What Is TikTok and How To Use It As a Marketing Platform
TikTok, a Chinese social network that describes itself as a platform to “capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone” has been downloaded over 1 billion times, including 96 million in the US. The face-paced app allows creators to make 15-second videoclips, edit with special effects, add original or licensed music, and share them to their followers. Much of the content are comedic and random, revolving around short skits, lip syncing, dancing, cringe videos, how-to videos, pet videos, and the list goes on. In a nutshell, TikTok is a combination of Spotify, Snapchat, Vine, YouTube and Twitch all mixed in one platform in an endless stream of interactive content.
Popular among tweens and teens, Apptopia find that kids from age 16 to 24 make up a majority of its users at 41%, with 24-30 being the second largest demographic in line. Part of the attraction of TikTok is that its younger users have this space to explore, experience and create internet humor that’s unlike any other platform. Sometimes the content is dumb and goofy, while some can be clever and creative. There isn’t much pressure for users to build a large following, although some have up to millions of fans. Most creators and viewers simply just want to have fun. It’s strangely addictive once you start browsing through because there is an overwhelmingly large amount of short videos that you can access just by swiping up and down the screen.
Music, hashtags, and challenges are the key elements that make up the majority of the TikTok community. Users tend to select a song from a Spotify-like streaming menu of artists and records, and from there create their content to match with the song. To draw inspiration on what sort of content one may want to post, users can tap the magnifying glass at the bottom of the home screen to search for specific creators, sounds, challenges or hashtags. Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Lopez, are already creating videos on their TikTok channel. It’s only a matter of time for the Gen Z celebs to join in on the TikTok hype.
As the app’s popularity grows globally, the key question is whether brands and social media marketers can also tap into TikTok’s platform to promote their business. Keep in mind that TikTok’s demographic is skewed towards the younger crowd, so your TikTok marketing efforts will only be effective if young audience is your target demographic.
TikTok ads don’t exist yet, so any marketing has to be done through either 1) influencer marketing or 2) original content. TikTok is filled with potential influencers who have millions of subscribers. From baking to makeup videos, these influencers have followers who will want to buy your products. By partnering up with these influencers and having them use your products in their videos, your brand will gain new exposure to the targeted audiences. Another TikTok marketing strategy is to create your own content. For example, if your brand is related to cooking, record a eye-catching recipe to the tune of a pop song and make it creative and fun for it to go viral. At the end of the day, the key to TikTok marketing is to make viral, light hearted videos that can help promote your brand.