Yes, you should be marketing your business on TikTok - (Here’s 5 tips to keep in mind before you do)
It’s the app Millennials might derisively call “Vine for tweens.” Even if you haven’t downloaded it (though 1.5 billion people have, according to Sensor Tower), you’ve no doubt come across a TikTok video on Twitter or Facebook.
It’s the fastest-growing social media platform not connected to Facebook, and marketers have been foaming at the mouth to get in on the action.
After all, the data is intoxicating. Nearly 66 percent of TikTok users are under 30, according to Business of Apps.
It’s launching music careers (you’re welcome Arizona Zervas!) and somehow celebrities aren’t the coolest kids on there.
The app — which lets users post 15 or 60 second videos and relies heavily on pop music, filters and editing techniques that even Gen Xers can navigate with relative ease — is still very new to the paid advertising game. So users really should be aiming for organic virality.
It’s possible and it happens all the time.
1. Learn the medium
No, it’s not Facebook. It’s not Twitter. It’s not exactly Vine for tweens, either, but it’s definitely closer to that than it is to LinkedIn.
It’s its own platform, with its own set of cultural rules and an emerging zeitgeist that’s very self- referential. In other words, there’s a lot of nuance inside TikTok memes, and if you’re not careful you can get something wrong and come off as being a bit out of touch.
First things first, take the time to get to know the platform and what users are doing there. Consider this market research and plan to invest at least a couple of weeks to get a feel for the type of content that goes viral.
2. Trends can help you get started
Part of your education period will definitely include hearing a handful of the same songs over and over and over again. A big part of TikTok’s charm is the way trends often rely on super- catchy hooks and bass drops.
Take for example “Chinese New Year” by SALES. These videos often involve an individual or group running away from the camera until showing up somewhere off in the distance just as the hook drops in, moving their hips side to side with their arms at 90 degree angles. It’s silly and completely satisfying. Here’s a link to a compilation video.
Or consider the meme attached to the song “Ride It” by DJ Regard. These typically involve a new line of text for each refrain of “Ride It.” A Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise operator in San Antonio in December posted a “Ride It” TikTok all about the sacrifices of owning a business. Accompanying shots from inside the shop were: “Late Nights” and “Always Work Weekends.” But it ends with “I Still Love It.”
The video garnered more than 20,000 views, 200 likes and drew more than 20 comments. Not a bad ROI.
The takeaway here? Use TikTok trends to get going. Users will instantly be familiar with your content even if they don’t follow you!
3. Hashtags are fun but don’t forget their practical purpose
One of the most ubiquitous TikTok hashtags is “ForYouPage,” or #FYP, namely because everyone wants the algorithm gods to put their content out on as many people’s personalized feeds as possible.
As you become more familiar with the platform you’ll see just how creative and playful people can get. Brands are jumping on-board and issuing hashtag challenges (you can even pay for these now though it may cost you as much as $150,000). Nevertheless, hashtag challenges are a clever trick to get users to produce content for you.
Perhaps a better place to start for small and mid-sized businesses is to leverage hashtags for their cultural and practical applications. Take for example Haus of Polish, a nail salon in the Stone Oak section of San Antonio.
In November, the salon posted a 15-second video on how to get that soap bubble textured look on acrylic nail polish. It was set against the backdrop of Mahogany Lox’s “Take Your Man” and it garnered more than 80,000 likes and was viewed 1.4 million times.
Some of the hashtags included #oddlysatisfying as well as the more practical #sanantonionailsalon.
4. Quantity NOT quality
This is a tough one to remember, especially since so many bad marketing videos exist in the world. But TikTok is not video in the traditional sense. The whole platform operates like a filter, whereby blemishes can actually enhance your content. Not detract from it.
TikTok touts itself as “the leading destination for short-form mobile video.” And mobile is messy. It’s the opposite of sleek production values. Though some celebrities — think, Will Smith — are certainly aiming to change that.
Users are always trying to figure out the algorithm, but sometimes simply reposting a TikTok is enough to boost its reach.
And while brands can now advertise on the platform, the cost might be prohibitive for smaller businesses. According to Social Media Examiner, ads can average “$10 per CPM” (cost per 1,000 impressions) and “campaigns require a minimum investment of $500.”
In other words, keep trying. For now, this platform rewards the patient.
5. Strike while the platform is hot!
It bears repeating: TikTok has been downloaded an astonishing 1.5 billion times and counting! While most of that traffic is being generated in India, the U.S. accounted for 123.8 million downloads.
Last year, it surpassed Facebook and Instagram in terms of overall downloads. And that makes sense. It’s still new and interest is steamrolling ahead.
But that’s also a liability. Or at least a call to action.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the internet entrepreneur and marketing expert, is a huge supporter of TikTok, likening these early days to the Wild West. But he’s quick to point out that nothing lasts forever.
“Striking a platform while it’s hot,” he says, “matters way more than if that platform actually
exists in a decade.”
So what do I post?
Businesses looking for a decent return on their investment may be inclined to cram as much about their product or services into a 15-second clip. But since organic TikTok videos cost only your time, take a more relaxed approach.
Showcase what you know, what you do, how you feel. Refer back to the two previous examples. In one, the shop operator talked about how it feels to run a small business, highlighting both the hard work and camaraderie. The other post was a quick tutorial on an industry trend.
There really is no right answer. Other than to be authentically you, while having fun. Seriously. It’s TikTok. Don’t take it too seriously.