Is your business still on the sidelines about investing in TikTok marketing?
If you’ve turned on the news recently, you’ve probably heard of TikTok and TikTok for Business. Indeed, the app is so popular that it has been making waves not only in the cultural sphere but in the political world as well.
This sort of media hubbub would never come to fruition if TikTok weren’t by and large the hottest new social media platform around. If even the government is taking notice, businesses should too.
Luckily, the launch of TikTok for Business back in July has opened the playing field for businesses. With a slew of new features designed to increase engagement for brands, now is the perfect time to take a deep dive into this new platform and see what it can do for your company.
Even though more and more brands are jumping on TikTok, the competition is still fairly slim. Getting on the platform now is a great opportunity to be an early adopter of a potentially market-changing tool.
Here, we’ll go over 5 of the reasons that TikTok should be in every business’s marketing toolbox. We’ll cover ads, different types of content, and some of the idiosyncrasies that make the platform unique.
5 Reasons You Should Be Using TikTok Marketing for Business
1. TikTok Influencers
Influencer marketing has been around for a while now. If you don’t already know what it is, here’s a quick primer: you get in touch with an Instagram influencer who has a sizeable following and pay them to post about your products.
This type of marketing is particularly effective because it comes across more like a recommendation from a friend than as an advertisement. It instills trust in the viewer and makes them more likely to buy.
TikTok influencer marketing takes this to a whole new level. While Instagram marketing is still effective, the platform has been inundated with brands trying to take advantage of the strategy. As a result, there’s a growing number of Instagrammers who just tune out sponsored posts in the same way they’d tune out any other advertisement.
TikTok, on the other hand, is a new platform that is far less salesy. Because it hasn’t been as widely adopted by businesses, it retains more of the personalized flair that Instagram had before it became so commonly used for marketing.
Plus, if your products appeal largely to a younger demographic (13 to 24), TikTok is a perfect fit. A whopping 69% of all users on TikTok are between 13 and 24, with 27% between 13 and 17 and 42% between 18 and 24. So, if you’re trying to reach this demographic, TikTok is a golden ticket.
Overall, the hardest part of getting into TikTok influencer marketing is simply finding the right influencers for your brand. As powerful as TikTok marketing is, you still need to make sure the person you pick is in the right niche — you probably wouldn’t want to use a male fitness influencer to market a new women’s fitness program, for example.
To find an influencer, you can either search around on the platform yourself or use a tool like Influence Grid. Influence Grid helps you sort through influencers by providing information on their stats, including their follower count, views per video, and likes per video. This can help you get a better idea of the types of results you can expect with specific influencers.
To get a better idea of what the end result might look like, here’s an example of a post sponsored by Mucinex:
2. TikTok Ads
TikTok ads are a relatively new addition to the platform. They mark TikTok’s entry into the ad space as a direct competitor to Snapchat and Instagram. Overall, TikTok ads are quite similar to other paid social media ads, but they do have some quirks that marketers should be aware of.
There are five types of ads you need to be aware of:
- In-Feed Ads
- Brand Takeovers
- Branded Hashtag Challenges
- Branded Effects
Now, before we get into the differences between each of these, it’s important to note that paid TikTok ads are more expensive than ads on most other social media platforms. While you can run a Facebook or Instagram ad campaign with an investment of just $20, the minimum cost to run an ad campaign with TikTok for Business is $500.
As a result, TikTok ads are out of reach for many small businesses. However, if you have a larger budget they can be a useful addition to your strategy.
TikTok’s in-feed ads are analogous to the ads you see between Instagram stories. When a user is flipping through their feed, one of these ads will show up eventually.
One of the best features of in-feed ads is that you can make them pretty much indistinguishable from regular content if you want to. However, you also have the ability to add multiple CTAs and upload videos with intricate motion graphics if that suits your strategy better. Overall, they allow for a lot of creativity.
To run an in-feed ad campaign with TikTok for business, you’ll need to commit to at least $500. Out of all the different types of TikTok ads, these are the cheapest.
Brand takeover ads appear immediately when users open the TikTok app. As you can imagine, these ads are extremely pricey (think tens of thousands of dollars), but they can reach very large chunks of TikTok’s user base immediately upon startup.
TikTok users will only ever see one brand takeover ad per day, so it’s a good way to build brand awareness by eliminating competition for a period of time. However, the high cost is prohibitive for many businesses.
TopViews are a special type of in-feed ad: they are guaranteed to be the first in-feed ad that users see after three seconds. They also show up at the top of the For You page and can support up to 60 seconds of full-screen video.
Branded Hashtag Challenges
Branded hashtag challenges are useful because they build brand awareness largely through user-generated content (UGC).
These challenges appear on TikTok’s Discover page. When users click on one of the hashtags, they’re directed to a branded landing page that provides information about the challenge, the brand’s website link, and UGC from TikTokers who have already participated.
