If you haven’t heard the name TikTok yet, you might be self-isolating a bit too hard. The app’s popularity has soared and it has become the fastest-growing social network with young audiences during lockdown. Many celebrities are getting in on the action too, including Gordon Ramsey, Lewis Capaldi and Demi Lavato.
TikTok’s user base was already quickly expanding before COVID-19, but social distancing has increased the momentum. Last month, TikTok’s total number of US downloads was 6.2m from March 1st to 23rd, up 27% in comparison to 4.9m downloads in the first 23 days of February.
TikTok has become the number one destination for Generation-Z to escape from the anxieties of the pandemic – a place they can retreat to entertain and express themselves. That means its also a very valid channel to consider if your brand targets the youngest generation of consumers.
But what is TikTok?
TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing social networking service, which launched in 2017. When it started its users mainly shared lip-syncing videos, often comedic, with popular quotes from TV and films, or snippets of songs. It allows users to create, edit and share short videos of up to 15 seconds.
60% of its user base are Generation-Z (born from 1997-2012), but its adult base is also growing. In February 2020 there were 800 million TikTok users worldwide.
The most popular ‘TikToker’ is Charli D’Amelio (@charlidamelio0), who has over 51.6 million followers despite only joining the platform in summer 2019. In the UK, that title goes to Holly Horne (@Hollyh) with 16.6 million. Both of these social media superstars owe their fame to the platform, having being unknown before their TikTok profiles exploded.
And how does it work?
TikTok allows you to film, edit and upload videos. These videos are shared on a social network feed, similar to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The app makes it easy to customise users’ videos with filters, sound effects and music. The content is often more creative than what you are likely to find on other social networks, with some users investing hours of their time to create a 6-15 second video.
Users are able to follow accounts, like, comment and share videos.
Awesome examples of brands using TikTok
Many brands have successfully promoted themselves on TikTok. Some of our favourites are:
Spikeball has over 3.1 million followers on TikTok. The majority of its posts show the product being played competitively to music. This may sound like pretty simplistic content, but its most popular videos exceed a million views. Users are clearly engaged while watching Spikeball’s unique and interesting product in action.
Its most popular video, which is of a dog naively following a shadow of the spikeball while in play, currently has 4.2 million views. It has turned their little-known garden game into an internationally recognised brand almost overnight through social media.
The popular American fast-restaurant chain Chipotle has been extremely active on TikTok. This includes content like the chipotle challenge, videos of the brand’s production process, creating its own unique Lens and posting food hacks using its products.
It currently has 381k followers, with its most popular video, which is of their staff creating their guacamole, has got over 3 million views. Chipotle has jumped onto the platform faster than a lot of its bigger competitors, like McDonalds, Taco Bell and KFC, who are all yet to create official accounts.
It is no surprise Chipotle has demolished its expectations for the first quarter of 2020, seeing its stock price soar.
How your brand can get involved
TikTok could be a really profitable channel for your brand, especially if your product appeals to younger audiences. With everyone vying for users’ attention, you’ll need to stand out by presenting a unique product, or by packaging your product within interesting and distinctive content.
The key is to think about how and why users are using the platform and what they expect to see. If your content is in line with these expectations, and is interesting, funny or entertaining, then you are likely to see some good results. If the content your brand publishes is lazy or simply repurposed from other channels, it may fall flat.
TikTok influencers offer another avenue to reach a large number of people on the platform, but again the content will need to feel native. Allowing influencers to be creative and incorporate your brand into their content in a natural way is always going to yield the best results.
If you’d like some support taking your brand to TikTok, we’re happy to help!