About the App
TikTok, the emerging social media platform, is making strides in its influencer marketing efforts with brands by tapping into targeting Gen Z users. In June, the Chinese ByteDance startup hit 1 billion users worldwide. It is the first major social media app to be launched in and spread to the United States. Because of this, the popular app has an extremely diverse audience where it is a regular occurrence for users to see videos set in foreign countries.
TikTok allows active users to take up to 60-second videos with a raw and unedited vibe. Users can edit videos on the app by trimming them, layering sound over them and adding moving captions. Users can also create their own audio or choose from thousands of options in the library. Many songs themselves become viral when they are used for video challenges.
What Are Some Features?
Hashtags are heavily used and are one of the only means of being able to search on the app. Promoted hashtags like “#foryourpage” and “fyp” are commonly used as a way for users to try to get noticed on the “For You” feed reel of tiktoks. For example, if you search the hashtag “#spookychallenge,” you will see a full feed of videos related to the spooky skeleton dance challenge.
The main feed on the app has an inclusive algorithm that gives both trending videos and videos without any likes a chance to be viewed on TikTok’s main feed. This enhances the opportunity for users without large followings to go viral.
A duet video app feature also encourages engagement by allowing users to comment on previously made videos with a split-screen. This is the primary way users can interact with each other, aside from being able to like and comment on photos. There is no direct messaging component just yet.
A few common video themes you can see throughout the popular app are dance challenges, makeup tutorials, recipe ideas, lipsyncing, comedy, and a growing celebrity presence. The possibilities are endless in regards to content creation, the more unique the video, the better. Out of the box ideas are encouraged as they tend to gain more traction.
Who’s Using the App
Celebrities like Will Smith, Brittany Spears, and Ariana Grande are just a few that have hopped on the TikTok train and are posting regularly to engage with fans. Celebrities often engage in the trending challenges for a more personable approach. This is an advantageous app they use to engage with their followers in a less glamorized way. Instagram tends to be an outlet where we put our best foot forward, whereas, on TikTok, silliness is welcomed.
Doctors, lawyers, bakeries, e-commerce shops, and law enforcement are just a few examples of industries that are getting recognition. Showcasing their craft and day-to-day activities has become a way for the younger crowd to get a glimpse at different career paths. Lawyers and doctors commonly share how they got to the position they now have today, and it tends to do well on the app.
Influencer marketing is a largely untapped territory and opportunity for brands to begin cashing in on. @daviddobrik, a comedy centered page, has over six million followers and over 51.7 million likes on his page. He recently partnered with Chipotle by taking part in the Chipotle Flip Challenge. Other influencers are beginning to partner with brands including Bumble, Curology, and ThreadUp on the app.
60% of the users on TikTok are between the ages of 16 and 24, with 60% being female. Many influencers often film their content in the comfort of their bedrooms, allowing for a less aggressive and more authentic marketing approach. These influencers are the ones driving the newest trends to this generation. It is easy for brands to grow brand loyalty through unfiltered videos.
Impact on Brands
TikTok is currently working with brands by informing them what type of paid content is performing well and who they should work with. However, it is hard for companies to find the right influencer because of their limited searching tactics.
There are crisis management tips we can take away from brands and their experiences with the app. Restaurant chain employees exposing the way food is made and served has become a viral trend for content creators. A video went viral of a Panera Bread employee filming that their infamous mac n cheese is frozen and warmed in hot water before being served. Panera then let out a statement informing its food prep process and that the company had cut ties with the employee.
Headlines now focus on the employee being fired, a human target in comparison to the giant chain. The story and video are now both gaining more traction rather than disappearing. Instead, Panera could have capitalized on this by inviting the employee to their food creation centers or making a video themselves showing how their food is prepared before being placed in those plastic bags.
The opportunity to engage in the conversation in a positive and humorous way puts would place companies in a better position. Trying to cover up the mess places guilt on the company and makes consumers think about what else they’re hiding behind the scenes.
TikTok also poses a threat to brands from its trending encouragement of behavior that crosses the line for an increase in impressions. Risky, illegal and exposing themes are all seen throughout the app in hopes that the user will get a quick taste of TikTok fame. Brands need to have a TikTok presence if they feel that their messaging could be a good fit. If not, it is crucial to monitor activity related to your brand on the app to work proactively towards putting out any fires.
Overall, TikTok is a new and emerging marketing platform that seems to have an evergreen future for brand marketers to capitalize on. Brands often have trouble trying to find an angle to target Gen Z appropriately, and this is the perfect outlet to do so. Finding the time to scrape the app to search for influencers that match your brand’s messaging is a new and impactful way to convert active users in an authentic way that will ultimately build your brands’ awareness and loyalty worldwide.