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  • Ciara Macpherson

Why you should care about TikTok

In the world of social media, you’ve got to move with the times and if you’re not fast, you’re last. TikTok is the latest social media platform to run away with itself and as a marketer you shouldn’t be ignoring its rapid growth and rise in popularity.

The numbers associated with the platform tell you everything you need to know:

TikTok in Numbers

What is TikTok?

TikTok is self-described as the leading destination for short-form mobile video. The mission statement speaks for itself:

Our mission is to empower and share the world’s imagination, knowledge, and moments that matter. The platform is a home for creative expression through videos that create a genuine, inspiring, and joyful experience.

TikTok was initially launched in China in September 2016, under the name ‘Douyin’. The following year, the app was launched by ByteDance for markets outside of China and late 2017 saw TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, purchase the lip-synching app This meant that everyone who had a account was automatically changed over to a TikTok one. It’s totally taken over the world, with over 500 million active users worldwide!

Compared to other social media platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok has more of a focus on entertainment rather than lifestyle which is a nice change of pace. The app is aimed at content creators and encourages creativity through the use of the tools within the app such as filters, effects and an impressive music library. You can score your looped video (of between 15 and 60 seconds) in really clever ways and it really is the charm of the app.

Has our beloved Vine (RIP) finally seen a worthy replacement? In the eyes of some people, it has:

Is TikTok the new Vine?

TikTok for Brands

Even though TikTok is very lo-fi and UGC heavy, brands are slowly appearing on the platform. From fashion brands like River Island and Guess to massive sports teams like NFL's New York Giants, you’ll see an array of your favourites taking up space on the channel now.

If your demographic includes Generation Z then you should definitely be considering TikTok as a brand channel. Also, remember that teens are often ahead of the curve on most things so even if Gen Z aren’t your thing, your actual target audience may be moving to this platform in the near future so it’s worth reserving your handle and get experimenting!

If you are looking to bring your brand to TikTok, here are our top tips.

  • Create shareable content: unless it's a paid ad, TikTok isn't a place to sell. Instead, make content that is relevant to your brand that makes people smile

  • Encourage UGC: If you've scrolled through TikTok you'll know that a lot of content is focused on hashtag challenges. From Guess's #InMyDenim asking people to show off their denim outfits to Jimmy Fallon's #TumbleweedChallenge driving people to roll on the floor like a tumbleweed, there is a great opportunity for brands to create content and encourage people to share their own version, or even use the duet function

  • Be playful: Don't share your curated, polished content that you've developed for YouTube on your TikTok page. The channel is more lighthearted, allowing you to add that lo-fi element and showcase your brand's personality. Instead of creating your own hashtag challenges, you might decide to take part in them instead

  • Don't try to be too cool: Yes, it's a playful platform but don't bend your brand if it's not a fit. There are some companies where TikTok just isn't the right channel - and that's okay

The Future of TikTok

From mothers pranking their sons to the Mr. Sandman cat, there’s something for everyone on TikTok. It’s rich with niche communities and compared to the likes of Twitter where it’s doom and gloom a lot of the time, its refreshing to lose yourself in a happier space.

We predict further advertising opportunities to become available through the platform and further nurturing of their audience through activity like their newsletter and such.

Instagram is already taking note of TikTok’s popularity and is currently working on a new tool which replicates TikTok’s key features. If Instagram is threatened by TikTok, you can pretty much be certain it’s a platform you should be looking at. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...


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