Branded hashtag challenges are particularly effective because, well, they’re fun. Unlike in-feed ads or brand takeovers, these ads give users an opportunity to be creative and express themselves, which creates a valuable connection between your brand and your audience.
Unfortunately, these ads are also very expensive. To run one, you need to pay a flat fee of $150,000 for a six-day challenge.
TikTok’s branded effects take a page from Snapchat’s playbook and allow brands to create AR overlays that TikTokers can use in their videos.
Like branded hashtag challenges, these can be effective because they encourage audience participation. However, they’re also quite expensive, with a price tag of $100,000 per effect.
3. Diverse Content
TikTok is not just a new social network, it’s a new medium for online expression. Just like the invention of vinyl records spurred the popularity of the two-minute single, TikTok is bringing bite-sized media to the forefront, and creators need to learn the ins and outs of this new form.
This means that you can’t just import your Facebook and Instagram posts to TikTok and vice versa. Although you’ll need to double up on your social media efforts, it also gives you a license to experiment with new ideas that you wouldn’t try on other platforms.
While Twitter is focused on text, and Instagram is centered around images, TikTok is all about sound and video. It’s hard to have a successful TikTok post without some interesting audio and eye-catching visuals.
Popular TikTok posts generally fall into one of two categories: music and comedy. While serious posts do exist, most people use TikTok to watch short, loopable comedy clips or videos (particularly dance routines) set to catchy songs.
As a result, TikTok is an exceedingly informal platform — coming across as too professional or salesy won’t sit well with your viewers. So, even though you may maintain a very professional appearance on Instagram, you’ll probably want to tone it down a bit and get silly for TikTok.
The Washington Post is a great example of the Instagram-TikTok distinction. Here’s an example of one of its posts on Instagram:
And here’s one of its recent posts on TikTok:
While consistent branding is usually of the utmost importance, this is the one instance where it just doesn’t work. These two posts are so different you probably wouldn’t even guess they’re from the same brand, but they work very well for their respective platforms.
In short, don’t be afraid to get creative and break out of your comfort zone. Make content that gets people involved, like branded and unbranded (free/organic) hashtag challenges, funny videos, and short dance routines.
If you really want your content to stick, make sure you stay up to date with the latest TikTok trends. This will give you a good idea of what songs and effects are popular so you can ride the wave with your content.
4. Higher Chance of Going Viral
TikTok democratizes content in a new and unique way. Unlike most social media platforms, which decide what content to serve you largely based on the poster’s popularity, TikTok has confirmed that follower counts do not directly influence what content shows up in your feed.
What does this mean? Essentially, you can have an overnight success after posting just one video. With follower counts out of the picture, the new guy has just as much chance of going viral as the mega pop star.
For example, after posting just a few videos of his ice cream acrobatics, bubba_ice was able to rapidly grow his account. Now, his account sits at a cool 1.3 million followers and 21.6 million likes.
So, what’s the key to TikTok virality? A lot of it comes down to simply hopping on something that’s already trending.
After spending just a short time on the platform, you’ll notice that many videos use the same songs and hashtags. When you see that, consider whether your brand can hop on the trend. Alternatively, you can create your own hashtags to start new trends.
5. TikTok Isn’t Saturated
TikTok is still a very new platform. It was initially released just four years ago in 2016, and only really started hitting the mainstream in 2018, when its parent company decided to merge it with the now-defunct Musical.ly. TikTok for Business is even newer, launching in July 2020.
This leaves TikTok ripe for innovation and new voices. Many major brands have yet to migrate to TikTok despite having a solid presence on Instagram and Facebook. A few examples of brands that aren’t on TikTok include The New York Times, Subaru, CVS Pharmacy, and, believe it or not, Pepsi.
TikTok is still in the realm of the first adopters, at least from a marketing and business perspective. As a newcomer to the platform, you have less competition, and fewer big names are fighting over the same target audiences.
However, just because the market is unsaturated doesn’t mean that it’s easy to see success. It’s quite possible that one of the reasons many household names haven’t set up profiles on TikTok is because they don’t know what type of content to make.
That’s completely understandable — TikTok for Business is so new that you really have to be an innovator and tuned into the cultural zeitgeist to make it work. If you don’t make the right kind of content, you’ll just come across as a joke.
What’s the solution? Get on the platform, start watching content, and get creative. There are no rules yet, so try new things, and see where it leads you.
TikTok and TikTok for Business are kind of like the Wild West of the social media world. They’re shrouded in political controversy, and it’s such a new medium that no one really knows how to use it yet.
But that means there are lots of great opportunities for your business to become one of the trailblazers. If you hit on something, you could end up setting new advertising and content paradigms.
Overall, there’s no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and trying TikTok marketing out for yourself. If you haven’t yet, download the app, flip through some videos, and see whether it fits into your business’s marketing strategy.
This is a post written on behalf of one of my marketing partners. All opinions are 100% mine.