What Is TikTok & How Does It Affect Your Social Media Strategy?

What Is TikTok & How Does It Affect Your Social Media Strategy?

Have you heard of TikTok? The first time I was asked, I thought of the Ke$ha song. Or a clock. But of course, the two words combine for a new meaning now – especially for brands that want to stay relevant with their social media strategy.

What is TikTok?

Young woman having a video conversation with her frind by cellphone in a big expressive move
TikTok allows users to create and post short videos of themselves.

TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create and share 15-second to 60-second looping videos. The videos often include short musical snippets along with sound and visual effects. Users can then like, comment on, share and favorite videos.

It might not sound like much, but with short clips to scroll through, it’s extremely easy for users to accidentally spend hours watching videos of people dancing, lip syncing, pranking each other and more.

The lighthearted, entertaining aspect is what many younger consumers appreciate about the social media platform. Emarketer explains:

In December 2019, TikTok released the TikTok 100, its ranking of the top videos, genres, creators and memes over the past year. The list gives deeper insight into what exactly makes TikTok tick: fun, lighthearted content like a video of someone trying Kombucha for the first time or a man performing surgery on a banana—all set to background music, of course.

That’s in stark contrast to traditional social networks like Facebook, which tend to be more serious and at times, negative. In fact, too much negativity was one of the leading reasons that US Facebook users ages 13 and older were using Facebook less in a May 2019 survey by Edison Research, cited by 59 percent. Not liking rants or too personal comments was the most-cited response.

Why Should You Care About This Social Media Platform?

Smiling female friends having fun, making video or selfie while doing a funny dance in fashion showroom.
TikTok is a fantastic social media platform to connect with younger consumers.

If younger consumers are your target audience, you definitely want to give TikTok a closer look.

PR Daily reports, “With over 30 million monthly active U.S. users, 69 percent of whom are 16-24 years old, the app’s users are highly engaged, spending an average of 46+ minutes per day on the platform.”

Hubspot also reports:

  • 90 percent of TikTok users visit the app more than once a day
  • On average, users open the app eight times per day

Even if you aren’t targeting younger consumers, it’s worth at least familiarizing yourself with the app and taking cues from its playful approach. As the current 16- to 24-year-olds get older, they’re likely to become your target audience; it will be useful to understand how they like to engage on social media so – regardless of the platform you’re focusing on – you can better connect with them.

How Can You Use TikTok For Your Brand?

While there are some elements of social media marketing that carry through to TikTok, this platform is different enough from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn that you’ll want to dedicate specific resources to this channel.

PR Daily supports this, explaining that, “Repurposing simple ads and/or sponsored endorsements doesn’t seem to cut it, but platform-tailored creativity—leaning into trends and showing off a brand’s lighter side—does.”

7 Tips To Use TikTok As An Effective Part Of Your Social Media Strategy

Woman using smart phone app check email or text message, multiethnic diverse team discussing in background.
Follow these tips to incorporate TikTok into your social media strategy.
  1. Spend time on the platform. Watch how other users – both consumers and brands – are using it. What types of videos are they posting? Do you notice similarities between those that perform well?
  2. Create catchy videos. TikTok is not the place to share your most recent keynote speech or slides from a recent workshop. You have mere seconds (if that!) to catch a user’s attention.
    • Use crisp, catchy visuals and music to share a video that will hold their focus for 15 to 60 seconds.
    • Don’t be shy about special effects and stringing video clips together – this platforms’ users embrace visual elements, especially when timed well to the music!
  3. Post strategically. Include relevant hashtags on your post to give it more visibility.
  4. Show the lighter side of your brand. TikTok is the platform for entertaining followers. Show your staff having fun!
  5. Jump on trends you can use. Do you see a challenge or hashtag going around that you can relate to your brand? How can you put your own spin on it?
  6. Interact. Remember, like other social media platforms, the point of TikTok is to engage. As you watch other videos, take the time to like, comment and share others’ posts.
  7. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to play! This is a young social media platform, so best practices aren’t completely defined yet. Try out different tactics and pay attention to what works well for your business.

What About Advertising?

TikTok’s advertising options are still fairly new for brands, but there are several ways for companies to take advantage of paid reach:

  • In-app purchases, which allow users to buy products through a dedicated page without leaving TikTok (like Kroger’s #TransformUrDorm challenge, which asked users to post before/after videos of their dorm makeovers and took them to a page where they could buy products)
  • Create a sponsored challenge, which encourages users to create a certain type of video and tag it with the hashtag (like Guess’ #InMyDenim challenge where the company had users record themselves wearing their Guess denim)
  • Partner with social media influencers, in which a popular TikTok user will showcase your brand in a video they create and post

Examples Of Brands Using This Social Media Platform Effectively

NBA (@NBA)

In addition to sharing game-ending clutch shots and amazing plays, the NBA’s TikTok account shows off the fun that happens off the court, too: fans and mascots dancing in the stands, halftime entertainment and more.

