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TikTok has quickly emerged as one of the top content-sharing apps in the world. The go-to social platform for billions of users, TikTok’s intuitive interface and easy approach to video creation continue to fuel its explosive growth around the globe, with no apparent end in sight.
Of course, this rising trend has also caught the attention of local businesses, many of which are now realizing the value an effective TikTok marketing strategy can bring to their online footprint.
So, what is exactly is TikTok? What sets it apart from other social media platforms, and how can your company tap into its almost limitless outreach potential in 2022?
Here’s a brief look at TikTok, why it’s so important to your video marketing strategy, and a few ideas for maximizing your TikTok impact and web presence in the year ahead.
WHAT IS TIKTOK?
As mentioned earlier, TikTok is a social video platform that allows users to create and interact with custom video content. The TikTok app includes a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to post, share and comment on short videos, providing a high level of accessibility and authenticity that continues to drive its global popularity.
TikTok also represents the next frontier for video marketing, a powerful social media platform for leveling up your outreach efforts and increasing brand recognition across the web.
From organic company videos and influencer marketing to the relatively low costs of TikTok advertising, the popular video-sharing app offers a great opportunity to connect your brand with different audience demographics.
TIKTOK MARKETING: WHO DOES IT REACH?
TikTok is popular among many groups of people, though there are specific TikTok demographics that tend to dominate the platform. It’s important to note these as you map out your TikTok marketing strategy.
Of all TikTok’s users in the United States, over 47% were between the ages of 10 and 29, with the bulk of those in the 10-19 age range (25% total). While much of that broader audience may not have much buying power, the Gen Z segment (16-24) likely has measurable influence over how friends and loved ones spend money.
Forty-two percent of TikTok users are in the 30-49-age range, many within the millennial generation (25-44). Millennials not only surpass the Baby Boomer population on the popular social network’ they’re also gaining more buying power every day.
NOTES ON USE/ACTIVITY
Usage habits may be important to note when cultivating your following and setting TikTok marketing strategy expectations. To that end, just over 30% of TikTok subscribers are considered heavy monthly active users (using the app for 2/3 of each month), while about a third are light users (1/3 of each month). Twenty-three percent of TikTok accounts are largely inactive.
WHY IS TIKTOK SO VALUABLE FOR BUSINESSES?
It has a LOT of users. According to Backlinko, more than 1 billion people worldwide are active on TikTok every month, providing significant outreach potential for businesses across the globe.
It’s becoming more popular every day. Between 2018 and 2020, TikTok’s global userbase grew by more than 1,100%. Use in the U.S. market grew over 788% during that same span.
It isn’t overcrowded. Launched in 2017, TikTok remains a relatively new platform and has yet to be adopted by many major brands and SMBs around the world. This means less competition and more opportunities for businesses aiming to create exciting content and strengthen brand awareness.
Going viral is easier on TikTok. The unique TikTok algorithm populates user feeds based on engagement rather than numbers of followers, giving even the smallest brands an excellent opportunity to develop content that goes viral and gets results.
It allows you to be creative. Whether through ads, funny videos, short lip sync videos, or something altogether, TikTok content marketing offers a number of ways to create fun and inspired video content that engages users and brings them closer to your brand.
HOW TO PUT YOUR TIKTOK MARKETING STRATEGY OVER THE TOP IN 2022
Everyone from small businesses to global brands can use TikTok to give their digital marketing efforts a boost. But before you start incorporating the popular video-sharing platform into your social media marketing strategy, it’s important to build an approach that works.
While creating and sharing TikTok videos can be great for brand-building, knowing how to leverage the platform’s strengths and the unique TikTok algorithm is key to maximizing your impact.
Consider these practical but effective ideas for giving your TikTok marketing campaigns a jolt:
1. TURN YOUR MARKETERS INTO TIKTOK CREATORS
Unlike social media sites that enhance visibility based on your number of followers, TikTok’s algorithm seems to reward posts based on performance. In other words, you don’t need to be a grizzled TikTok veteran or have thousands of followers to get exposure.
