I love TikTok. There, I said it! The app that at the beginning of 2020 was believed by many of the millennial age group and above to be an app only for Gen Z, is my favourite social media platform. Yes, there were and still are plenty of videos of teenagers doing the latest “TikTok dances” or “trends” (let’s not pretend you haven’t seen or tried at least one) but over the past year, the evolution of TikTok has been fascinating and it rightfully earned its spot as one of the top downloaded apps of 2020. But it seems to be a little bit like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. 

So why, might you ask, do I love this app?

The algorithm is fantastic

In the last few hundred videos I have scrolled through (probably more but I’m not prepared to admit to my addiction just yet), I have not seen a single TikTok dance or anti-vaxxer video! That is not to say that TikTok doesn’t have an abundance of both… it does, but it has learned very quickly what I do and don’t engage with. Not only is this great for me as a user because I am seeing content that engages me in commenting, sharing and liking videos, but it also keeps me on the app longer than I care to think about. I am now regularly pushed videos containing content the app knows I will watch, rewatch and engage with regularly and they have used this engagement to continue to push me numerous cute dog videos… I’m not complaining.

If we look at this algorithm from a marketing perspective, it is a goldmine of opportunity for a number of different reasons. Users are being pushed content that TikTok knows they will like, this means that brands and marketers can create content that is not necessarily going to be seen by millions (although, get high enough initial engagement and it very well could go viral), but that will be seen by those who will genuinely be interested your niche/ messaging.

More than dancing

One argument I saw a marketer use to dissuade others from including TikTok in their marketing strategy was that it is an app used by Gen Z to create silly dances. Firstly, have you ever tried one of these dances? They’re harder than they look, or so I’ve heard…  Secondly, this LinkedIn connection had clearly not thought about the buying power held by Gen Z, which is in the billions. It Is also growing, and quickly, in other age demographics which means that opportunities to use this app to your marketing advantage are only likely to increase. 

Influencers who have rose to fame and fortune through TikTok are not limited to your tweenage dancers or pranksters, but also include some of the most talented, educated and entertaining people I have ever seen, including Doctors, Teachers, Marketers and even people using the platform to share their amazing comedy, check out @KallMeKris if you haven’t already and thank me later. It has become a platform that reaches millions and caters to everyone's interests.

So how can you utilise this as a brand or content creator?

Without going too in-depth into the algorithm and how that works (that is a whole different blog post- let me know if you’d like it) the key things to focus on are as follows:

  1. Know your niche/ subject - As we’ve already discussed, TikTok will push your video to a specific audience so make sure you are clear before you start creating content that you know the direction you want to focus on and create content geared towards them.
  2. Create engaging content - Your content needs to be engaging from the word go. Don’t take time getting to the point unless the story along the way captivates and holds your audience's attention. Watch rate is one of the key indicators to the algorithm as to whether to continue to push your content to more and more users. 
  3. Use niche appropriate tags - Look at what other top videos in your niche are and find hashtags that are going to work for you. Only use between 3-5 at the most. 
  4. Engage with your audience - This might seem really obvious but it’s not always followed through. If a comment is left on your video, respond, especially while your account is small enough to do so! 
  5. Use trending sounds - Using a trending sound in the background of your video can help push your video and increase your audience reach. 
  6. Include closed captions - Including closed captions ensures your video is accessible to as many people as possible.
  7. Post consistently - Post a minimum of once per day. TikTok likes consistency and if you can post between 1-3 videos per day over a period of time, it will help increase your views as well as engagement. 
  8. Ensure you’re providing value - Know your audience and post video content that will be valuable to them. It’s important you don’t start posting for the sake of it or engagement will die off and your videos will stop being pushed. 

Worth a look?

TikTok will not always be everyones cup of tea, but if you like the occasional cute dog video, comedy skit or perhaps some epic fails, it might be worth a 20 second download from the app store.