Is TikTok right for your brand?

Is TikTok Right for Your Brand?

Sometimes social media can act a lot like a shrewd mystery; just when you think you’ve figured it out, another twist gets thrown into the mix. This ever-changing landscape can make it hard to juggle your brand across multiple platforms and decide where to focus your social media marketing efforts. So, when new platforms like TikTok take social media by storm, the question of “Should we be on that?” can’t help but come up. TikTok (for those still on MySpace) is an app designed for users to create, watch, and share short-form videos with the hopes of going “viral.” TikTok has already proven to be an effective marketing tool for brands that KNOW how to use it. Lucky for you, we’ve laid out exactly what makes TikTok tick so you can see if it’s a good choice for your brand’s social media strategy.

Who Are You Tik-Talking To?

Before plugging yourself into TikTok, you should have a grasp of its user demographic and how they fit among your brand’s target audience. TikTok is a cross-generational app with over 1 billion active users across the globe. Some recent stats indicate that 47% of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 10-29, while another 42% are between the ages of 30-49. It’s also important to note that the overall user base skews more female than male.

While it’s true that TikTok is gaining popularity with older generations, most of their active users are still within the Gen Z and Millennial demographic. (With TikTok even having more Gen Z users than Instagram!) This makes sense given how younger generations have been rooted in a deep appreciation for authenticity and bite-sized content, which is exactly what TikTok is built around. It’s worth pointing out that this age group also holds great buying potential and is likely to do product research on social media, the same way they look to it for entertainment and news. So, if your target audience isn’t young females, does your brand still stand a chance? Of course it does, but you may have to think a bit more outside the TikTok box.

Find Your TikTok Tone

Now that you know about the kind of users found on the platform, you may start to think about how to leverage your brand to relate to them in order to make strong connections. TikTok is meant to be a space for fun, feel-good, authentic content, and while some brand identities may flow seamlessly into TikTok, others may need to adjust and discover what their TikTok tone will be. Shifting your brand voice to come across as more genuine can set you up for success while simultaneously creating a sense of community for your audience. Famous brands, like the Washington Post, have done a great job of accomplishing this. Instead of traditional suit and tie news stories, the Washington Post TikTok highlights the latest scoops with skits and memes. This is just one of many examples of brands shifting the way they act on social media to cater to TikTok’s niche standards.

Think Visually

While Instagram is mainly optimized for photos and Twitter for words, TikTok relies heavily on short-form visual content. This means that the brands that work best have products or services that can be shown off. If your brand isn’t necessarily visual, don’t worry! There are some interesting angles you may be able to take advantage of to adapt your brand to TikTok. For example, you may be able to offer value by teaching your audience something about your service, showing off what your product can do, or even having a spokesperson explain what your brand is about. You’ll see this a lot in our work with Spice World, when we highlight how to use their products through recipes and tutorials. Another trick is getting your message across quickly while leveraging popular TikTok trends and sounds. Leaning into popular hashtags like #tiktokmademebuyit or aligning your brand to a TikTok song or sound can increase your brand retention and create stronger connections among your audience. Above all, you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment and get creative with your content, but you should be careful of the amount of time you spend doing so.

Time Is Always Ticking

Much like a flat-screen TV, TikTok is quickly evolving to cater to the newest fads and changing trends. It can be tough for your brand’s content to stay ahead of the curve with trends coming and going seemingly without warning, but this isn’t to say that there aren’t ways to have a planned strategy. A good place to start is with social listening, which involves exploring the social trends and conversations happening not just around your brand but your industry as a whole. You can draw upon these insights about why, where, and how these conversations are happening to help make better marketing decisions on the platform. We have found success doing this for Cheeseburger Bobby’s by utilizing the popular sounds and trends in the F&B TikTok space. Other brands have made use of collaborations to engage with customers, while others may get swept up in a hashtag trend that complements their messaging. But before trying any of this, you should ask yourself if your brand has the bandwidth to post consistently. The secret to TikTok is staying quick and nimble enough to respond to your audience with relatable content.

As TikTok continues to make headlines, it’s clear to see why businesses would want to hop on and add it to their social media mix. But, before throwing your brand into the Wild West of social platforms, remember to think about your audience, your brand voice, your product or service, and your bandwidth and how they align or could be adjusted to better suit TikTok’s preferences. While this may sound like a lot of creative power, with a little know-how and the right creative group (ahem), your brand is sure to survive (and even thrive) on TikTok. Or maybe you’re just looking for an excuse for your brand not to be on it!

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