With new social media platforms popping up on every corner, businesses are pressured to keep up and reach out where their audiences are already online. This is especially important for brands whose main target market is Gen Z. TikTok has recently joined the major platforms as a must-have marketing channel.
In this article, we’ll explore what TikTok is and how businesses can leverage it to reach a primarily younger audience. We’ll also discuss related advertising strategies. Let’s get to it!
Deciding if TikTok Is Right for You
Recently, TikTok has been under political fire due to its ties with China. It’s owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based tech company, and governments are concerned it might be functioning as spyware. On June 29, India banned the app and there are indications that countries such as Australia and the U.S. are not far behind.
It is worth noting, however, that this does not mean TikTok is going away any time soon. For example, users in India who already have the app on their phones cannot be stopped from using it. You’ll need to do your due diligence here and decide whether or not TikTok is right for your brand and its mission, values, and goals.
Understanding TikTok as a Marketing Channel
TikTok is a social media app with a focus on short-form videos. Like Snapchat and Instagram, it comes with Augmented Reality (AR) features such as lenses and filters. Launched by ByteDance in 2016, it is used primarily by people between the ages of 18 and 24.
The platform actively encourages creative, fun content that will appeal to its younger audience. Brands such as Chipotle and DreamWorks have already used it to successfully run unique marketing campaigns.
For DreamWorks, the goal was to promote its new Netflix show. Although the #SpiritRidingFree campaign was multi-platform, TikTok was a critical factor in its overall success. Users were asked to post videos of themselves dancing to the show’s theme song. The videos received over 1.7 million views and over 700 fan-created dances were choreographed.
Chipotle’s National Avocado Day campaign was similar, challenging users to show off their best avocado-themed dance moves. The restaurant chain received a quarter of a million video submissions, and #GuacDance was TikTok’s best-performing hashtag challenge in the U.S. This resulted in the most successful Chipotle Guacamole Day, with more than 800,000 orders of the dip served.
By creating their own videos, working with influencers, and encouraging user-generated content, both brands successfully used the AI-driven social video app to achieve their marketing goals.
Using TikTok to Promote Your Business (In 3 Steps)
To use TikTok effectively, it helps if you’re aware of how the platform works and how to use its features to your advantage. The following steps will guide you through how to get started with your first campaign on this social media channel.
Step 1: Study the Platform and Your Target Audience
As with any other social media network, TikTok has some unspoken norms. Taking the time to study these trends will help you better integrate with the younger culture that is so prevalent on this platform.
For example, Gen Z tends to prefer entertaining content. Serious videos may not perform as well as on TikTok as silly videos, songs, or dance challenges.
That said, it’s also important to stay authentic and share content that fits your brand’s style and image. Younger generations tend to value authenticity in marketing above all else.
It’s also wise to research popular hashtags and challenges that already exist on TikTok. Look at the elements they have in common so you can incorporate them into your own brand videos and campaigns.
Additionally, understanding how the TikTok algorithm works will help you optimize your videos so they’re more likely to show up in users’ suggested content feeds (called ‘For You’ pages). Doing your research may seem tedious, but it will pay off in the long run by helping you create campaigns designed to do well on the platform.
Step 2: Create Entertaining Content and Work With Influencers
The nature of the TikTok platform means that content does not need to be highly polished. For this reason, you can create it often and easily. You usually will not need anything more than a phone on which to shoot videos.
Some examples of TikTok content you could create for your brand include:
- A series of short videos that tell a long-form narrative. For example, a home renovation business could post videos to show progress on an ongoing project.
- Quick tips and hacks for using your brand’s products.
- A mix of music and voice-overs, especially for beauty and fashion tutorials.
- Behind-the-scene videos of your brand, such as how your products are made, team member introductions, or even your TikTok video creation process.
In addition to creating your own videos, you can also extend your reach on TikTok by getting other users to post content related to your brand. We already briefly touched on how brands are leveraging user-generated content in their campaigns. You can do the same through the use of strategic hashtags.
Although influencer marketing isn’t huge yet on TikTok, it can also be valuable as a means of reaching a wider audience. You can find creators whose interests align with yours by searching bios on TikTok or even looking through your own followers to find accounts with high engagement.
Step 3: Take Advantage of TikTok Advertising
Like Facebook and Instagram, TikTok also presents advertising opportunities. There are several types of ads you can utilize on this platform, depending on your campaign goals.
First, there are infeed native content ads. These are similar to Snapchat or Instagram story ads and can be created just like any typical TikTok video. They’re usually best for driving website click-throughs or app downloads:
An infeed TikTok ad for the new MacBook Air.
With a ‘brand takeover’, you pay to display a short campaign video to users when they first open the app. This is a smart way to promote a campaign hashtag for a challenge or contest you’re running on TikTok.
Another option is to create branded lenses. These are similar to Snapchat or Instagram filters and feature some graphic or animation related to your business. TikTok users can apply them to their videos, thus promoting your brand across the platform.
Although Tiktok isn’t for every business, if your target market is a younger audience, it offers some quality promotion opportunities. However, to make the most of this platform, you need to carefully study it to better integrate with the culture. Then you can create engaging content and use the advertising format most appropriate for your goals.
Do you have any questions about using TikTok to promote your business? Let us know in the comments section below!