Since its worldwide launch back in September 2017, the Chinese produced app TikTok has seen a rise to fame that’s truly unlike any other social networking platform. The app currently has over 800 million users worldwide, that’s more than the entire population of Europe combined.
TikTok’s mission statement perfectly summarises what the platform is intended to do: “Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator, and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.”
On the face of it, the app doesn’t look like it would be a mecca for brands and businesses. Despite huge numbers of engagement and interaction, a few swipes downward will reveal dance routines, memes and the odd conspiracy theory, nothing really to shout home about. That’s where TikTok is unlike any other app, it celebrates spontaneity and user generated content, making it blindingly obvious when an advert for a new product appears on screen. To nail this platform, businesses need to think differently and become closer than ever to their consumers. Videos reach incredible stats out of nowhere, a video can go from four likes to 400,000 in a matter of hours, meaning products used in those videos become hot property.
The largest demographic of TikTok users is between the ages of 16 and 24, meaning it’s important to analyse what those users are likely to be looking for online, whether it be the latest on trend product or aspirational item that they will work towards owning. The automotive industry can utilise this demographic by showing younger audiences exactly why they should aspire to own a particular brand of car or its unique features. The key is to not directly advertise, instead use the platform and the sheer amount of active users to gain brand awareness and momentum, where a business can then curate that user generated content and create a campaign based around this.
We’ve outlined some key points for setting up a TikTok account below.
When it comes to creating your own content, be authentic!
TikTok thrives off of spontaneity and capturing things ‘in the moment’ – this means a smartphone camera will be your best friend here. No amount of fancy equipment will result in a better performing post, instead work with what you’ve got and focus on creating something funny, enjoyable or educational for your audience.
Being authentic builds trust too, showing the everyday goings on of a car dealership or fresh cars arriving in stock may seem mundane to those who work there everyday, but to some that could be their dream job or car! What makes TikTok different to other social media platforms is its extensive use of hashtags. Whilst Instagram and Twitter built the use of hashtags to a very high level, TikTok goes one step further and allows millions of users to piggyback onto the latest trends via simple hashtags.
User-generated content is your best friend
With so many users on TikTok, it’s easy for brands and products to get tagged and used in multiple videos every single day. All it takes is for one of those videos to become popular and generate traction and a certain brand or product can become increasingly popular overnight.
Larger brands take advantage of this, knowing that users are likely to feature their products in videos without even asking them. As an example, Nike has taken an interesting approach to TikTok. Rather than posting public video content of their own, they’re cashing in on user-generated content. If you look at their TikTok profile, you’ll see that their account is private and you have to request access to view the content.
This might seem odd to have a completely private account, but a quick search at the #Nike hashtag will reveal over 929 million tags, with users from all over the world sharing videos dancing in Nike shoes, running in Nike sportswear or following the latest trend while wearing head-to-toe Nike. It’s almost as if Nike themselves don’t need to share content, as there are enough users doing this for them!
Whilst we’d all love to be in a position like Nike, the reality is smaller businesses will need to create and well as curate. A car showroom for example could share videos that include the brands they represent, or reach out to influencers to promote their business and the offers they may have.
Advertising on TikTok
Just like other social media platforms, TikTok requires advertising to enable its growth. Thankfully for them, there are thousands of businesses who are queuing up to get a slice of that advertising pie. Whilst there are some similarities between advertising on Instagram, TikTok does things a little differently, namely through brand takeovers. Upon opening the app, brands can pay to be the very first thing users see for a limited amount of time, allowing them to click straight to a dedicated landing page on your website or social media channel.
As you would expect, creating a brand takeover for TikTok isn’t exactly the cheapest option, therefore native ads within the app might be the best option for success. These are ads that simply play in between videos and allow users to again click to landing pages or fill in forms. What’s important to consider here is the creation of the ad itself. Using methods that may work on other platforms doesn’t guarantee success on TikTok. It’s worth spending some time analysing what other businesses and brands have done beforehand, as well as researching the kind of content that is successful on TikTok that month. The platform has a tendency to change rapidly, meaning it’s hugely important to be spontaneous and reactive to your content.
There are also some other options to try, filters play a massive role in the success of the content featured. Many businesses will create special face-changing filters or sound effects that users flock to in a matter of hours. Hashtags are more important here than on any other platform, where Instagram encourages users to use around 8-9 hashtags per post for the best results, TikTokers seem to use far less. The #fyp (for you page) hashtag, which basically attempts to get an uploader’s content onto the homepage of the app, has a staggering amount of tags and views – 6539.8 billion and counting to be exact!
To summarise, TikTok has completely changed the way in which many users interact with social media. Particularly in younger generations, the app has increased the speed of content consuming to alarming levels, where disposable content like TikTok has led them to act in a similar way when interacting with apps like YouTube and Facebook. Those platforms immediately feel slow after spending ten minutes on TikTok, and whilst the content on all platforms is different, as a business it’s important to understand what to create for each of these platforms.
TikTok is very much here to stay, despite threats from the U.S the app has and will continue to grow immensely over the next year or so, making it more important than ever to get familiar with the app and understand how trends work and how content is distributed on it.
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Elliot is our resident tech-lover and petrolhead, who is in charge of spreading AdFeeder to the masses! Having previously worked with brands such as Porsche and BMW, Elliot specialises in content creation and social media.