How to Determine if TikTok Fits Into Your Social Media Strategy
Jun 28, 2022 Rachael Durant
“You aren’t funny, but that might work for you,” my teenage sister responded when I told her in early 2020 that I had downloaded TikTok. Before the sting of that remark had time to fade, I had adopted TikTok into my regular social media rotation. I’m not the only one.
TikTok, a video-sharing short-form social media platform, has been the top downloaded app worldwide for three straight years and is the sixth most used social media platform. In 2021, more than $2.5 billion in consumer spending vaulted its status to the top-grossing social media application.
Now is the perfect time to become familiar with TikTok and consider incorporating this platform into your channel strategy to meet important audiences.
Who uses TikTok?
Don’t dismiss the platform as only of interest to teenagers doing silly dance challenges. The vast majority of users fall between 10 and 49 years old and a majority of content creators on TikTok are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old.
While the audience skews younger at this moment, TikTok seems to be following a similar pattern to other popular social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the user base becoming more diverse in age over time.
What content succeeds on TikTok?
With so many active users, there’s a corner of TikTok for everyone. Because of its increasing popularity and competitive landscape for gaining followers and views, accounts should post frequently and videos should educate, entertain, shock, take a stance, make a user feel nostalgic and/or make them laugh. The most successful videos combine two or more of these factors.
- Creative formats and transitions: Many popular creators on the app have experimented with video format and stop-motion transitions that have helped grow their popularity. Finding creative and unique ways to present information or stories can inspire other creators to try it out themselves.
- Trending sounds: TikTok’s algorithm often catches on to “sounds” that underlie videos, and the more popular a sound, the more it shows up on the “For You Page” (where users discover new content). It is best to only use a trending sound if the video content will also be on-trend, as opposed to using a trending sound to try to gain traction without actually engaging in the trend.
- Authentic vs. highly-produced content: Unlike Instagram or other visual social media apps, TikTok users value authenticity above all else – aA TikTok commissioned study showed that 56% of users feel closer to brands on TikTok when they publish relatable and unpolished content.
- Consistent posting cadence: TikTok is a fast-moving platform that can require a high volume posting cadence. We recommend posting at least once a week. Setting aside a chunk of time to film can give you a stable of content to post. Luckily, users on TikTok are not always looking for brand new, fresh content. Consider repurposing existing content, recreating a trend multiple times and using comments to build upon previous videos. These tricks can help you create a steady, engaging presence.
- Engagement is key: Brands big and small are active in TikTok comment sections, both their own and those on popular creator’s pages. Developing a persona for your brand in TikTok comments can help spur engagement from users.
Should your company start a TikTok account?
Big B2C brands are not the only type of business that can succeed with digital marketing strategies on TikTok. Businesses of all shapes, sizes and types are experimenting with this short-form video content – some of my favorite examples:
- The Washington Post was an early adopter among newsrooms. There are several others (including Boston’s GBH) that use the platform not only for fun content but for short-form news reporting.
- Duolingo and Scrub Daddy are two B2C companies that have taken on creative persona building with gusto.
- B2B brands like Shopify, Adobe, Grammarly and Microsoft have all created a presence on TikTok. Individual B2B influencers also utilize TikTok for thought leadership, like marketer Tim Davidson.
- Inkhouse clients PhysicianOne Urgent Care and UMass Memorial Health added TikTok to their content marketing mix this year, using the platform to educate key audiences and create content that can be shared across their other social media channels.
TikTok is like any other social media platform – it’s a channel that will help you reach an audience. Before jumping into posting, be sure you are clear on the audience you want to reach and what story you want to communicate about your company. We recommend creating a content calendar that ties back to a consistent posting cadence of at least once a week – TikTok trends have a bit of a shelf life (and can even be cyclical), which allows for slightly longer term planning.
Building trust is a very important piece of building your marketing engine and funnel – when used correctly, TikTok can help you accomplish that goal. Consider using the app to recruit, work with influencers, and even to share thought leadership perspectives.
As companies are still collectively working through how to use TikTok, becoming an early adopter is a great way to engage with important audiences, share useful information, and be seen as a leader in important, up-and-coming communications media.