Anyone in the social media marketing field is used to change. However, perhaps there’s never been such a dramatically abrupt change in the social media landscape as the emergence of TikTok in the past few years.
After slowly gaining traction with younger audiences during its American debut in 2017, the platform’s popularity has exploded year over year. In 2020 alone, TikTok had more than half a billion active users worldwide, including over 100 million from the United States.
The TikTok boom has introduced new challenges but also new opportunities for social media marketers. Now, brands have an entirely new channel to engage with a young, growing, and passionate audience.
Marketing on TikTok can present unique requirements compared to more established platforms, but it can become a powerful part of any effective social media strategy when leveraged appropriately.
If you’re looking to tap into the massive potential of the TikTok platform, here are all the basics you need to know to develop an actionable strategy.
So…What Is TikTok, Anyway?
Let’s start things with the basics. TikTok is a social platform available on iOS and Android where users can post short videos of themselves, typically no more than one minute long. Think of it as the continuation of the now-defunct Vine without that app’s signature seven-second time limit.
TikTok videos can encompass everything from music videos to dances to lifehacks to vlogs…the list goes on. It’s an incredibly versatile platform: it might have started life as a music app similar to Musical.ly, but it’s evolved to become so much more. TikTok lovers continue to push boundaries, creating just about every kind of short-form video content imaginable on the platform.
Why Target TikTok?
Maybe you already have successful video marketing strategies lined up for other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You might be wondering, why should you put time and resources into TikTok?
Simply put, targeting TikTok in your social media strategy allows you to tap into a vast and growing platform passionately used by a young and diverse audience. It’s not a passing fad, either – despite numerous attempts to take it down, TikTok is projected to enjoy continued growth for years to come.
TikTok might have a reputation as teenagers’ platform of choice, but in reality, the apps’ users are hugely varied. While teenagers and adolescents make up a third of the app’s audience, another third is over the age of 30 – giving marketers access to a vast audience from many walks of life.
Marketers who have already capitalized on TikTok’s rapid expansion have seen noticeable benefits for themselves. TikTok has one of the highest rates of user engagement of any social media app, meaning that brands who establish a presence on the app can foster a more connected audience.
Organizations that have taken part in the TikTok craze are already seeing the benefits for themselves. Brands like EA Games and L’Oreal developed specialized hashtags and videos for the platform that have gone on to accumulate tens of billions of views – and that’s just one example out of many.
How Do You Use TikTok In Your Social Media Strategy?
Successful marketing on TikTok has to be a little different than other platforms. You can’t recycle the same text posts or videos you use on Twitter and Facebook. Instead, when you’re looking to market your brand on TikTok, you need to create entirely original content with one goal in mind: going viral.
You’ll need to make your videos laser-focused on grabbing users’ attention and growing engagement with your brand. It can be tough to accomplish at first, but it’s a manageable goal by following a few simple tips.
Keep these actionable pieces of advice in mind when you set out to integrate TikTok into your marketing campaign.
- Keep things (very) short and sweet. It’s always good to be concise as a general rule of thumb, but on TikTok, it’s a necessity. You only have a minute to present your video, and with millions of other TikToks vying for users’ attention, you need to make that time count. Create your videos to be punchy, brief, and to the point. Try to open with something that immediately hooks your audience, whether that’s flashy colors or zany humor.
- Stay trendy. Trends are essential for any social platform, and TikTok is no different. Keep a close eye on the “trends” tab on the app; if you see a trending hashtag or challenge that’s relevant to your brand, jump on it as quickly as you can. Capitalizing on trends is a great way to reach audiences that wouldn’t engage with your brand otherwise.
- Be creative. TikTok is home to billions of videos, with millions more added every day. If you want yours to stand out, then it’s critical to think outside the box. Follow trends, but make sure you put your own spin on them. Your brand has a unique identity, and your social content should always reflect that. Sometimes the riskiest ideas are the most successful when it comes to social growth and engagement, so let your creative juices flow when you’re making TikToks.
- Focus on information. Contrary to what you might think, TikTok isn’t all about memes and silly dances. Some of the platform’s most popular and engaging videos are all about sharing helpful or informative content. Your brand can do the same thing by creating TikToks that quickly and simply walk your viewers through a procedure, whether that’s tossing pizza dough, jumping a car, or any other activity relevant to your business.
- Make your own hashtags. There’s nothing stopping you from making your own trends! You can expand brand awareness by developing specialized hashtags and creating TikToks supporting them. Doing so can increase brand familiarity and, if you end up with a viral hit on your hands, dramatically boost brand loyalty.
How Do You Develop a TikTok Social Strategy?
It’s one thing to make great TikToks, but it’s something else entirely to know how to market them. It’s essential to have a clear-cut, formal strategy in place when you start developing your TikTok social media plans.
Consider the following elements of a successful TikTok strategy.
- Keep your goals in mind. You should have concrete objectives for TikTok marketing, whether they include generating leads, driving sales, growing social followers, or anything else. Having goals will help you stay focused and measure your success.
- Upload consistently. You can maintain interest in your TikTok efforts by implementing a regular upload schedule, which can also help you retain an audience and build a following.
- Dedicate resources. It might be tempting to take a budget approach to TikTok marketing, but that’s simply not fair. Like any other marketing channel, TikTok has serious potential to increase profits and boost your brand’s reputation. Make sure that you set aside enough resources to explore TikTok thoroughly.
- Watch your analytics. You can always ensure that your TikTok strategy stays on the right track by eying your analytics and checking that you meet your desired benchmarks in terms of engagements, shares, or impressions.
TikTok might be the new kid on the block for social media marketing, but there’s no denying its possibilities. Taking the plunge to invest resources in TikTok marketing can feel like a major risk, but by going with it one step at a time, you can eventually reap the results.
Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, an Orange County based video production agency. He is often asked to contribute expertise in publications like Entrepreneur, Single Grain and Forbes. Sparkhouse is known for transforming video marketing and advertising into real conversations. Rather than hitting the consumer over the head with blatant ads, Sparkhouse creates interesting, entertaining and useful videos that enrich the lives of his clients’ customers. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.