I’m going to assume that, if you’re reading this blog, you are at least somewhat familiar with the social media platform TikTok. If for some reason you aren’t, please go create a profile, spend 30 minutes scrolling the For You page, and then try to tell me it’s not addicting.

With its goal of inspiring creativity and bringing joy through short-form mobile video content, TikTok has absolutely exploded over the past 18 months, currently touting more than 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone (as of July 2021).

And we can’t ignore that video engagement itself is at an all-time high, with platforms like Instagram even rebranding to “embrace video more broadly.” Users spend an average of nearly 7 hours a week watching videos, 52 minutes on TikTok specifically, and consumers are 2.6x more likely to make a purchase after seeing a brand video.

But, TikTok provides something the other video platforms have been missing: Authenticity.

The key demographic makeup of TikTok is primarily Gen Z and Millennials, with roughly 50% of the app’s population under the age of 34. TikTok’s usage by gender is fairly even, with men (53%) slightly outnumbering women (47%). However, female users have grown at a higher rate than male users in the past year.

Gen Z and Millennials have immense buying power and, over time, will continue to own a larger share of the pie. Gen Z alone was estimated to have a direct and indirect buying power of $143 billion in 2018. But selling to these generations requires a different approach, one that aligns well with the offerings of TikTok. For more insight into targeting these generations individually on social media, check out this blog from my colleague, Claire Meyer!

All in all, whether you’re a small business looking to reach a niche audience segment or a national chain ready to conquer another platform, TikTok is the perfect place to build brand awareness, generate engagement and reach (potentially) millions of people.

Once you’re sure TikTok aligns with your marketing and business goals, it’s time to get started. And with the nature of the app being short-form mobile video content, you won’t need much more than a smartphone!

Ring Light Not Required

You’ll notice some content creators have invested in simple accessories, such as a ring light, tripod, and/or microphone, to help elevate the quality of their mobile videos. Think of how quickly you scroll past something with bad lighting, noise interference, or any minor inconveniences that make watching the video more challenging than flicking through the For You page.

While these items are not required, working with simple tools to improve lighting and sound quality can help to portray a higher level of professionalism from your brand. 

#Research

Building a successful TikTok strategy requires research and planning to ensure a smooth transition and introduction to a new platform. Before you sit down to create your first TikTok video, you need to know what types of content your target audience is engaging with. 

Once you know what they’re engaging with, take a look at the TikTok-specific hashtags they’re using, and the various brand/creator accounts they’re following. This insight will give you a clearer picture of how your brand can break into the space (without just creating more noise) and help you get your videos in front of the right viewers. You can also review creator accounts down the road for influencer partnership opportunities.

Listening

When a new trend emerges, you have to be ready to jump on it immediately for a shot of going viral. Be sure to keep that in mind when deciding whether or not your brand is ready to take the leap. This platform can require a lot more real-time action, strategic shifts, social listening and community building than traditional social platforms. But trust me, the sweet satisfaction of going semi-viral or earning a thousand followers overnight is worth it.

Downloading apps like TrendTok, that alert you when new trending sounds are emerging, can make the difference between a good video and a great one. In addition to trending sounds, pay attention to trending themes, filters, hashtags, challenges and more to increase your visibility.

Differentiating

While top-performing TikTok content can (and should) be shared to other platforms, content from other platforms should not be shared to TikTok. This platform should live separately from your other social channels in terms of strategy and content, allowing you to be more creative and tailor your content specifically to this channel using trends, filters and more.

My best advice for your first video? Just go for it! The whole point of the app is to create “short-form mobile video content.” It doesn’t need to be flawless or professionally filmed, and the sooner you jump in and get your first video up, the easier it will be to create your second and third and so on. 

If you need a little inspiration, here are five non-mega brands doing BIG things on TikTok:

Still not convinced you can do it alone? We’re here to help! Schedule a conversation with our Director of Business Development to learn how we can implement TikTok into your brand’s social media strategy.