We’ve all heard of it, but most of us have probably never used it. Why? 

If you look at the statistics, TikTok was actually the most downloaded app in 2018 with 104,020,000 downloads and has been in the top 3 downloaded apps in the world since! With this seemingly unlimited global market at our hands, why are most of us still not using it?

Everyone in business has an Instagram, it is the norm now. But could TikTok be useful for businesses too? I think we should start with the basics…

What is TikTok? 

Well, TikTok is described as a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos on any topic. Ryan Fiore, Vice President of Marketing at MANSCAPED Inc, describes the app as “If Instagram Stories & Vine had a baby and infused it with music, that’s TikTok.” 

Its mobile-shot videos with a heavy emphasis on music, comedy, dancing, and meme trends where, similarly to Instagram, you can browse popular videos and explore hashtags – It’s basically just another content app that is stealing the limelight (for now)

Some people call it the app for the next generation, mainly because two-thirds of TikTok users are under 30-years-old, but with more younger people spending time on the app, are we missing an opportunity as digital marketers? 

What brands are already using it? 

While TikTok has only just introduced an advertising process and hyperlink capabilities, big brands such as Red Bull, Nickelodeon, NBA & the NFL have embraced the platform in all of its glory and targeting its content directly for Gen Z audiences. 

Red Bull, for example, post various videos of extreme-sport moments, high profile sports stars and meme videos – and that’s exactly what the other verified accounts do too! Of course with big brands come big budgets which equal high views, but what does it actually lead to? 

Rather than the videos leading the audience to go do something off of TikTok, the main result is generating brand awareness. Now, I’m not saying brand awareness isn’t an important thing (because it is) but there’s only so much you can get from people watching videos on their smartphones. 

For brands, like Red Bull who are already established, TikTok generating brand awareness as the key result is fine, but for smaller companies, it needs to lead to bums on seats or products being bought. Which leads me to question… 

How could smaller businesses use it? 

Because of the quirky, fast-paced nature of TikTok businesses would have to be pretty creative to make the videos stand-out from posts from the auto-rolling feed. Whether it’s one of your employees doing one of their party tricks, a regular dog that always visits, or just catching a funny moment, those types of videos seem to feature on the feed more than carefully planned out ones! 

The Takeaway

Giving personality to your business through TikTok is the best way, and probably the only productive way to use it from a digital marketing perspective. But have fun with it and try not to set-up videos too much for views. Just like Instagram, don’t post things for the likes. Do them because it’s what your brand is!