In case you’ve been asleep for the past few months, you might have missed a big change in the world of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are no longer the ‘big three’ when it comes to using social media for marketing - there’s a new kid on the block, and it’s called TikTok.
You might not necessarily be aware of it, but if you’ve seen a short-but-funny video anywhere on the internet in recent weeks, chances are it originated on TikTok. The rising popularity of the platform was first noticed by the press around a year ago, but since the start of 2020, its become stratospheric. With new platforms come new opportunities, and all the biggest brands are now wondering how to use it to their advantage.
You don’t have to be a big brand to use TikTok to your advantage, though. So long as you know what you’re doing and who to target, you can promote a business or idea of any size on the platform and use it to build awareness and gain a following. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide - we want to help you get ahead of your competition by embracing all the opportunities TikTok has to offer before they do!
As is the case with anything to do with marketing, we should remember that a good idea doesn’t always guarantee success. Whether it’s TikTok, Twitter, or anything else, a marketing campaign works like an online slots game in that you have to pay to take your chances, and they don’t always come off. We’ve seen big-money social media marketing campaigns fail before, and we’ve seen single Tweets go viral. To compound the online slots metaphor, we’ve even seen gambling companies get it wrong! Don’t let that put you off the idea of trying, though - online slots might be more fun to play on a new UK online slots website, but a well-worked marketing campaign can be a lot more rewarding. Here’s how to do it.
Work With Influencers
Those of you who've worked extensively on Instagram will probably have guessed that this tip was coming. Just as Twitter and Instagram have 'influencers' on their platforms, who can help you to get your message across, several young stars of TikTok are now classed as ‘influencers’ - and they'll happily help you out with a campaign for the right price. They're usually teenagers, and so this might not work if you're trying to sell life insurance or timeshares, but if you have a product that young people might want to buy (or, more accurately, if you have a product that you want young people to buy), an influencer could make the difference between connecting with that market or falling flat. You might not like influencers, but they're a marketing reality that we all now have to deal with.
TikTok might not have invented the concept of using a hashtag to identify a trend, but they've picked it up and run with it. Hashtags are used in TikTok to put videos into categories, and helpfully the platform also lists the number of people who are looking at any one hashtag at any point in time. Click on the 'discover' button to see what people are talking about when you want to post your video and make sure you include some of the most popular hashtags with your post. It helps if your video is relevant to the category - but that's not a necessity! The best ones to aim for are the ones that have a high number of views but aren't totally swamped. If you go for the very top ones, your content is likely to be lost in a flood of posts.
Go Easy On The Message
TikTok is a lighthearted platform - far more so than any of the other social media avenues you’ve been down before. A somber tone is never welcome, and there’s an expectation that any content posted on it should be entertaining. That means that an outright advert is almost never a good idea. People won’t be interested, and you’ll be ignored. The best approach to take is one of product placement. Make an entertaining video and find a way for your product to appear in it or be mentioned in it - don’t make the video all about the product.
New filters and effects are added to TikTok all the time - and the company likes people to use them. They're so keen on people using them that for a time when a filter or effect is brand new, videos that use it are prioritized in search results. When you log in, and you see something new, use it as quickly as possible, so you don't miss out on the opportunity to get a boost from it. You should try to use the effects as often as possible even when they're not brand new - as you'll quickly see from looking at videos posted by other people, 'plain' videos without effects or filters don't get much traction.
We’ve listed this tip last because evidence of how effective it might be isn’t available yet. Like every other social media company, TikTok comes with a paid advertising platform. You can pay to have adverts appear in news feeds, and you can also pay to have buttons and links included in those adverts. Users have the option of skipping them, though, so it needs to be snappy and eye-catching to have any chance of being seen at all. The ad service is still relatively new and is being built and improved upon all the time, so it might be best to focus on the other ideas we’ve listed and try paying for advertising at a later date when more data is available about their reach.
The most important thing to remember about TikTok is that it’s a visual platform - the written word won’t go very far here, and even static images are looked upon as boring. TikTok is all about videos - so whatever your idea is, it’s going to have to be something that can exist as a moving image. Get your thinking cap on, and good luck!