In this post, we’ll break down what TikTok is, who’s using it, and what you, as a marketer, need to know.
If you haven't tried TikTok yet, chances are you'll fall into one of two buckets: you think it's an incredible waste of time or you think it's incredibly addicting.
Either way, the fact is that TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social channels and it’s primarily used by a desirable audience and it shouldn't be ignored.
Who's Using TikTok
TikTok has just under a billion active users globally, and the app has been downloaded over 123 million times in the US alone. According to TikTok’s data, 60% of the monthly active users are located in the US., split 60% female and 40% male. But most importantly, 80% of its monthly active users falling between 16 and 34 years of age.
So if your brand is looking to connect and remain relevant with a younger audience, TikTok is a channel you need to pay attention to.
TikTok is unique as a social channel because it’s entirely video-driven. Users can create videos up to 60-seconds long and add music, filters, and effects to them.
In fact, many feel that Tiktok’s video editing features are so superior, that they choose to edit content in the app and then post it to their Instagram as well.
When it comes to content length and style, those of you who remember Vine will find TikTok very familiar and shorter content, about 15 seconds and under, tends to perform better.
What’s most important to understand is that TikTok has a unique language that dictates video popularity. Similarly to Instagram’s Explore page, which uses an algorithm to show you content it believes you will like, TikTok has the For You page.
Ultimately this is the same function, except TikTok puts this page at the forefront of their app in order to focus on the virality of content and trends.
Like other social platforms, TikTok uses hashtags, however with only 100 characters available, stuffing the caption with various hashtags isn’t really an option.
In fact, TikTok values content focus and alignment as it promotes scrolling to see what the next video is like in a similar vein, so you’ll want to focus on one hashtag per content theme anyway.
Outside of trends, there are 3 consistent content themes on TikTok:
This is when a user, influencer or brand - starts a trend to do a video in a certain way. This could be dancing, physical challenges, bake-offs – anything where you’re being asked to match, beat or put your own spin on a trend.
These are often community-created trends, though they can take the form of sponsored hashtags too. For example, GUESS’ In My Denim Challenge, where users were asked to transform their outfit from a mess to best-dressed.
TikTok gives you the option to allow other users to create a video alongside yours once posted.
These could be duets in the traditional sense where two videos sing together. It could also be lip-syncing a movie or TV quotes, dancing or simply showing your response to another video.
These may sound similar to Duets, but the set-up is different where instead of a side-by-side split, your reaction to the original video is in a smaller picture-in-picture window.
Is TikTok Right For Your Brand?
So how do you know if TikTok is right for your brand and what’s the best way to get started?
Like any new platform, our recommendation is to secure your brand name. Even if you decide not to create a single TikTok, make sure that no one else can make them under your name.
Next, consider the personality, voice and tone of your brand and what type of TikToks you would create. Chipotle, the NBA, Guess Jeans, and - believe it or not - The Washington Post are some brands that have found early success on the channel.
In the case of The Washington Post, that’s probably a brand that wouldn’t have assumed would be doing well on TikTok, but the guy who’s running their account, Dave Jorgenson, does an amazing job. And that should inspire you that regardless of your brand, you can’t find a way to make the app work for you on TikTok if you understand the platform, and are willing to be consistent with your content creation in order to keep your audience engaged.
If after all of this you’re still not ready to create content on your own, there are still ways to get involved with TikTok. One is to create an ad that runs on the platform or work directly with TikTok to creating a sponsored Hashtag which TikTok will promote on their Discover page.
Or, as with other social platforms, you can partner with TikTok influencers in order to leverage their existing audience and knowledge of the platform. However, be prepared to give them a lot of creative flexibility since they understand the format, current trends, and what their audience will go for.