f you’re anything like me, you know very well the power and influence that Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat hold. If you’re a heavy social media user aged 16-24 though, you’re likely to tell me I’m missing one more thing—TikTok!
TikTok is often overlooked on the scope of marketing and advertising. I’m here to tell you that this is a mistake.
TikTok currently holds 500 million active users worldwide (Datareportal, 2019). With 66% of these overall users being under the age of 30. Moreover, the target demographic that is being reached by TikTok is high school and college students looking for a creative outlet, or a chance at TikTok fame; which can now be leveraged as a sparkling opportunity for brands to showcase their products to a rapidly growing viewer base.
WHAT IS TIK TOK?
TikTok is a new social media platform that allows users to generate 15 second videos, adding a clip of music to be played in the background. Much like Instagram, it consists of a home, discover, inbox, and profile tab along the bottom of the screen.
Some unique features of TikTok include:
- Likes on posts are completely private. You can see the number of accounts liking a video, but not who they are.
- The “For You” page, that acts similarly to Instagram’s Discover tab. The “For You” page uses an algorithm for condensing TikTok’s most likely to be trending and most interacted with content. To get on the For You page, it is recommended to post trendy content, challenges, use hashtags and trending music while also interacting with users frequently.
- The ability to link your Instagram account, to be featured on your TikTok profile. Since you cannot DM those you aren’t friends with on TikTok, this feature is essential for getting in touch with TikTokers!
In 2018, Musical.ly was strategically rebranded as TikTok. In late September 2018, TikTok became the most downloaded free app on the App Store and ranked first on Google Play the following October. Now, TikTok stands as the third most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2019, with 188 million new users. For an over year comparison, it has grown 70 percent from Q1 2018. (SensorTower, 2019) Business of Apps has condensed a comprehensive collection of data related to TikTok’s performance in 2018-2019.
ANYONE CAN BE A STAR WITH TIK TOK
With that being said, any product can be a star with TikTok as well.
One common misconception made about TikTok is that it is only relevant in the United States. In fact, 26.5 out of the 500 million monthly active users are from the USA! (Mediakix 2019). Below, I got in touch with TikTok stars from radically different places. From Canada to Norway, and back to the US!
Spreading laughs all the way from Canada, Jacob Toldi, TikTok handle @jtolds2, has over 300k followers and has videos ranging anywhere from 20k to 8.8 million views!
When asked how he gains followers and views for his posts, he stated:
“My tactics to gain followers, views and likes are to go along with the trends. But I don’t do that often. I mostly do random stuff that people wouldn’t typically see everyday. For example, I did a stop motion video that got over 2 million views! My fans wanted a tutorial on how to do it, so I made one and it got 8.8 million views! This gave me a general sense of what I should post.”
The beauty of TikTok as a marketable platform is that you don’t need to stay confined within the limit of your follower count to reach new audiences. Even with 250k followers, it only took a bit of creativity and unique content to expand Jacob’s audience into millions. Not only is the platform designed for audience expansion, it is also teeming with users just like Jacob who would be more than willing to market products to their audience.
“I would definitely consider getting paid to promote a service or a product! I would include it in my TikTok and make it appear more than any other thing in the video! I would also do a quick little speech about the product to explain that I use it and it works great!”—Jacob Toldi
Why chase after Instagram celebrity giants to market a product, when utterly creative everyday TikTok users are so eager to share their audience! Or better yet—why not do both?
Daniel Jensen, TikTok handle @danieljenseen, posts to TikTok from his home in Norway. Only since the start of Summer 2019, Daniel was able to attract 172k followers and counting. His videos typically range anywhere between 20k to 4.6 million views.
When asked what his favorite aspect of TikTok is, he stated:
“My favorite thing about TikTok is being able to make videos because that is what I love doing. Making videos, editing and all that stuff. It’s a great platform to show off your talents, humor and be creative. Love it!!!”
This is what makes TikTok so unique. Having a passion for making videos can result in gaining tens of thousands of viewers in followers in just a few short months. This kind of rocket launch into fame is something I consider a super rare ability of a modern social media platform.
Jackson Booth @jbooth23, is a TikToker from Texas. Since only the start of July 2019, Jackson was able to attract 35k followers and counting. His videos range anywhere from 1k to 5.5 million views.
When asked if he would be willing to market a product, he stated:
“If I was offered to promote something, I most likely would do it but it would have to fit into a humorous video. I wouldn’t just do a straight up advertisement of a product without any other context.”
I feel that in this statement, Daniel touched on something marketers tend to miss. It is imperative to understand that the general public typically views advertisements as unrelated, out of context, or interrupting to their internet activity.
This is why leveraging TikTok and other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook is so important. TikTok is more than just counting how many viewers you can collect, it’s creating interpersonal content that those who are scrolling actually want to see! This provides a great opportunity to market the right products to the right audiences in the most organic and interactive way.
Presently, a plethora of brands, artists, and celebrities are utilizing TikTok for their promotion. GUESS, Jimmy Fallon, Google, Alan Walker, and others have been known for creating hashtags on TikTok, that resulted in emerging trends. These trends brought together thousands of TikTokers posting the hashtag content, who gathered hundreds of millions of views. Free promotion! Made up entirely of everyday users just trying to be a part of something bigger.
What if TikTok is nothing more than a fad? You might ask.
TIK TOK IS HERE TO STAY
“TikTok is easily the hottest app out right now. It never fails to entertain viewers every single day. It’s really unique and I think it’s popularity can hold out long-term because there’s new people on the app everyday and it’s only been getting bigger.”—Jackson Booth
With more than 1 billion videos viewed everyday in the last year (influencermarketinghub, 2018)
Being available in 155 countries (Apptrace 2019)
And being the IOS App Store’s most downloaded app of Q1 2019 with 33 million downloads (SensorTower, 2019), there is no doubt that the TikTok audience is expanding significantly and will continue.
TikTok provides a can’t-miss chance to market and promote.
Whether you want to reach out to a TikTok star for collaboration, create your own marketing trend through hashtags or pay for TikTok ads, implementing TikTok into your marketing strategy is a sure-fire way of gaining organic publicity for your business.