We’ve previously covered all the big buzz around TikTok as the plucky young upstart, up-ending conventional social media trends. As with all social media platforms, there is a goldmine full of marketing opportunities it presents. After all, it’s estimated that over 500 million people use TikTok, meaning the network is larger than Twitter and Pinterest. This audience is largely young and enthusiastic, with a taste for quick, snappy, ephemeral content. While this makes any TikTok marketing and promotion schemes easy in theory, there are also quite a few differences to other platforms worth noting. Luckily, this article is here to show you the dos and don’ts of this exciting new platform.
Marketing to the Audience on TikTok
First things first: know your audience and why they use the platform. While TikTok is useful for marketing and growing your business, it also has a very distinct audience and content style. Study it, know it, and learn to adapt to it. Misjudging your potential audience or misunderstanding the language of the platform can make you look out of touch at best, or disastrous at worst (need I remind you of the DiGiorno Twitter fiasco where they received all the wrong kinds of publicity by completely misusing a hashtag about a serious topic).
Secondly, understand that not all businesses are going to be cut out for TikTok. Assess whether yours fits the mould and then pursue it as an avenue. Always play to your strengths, and if TikTok won’t allow that, reconsider it as an option. TikTok, at its core, is all about fun, visually appealing content that works best in short bursts. The age range of TikTok users is generally 16 to 24. These are the main things worth considering.
TikTok, by its very nature, is a much more fun platform than Facebook or LinkedIn, so the audience does not expect formalised content. This makes it a lot less conducive for sales pitches and traditional ads, which will come off as stale and boring while clashing with the strengths of the platform. At the same time, you need to stay true to your company’s image and a non-serious tone might not be appropriate, so it’s best to walk a fine line.
Original Content or Influencers?
In terms of content, you have two main avenues: original content and promotion through TikTok influencers. Firstly, original content. As mentioned previously, TikTok content is snappy, quick and not very polished. Your original content doesn’t have to be some lavish production. In fact, the best way to go is to have a smartphone-based video that fits the style of the other users on the platform. This is especially pertinent as Gen-Z are averse to anything looking like an obvious ad with a hard sell.
The other option at your disposal is of getting in touch with some influencers and having them market your product. TikTok is still on the rise so there aren’t all too many influencers but there undoubtedly will be in the future. Find one who is relevant to what your company is doing and contact them. Influencers don’t have to be celebrities, either. Often times micro-influencers can be more relatable to an audience and will cost less.
TikTok Advertising Options
Last year, TikTok introduced ads, greatly boosting the marketing potential of the platform. They also offer precise targeting so you can make sure your ads are reaching the right users.
TikTok offers four different types of ads including:
- Infeed Native Content: Ads in the style of the same ephemeral content that is the bread and butter of TikTok’s operations. This type of ad is similar to Snapchat or Instagram stories. It also allows companies to make use of multiple features like website clicks or app downloads.
- Brand Takeovers: Brands can take over TikTok’s “main page” and create images, GIFs and videos with embedded links to landing pages or hashtag challenges. It can present either a 3-second image or a 3 – 5 second GIF, which can be linked to a brand’s landing page or a Hashtag Challenge within TikTok. This could be intrusive or annoying for the consumer, so use with caution.
- Topview: Topview is a video-based ad format that put the brand front and centre when the app opens. TopView has the same effect as a Brand Takeover, with the difference that videos such as In-Feed-Video can be used as advertising material. First global tests yield better results and could significantly increase video views and engagement.
- Hashtag Challenges: You can use promoted hashtags to get more engagement or create your own challenge. This is a great way to interact with and get the audience to engage with you.
- Branded Lenses: Branded lenses are like the Snapchat 2D and 3D lenses for faces and photos. With Branded Lenses, users can interact with the brand and play with it by using their custom filter. This could be a great means of keeping your name out there and creating stronger bonds with your brand.