7 mins

Everyone’s TikToking! 

TikTok has burst its way onto smartphones, gaining media attention and users at a staggering rate. According to research from Sensor Tower, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide in February 2020, beating the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook, and its popularity is continuing to grow. Downloaded 315 million times in the last quarter alone, TikTok has recently passed 2 billion downloads!

Launched back in 2016 as a video platform for desktops, it allowed users to share videos to their audience. Mediakix reported that in 2019, the hyper-engaged and active users of the app spent an average of 52 minutes per day on the platform, which, as a result of lockdowns in countries around the world, has increased in the last couple of months.

TikTok is an important and attractive new marketing channel for organisations who are currently appealing to Gen Z….even the World Health Organisation is using TikTok to publish public health information during the coronavirus pandemic. So, here’s the opportunity…the app is just over a year old and still largely untapped by brands, so get in there quick!

Want to reach a Gen Z audience?

If Gen Z is a target demographic for your brand, then TikTok is a MASSIVE opportunity for you to connect with your audience. As audience behaviours adapt and time goes on, the age of users on TikTok will increase, just like it did for Facebook, SnapChat and Instagram, but at the moment it is predominantly used by people aged 16-24 (TikTok,2019).

You need a strategy & clear tone of voice

Developing your TikTok tone of voice and content strategy is extremely important due to the authenticity of the content on the platform. It is likely to take a little longer to create than a post on Instagram and Facebook due to the community spirit and experience desired by the audience.

Having a strategy and a plan will reduce the amount of time it takes to create the right content. Here are a few things to consider when starting your plan:

  • What’s the purpose of your content?
    • Is it reach, engagement, lead generation or sales – have one desired outcome for each TikTok
  • Why is your content being published?
    • Is it to excite, is it to inform or is it to boost your reputation?
  • What resource can you access?
    • Do you have the people, the skill set or do you need to invest in this?

The best part is if one TikTok gains popularity you can ‘ride the wave’ and hit your audience with a swift follow up. Making users more likely to keep coming back to your profile.

Understand what works on TikTok

TikTok is different from other social media platforms. Unlike Twitter, Facebook & Instagram you cannot re-purpose content from these platforms on TikTok, it just doesn’t work. To create engaging and impactful content which is embraced by ‘TikToker’s’, brands need to shed their ‘Instagrammer’ polished creative and instead make authentic, imperfect content that fits the platform’s style yet still represent the brand. Content truly is King on TikTok and this audience are most receptive to content that aligns with their personal interests and values (TikTok, 2019).

Here’s a perfect example of two brands approaching TikTok with very different strategies. One using a popular song and humour to promote its brand organically, the other using in-feed ads to prompt app downloads. The organic content generated over 165K likes and the sponsored content only 14K.

Take advantage of organic reach… while it lasts.

The platform helps level the playing field for emerging talent and new users. On TikTok influence is not dependent on how many followers you have. If a video is engaging and taps into a relevant trend, it will do well and generate high engagement and reach levels. The opportunity to generate mass organic reach is also prominent, something which is more difficult to achieve on the established platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram since the phenomenal rise of social media ad spend in 2015. (DigiDay, 2019).

Your content NEEDS to entertain

TikTok is being consumed for different reasons to Instagram and SnapChat, it’s users are not looking for inspiration to be someone else. People on TikTok are there to be entertained. Creating content for current trends and challenges is a great way to get started. However, starting a trend or challenge will get your brand noticed and solidify the loyalty of other TikTokers. It is good to know when you’re starting out that TikTok rewards quality content, rather than how big your following is.

What if my brand isn’t there to entertain? Well, this is where we like to use “edu-tainment”, by creatively telling your story through an entertaining manner. Whether this is informative messaging shown creatively or interpretive dance, this is where the importance of your content strategy and tone of voice comes in.

Take Inspiration from what other brands are doing


The Mexican restaurant chain gained over 100K for this clever and entertaining video celebrating its 1-year anniversary on TikTok. This a humorous way to work popular songs into a video that creatively shows off-menu items.

TikTok Ads

The TikTok ad platform is open for business, hooray! Used correctly this new ad platform is very attractive, but many brands are already getting it wrong. Running the same static ads you use on Instagram on TikTok will have little to no traction with this audience. Defining your content strategy will ensure the creative you run generates engagement and that you get the best results from your budget.

As it stands, the placement and targeting options are limited but will, of course, become more sophisticated with time. Currently, only demographic and interest-based options are available, however, we are sure that with the newly appointed Facebook Exec joining the team, this will swiftly change. Check out our Media Trends – Part 2 blog for more info on this.

Tracking is available through TikTok, but utilising this pixel for remarketing purposes has not yet come to fruition.

The 3 main ad placements available:

  • Hashtag challenge’ brand partnerships with TikTok encouraging users to get involved and create content around the challenge, like Chipotles displayed above

In-Feed – full-screen placements displayed amongst user content, similar to Instagram stories

Brand Takeover – these placements are displayed as soon as you open the TikTok app before any other content is displayed

All of these placements offer great exposure and the opportunity to market to Gen Z. Hashtag challenge campaigns are already being used by global brands to generate buzz and engagement with their audiences, something which is difficult to achieve in the era of ‘ad fatigue’, where people are exposed to thousands of advertisements per day. They also offer the perfect match between user generated content and sponsored content.

To Summarise, Top tips for brands on TikTok

  • Know your audience and show a different side of your company that embraces your brand’s identity and values. Embrace a more personal approach to make your organisation more relatable to your audience. Gaining and keeping customers is just like any relationship, built on trust, shared values and visions.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Unlike platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, there aren’t as many norms, best practices, or rules about what works and what doesn’t. You’re rewarded for being you!
  • Engage with your audience. Between challenges, duets, likes, comments, and shares, there are plenty of ways to engage with other users. Try to come up with videos, challenges, or duets that aim to interact with others.

Want to take start TikToking in 2020? Get in touch to speak to an Arkenaut & let’s do something awesome together! 


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