With the unprecedented circumstances of the previous year, social media usage around the world increased considerably. The changes in day to day life caused some traditional marketing ideas such as billboards to become essentially worthless. Businesses had to reevaluate their methods whilst newer digital-based companies could thrive – one of which being TikTok.
Although the app seems like a relatively fresh innovation, it was initially released in 2012. Under the name Douyin, it gained popularity in Asia until it was released on the international market as TikTok in 2017. With the everlasting ‘For you page’, straightforward sharing options and 15-60 second video limit, the app is easy to browse with little attention span required. And as the algorithm learns and adapts to what you are most interested in from the videos you interact with, the app becomes undoubtedly addictive.
Over 689 million people use the app worldwide (1), with the average person spending nearly an hour on it every day. TikTok has become one of the biggest social platforms and shows little sign of being taken over any time soon. Despite the app being targeted initially towards teenagers, nearly 30% of US users in 2020 were aged between 20 and 29. Another 30% were between 30 and 49. (2)
With such an extensive reach and endless possibilities of content creation, it’s no surprise that TikTok is becoming the current innovation for digital marketing. But how can views and likes on viral videos help grow your business?
One of the options to promote your business on TikTok is to use paid advertisements. These are similar to what you may see on other social platforms such as Instagram or Twitter. However, TikTok offers a broader range of options within the app.
These videos can last up to 15 seconds and appear on a users ‘For You’ feed, among other videos suited to them. They’re displayed full screen with the sound automatically on, contrasting what you may see on Twitter where the user has to
engage with the post to get the full content. Users can share, like and comment on the ads and follow the business page to find more. Although in-feed ads are more effective than other methods, they are still easily skippable and need to grab the users attention immediately.
Top view and Hashtags
Your advertising graphic appears at the top of the search page among a slide show of other current trends. One of the leading sponsored campaigns at the moment is by Curry PC World, named #TechTokTips. The challenge is to share your best Tech Tips within a TikTok featuring the hashtag to be in with a chance of winning a £5000 tech bundle. There are currently 1.2 billion views across all videos using the hashtag. When you click on the graphic, you can see more information about the trend and the business with all the videos using the hashtag below. You can also add a link directly to the company’s website for easy navigation.
Another way brands can encourage people to interact with their campaigns is to create an effect for people to use. Taking over Snapchat’s classic feature, TikTok effects are a prevalent feature. They are easy to use with trending and popular effects in their separate category.
One of the recent examples of sponsored effects is from AVON. The #LifeLockPop filter is used to promote their new mascara and has been used by numerous popular influencers on the platform whilst reviewing the product itself. Like the Currys PC World Campaign, the effects feature information and links to purchase the product with an exclusive discount code. Creating an effect or hashtag can be highly effective for businesses as the role of creating and sharing the content falls to the TikTok users themselves.
Paid advertisements are not the only way to grow your brand on TikTok; creating an active and shareable platform with unique content can gain a substantial audience that can be transformed into customers.
From makeup, baked good to candles, small businesses worldwide have gained considerable platforms with little to no expense by following popular trends and themes on TikTok. A viral trend that emerged during 2020 was business owners showing the ‘behind the scenes of creating and packaging their products. This insight was an honest and refreshing comparison to ordering from larger international companies. Many consumers preferred having the small business’s personal touch and seeing more realistic promotional media for products rather than the high budget, cinematic videos we are used to seeing on television and other social.
One example of a local business using TikTok successfully and transforming their digital audience into customers is Barnsley based ice cream parlour Dolly’s Desserts. The shop is run by a mother, daughter duo, with the daughter creating the TikTok account during the first lockdown in April last year. The profile currently has 409.6k followers with nearly 12 million likes across their platform. Their videos over the past month have curated over 6,500,000 views and have been shared hundreds of times.
Their content consists mainly of daily preparation videos making their ice cream flavours or cookie dough desserts from scratch, daily tasks of the staff and updates regarding the shop. This is a perfect example of how large budgets or expensive equipment are not required to create quality content that your audience will be interested in. TikTok also allows you to create videos in response to comments on previous videos. Dolly’s uses this feature to generate videos making items that customers request or answering questions they have about the store.
The business undoubtedly took a hit during the pandemic when many companies had to remain shut for some months. During this time, Dolly’s took the opportunity to turn their vast online platform into customers. In December, they began offering BIY (Bake Your Own) Cookie Dough Kits on their online shop; customers could recreate the shop’s popular treats from home with ingredients and toppings provided in a deliverable kit.
No matter what sector your business is in, if you are producing relevant and targeted content, you will find an audience on TikTok and get your brand on to potential customers’ pages. Here are our final quick tips to get your content to succeed on the app.
1.Make the most of music and effects
Using popular and trending songs and effects will help grab users’ attention and prevent them from scrolling before they’ve seen what you have to offer. However, you should ensure that any accompanying media is appropriate for your audience and will not offend any users or creating a negative reputation for the brand.
2. Keep updated on the trending page
Be aware of what hashtags or challenges are currently being used by other business, and consider ways of doing the same to your brand. It’s important to keep the profile following your brand identify, although you can have some fun with your videos.
3. Interact with your followers
Check your comment section frequently and consider how you can use questions or comments to create new video content instead of simply replying in the chat or likely. For example, if someone has queries about your products, show them videos of you using them and offer other solutions. It can also be a good idea to ask your followers what they want to see on your page to help with your interactions.
4. Keep it fun and short
Ensure your videos are interesting straight away and that people who have no awareness of your brand will interact with it. You should also aim to keep your videos around 15 to 30 seconds long, with direct and straightforward content. Finally, don’t be afraid to add some humour and creativity to your videos. Your TikTok page should feel more like the face behind the brand rather than a direct advertisement of your products.