To make your mark and start going viral, you need a TikTok marketing campaign focused on creating high-quality videos your audience wants to see–and powered by content creators committed to a solid plan.
To start, it’s crucial to have an active TikTok business account (I will provide steps for creating a new TikiTok account later in this post), as well as someone with a knack for off-the-cuff video creation. You’ll also need good recording equipment (i.e., a reliable microphone), a solid posting schedule, and a vigilant, ever-watchful eye on TikTok to identify trending hashtags to capitalize on when the time is right.
Needless to say, various niche brands and small businesses have already seized on the site’s interest-focused feed recommendation to jump into the conversation. Here are a few small brands that quickly turned TikTok videos into an online success story:
- Designs by Felicias, a custom design creation business that used the power of TikTok video creation to generate buzz and fuel growth
- @Vanader, a viral business development and finance-centered entrepreneur who used videos to build a fast following on the platform.
- Nectar Seltzer, whose first product process video repost pulled in more than 300,000 views that instantly powered brand recognition and growing popularity
2. JUMP ON THE HASHTAG CHALLENGE BANDWAGON
Talk to anyone with a successful TikTok marketing strategy, and you’ll eventually get an earful about TikTok hashtag challenges.
That’s not just because hashtags seem to dominate the TikTok app (which they certainly do). It’s because savvy TikTok marketers know what the right hashtag challenge can do for brands that could use an online lift.
When ideating videos, be sure to research and consider hashtag challenges relevant to your brand. Once identified, work to shape your videos to align with those relevant challenges. Ideally, this hashtag piggybacking will position your brand in trending conversations and help boost reach and awareness across the platform.
Of course, not all #challenges are a good fit, and careful vetting is key to avoiding any ties to something that could drain or even destroy your business reputation.
But once you’ve got a good process for filtering out the bad and aligning with the good, you have an excellent opportunity to thrust your brand into the conversation, take advantage of the latest TikTok trends and create videos that elevate brand perception, visibility, and engagement across your target audience.
3. EXPAND YOUR REACH THROUGH TIKTOK INFLUENCER MARKETING
Influencer marketing is not a new idea. In fact, so-called influencers on other platforms like Instagram have been around for a while, lending a level of exposure, credibility, and audience connection usually not available through standard marketing means.
But while influencers on Instagram and elsewhere continue to be effective conduits for building trust and selling products, the sheer influencer overload on other social media platforms has a growing number of brands searching for an alternative.
IN COMES TIKTOK INFLUENCER MARKETING
Relatively new to the game, Tiktok and TikTok influencers provide a less crowded but more personalized social marketplace for building trust and reaching more buyers.
This newcomer status means TikTok has fewer businesses inundating users with influencer-marketed content, allowing brands to reach members on more of an individual level. Because of that, users are less likely to gloss over or ignore influencer content that might get passed over on other platforms. This gives more potential weight to each TikTok video you post while (ideally) increasing overall engagement, video shares, and more.
That doesn’t mean it’ll be any easier to find the right influencers to support your social media strategy. But once you do, you’re far likelier to build a successful marketing campaign and footprint on the social video giant.
4. LEVERAGE THE POWER OF TIKTOK ADS
Expanding your reach through organic TikiTok videos, hashtags, and influencer-marketed content is (for the most part) free and highly recommended. But adding TikTok advertising to that mix can really beef up your strategy and grow your TikTok presence.
While relatively new to the platform, TikTok’s branded marketing options may help you gain access to even more target audiences and attract more followers to your profile page.
TikTok ads are available in five different formats. Each offers a distinct and potentially potent opportunity to spice up your social media ad campaign:
- Brand Takeovers
- Branded Effects
- Branded Hashtag Challenges
- In-Feed Ads
As we dive into each option, it’s important to note that paid ads on TikTok are a bit costlier than those on other social media channels. Where brands can generally start advertising on Instagram or Facebook for a small price, TikTok ad campaigns require a minimum $500 investment.
