably one of the largest amongst popular social media influencers today. As a result of the TikTok campaign, millions of young people were exposed to Dunkin, developing a brand relationship which could last for decades.
This is the path most people reading this blog will want to go down. This option gives you the most freedom. You can create a Business TikTok account for your brand and start making your own organic content.
Advertising on TikTok is very similar to Ads on any other social channel. Make ads that entertain and marketing campaigns that connect. Where large and small businesses, agencies & creators can achieve big results.
TikTok also offers a more unique way of promoting products or services, the 'branded hashtag'. Branded hashtags allow businesses to share sponsored content that prompts consumers to engage with the brand at scale. These hashtags drive authentic interaction between customers and the brand, something you don't see on other social platforms.
If you've already got a personal TikTok account, it's easy to switch over to a Business Account: just skip right to step 4.
1. Firstly download the TikTok app.2. Create a new personal account. You might want to use your work email address or a business email that multiple people in the company have access to.
3. Tap Profile in the lower right corner, then Edit Profile. Here, you can add a profile picture and bio, plus links to other social accounts.
4. To switch to a Business Account,
-Tap the three lines in the top right-hand corner,
-Select Settings and Privacy
-Switch to Business Account
5. Now, pick the category that fits your brand best and tap Next.
6. Add a website and email address to your account.
And that's it congratulations on your new TikTok business account! Now that you've got it all set up it's time to put together your strategy.
Step one of creating a winning TikTok strategy is to get familiar with TikTok.
Spend some time scrolling on the app, but be careful not to get too sucked in! You'll want to make sure that you know the latest TikTok trends, hashtag challenges, filters, effects and songs.
Think about how you can repurpose trending content to make it relevant to your own brand and business.
Consider the TikTok algorithm, understanding how TikTok ranks and displays videos in the For You tab can help you create a content plan that makes the most of this platform.
Step two of creating a winning TikTok strategy: Define your target audience.
Like with all marketing efforts, you'll need to define your audience so you can best tailor the content to their needs, wants and interests.
Who are you hoping to reach with your TikTok videos? Before you start creating content, learn more about the demographics of TikTok users and those who might be interested in your business.
TikTok is popular with teens and young adults, but it's also a place for brands to reach older audiences as well. It's important to understand who your audience is so that you can create content that resonates with them.
Step three of creating a winning TikTok strategy: Check out what your competitors are doing.
If your competitors are already on TikTok it's worth having a look at the things they have posted on the app, pay close attention to what has and hasn't worked for them.
If your competitors aren't already using TikTok, try to identify a handful of businesses that offer a similar product or service to yourself and see what they're up to on the app. Remember not to rule out individual TikTok stars and influencers from this exercise. Pick out personalities who commentate on your area of expertise and focus on their content.
Step four of creating a winning TikTok strategy: Set goals that reflect your business objectives.
Posting without aims or objectives can lead to sloppy, unengaging content. It's always best practice to work towards specific goals and even better to have goals that relate to your overall business objectives.
Consider implementing the S. M. A. R. T framework (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) when setting your goals.
For example, GEL Studios would like to reach 500 followers on TikTok by 2022. They will do this by posting four TikTok videos each month until the end of the year.
Step five of creating a winning TikTok strategy: Make sure to post regularly
The best way to make sure you keep up with regular posting is to create a content calendar. Making exciting content in advance and scheduling in bulk makes your life much easier and ensures you don't forget to post.
Step five of creating a winning TikTok strategy: Keep track of your progress
Use TikTok analytics to understand how your content is performing. Analytics allows you to monitor the performance of your videos by tracking how many people are watching them, when they stop watching, how long they watch and even where in the world they're watching from. By viewing analytics you can adapt your strategy if things aren't going the way you'd like them to.
Step six of creating a winning TikTok strategy: Leave room for creativity
TikTok is just like any other social media platform, if you want to stand out, then you need to make sure that your content is different. This doesn't mean that you need to create something completely new, but it does mean that you need to make sure that you're doing more than simply posting the same old thing as everyone else.
Give yourself some time to come up with ideas before you start filming. Let your mind wander and see what comes up. Whether it's something new or something old, it's important that your videos are unique!
TikTok is here to stay and will continue to grow. If you have no plans on using it for your business, you're missing out on lots of potential brand awareness, revenue and engagement.
There are plenty of opportunities for small businesses to use this platform to their advantage. It's important to understand how TikTok differs from other platforms before diving in, but once you do your research and put together an effective strategy, you will be well on your way to reaching new customers.
At GEL Studios we have a strong understanding of the social media landscape. If you feel like your business should make TikTok part of its content strategy then you're in the right place. We have a host of social media management services, now including TikTok.
GEL Studios Live – Episode 3
16 Feb 2024