The new kid on the block - "TikTok"

There's a new player and his name is TikTok. And who is this kid? What is he all about? 

To introduce, "TikTok" is a China based social platform that is used to share up to 15 second long videos. If you are older than 30, you most likely haven't heard of it, or maybe have heard about it from your kids. It's name back in the days was used by users to upload videos of lip syncing, but later on was reacquired and rebranded into "TikTok".

In China however the platforms name is "Douyin" and it is kept separately, although are the same. People upload videos of them doing things with comedic purpose, shorts, stunts, beauty tips, anything overall. The videos are uploaded through the app, or made directly through it. Users can add a variety of music in their videos available on the platform itself. 

"TikTok's" user base is 41% people 13 - 24 years of age, with the next bracket of 24 - 30 being the next bigger part. "TikTok" has over 1 billion downloads and is very widely used among young people in USA, Europe and Australia. It was however briefly banned in India, deeming it dangerous for young people that might get influenced through the app, but the ban was lifted short after. The app is charting in the Top 3 of most download apps on iOS and Android platforms, gaining the number one spot in Q3 of 2019. The average monthly user amount is over 500 million users, topping Twitter and Pinterest and showing that it indeed has become a heavyweight in the social space. So knowing that the audience on "TIkTok" is young, you need to take it into consideration when thinking about marketing on this platform.

How can brands and companies use TikTok for marketing?

There is a number of ways a company might use "TikTok" for marketing and one of them is having your own channel. Just like having an Instagram account or a Facebook page, you can create a "TikTok" account. Remember that users on "TikTok" like authentic, original videos, with good and funny ideas, that tend to go viral. Your usual ad making practices will not work on this platform, people on "TikTok "will not react well if they feel the video is too much of an ad. The videos need to be interesting to watch, may use your product in the video or one of the more popular options is the hashtag challenge. In the hashtag challenge you create a challenge for other users to recreate and post on "TikTok", it must be interesting and fun to do and may as well include your product. A good example was when a restaurant in China advertised their do-it-yourself menu, urging people to come, create their own menu and share it on "TikTok".

Jimmy Fallon has issued a number of Hashtag challenges, such as the #Tumbleweed challenge that had people pretend to be tumbleweed and roll on the ground with some westerny music in the background.

Another way is using "TikTok" influencers or as they are called on this platform - creators.

Find an influencer to who's audience your product or service might be relevant, should be in theme with the "TikTok" channel. Then make a deal with the influencer for product placement so they can use your product in a video or do something with it, urging the interest of their loyal followers. The way the product will be advertised should be left to the creator, they already know what aproach their audience likes and will know better how to present your business. As mentioned this is not a conventional way to market, and ads like on TV will most likely not work and will be frowned upon. So it is easier to let your inner marketer rest, and let the "influencer" handle their content and present your product. If the campaign will be successful, the followers will generate more content with your brand and therefore increase the reach of your ad afterwards in a snowball effect.

TikTok Ads

"TikTok" ads are not really a thing just yet, although currently in development. "TikTok" offers a few other things like brand filters that people can use to create their videos with. They are available for a limited time and in a specific location within the app. Another option is Brand takeover, brands can place still images, GIFs or videos with a link to their landing page or TikTok account, but these takeovers are possible only for selecet categories and only one brand can takeover a category per day. So the ad material has to be eye catching and relevant for the younger audience of "TikTok".

So now we know what "TikTok" is and how you can use to your advantage. A very new and wild space, with many creative ideas and genuinely a place to make things viral. For great success on "TikTok" you really need to think outside the box and capture the minds of people, and the rewards will be great. If your video becomes trendy, other users on "TikTok" will create videos with your product, try to replicate your brand, creating more free ads for you and spreading your message. Definitely a very powerful tool in the right hands.