TikTok burst onto the scene and became one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Younger generations especially love the app and its short-form video content, slowly edging out the giants like Facebook and Twitter.
Businesses have taken notice, but some aren’t sure if the platform should be taken seriously. Others know it can be useful, but aren’t sure how to get started.
Early adopters are seeing success with TikTok, however. If you can be one of the first businesses to make your mark on TikTok, you have an opportunity to establish a presence before it becomes the newest trend in social media marketing.
Is TikTok Right for My Business?
TikTok is mostly known for dance challenges and short clips, which is why many businesses are ignoring it as a viable marketing outlet.
If you have a younger audience, however, it’s essential you get started with TikTok. The authentic, bite-sized content on TikTok is gaining ground with Gen Z and millennials, two of the most difficult generations to market to effectively. They don’t want brands selling them products using traditional marketing methods, block ads, and generally distrust brands, so TikTok offers an opportunity to reach them in a real-world way.
Getting to Know TikTok
TikTok works like a lot of other social media platforms, but with some key differences. Short-form video content is the primary driver of the app – so much so that the trend is taking off on other platforms trying to compete.
Videos on TikTok can be up to 60 seconds long, but most are shorter. Brands can use this to create short, snappy videos that effectively engage the viewer and communicate the message.
Of course, you can’t just cut a clip from a YouTube video and post it on TikTok. You need to create content for the platform that looks native, or else users will scroll right by.
Fortunately, TikTok makes it easy to create content. You can record directly in the app or use your device to create a video, edit it, and upload it. TikTok also offers filters, sound and music effects, and other touches to make your video unique and engaging.
How to Market on TikTok
Learn the Platform
TikTok works a little differently than other social media platforms, so it’s important to get familiar with it before you start creating content. Start by creating an account and following similar brands to see what types of content gets traction and learn how users follow trends and engage with videos.
Also, the more you interact with content, the more the algorithm can learn what you like and want to see. Your feed will quickly become curated content that aligns with your previous viewing behavior, offering a more personalized experience.
Like other platforms, it’s important to be consistent with your content on TikTok. Furthermore, TikTok users expect to see frequent posts, so you need to have consistent content to gain a presence.
The best option is to create a schedule that’s realistic and stick to it. You don’t want to be rushed and pushing out low-quality content just to have something. Also, having some content planned gives you the flexibility to make content on the fly for when trends pop up.
Use Hashtags the TikTok Way
Hashtags are how videos are cataloged on TikTok and how users can search for content. The hashtags on TikTok are a bit different, however, and need to be specific enough to help users find you but not so obscure that no one is searching. Look for popular and competitive hashtags.
For example, at Zutobi, if you have a resource for student drivers to learn and prepare for their permit test, you may want to use hashtags like #learntodrive, #practicepermittest, or #studentdriver.
TikTok runs on user engagement, and you need to deliver that to get attention on the platform. You can use comments to boost interaction and engagement with your followers and get more reach for your content. Respond to comments in engaging, meaningful ways, rather than just sending an emoji or “liking” them.
You should also use this tactic for your own videos. Ask your followers for feedback, opinions, or recommendations. You can conduct a poll and ask users to vote, responding to comments along the way. Encourage conversation, rather than just asking users to engage without offering engagement in return.
Use TikTok Features
TikTok uses video content, but it’s not just simple videos. You can enhance your content and make it unique with features like music or sound effects, text overlay, filters, and more, all of which are specific to industries or categories like Animal and Beauty.
Another fun way to create unique content is by using the greenscreen. Choose a fun image to put as your background to make your video a little more than a “talking head” or dry promotional video. Get creative with your content and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Check Out the Competition
You may be one of the first in your industry to get on TikTok, but do some research into your competition. Follow your competitors or similar businesses in your industry and see how they’re using the platform. While you don’t want to copy them directly, you can see what’s working and use it as inspiration for your own content.
Follow the Trends
Trends are a big deal on TikTok. Users take part in trends and identify them using hashtags. Hashtags don’t have staying power like on other platforms, however. You need to keep up with the trends and hashtags to ensure you’re on trend, rather than behind the times.
Trends come and go quickly on TikTok, so stay agile! When you discover a trend you can adapt in a unique way, don’t hesitate.
Leverage Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a well-known and effective marketing strategy for social media. TikTok saw the rise of many influencers, due to the unique content, and can be valuable for your business. TikTok has numerous successful influencers in just about any industry you can imagine.
It’s vital that you partner with the right influencer, however. Find some influencers with strong followings and genuine engagement in your industry, then reach out to them to discuss a possible collaboration. Influencers have to know the ins and outs of TikTok to be successful, so they’re excellent for helping you navigate the platform and boosting your brand awareness.
For example, if you have resources for teen drivers, a teen influencer is an excellent choice for your business. You can give them some freedom to create content around your driving resources and practice permit tests, such as product reviews, testimonials, or challenges around getting a perfect score on the test.
Test and Refine
TikTok may seem like a loose social media platform, but your marketing still needs a strategy. You should set goals to guide your strategy and test its efficacy, such as building a brand community or generating brand awareness.
Your goals should always be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound). These goals can be tracked and tweaked, so you can continually improve your strategy. TikTok also has analytics tools that give you specific metrics for the platform.
Gain a Presence on TikTok
TikTok may be the new platform for the kids, but it’s quickly growing among younger audiences. Over time, we can expect that more people outside of the millennial and Gen Z audiences will get started on the platform, so it’s important to gain a presence on TikTok and establish your brand before it gets more popular.
Author: Leo Waldenback
Leo Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license. Leo founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.