Did you think TikTok was an app for kids doing the latest dance challenge? Think again. So, before we dive into the details, let’s start with a quiz about you:
- Do you offer a product or service?
- Is your target audience aged 16 - 64?
- Do you wish more people knew about you?
- Would you like to increase sales?
- Are you ready to try something new?
If you answered yes to three or more of those questions, your business should be on TikTok. The app has the power to land your song in the charts, sell out your stock and get noticed by an audience you’ve dreamed of speaking to.
TikTok’s emergence in the already heavily saturated social media landscape has confirmed that video content is thriving, leaving the polished, picture perfect pressures often associated
with social media to photo sharing giant, Instagram - who have now introduced their own short video structure, Reels. Instead, TikTok is known for its broad range of curators attracting masses of followers, each in search of creating or watching more raw, authentic, relatable content - it’s truly a place where you can find and connect with your ‘tribe’.
The app is home to so much more than viral dance videos and Gen-Z trends. Content around recipe videos, beauty routines, get ready with me, Amazon finds, and ask the expert thrives on the channel - whatever it is you’re interested in, you’re sure to find it on TikTok.
Influencer Marketing Hub analysed the top performing categories of TikTok, amd aside from entertainment (443.3 billion hashtag views) and dance (150.3 billion hashtag views), the next most popular categories are:
- Pranks – 54 billion
- Fitness/sports – 43.3 billion
- Home reno/DIY – 28.6 billion
- Beauty/skincare – 21.8 billion
- Fashion – 17.5 billion
- Recipes/cooking – 12.9 billion
- Life hacks/advice -8.3 billion
- Pets – 7.5 billion
- Outdoors -1.2 billion
It’s clear that users are keen to interact with a broad range of topics, which presents a huge opportunity for businesses from any industry to tap into broader audiences and find their niche
Who is on TikTok?
The platform has skyrocketed in popularity over recent years, with Data Reportal finding that as of February 2021 the app has over 689 million monthly active users, of which 3.7 million live here in the UK.
And when it comes to age, you’ll be surprised at just who is using the app:
- 41% of users are 16-24
- 25% of users are 25-34
- 23% of users are 55-64
How does TikTok differ from other platforms?
There are a few key reasons as to how TikTok is different to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and why it’s become so popular:
- The Algorithm: TikTok is a content-first social platform, a little like Google. (Someone did their research when brainstorming, aye!) Unlike it’s closest rival, Instagram, it shows you content it thinks you’ll like, rather than people, which explains why you find yourself down a rabbit hole of videos and three hours have passed - don’t worry, you’re not alone.
It’s constantly learning from your behaviour on the app - from videos you’ve liked and what you’ve searched for, to how many times you’ve engaged with clips within certain categories. Which is why it’s incredibly powerful, as once you’ve found your niche you’ll start to consistently show up on your audience’s For You Page, aka their home page. (scroll down for a TikTok terminology guide)
- Content style: You’ll never hear a chef say this, but the raw-er the better when it comes to TikTok. Authenticity is what drives success on the platform. Don’t get us wrong, there are some extremely talented people out there who have found their mojo through the app, and there is definitely a place for them, but 90% of content on TikTok is shot and edited on a phone, often the same day with the realities of your surroundings behind you.
MOB Kitchen are a really good example of this. They started TikTok with similar content to their other social channels - high quality, production led videos. These went nowhere, so instead deleted it all and started again. All they needed was a phone, a recipe and a voiceover. That video is now sitting at 5.4M views.
- Relatability: Find yourself watching videos thinking, ‘omg, me too!’. TikTok has become the channel for honesty and realities. It’s often reported that places like Instagram can leave users feeling isolating due to the highs being shared more than the lows, so TikTok has combated that and brought people together. From life experiences you’ve never found someone else go through to questions being answered by a health professional to solving a problem with a product to finding a new group of friends who have the same niche-interest as you.
- Content Longevity: The other beautiful thing about TikTok is that unlike the other social media platforms, your content has the ability to be discovered months after being posted. Let’s look at an example 👇
October 2020, we worked with a creator as part of a campaign with Glorious! Soups around their new, premium range. At the time of posting, the content had been viewed 35.6k times. When we checked 6 months later, this had increased to 55.6k, so any investment you make in creating content or working with creators goes a long way.
Can you advertise on TikTok?
The scale of potential success with the paid advertising opportunities for businesses on TikTok are huge. Following further research, Kantar ranked TikTok number one for ad equity in their Media Reactions report. They highlighted these key takeaways:
“Ads on TikTok…”
- Inspire people - 72% agree, this number was the highest across all attributes and platforms tested.
- Are trendsetting - Compared to ads on other platforms, people considered those on TikTok to be 21% more trendsetting, with almost 7 out of 10 people agreeing to this statement.
- Are the most enjoyable - eight out of ten people agree, with them coming to the platform to seek optimistic content, the ads benefit from a positive spillover effect.
- Capture people’s attention - 67% of all participants agreed that ads on TikTok capture their attention, a 10% lead compared to other platforms.
- Are the preferred format when compared to other platforms - When asked to choose between ad formats on other platforms or TikTok's TopView, 72% of all research participants preferred TopView.
