Building a Winning Brand Strategy for TikTok in 2020
Boasting over 2 billion downloads worldwide, here’s how your company can utilise TikTok; the fastest growing social media app.
I’m sure you’ve heard the hype about TikTok and its rapid global domination of Gen-Z; for better or for worse. Recent conversations have been centred around the latter – security concerns and calls to ban the app, as well as side-discussions about Reels, Instagram’s response to TikTok.
The driver of this exponential growth and success for TikTok has largely been its algorithm, which provides hyper-personalised video recommendations that suck users in and keep them hooked. Additionally, from a creator’s perspective the algorithm provides equal opportunity for all users to be discovered and rapidly scale the heights of internet fame (or infamy).
Mark Zuckerberg made some slightly revealing comments in leaked audio last year: “I kind of think about TikTok as if it were [Instagram] ‘Explore’ for stories, and that were the whole app. Users can choose to follow their favourite creators or popular celebrities, but what truly gives this app a vantage point is the way content discovery is diversified, enabling any regular video to blow up.”
While it’s too early to say whether TikTok will emerge from this current storm unscathed, what’s clear is that its uniquely potent algorithm is something a clone like Reels cannot challenge now, or in the near future.
However, none of this is the topic for today’s conversation, so let’s get back to the meat of today’s social media stew.
While loosely known as the social network for amateur music videos, TikTok is actually much more than that; and could be your ticket to quickfire brand awareness and virality. Whether that gets delivered to users through audio, video, or a catchy hashtag, comes down to your digital approach and strategy.
Notching up over 2 billion downloads worldwide, your target audience is becoming increasingly accessible on TikTok. With a fairly even split of 56% male and 44% female users, TikTok boasts a billion users under the age of 34, with 26% between 18-24, and 11% between 24-34 (Aslam, 2020). Valued for its relatable content and authentic feel, TikTok offers many different ways to bring your brand to life.
SO, WHAT’S IN IT FOR MY BRAND?
How do we know a brand can successfully leverage this platform? With TikTok, there are a multitude of ways to approach content, enabling many different paths to success when running campaigns and activations.
Here are the top ways you can TikTok:
TikTok has an easy-to-use interface and editing tools galore built directly into the app; including features such as the transition tool, green-screen, and many other filters/overlays. When it comes to engaging users, you might use the time-lapse effect to highlight the creation process of your product, or utilise the green-screen effect – a feature tailored to replicate Hollywood’s technology to place anyone, anywhere, except now without the need for a green background, but simply the images/videos in your device gallery.
2. Popular Audios
TikTok is widely known for setting music trends, and naturally audio content plays a huge role in this. Hosting a massive library of licensed music but also user-created recordings, incorporating the right popular audio into your content could see it travel far and wide through the TikTok sphere. With users having the option to follow an audio and search through sounds, you can even take it a step further and commission your own audio piece and set yourself apart.
3. Hashtag Challenges
Much like other apps, hashtags on TikTok help drive awareness and engagement which, if done well, can rapidly escalate into trends. Acting as a link between similar pieces of user content, hashtags such as the Jimmy Fallon #tumbleweedchallenge or the Guess #InMyDenim challenge are great examples of how brands have leveraged this.
4. React Videos
On TikTok, there’s nothing better than a great video that gets added to. With ‘react’ or ‘duet’ features from TikTok, you can side-by-side an already popular piece of content and ride in the wake of its success.
STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD
How can your brand set itself apart during TikTok’s perpetual peak-hour madness?? Thanks to TikTok’s unique and highly fluid content-creation abilities, you can create, mix and mesh different filters, styles and effects together to create a unique and impactful campaign.
Elf Cosmetics commissioned a song for TikTok inspired by Kash Doll’s 2018 hit “Ice Me Out” called “Eyes Lips Face” after the brand name’s acronym. They initially worked with a few influencers to kick it off using the audio and hashtag #eyeslipsface, and now there are over 5 billion user-created videos with the sound. Celebrities like James Charles, Jessica Alba, Terry Cruze and more have jumped on the trend also, driving opportunities through ‘duet’ and ‘react’ videos that makeup 20% of the user videos.
Another great example of a brand utilising TikTok to their advantage is Baskin Robbins Australia, jumping on the #oddlysatisfying trend and using their ice cream scoops as the focus. Incorporating the ‘Which X are you’ trend, each visual features a specific flavour and is accompanied by an audio narration highlighting characteristics that users can personally relate themselves to; quickly becoming the brand’s own popular TikTok audio.
They also ran a #StrangerThingsBinge campaign with the release of Stranger Things Season 3, which saw 13K user-created videos, 22 million views, and a click-through rate of 11.37% – delivering the Baskin Robbins website with 28% more impressions than generally received, and achieving completion rates averaging above 86% (Horn, 2019).
HOW CAN YOUR BRAND MAKE THE LEAP?
While the platform itself, and the sheer magnitude of its reach can be overwhelming, remember that the premise of TikTok is to have fun – so sign up personally and enjoy doing your own brand and market research. The platform is thriving with innovation and creativity, so let what’s already out there inspire you. Look at the way other users and brands are utilising content (and ads) and think about how your own digital and business objectives could be met here.
Don’t be afraid to test the waters with a small pilot campaign and a little ad budget – you might just discover a whole new audience you didn’t know you had or an entirely different way of engaging your existing fans and customers. But there’s only one way to find out!
Need some help getting your brand started on TikTok? We’ve been there before and made the mistakes so you don’t have to! Get in touch with us below to kick-off your foray into the TikTok sphere today.