At this point, every marketer can reach a consensus that TikTok has indeed taken the past year 2020 by storm. If current predictions are to be expected, then TikTok will be even bigger this 2021.
Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has garnered a massive user base of 500 million people. The social media platform is home to over 800 million monthly active users, and it has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times worldwide.
The TikTok phenomenon is already the latest cultural revolution on social media platforms. As such, brands need to get up to speed with this latest trend.
There was a time when it has been reported that nobody under 25 is using Facebook anymore. The same thing is happening in the world of video-oriented social media platforms. As with all other previous social media phenomenon, TikTok’s popularity is more considerable among the younger generation.
The Brief: What is TikTok?
So, what exactly is TikTok, and why should brands care?
TikTok is a social media platform for sharing, watching, and making short videos on smartphones. Videos can be anywhere from three to sixty seconds long. However, the typical ones are around 15 seconds.
This kind of video format provides an excellent opportunity for posting a variety of content for its users. One of the most popular contents shared on the platform is DIY music videos, which would often feature the users themselves. It has gained popularity, especially for teens doing a choreographed dance or singing in front of the camera with various effects and filters applied to the video.
TikTok’s unique set of features include the capability to use preloaded tracks from a wide variety of music genres in a user’s video, including special effects like slow or fast motion, stickers, and filters. It also has a react feature that lets users film reactions to a specific video.
Quick Facts About TikTok
- Statista noted that at the onset of 2020, TikTok already garnered 800 million users. Thus, making the platform the most popular Chinese-made application in the western world.
- The TikTok app has been downloaded over 96 million times in the United States.
- The average TikTok user is currently spending around 52 minutes per day on the app.
- TikTok is currently reporting high engagement levels on its platform, indicating that this social media phenomenon is here to stay.
The Strategy: TikTok for Brands
There is no better time than today to begin building your own brand presence on TikTok.
While the platform may seem like a place filled with fun and whimsy, it’s actually proving to be a powerful tool for brands. TikTok creates an exciting opportunity for brands targeting the Gen Z market.
Here’s how you can get started with your brand’s TikTok account:
TIP 1: Create exclusive content for the platform
Once brands start their own TikTok account, they should bear the mentality that they are in it for the long haul. Video content should be created exclusively for the TikTok platform. It should be noted that using the same curated content on Instagram and Facebook will not work.
TIP 2: Interact with your audience
The TikTok platform’s posting style is different and unique compared to other social media sites. This is an opportunity for brands to try to take advantage of TikTok’s “uniqueness” and increase brand engagement in a whole new way.
One of the best ways brands can interact with their TikTok audience is to create Hashtag Challenges. Brands can start a challenge, a dance challenge, for example, and then encourage their followers to participate using a unique hashtag. Hashtag challenges are extremely popular on the platform, and it’s a great way to help brands create user-generated content.
TIP 3: Try to post as frequently as possible
To promote active engagement, brands naturally need to spend time posting videos on the platform. TikTok recommends accounts to post around five videos per week.
Develop a TikTok creative strategy by:
STRATEGY 1: Creating organic content
As mentioned before, the TikTok platform works differently compared to other social media platforms. Most of the time, the videos curated on other social channels like Facebook and Instagram will not work the same way on TikTok. That’s why it’s better for brands to create organic content that is suitable for TikTok.
Creating the brand’s content is a good opportunity to showcase its unique voice. One of the secrets to making a mark in the TikTok realm is to be authentic and spontaneous. Since TikTok is a very informal and fun social media platform, there’s no need to put that much pressure into creating sophisticated videos. Brands can create unique content every day by simply making fun video content with popular songs and sounds.
STRATEGY 2: Launching campaigns with influencers
The popularity of TikTok influencers is still in its early stages. Since the younger generation is generally put off by traditional advertising, working with influencers can be a good way to help the brand engage with the platform’s Gen Z audience.
STRATEGY 3: Advertising on the TikTok platform
TikTok also has its own advertising platform. Brands can choose from these types of ads.
- In-Feed Ads
Just like Instagram and Snapchat story ads, this type of ad supports multiple redirects where clicks can be diverted to web pages or app downloads.
- Brand Takeovers
Brands can take control of TikTok for a day with various images, videos, and GIFs supported by integrated links that will lead to landing pages or hashtag challenges.
- Branded Lenses
This type of ad is similar to Snapchat’s 2D or 3D lenses, where users can add lenses to create their own content.
The Creatives: Key Creative Campaign Strategy Ideas to Remember
CREATIVE IDEA 1: Time-Based content is not a priority
TikTok videos’ popularity is essentially focused on creativity and less of the “timeliness” of the content. TikTok does not show its videos’ publication dates unless you go directly on the creator’s page. As such, TikTok users can find videos from several months ago as easily as the videos created an hour ago. This is very advantageous for brands since older videos posted can still have an opportunity to go viral in the future.
