Is TikTok the right marketing move for your business?

by Sarah Hickey

When a new social media outlet hits the market, it can be time-consuming to filter through the initial publicity and determine if it is a marketing step worth investing in. Will the platform be successful and grow? Does it attract the right audience for my organization? Is advertising worth the effort?

Let’s take a look at TikTok, the latest social media asset to enter the market. This new app seemingly has a lot to offer businesses right now, but is not the right platform for every organization. Here is an overview of what it is and what its promotional opportunities look like.

What is TikTok and who are its users?

TikTok is a short-form media app where users upload videos of themselves doing pretty much anything from singing, participating in challenges, storytimes, or various activities. As of now, their core audience is under the age of 30, with a majority composed of Generation Z. As of mid-2019, the app surpassed the 1 billion-download threshold and it continues to be one of the most downloaded apps worldwide. Though their main market skews young, users are highly engaged with the creative app, based globally, and consume content in a unique way–making it an ideal space for marketers to interact with this demographic.

Ways to Promote Your Brand

Although TikTok is still on a learning curve with its advertising, businesses can take advantage of this growing community with the app’s current ad options or through organic user-based techniques. At present, companies are able to choose from a few advertising opportunities that include brand takeovers, native in-feed videos, branded lenses, and sponsored hashtag challenges.

Brand Takeover

This option gives brands the opportunity to “take over” the app with a full-screen picture ad or GIF when users first log on. This ad is linkable to the company’s app page, to any hashtag challenge that they are running or any promotions they have within the app. TikTok limits these takeovers to one brand every 24-hour period, making it a considerable opportunity for exposure and clickable traffic.

Native In-Feed Videos

Like many similar social media platforms, TikTok offers native in-feed videos for advertisers looking to reach users who are exploring posted content. These types of ads are perfect for brands that want to reach a variety of users in large quantities, without disrupting their feed or being too obvious.

Branded Lenses

These 2D and 3D lenses are TikTok’s take on Snapchat filters. Businesses can buy and create custom filters or animations that are available for creators to use in their videos. These interactive assets are a fun way for organizations to put their brand out there without having to create their own content or work directly with influencers.

Sponsored Hashtag Challenges

Lastly, brands can use sponsored hashtag challenges as an ad opportunity. Challenges are a popular part of TikTok culture and an effective way to interact with the audience. Additionally, hashtags function on the app as they do on other social media platforms and are a useful tool for spreading brand awareness. Sponsorship is a great option for companies who do not have their own account to launch a campaign from or do not have a large enough following for it to be a success. Creating a new challenge is a quirky way for brands to work within this creative community.

If brands are looking for a more grass-roots approach, they should consider starting their own account, collaborating with relevant influencers on the app, or launching their own hashtag challenge.  

Brand Account

Starting a brand account through any social media outlet can quickly become time-consuming, and a flop, if the company does not take the time to understand its unique user-base. With careful consideration and curated content, this could be the best way for brands to appeal to a younger audience. Instead of being another ad on the platform, the brand would be embedded into the community.

TikTok Influencers

For those with less time and resources on their hands, influencers might be the way to go.  Since TikTok is a relatively new app, a strong influencer market has yet to emerge, but that doesn’t mean brands should avoid them altogether. By taking into account the number of views and types of content a user is producing, organizations can easily figure out the creators they should be collaborating with.  

Hashtag Challenges

Brands that do not want to put the money behind a sponsored hashtag challenge are free to start one on their own if they feel their audience is large and receptive enough. This is a fun way to interact with users and have your brand be the main focus of entertainment. If a strong foundation is there, an organically created hashtag challenge would gain a lot of exposure for a brand.

There are so many ways for businesses to be a part of the TikTok narrative. While it may not fit everyone’s branding efforts, this is a fun, creative app and branded content should reflect that.

November 4, 2019