Steph and Riley’s Handshake
@nba

Steph and Riley’s handshake 💛😍💙 @warriors #fatherdaughter #handshake #family #wholesomemoments

♬ Fun – Fancy Cars,Bazzi

What can you learn from the NBA’s social media strategy?

Just like the NBA shows its brand extends beyond basketball games, you need to show your brand is more than your products or services. Ask yourself:

  • What makes your company fun?
  • Why do your employees enjoy being at work?
  • Why do customers choose to work with you?
  • How can you reflect these attributes in a video?

Nickelodeon (@nickelodeon)

With more than five million followers, this TikTok account does a good job of blending nostalgia with the bright and colorful slime it’s known for. Videos include iconic clips from popular shows, holiday-themed décor with slime oozing and cast “glow-ups” (past and present images of a person in a single video) from various shows.

Crazy How Much The Shays Have Grown Up
@nickelodeon

Crazy how much the Shays have grown up 🥰 #icarly #morph #glowup #mirandacosgrove #jerrytrainor #carlyshay #2000sthrowback

♬ Leave It All to Me (Theme from ICarly) [feat. Drake Bell] – Miranda Cosgrove feat. Drake Bell

What can you learn from Nickelodeon?

Show off your past. Pull in old video clips and re-edit them to make a new video specifically for TikTok. This gives your new social media followers a chance to see how you got where you are now, and reminds your older followers of the journey they’ve taken with you.

Red Bull (@redbull)

When you think of Red Bull, you probably think of the slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings.” The brand’s TikTok page certainly reminds followers of this. The videos feature all sorts of extreme athletes flying through the air, showing off their “wings.”

It Was Cool Enough Without The 360…
@redbull

It was cool enough without the 360 but fair play @valentindelluc 👏😅

♬ Lose Control – Meduza & Becky Hill & Goodboys

What can Red Bull’s social media strategy teach you?

Share your core message in as many different ways as possible. What do you want consumers to think of when your brand comes to mind? Come up with a variety of ways to visually reinforce it; let creativity be your guide.

Team USA (@teamusa)

Although it’s months before the Tokyo Olympics begin, Team USA is building their following on TikTok now. The social media strategy includes sharing clips from summer and winter sports, featuring exciting clips from past games alongside videos of athletes training for Tokyo 2020.

A ⭐️ Is Born
@teamusa

A ⭐️ Is Born: @alysaxliu shined bright this year 👏 #teamusa #figureskating #sports

♬ Dance Monkey – Tones and I

What can we learn from Team USA?

This social media strategy does a fantastic job of watching TikTok’s trending videos and finding ways to participate. For example:

How can your brand follow Team USA’s lead? Watch for trending songs and challenges on the platform and look for ways you can follow suit with your company.

Fenty Beauty (@fentybeauty)

From giveaways and sales to the products themselves, Fenty Beauty does a fantastic job of mixing the fun with the items that are for sale. While there are lots of videos showing off the beauty products themselves, there is plenty of entertainment to keep social media users interested.

Meetings @ Fenty Beauty Be Like…🤷🏾‍♀️
@fentybeauty

Meetings @ Fenty Beauty be like…🤷🏾‍♀️

♬ HBS – Lil Keed

What can we learn from this Fenty Beauty’s TikTok page?

Come up with fun ways to reinforce your products and services. They’re a big part of your brand – you don’t want to hide that. However, you need to make sure that the ways you’re featuring them are entertaining so followers don’t feel like you’re always selling to them.

United Nations IFAD (@ifad)

Although the International Fund for Agricultural Development probably isn’t the first organization that comes to mind when you think of TikTok, theirs is an account worth looking at. This social media channel is a fantastic example of empowering and inspiring users by focusing on solutions instead of the problems. Videos include ways that rural communities are using their resources, quick facts and clips of people #DancingForChange (a hashtag they created) all over the world.

Karima Left School…Found A Job And Friends In A Cheese Cooperative 🧀
@ifad

Karima left school but now she has found a job and friends in a cheese cooperative 🧀 #youth2030

♬ original sound – ifad

What can we learn from United Nations IFAD’s TikTok page?

Don’t be afraid to share important news on this platform – this is especially important for nonprofits. By positioning it in a positive light, you can drive awareness and engagement in your cause.

Get Help With Your Social Media Strategy

Whether you want to invest in TikTok or another social media platform, we can help! Contact us today for a complimentary 30-minute consultation; we’re happy to assist with any part of the process, from developing your strategy to actually creating and sharing the posts themselves.

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