TikTok may have started out as an app filled primarily with silly dance trends, but it has since become one of the most active and diverse social media environments in today’s digital ecosystem.
As a result, independent and corporate brands in just about every market have been plunging head-first into TikTok’s algorithms in an attempt to capture some of the platform’s viral buzz for their business.
Before your brand takes the leap there are a few things you should consider. Let’s take a closer look at the platform’s current landscape, what it has to offer businesses, and how to determine whether or not TikTok is a good fit for yours.
How Big is TikTok?
Since its initial launch in 2016, TikTok has rapidly extended its reach, earning over 2.6 billion downloads worldwide — with 210 million coming from the United States alone.
If you’re wondering whether TikTok is even big enough to warrant your attention, the short answer is yes.
Now, with over 1 billion active monthly users, TikTok offers a level of potential reach and engagement that has quickly caught up with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other older social media titans considered among its top contenders.
For comparison, here’s how other top-performing social platforms are currently competing:
What Does TikTok Offer Brands?
Aside from TikTok’s impressive levels of user engagement, there are a few other factors that may explain the uptick in corporate attention the platform has earned in recent years.
Curated Communities — Over 5 million businesses, including countless small businesses, are active on TikTok. In the handful of years since its introduction to the social media marketplace, TikTok has become the preferred platform of organizations seeking opportunities to expand their organic presence, grow, celebrate, and strengthen their communities, or attract brand partnerships on an app that is fueled by creative collaboration.
Global Reach — With personally-curated content feeds and an extensive library of video editing tools, filters, music tracks, and other toys for digital creators to play with, it isn’t difficult to understand why TikTok has successfully captivated and cultivated a global user base. These growing audiences, which represent consumers and creators in over 150 countries as well as a widening range of ages, races, and social demographics, make TikTok one of the most diverse and inclusive social media marketing platforms currently available.
Innovative Tools & Creative Support — TikTok is often praised for hosting an innovative array of content tools for individual users and independent creators. Fortunately, it appears that they’ve devoted the same level of attention to the suite of advertising products, campaign optimization insights, and automation tools they’ve made available to marketers.
From TikTok Fundamentals, an actionable platform guide for advertisers, to the TikTok World Hub and Creator Marketplace, which offer creative inspiration and frameworks that empower brands to drive engagement and maximize their advertising efforts, TikTok has done a particularly good job of making their marketing support options equitable for businesses regardless of their size, their goals, or their level of familiarity with the platform.
Is TikTok Right for Your Business?
TikTok presents plenty of opportunities for businesses to engage their audiences, collaborate with other creators, and build an effective brand presence. Whether or not a business is able to do so effectively often comes down to its willingness to invest in the platform’s unique culture and atmosphere, explore its quirky and subversive content styles, and embrace the unconventional tactics smart TikTok marketers are using to connect with their audiences in a non-invasive way.
So, what does all of that mean for your business?
If you’re still not sure whether your teams should allocate the time, energy, and resources it will take to build an effective brand presence on TikTok, then here are three simple questions that will help you make a more informed decision:
1. Is your audience there?
We always recommend taking the time to conduct thorough audience research before exploring a new platform.
If your audience includes people between the ages of 13-65, it’s a safe bet that they are on TikTok.
While the majority of TikTok’s current population belongs to the Gen Z and Millennial generations, over 40% of users fall between the ages of 35-60. As a whole, TikTok’s user base is aging up quickly. But, even if your TikTok audiences skew a bit younger, that is certainly no reason to dismiss them or the opportunity you have to start building and strengthening your brand’s relationship with those who make up the largest consumer populations in U.S. history.
2. What are your goals for the platform?
If the only reason you’re even considering TikTok is “because everyone else is there,” then we’re going to offer you some tough love by telling you that you probably shouldn’t waste your time. Like with any other digital platform, it is never advised to go in without a defined purpose and a solid, sustainable plan.
Are you looking to increase awareness about your products and services? Are you hoping to drive conversions by engaging users directly? Whatever your goal is, it’s crucial to intentionally build your TikTok presence around it. This means that at the very least, you’ll need to develop a solid strategy for finding your audiences and engaging them with curated content.
3. Can you produce the right content?
Unlike other social media platforms that allow you to utilize static ads, images, infographics, and a variety of other content formats, TikTok is used to create and share short-form videos exclusively — with the average user preferring those that run no longer than 30 seconds.
The concept of using shorter videos on social media certainly isn’t new, but it’s also important to understand the ways that TikTok users consume video content differently than those in other social media environments. Because the app is entertainment-focused, over 51% of TikTok users use ad blockers to target “unwanted” or “spammy” promotions in an attempt to mitigate interruptions to their highly-personalized content feeds.
So, if your ad content strays from the non-disruptive, non-traditional styles that TikTok audiences have grown accustomed to then it is more likely to flop — if it even reaches them in the first place.The fun, humorous, and non-invasive nature of TikTok content is what sets the platform apart from others. In order to market there effectively, your content should intentionally and authentically embrace those qualities.
Finally, remember that to really get the most out of any social media platform, it's a good idea to do more than just advertise on it. Make sure you're developing an organic presence in addition to your paid efforts. That will help your brand build even stronger connections with your audience than advertising alone.
CID’s digital strategists can help you create a social media presence that’s right for your brand. Contact CID to get started.
Copywriter & Content Specialist
"Bring in the Klinkhammer," they said...and we did! Amy is part of our award-winning marketing & strategy team where she writes for ads, email, the web, video and so much more. She also drinks too much coffee and spends too much time debating the Oxford comma.