What was once the hottest social media app is replaced by another in a few years’ time — that’s the nature of the ever-changing digital world. Take Vine, for example, a video sharing-app that is a mere memory to users, replaced by the gen Z favorite, TikTok.

As TikTok grows in popularity, it may be prudent to join the many brands that have used its platform for promotional purposes. In this article, you’ll learn what makes TikTok tick and how you can use it for your business.

What Is TikTok?

TikTok, formerly known as Musical.ly, is a video-sharing app that allows you to create short videos from your mobile device. Although known for its dance crazes, TikTok provides entertainment in a variety of styles, including comedy skits, lip-synching, and duets. Videos are not ephemeral like Instagram Stories: They appear and remain on your profile unless deleted.

You’ve likely heard that TikTok is one of the hottest apps in the market. But that’s only hearsay, you may think. Here’s the proof: According to Statista, TikTok had 36.7 million daily active users in April. Another report by TechCrunch revealed that TikTok saw a 310% year-over-year increase in in-app purchases.

TikTok may be new compared to rivals such as Instagram and Snapchat, but it’s certainly a force to be reckoned with.

How to Promote Your Business on TikTok

What can you do to attract the eyes of potential customers on TikTok? Here are your options.

Create TikTok Hashtag Challenges

A hashtag challenge is an excellent way to gain exposure. The goal is to encourage TikTok users to create or recreate your video using your unique hashtag.

In a campaign for the 2020 animated movie Scoob!, marketers created a TikTok hashtag challenge, in which participants were encouraged to recreate the movie’s signature dance. The challenge gained more than 5 billion views and the first video announcing the challenge garnered 2,836 comments, 1,764 shares, and more than 150,000 likes.

When you create a hashtag challenge, not only are you engaging with your target audience, but you are also exposing your brand to potentially billions of users.

Partner with TikTok Influencers

Much like Instagram, TikTok is inhabited by influencers, aptly named for their large following and ability to influence their fan’s purchase decisions. One very popular influencer is @justmaiko, who collaborated with the aforementioned Scoob! movie on its TikTok campaign. Just Maiko’s video, which promoted the movie’s hashtag challenge, garnered 3,154 comments, 2,136 shares, and more than one million likes.

Partnering with TikTok influencers can help you widen your reach. Of course, this type of partnership may be costly, since some influencers, depending on their popularity, charge by the thousands.

Create Enjoyable Content

Of course, not all of your efforts on TikTok need to be so conversion-focused. Remember, TikTokers use the app for entertainment — so entertain them. The Washington Post is a great example of an account that balances entertainment and promotion very well. It has one purpose: make people laugh.

Although its feed is dominated by comedic skits, the Washington Post occasionally publishes videos with subtle product placement by featuring its newspaper. In one video, the producer wears the Washington Post newspaper as a hat. In a DIY video, he teaches followers how to create the hat.

Although the videos are shameless promotions, it’s easy to overlook because the content is so entertaining. Create enjoyable content, and your audience will come.

Pay for TikTok Ads

TikTok recently opened its self-serve ad platform to select US users, granting them access to create ads that appear in the app. In addition to your organic campaigns, you can also pay for advertising. You can, for example, run native ads that appear between users’ videos or immediately after opening the app, like this one from Netflix:

You can also run banner ads like this one, also from Netflix:

Hashtag challenges are also paid campaigns. These challenges appear on top of users’ Discover feed, right below the banner ads.

The highlighted hashtag carousel pictured above is not a challenge, but it’s the area where a hashtag challenge would appear.

Running TikTok ads allows you to pursue an objective other than brand awareness. Here are your options:

  • Traffic: Send people to your website or app.
  • App Installs: Drive more app installs.
  • Conversion: Drive desired actions, such as a purchase, on your website.

Although hashtag campaigns and influencer partnerships are great options for promoting your website, running TikTok ads are ideal for achieving desired business goals that are more conversion-focused.

Who Else Is on TikTok?

TikTok may be new to advertising, but many big-name brands are already seeing its benefits. In addition to Netflix and Scoob!, TikTok has been an advertising platform for Universal Pictures and Clean and Clear.

Universal Pictures used TikTok to increase awareness of its new movie, The Clock with the House in Its Walls, by launching a hashtag challenge called #FindYourMagic. The challenge encouraged users to create videos featuring magic tricks, which were very popular at the time.

As a result, Universal Pictures gained 1.3 million likes on influencer videos and more than 11,000 followers in six days. The campaign also reaped more than 19,000 responses to the challenge.

Clean and Clear is another brand that had success on TikTok’s platform. After the debut of its limited-edition “My Swag” face wash in India, Clean and Clear launched a hashtag challenge to increase brand and product awareness. As a result, the company increased lift in purchase intention by 9% and lift in message association by 100.9%.

Should You Be on TikTok?

TikTok is a rapidly growing platform on which many brands have had success in achieving their business goals. You have several options in promoting your business on TikTok. Not only can you partner with influencers, start a hashtag campaign, and create entertaining organic videos, but you can also run ads with conversion-focused objectives.

Should you be on TikTok? Of course. You don’t necessarily have to run ads and marketing campaigns right away, but it’s worth getting an account, seeing how competitors are reaching their audiences, and getting familiarized with the platform.

After that, you’ll be ready to hop on the TikTok bandwagon when the time is right.