Everyone is talking about TikTok. Could it be the next big social marketing platform? (It already is in Asia.) 

TikTok lets users create 15-second videos and differs from typical stories on other social channels because it has some pretty cool in-app editing tools. If you aren’t familiar with the app,  let me explain it this way: If Instagram and Snapchat had a baby with video-editing capabilities, it would be TikTok. 

TikTok was the most downloaded app in the Apple store Q1 of 2019. It has 80 million users in the US and more than 1 billion videos are viewed daily. That’s billion, with a B. So could it be worth it to be an early-ish adopter?

If your target market is young, TikTok could be right for your business. We’re talking Gen Z, not millenials. So if your audience is 16 – 24 years-old and especially female, consider looking at TikTok as a possible social channel. Seize the opportunity to start marketing to the next generation of buyers.

If your brand has a big personality, it will go over well on TikTok. The most popular videos are the ones that are overly dramatic or funny. It’s a very casual forum that doesn’t focus on perfection. So it’s easy to be fun and approachable.

TikTok is also a good place to experiment with the lighter or silly side of your brand. And some of the content you create here could be easily used on others platforms, especially Instagram stories. I’m a huge fan of repurposing. 

If you’re in the music or entertainment business, TikTok might help you get attention. You can build hype around new music, artists, movies and events. The app is for content creators too, so if you are one, or execute promotions for entertainment brands, you should be there.

One way that TikTok has gained popularity is with challenges. For example, the popular song, “Truth Hurts,” sparked the DNA Test Challenge where users make videos explaining their heritage in a funny way. Companies have followed suit trying to make their own challenges related to their brands. Chipotle had the #guacdance challenge surrounding the infamous guacamole song.

Want to give it a try? Take something funny or interesting about your industry or business and create a challenge. Make a customized hashtag to go with it, then feature a compilation on your website. Choose your favorites and post them to your Instagram story and other social media to gain more traction. Ultimately, it’s all about getting more visibility and bringing awareness to your brand.

You can also use TikTok to go behind the scenes in your business, but again keep it fun and lighthearted. This platform is for entertainment, not for promotion. Make people laugh. 

While it’s a global app, TikTok has a local spin. It will suggest content and hashtags to its users based on their location, and what they’ve recently viewed and created. It never wants its users to run out of ideas, so look at what they’re offering to reach your own local audience. Plus, you can follow people and other brands in your industry inspire brainstorming.

You can, of course, advertise on TikTok. Big brands often run TikTok takeovers where the entire app is branded with the company’s logo and colors. You can create custom lenses, like in Snapchat and Instagram. More popular is infeed ads, which look like regular TikTok videos, but you pay for them to pop up more places to reach more people than you would organically. You can also run a paid hashtag challenge that includes a contest and tons of advertising.

If you’re a small business owner and budgets are tight, I don’t suggest advertising on TikTok because it’s really expensive. A paid hashtag challenge will run you $150,000 per week, and a brand takeover costs $50,000 per day. Even infeed ads start at $10 per CPM (1000 views), which doesn’t sound too bad, until I learned that there’s a $500 minimum per campaign.

Like any other marketing platform, it’s best to use it to communicate with your target audience authentically. Come up with fun, original content and use appropriate hashtags to gain visibility as an expert or brand.

That’s the scoop on TikTok. Your thoughts? 


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