5 mins

Originally conceived by Chinese tech giants ByteDance in late 2018, TikTok’s prominence has skyrocketed in recent months. This is no coincidence. Through tactical campaigns and innovative creative, TikTok has taken the West by storm. TikTok currently has just over 800 million monthly active users, throwing down the gauntlet to social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram. This has created an unprecedented opportunity. Brands are already discovering how TikTok, and its content, can be utilised to communicate and engage with vast and untapped audiences.

What’s made TikTok so popular?

In the UK alone, TikTok has 3.7 million monthly active users, with each spending an average of 41 minutes per day on the platform. This alone equates to 288 years worth of content being viewed every day in the UK. But how has this virality come about? To understand why, we need only to look at the user experience and content that TikTok has to offer. 

Unlike other social platforms, TikTok looks to curate a rough and ready approach. Gone are the days of spending hours getting that perfect picture of your avocado on toast. TikTok wants content, and it wants it now. This laissez-faire approach has taken the onus off the user, and encourages audience participation. TikTok is all about experimentation. It wants you to try, to play, to interact. At its fundamental core, TikTok is a tool for creativity. This is a driving force throughout the app that ensures we never run dry of fun and engaging content to keep us busy. 

@madmatthies

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♬ Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa

TikTok doesn’t stop there. The app’s functionality is built around the idea of collaboration. A large section of TikTok’s content focuses on an in-app functionality called “Duets”. This function allows users to respond to a creator’s content with your own. People then have the opportunity to respond to your content in kind. Not only do native features like this encourage engagement, they feed into the virality of the content, whilst also ensuring the proverbial well never runs dry. 

https://www.tiktok.com/@jasonderulo/video/6848782831427112197

This ethos is further enhanced by TikTok’s “For You” page, which boasts an endless stream of content. Rather than competing to stand out, TikTok ensures that your content gets seen. Unlike other platforms, TikTok steps away from tactical hashtagging and scheduled posts, and rewards good old fashioned content.  

What type of content works well on TikTok?

TikTok has a surprisingly wide array of themes. Within 15 minutes on the platform, you’ll encounter dance routines, challenges, recipes, comedy, lip-syncing and everything in between. This may seem a little daunting at first, but TikTok’s vast catalogue of content means that no matter what you create, there’s an audience for it. 

Whilst this menagerie of the content may seem intimidating, it offers one unifying factor: people, or more intrinsically, personality. TikTok’s broadcast approach means that the key thing that defines you from everyone else is just that, you. This focus allows you to place brand personality at the forefront of your content, whatever the theme. 

With TikTok’s demand for constant content, it can be tempting to upload last week’s Instagram story to feed your social fire, however, this is where TikTok separates itself from other social platforms. Users are very quick to spot content that doesn’t feel native to the platform. Native content belongs in full-screen format. Rough and ready is the name of the game. The 4K footage on your Sony AR7iii may look beautiful, but it’s not TikTok. Look to produce natively in the app to ensure your organic content feels like part of the TikTok community.  

@callmerileyy

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♬ bRead cAt – jasmine

So how can you adapt your marketing to this brave new world?

Community is paramount on TikTok. As we said earlier there is an audience for everyone, so audience observation is key. Look at the content your community posts. Recurring themes, trending challenges, even the style of humour can all give inspiration and guidance about how best to communicate with your audience on TikTok. 

Once you have an understanding of the content your community consumes, it’s time to start creating. And keep creating. As we mentioned earlier TikTok is a rough and ready platform that rewards content production and to make the most of this, it’s important to adopt an always-on approach. This doesn’t just apply to content production, but to your entire community. Get involved, start conversations and interact with your audience.

Finally, it’s important to consider the human element of TikTok. While curating your brand personality, it’s become common practice to have a brand ambassador. Having a familiar face that features or leads throughout your TikTok content allows your audience to humanise and associate your brand’s personality with an individual. This association, in turn, builds brand trust and through brand trust we can forge intimate connections that lead to long-lasting and profitable relationships with our audience.

TikTok is growing at lightning speed and this growth presents a wealth of opportunities for your brand to explore, and the best part is, it doesn’t want carefully curated content. TikTok doesn’t judge, it doesn’t seek the meticulous. TikTok is fast, it’s fun, it wants you to create. The content strategy presents little risk to your resources, and with such large untapped communities, the reward has incredible potential.

The real question is are you ready to make TikTok your marketing playground?

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