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Why you need to be using TikTok to market your business

Why you need to be using TikTok to market your business

What is Tiktok?

Tiktok is a video-sharing social network that is home to viral dance trends, challenges and lip-sync videos. Tiktok has seen phenomenal growth with over 800 million active users and has become one of the most popular social networks.

So, do you ever wonder how products have been selling so fast after being advertised on TikTok? Ever wished that you could grow your brand equity as fast as others have been? Look no further, here is everything you need to know to become a Tiktok mastermind.

TikTok Global Downloads by Quarter

“The growth of TikTok is very exciting; it incorporates the viral nature of Vine and merges together the interactive elements of Snapchat. Young digital natives are really taking advantage of the interactive tools and using them to create interesting and original short videos”

-Devran Karaca, Co-founder of Entertainment Network, Kyra TV

Why your audience is likely already on TikTok?

The largest demographic of Tiktok users is between the ages of 16-24, making it a particularly attractive medium for promoting products oriented towards students. Initially just a platform for sharing short funny videos, it has developed remarkably rapidly in to a digital marketing haven. Spanning over 150 countries and offering its services in more 75 languages, TikTok’s reach truly knows no bounds.

Influencer marketing and product placement

Social media influencers in this decade have proven to be extremely powerful, capitalising on their fame to garner extra screen time on platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. They have specific target audiences that businesses can convert to loyal customers. One viral video can garner millions of views and help you build your clientele. If your business wants its new product to make a splash, think about sending out promotion packs to top TikTok influencers and building a genuine relationship to show your dedication to the brand and your sincere desire to share your product. The beauty of Tiktok product placement is that the highly varied nature of its digital content allows almost anything to be seamlessly integrated into its short videos, giving it a more natural appearance than in a classic advertisement.

Celebrities on TikTok

Unedited, raw & behind the scenes footage

Consumers are becoming more and more sceptical of polished and edited advertisements. They are also increasingly yearning for closer and less filtered access to the final products. TikTok allows businesses’ to have such personal connection to their consumers. Serving as an effective B-roll, businesses are showcasing the behind the scenes production footage through short and informative videos, bringing loyal supporters ever closer to the action. Not only that, commenting on TikTok videos can serve as a highly effective means of communicating directly with the end consumers on a more casual level, further increasing brand reputation within the community.

Trending Viral Challenge Videos

GUACDANCE Chipotle trending Viral Challenge

In one specific example of effective viral marketing, several popular brands and restaurant chains have jumped on the platform and launched major TikTok campaigns. For instance, Chipotle ran a #GuacDance challenge where users were challenged to create avocado-themed dances to the “Guacamole Song”. This creates a focal point for attention and discussion inextricably associated with the brand or the product. Building hype around a particular focal point also plays into the hands of the TikTok algorithm, as it is underpinned by the concept of positive feedback loops. This means that the more activity (views and comments) there is surrounding a particular video, the more likely it will be to appear of people’s feeds, further accelerating its popularity. Therefore, viral TikTok marketing is not only a fun and interactive way to market products, but these viral videos can also became free promotion for the company.

Targeted Messaging and Educational Videos

Rather than merely posting videos of products, brands such as Gymshark have been posting educational workout videos that speak directly to their target audience of fitness enthusiasts. Their Tiktoks include fitness challenges as well as inspirational messages. Similarly to product placement videos, educational and informative TikToks distract the viewers from the marketing of the product rather than bombard them with advertisements, while still ensuring its presence leaves a lasting impression that reflects positively on the brand. An effective strategy is to associate a particular task with a product, such that the viewer is left with no doubt that there must be a strong association between the two.

“To me, the why is obvious. It’s a whole new generation. [TikTok is] basically Gen Z’s biggest platform. Not all Gen Z likes TikTok, but a lot of them love it passionately.”

-Dave Jorgenson, Video Editor at The Washington Post

The Power of Hashtags

If you are familiar with Instagram, Facebook or any other social media platform, you will almost certainly understand the role that tags play in promoting your material. As a means of identifying and categorising posts/videos, tags serve two key purposes on most platforms, and TikTok is no exception.

The first relates to the above points about viral marketing, as new hashtags can be introduced as the focal point of a particular product or movement that you want to promote. Viral marketing is all about having a strong identity, and there are fewer stronger social media identifiers than hashtags.

The other key purpose of hashtags is as a means of strategically increasing your posts’ exposure. Like many other social media platforms, hashtags are used to both identify user traits and content, acting as a link between the two. As the Tiktok algorithm learns which themes, or hashtags, users are more inclined towards, the app will try to align the content it displays to those personal inclinations by displaying more material identified by those hashtags. Businesses can capitalise on this by including certain hashtags in their posts to attract a particular subset of viewers who they believe will be most interested in the product/material.

Filters and Face Lenses

Tiktok has a pleth0ra of filters and face lenses which users have grown to love. Almost every video you scroll through has one. TikTok is taking advantage of the power of AI; enabling users to experiment with various different green screen backgrounds and other masking effects. These really tie in best with the other strategies already mentioned to add further depth and uniqueness to your content.

How to adapt if TikTok is no longer around

With ongoing speculation about the future of TikTok, particularly in the United States, businesses who rely on such means on marketing should create a redundancy plan should the app suddenly disappear off the shelves of app stores. Thankfully, the success of Tiktok has led other social media platforms to emulate its format of short video feeds, with Instagram’s new ‘Reels’ feature the most closely matched to date. However, when adapting your strategy to a new platform, it’s important to take into consideration any differences in the algorithms, as well as differences in how the content is presented or discovered.

While Tiktok itself may not be the future, its format will live on

Tiktok has shown us what the future of digital marketing looks like. Businesses are capitalising on this generations’ creative and original entertainment content, as well as their willingness to spend based on viral marketing trends. While this format of short, impactful one-minute videos may be foreign to many, the fundamentals that underpin marketing on this platform are not too dissimilar to many other more familiar platforms. However, while Tiktok has proven to be an instant sensation around the world, its content-displaying algorithm is much less predictable than other major social media platforms, such as Instagram or Youtube. This is a major caveat for businesses looking to promote their products on the platform that rely on a consistent stream of viewers to satisfy their investment, as the Tiktok algorithm tends to fuel one-hit-wonder viral videos, or even those carrying a certain political message. Further, a potential consequence of international diplomatic tensions is that TikTok may not be around for much longer in its current form. However given its rapid adoption, rest assured its core concept will live on for a long time to come.

Kim Pham
Kim Pham

Kim is in her final year of a Bachelor of Commerce studying both Finance & Marketing at the University of Melbourne. She enjoys following current market trends and is extremely interested in technology and innovation. Kim is passionate about sharing her knowledge and loves the challenge of solving complex issues. Outside of her studies, Kim enjoys volunteering and giving back to the community. She is driven to create change and using her experiences to make a difference.