CREATIVE IDEA 2: Humor is a fool-proof win
TikTok is all about fun, and videos often have a comedic tone in them. To effectively capture the essence of the TikTok platform, brands need to let loose and inject some humor into their posts. Brands need to learn how to show different sides of their persona to grab the attention of TikTok-ers and make them laugh with you and your posts.
CREATIVE IDEA 3: Quality over quantity matters
The TikTok platform provides an excellent way to engage with brands on a whole new level. Brands need to focus on creating quality content that will be able to generate a real impact and engagement with the TikTok audience. Since videos can still gain traction and virality months after being posted, brands have more incentive to make their video campaigns memorable.
CREATIVE IDEA 4: Metrics calculation are simpler
As of the moment, TikTok has a far simpler algorithm that tells information about its users than other social networks like Facebook. This implies that there is less data available to help segment video campaigns and quantifiably measure their brands’ impact. Rather than being very pedantic about a video campaign, brands can think of the TikTok platform as a breeding ground for creativity. The quality of a brand’s video campaign content will ultimately determine the type of TikTok users that you attract on the platform.
CREATIVE IDEA 5: Make the campaigns challenging for users
TikTok has changed the ball game on how brands plan video campaigns. Other platforms make it as easy as possible to engage with users, but it’s often limited to single click reactions. This makes the campaign easily forgettable. In contrast, TikTok has a culture of accepting challenges. Its users are willing to spend the time and effort to create their content.
So if a hashtag challenge is deemed too easy, it will be more difficult for users to participate since they could easily brush it off as a waste of time. Brands don’t need to be daunted at the thought of launching a challenging campaign. It would help elevate the brand’s value even more as it shows off its audience’s commitment to fulfilling the challenge.
Winning Brands on TikTok
One of the most successful beauty brands on TikTok, e.l.f. Cosmetics is returning on the video-sharing app with a new reality show called “Eyes, Lips, Famous.” The show’s title is a wordplay on the brand’s famous “Eyes, Lips, Face” challenge on TikTok, which generated over 5 billion views on the platform.
e.l.f. rolled out weekly episodes of a reality contest for potential beauty influencers vying for a $5000 exclusive beauty contract with the brand, including a year’s supply of beauty items. TikTok users applied for the show by following e.l.f.’s TikTok page and uploading a video that shows why they should be chosen with the hashtag #eyeslipsfamous in the caption.
Expanding on their most popular TikTok campaign is a good move for e.l.f. Cosmetics since the brand can engage their loyal followers from their original Eyes, Lips, Face challenge. Besides, interacting with beauty enthusiasts on the platform could help the brand raise awareness with influencer marketing by tapping into a whole new generation of content creators.
Pepsi launched its limited-edition beverage for Thanksgiving called the Apple Pie. It’s designed as a festive refreshment touted as a “fall in a glass” beverage with a taste and scent like a classic pie through hints of cinnamon, crisp apples, and pie crust.
As a limited-edition beverage, consumers can only get their hands on the soda online by winning Pepsi’s new social media sweepstakes with the #PepsiApplePie challenge on TikTok and Twitter. Fans can post a video of the “greatest baking fail” with the hashtag. Pepsi will choose their favorites, and winners will receive a 2-Liter bottle of Pepsi Apple Pie.
Pepsi chose to launch its Apple Pie soda as more of a marketing strategy than an income-generating one. As such, the campaign can help encourage sales for consumers who are looking for unique sodas. With consumer spending on food increasing during the holidays, launching a Thanksgiving-themed beverage could help Pepsi boost sales and maintain its relevance among homebound consumers.
Doritos relaunched its beloved 90s snack called the Doritos 3D Crunch for a limited time with new flavors such as Spicy Ranch and Chili Cheese Nacho. To re-introduce the chips to a whole new generation of consumers, Doritos launched a hashtag challenge on TikTok. Dubbed as #Doritos3DChallenge, TikTok users can post videos of themselves catching the Doritos 3D Crunch in their mouths in the “boldest ways possible.”
Using the TikTok platform can help Doritos appeal to younger consumers with changing tastebuds, such as the increased demand for spicy food during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the sales for snacks have also surged as consumers have started the habit of buying more groceries instead of ordering from restaurants. Relaunching the chips on TikTok can help Doritos build a loyal following on the app and propel the sales for its “new but retro” product for younger consumers.
Red Bull usually holds an annual dance competition, but this year, the brand moved its contest to TikTok, a social media platform that has been synonymous with dancing. Red Bull’s Dance Your Style campaign allows users to vote for their favorite dance videos on the app. Users can post a video of themselves dancing to Get Loose Now by Black Eyed Peas with the hashtag #RedBullDanceYourStyle. Eight TikTok finalists will dance head-to-head against professionals pre-selected by Red Bull. The dance-off finals will take place in 2021, in anticipation of the end of the pandemic.
Red Bull originally started their Dance Your Style content in 2018, but this is the first time the event was held primarily on social media. With TikTok successfully turning in-app dancers into influencers, moving their dance contest on the platform can help the brand capitalize on new content creators and viral trends. In addition, postponing the finale for 2021 can help Red Bull extend user engagement and build anticipation for the event.