While this may put this option out of reach for some SMBs and individual brands, those with the budget may find TikTok ads a powerful strategy addition.
Takeover ads are large and offer a high level of visibility, popping up as soon as users log in. And because users are only exposed to one takeover ad each day, those ads provide a great way to flood out competitors and highlight your value-add, allowing you to reach a wide swath of the TikTok community for at least a short period of time.
The one big downside of takeover ads is the cost, which can sometimes range in the thousands or even tens of thousands per ad. But for larger businesses with an adequate budget, takeovers can provide a visibility pop that’s hard to replicate with other options.
The branded effects feature allows businesses to create Augmented Reality (AR) filters that users can then use in their own TikTok videos. Though not a new idea (think: Snapchat), TikTok’s branded effects option works because it inspires direct engagement, cultivating real-time connections with target users.
But as with all TikTok ads, price is a major consideration, as just one effect can cost as much as $100,000.
BRANDED HASHTAG CHALLENGES
Much like their organic counterparts, branded hashtag challenges utilize user-generated content to strengthen brand recognition and awareness. Similar to branded effects, this paid TikTok content option provides a useful engagement tool that cultivates immediate bonds between TikTokers and your business.
Once created, each branded challenge shows up on TikTok’s Discover interface, where hashtags direct users toward a unique landing page with information on your hashtag challenge, your site, and other users who have already taken the plunge.
Users can then get creative and complete your challenge, building both a memory and relationship with your brand with potentially lasting benefits for your business.
The cost? Like the previous two, branded #challenges aren’t cheap, with a price tag of $150,000 or more to start.
Similar to those you might find on Instagram, in-feed ads pop up in each user’s TikTok feed, often appearing as authentic content posted by other users. That’s not to say in-feeds are disingenuous, only that they allow brands to create video content similar to that users are already seeing out, a potentially powerful way to increase views, engagement, and shares among the vast TikToker community.
In addition to posting branded content that blends in with other desirable videos, the in-feed option also gives you the chance to insert motion graphics and calls-to-action (CTAs) in each new video. This level of customization provides a lot of wiggle room for creativity and designing ads that align with your approach.
The best part of in-feed ads is the price, at least when compared to the previous three options. Running an in-feed campaign starts at $500, opening the doors to many more local companies and marketers.
TopViews technically fit into the ‘in-feed ads’ category, appearing within user feeds across the platform. The only difference is that TopViews are guaranteed to show up first. That is, TopViews appear as the first ad users come across, generally after just three seconds of scrolling. Users also see TopViews on the For You page at the top.
TopViews allow the same creativity as other in-feeds, and are available for up to 60-second spots. Because their position is guaranteed, they tend to cost a bit more than regular in-feeds.
NOT ON TIKTOK YET? HERE’S HOW TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS ACCOUNT
Capitalizing on TikTok’s wide-ranging marketing potential starts by creating an optimized TikTok account. Once on, you’ll be able to post videos, purchase ads (through TikTok ads manager), and utilize the TikTok algorithm to connect to potential buyers around the world.
Fortunately, TikTok business accounts are easy to set up. Here’s how to create your TikTok for Business profile:
- Search and download the TikTok app on Google Play or the App Store.
- Create an individual account.
- After signing up, click the ‘Me’ tab at the bottom.
- Tap Manage account. In the dropdown, click on ‘Switch to Business Account.’
- Under the Business icon, tap on ‘Next’
- Answer several questions on your business and complete each new setup prompt.
Before you jump right in and post your first TikTok video, be sure to familiarize yourself with the app and its functionality. Take time to learn what other brands are doing, particularly the types of engaging videos they’re posting and how they’re interacting with followers.
Such analysis is not only great for developing new content ideas, but for identifying relevant hashtags and strategies that will help you get going on the right foot.