Check out our guide to social media ads for more insight into TikTok ads.
Why should businesses use TikTok?
Because you’ve got nothing to lose. All you need is a phone and some time you’re willing to invest, and you’re good to go. Businesses of all sizes have seen great success in utilising TikTok’s algorithm, hashtags and viral trends to help gain traction in the incredibly saturated social media space. As well as tapping into a whole host of new and emerging TikTok influencers, you’re also able to target your audience via the use of hashtags, allowing you to land a coveted spot on the ‘For You Page’ or ‘FYP’ of those who have already shown interest in your industry or craft.
A 2020 report by Kantar looking into the power of TikTok uncovered the mass levels of engagement on the platform, highlighting how Branded Hashtag Challenges could surpass iconic TV moments and the most-viewed Youtube adverts in both reach and engagement!
How can I get started on TikTok?
The hardest part is always getting started, but TikTok is still considered to be in its infancy so it’s the perfect time to experiment with the platform and find what works for you.
1. Stop, collaborate & listen - There are 3.1 million Creators and counting on TikTok and on average, creators have an engagement rate of 17.5%, so let’s start there. (On Instagram, it averages at around 4%). Working with creators helps to put a recognised face to your brand, especially if you’re a new challenger brand or trying to break into a new market.
And if you remember back to our early example, you’ll have taken note that investments with TikTok Creators can go a lot further than with other social platforms. Need another example? Let’s dig out our Halloween campaign for Harrington’s Pet Food.
Searches for “Cardboard Cat House” were up 89% YOY, and Creator @JenPrior1 found her content going viral in Lockdown 1.0 when she turned cardboard delivery boxes into ‘cars’ for her cats. So, we collaborated with Jen to create a haunted house for your cat. This resulted in three separate TikTok videos, cross-channel posting and a blog post that also took cat owners through the instructions on how they could make one at home.
2. Create & curate - TikTok is all about trends. Trending sounds, challenges, topics, and this is where your content can really shine. Be reactive where you can, but if you struggle to produce your own content, then find yourself a team of loyal fans / customers who can help out. Chances are, many of your existing audience on other channels are already active on TikTok and may already be producing content that you can tap into and share, so reach out. Just be sure that you always credit other people’s work, and have an appealing incentive scheme in place to show your appreciation.
One of our favourite brands who has nailed organic content is RyanAir. A company that doesn’t have the best reputation, but their TikTok has certainly changed a younger demographic’s perception of the brand.
3. Repurpose content - Do you have a bank of old content that you’ve previously posted on other channels? Bring it to TikTok. Chop it up, resize it and see how it performs. Sports teams are a great example of this, with the Olympics TikTok currently applying this strategy as it counts down to Tokyo 2020.
Let’s look at some of the smaller businesses that have found success on TikTok…
It’s important to not be put off by the viral successes on TikTok from some of the largest companies in the world, who have big budgets and mass brand awareness on their side. The platform has proven to be an incredibly powerful platform for small and medium sized businesses, both with and without ad spend, enabling them to find and connect with their target audiences, while piquing the interest of others who may not have ever found you otherwise.
Owner Milly set up her pottery business during the pandemic, and used TikTok to create videos of the process behind the making of her products, not only showing off the hard work and time that goes into production, but also highlighting the ups and downs of being a small business owner. By tapping into trending songs and hashtag challenges, plus using small business hashtags, she’s amassed over 2.1 million likes and almost 156,000 followers on the platform. Check out her page, here.
Wicked Vibes Candle Company
Their mythology and fandom inspired candles are a great example of finding your niche on TikTok. With Harry Potter fandom hugely popular on the platform, this candle company’s products have proven incredibly popular, with the company now boasting over 3.4 million likes and 255,000 followers. Check out their page, here.
TikTok Terminology Glossary:
- Challenges: These are viral trends that creators can take part in. These can also be paid for.
- Creator: A TikTok Creator is someone who creates content on TikTok. They are followed for their creativity, which differs slightly to Instagram Influencers as they are followed for their lifestyle.
- Duet: This is a feature within TikTok where you can duet with a video that someone else has posted. Maybe someone has left a 5* review of your product/ service and you want to duet them to thank them / show your reaction.
- FYP/ ForYouPage: The ForYouPage is the page you first land on when you open TikTok. Every piece of content will be ‘sent’ to the ForYouPage, and then depending on how users respond depends on how many ForYouPage’s it lands on.
- POV: This is a popular style of content where a user creates a video from the point of view of themselves, a character or a scenario.
Quote from Beth: TikTok may seem like you’re diving into the unknown, but with a little bit of strategy and insights to guide you, you may find yourself with a whole new audience and a whole new bunch of customers. Our favourite thing about the platform is that it makes the most non-sexy brands, sexy. So, trust us when we say there is a place for you on TikTok, you just haven’t discovered it yet.
If you’re looking for guidance on how you can use this exciting platform as a part of your social media strategy, you might be interested to know that we offer a complete range of TikTok marketing services. We're on hand to help you navigate the dance trends and hashtag challenges!