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TikTok: What Is It and Does It Hold Value for Your Brand?

Jun 17, 2020 | Social Media, Digital, Digital Strategy

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TikTok is taking over social media – especially for young users. A full two billion people have downloaded the app, and more are sure to come.

Is your brand getting left behind by this new platform? It’s never too soon to start using a hot new social media platform to reach customers, and this rising platform is already the next big thing. With TikTok in your brand’s digital marketing wheelhouse, you can get in on all the benefits of its popularity.

What is TikTok, how did it get so big, and why does it have value for your brand? Let’s answer all your TikTok-related questions so you can get to posting on the platform!

What Is TikTok?

TikTok ticks the boxes of every beloved social media platform: it’s fun, easy to use, and just different enough from other platforms to seem essential.

On TikTok, users can post short videos on nearly any topic. Many of these videos are funny, and TikTok seems to fill a gap left by Vine, the now-defunct app for short-form videos. In addition to comedy, some TikTok users have found the platform a helpful way to make political statements.

Most of these short videos include sound, and they often feature popular songs. Videos also tend to reference each other, making the platform a hotbed of shortlived viral trends.

For example, many hot new songs now become sources of a “TikTok dance,” in which one user posts a choreography to the song, and other users learn the choreography and post their own versions.

When Did TikTok Get Popular?

TikTok is the latest name for an app first called Musical.ly, which emerged about six years ago.

Even before it was named TikTok, Musical.ly was a fairly popular app. Many people loved it for its ease of use. For example, users could sample a sound from another video with the click of a button, making creating content super easy.

While platforms like Facebook allow for video, photo, and text posts, TikTok is strictly video-oriented: it only features user-generated videos. With each video’s short, catchy format, users can easily lose hours on the app — especially since the videos play automatically.

The handmade, grassroots nature of the videos makes them even more appealing. In an age when people are tired of polished Instagram influencers and targeted Facebook ads, TikTok can seem refreshing.

The short video format also makes it an ideal platform for the absurd humour that often resonates with young users. Unsurprisingly, TikTok’s primary audience is teens and twenty-somethings. People in this age group often reject polished social media presences for organic, genuine, silly content. For them, TikTok is perfect.

However, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic might be the main force behind TikTok’s ever-growing popularity.

If not for the pandemic, the app may have remained somewhat niche. Instead, everyone was suddenly forced to stay home for months on end. This social media platform provided the perfect source of entertainment.

Users could always find something to laugh at on TikTok, and making your own videos from home was an easy way to pass time in quarantine. So, TikTok became even more popular — and more essential for brands.

Why TikTok Matters for Your Brand

It’s tempting to think the TikTok fervour will die down soon. However, it actually looks like this platform is here to stay. The sooner your brand establishes a TikTok presence, the easier it will be to attract the attention of users.

Still not sure if TikTok is worth your time? Here are some of the top reasons to get on it!

People Will Be Stuck at Home for a While

The current pandemic is far from under control. Many people will continue to be bored at home for the foreseeable future. This means that they’ll spend lots of time on TikTok — and that more new people will discover the app.

TikTok Influencers Are Essential

Since making TikTok videos is so easy, it’s become a wellspring of hot new influencers. Brands that spend time with the app will be able to find those rising influencers and partner with them faster.

Going Viral Is Easy

One reason so many new influencers start on TikTok is that it’s easy to go viral on the platform. Even users with small followings can strike a chord and end up viral.

One of those viral videos could be yours! The sooner you start posting (and feeling out what might become popular), the better your TikTok engagement will be.

Young People Are Available

Not every brand caters to young people, of course. For the many brands that do, though, reaching a young target audience can seem all but impossible.

Many young users have defected from Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. TikTok, however, is a surefire place to find them. The casual, fun content resonates with them, making it easier to get their attention.

TikTok Ads Are New

Organic content, rather than ads, should usually be the cornerstone of social media marketing. However, TikTok ads can also prove useful.

The sooner you start using this new ad resource, the better your results will be. Since the ads feature is fairly new, fewer brands are on it, so there’s less competition for user attention.

TikTok Videos Resonate with Users

Nearly every brand on social media struggles with a similar issue: the need to seem relatable.

Sure, you want your branded content to have a branded voice and style. However, you don’t want your content to seem so polished that it always looks like advertising.

TikTok’s deliberately unpolished format makes relatable content easy to make. If you want natural-feeling content that will humanise your brand, TikTok is the answer.

Should All Brands Be on TikTok?

TikTok may not be quite right for every brand. For example, if your target demographic is over 60, the platform likely isn’t essential. However, the platform is only going to grow, and for most brands, a TikTok presence will help.

Not sure whether your brand belongs on TikTok, much less how to get started? Don’t worry: all new social platforms can seem confusing at first. Professional digital marketers can help you decide when, how, and whether to tackle TikTok.

When you’re ready to take that plunge, contact us! We’re here to help with TikTok, other social media, and all of your digital marketing needs.

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