5 Things Marketers Need to Know to Get Started On TikTok

If you doubted it before, you can no longer; Tik Tok is here to stay. With over 2 billion downloads worldwide and over 800 million active users, the social video-sharing platform most popular amongst Gen Z has taken the social media world by storm and brands, such as Chipotle, the NBA, and The Washington Post, have finally begun taking notice. 

As people adjust to the “new normal” of life at home, TikTok has become even more popular. According to Kanter’s “COVID-19 Barometer” research, usage of TikTok was up 33% for Gen Z respondents and 27% for Millennials in the time period of mid-March to mid-April 2020 alone. Combined with TikTok’s already high time spent on the platform, with users spending on average about 52 minutes each, there’s a huge opportunity for brands of all sizes, across most industries, to use this time of social distancing to refresh their social marketing strategy and continue to innovate at home.

Looking to venture your business into the world of TikTok? Here are five things you need to know before getting started:

1. Entertainment and Authenticity Trumps Aesthetics

Growing up in the era of “fake news,” Gen Z, TikTok’s largest demographic audience, values transparency and authenticity from users and brands alike. TikTok is different from other photo and video sharing platforms, such as Instagram, in that perfectly curated feeds and posed portraits don’t resonate. In fact, much of today’s viral TikToks and influencers capture content from the comfort of their home – or their parent’s home.

This is great news for brands who are on a budget as TikTok videos don’t need to have a high production value to be successful. This is especially important during the global crisis where production teams can’t meet and film as they normally would. Instead, get creative and enlist your team (or influencers!) to create unique content for your brand. According to social media publishing company Later, viral TikTok content tends to be funny, relatable, and/or authentic So, let your brand personality shine and start experimenting!

2. Cadence is Key

In a fashion more similar to other social platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, the cadence of posting is critical to finding TikTok success. With the “endless scroll” function that makes up most TikTok users’ behavior, it’s important to have a steady flow of content regularly. The sweet spot, according to most TikTok influencers, is 2-3 times a day during the times your audience is most active. Don’t let this cadence overwhelm you because…

3. Shorter = Better

Attention is limited on TikTok, so keep everything brief. TikTok is designed for short videos so when planning content, focus on entertaining through short sketches, one-liners, etc. This goes for captions too; while long-form captions have been trending on Instagram and Facebook over the last few years, you should keep your TikTok captions to the point – ideally one line or less.

tik tok influencer example

4. Hashtags Dominate

Remember how we used to use hashtags on Instagram about six years ago? Well, that very basic system of categorization dominates TikTok’s algorithms. While the company has remained hush about what exactly their algorithm entails, hashtags are clearly a large consideration. Use relevant, broad hashtags to expand your reach to users who have watched or like content with the same or similar hashtags. However, be selective; TikTok uses hashtags not just to categorize your video, but your entire profile too. Give some thought to your content strategy and what hashtags best define your brand, your content, and your audience.

5. Following the Crowd is Cool

While originality is always prized, TikTok is unique in that following what “the cool kids” are doing is actually a sound strategy for increasing the visibility and potential virality of your content. TikTok is known for its challenges, whether it be learning a popular dance or finding creative ways to drop an oreo from your forehead to your mouth.

Take some time to see what’s trending and relevant to your brand, then put your own unique spin on the challenge. If you’re feeling inspired, try creating your own challenge and leverage TikTok’s advertising features to help it go viral.

With TikTok’s platform perfectly designed for at-home production and viewing, there’s never been a better time to explore TikTok and how to make it work for your brand. 

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