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Should you jump on the TikTok marketing bandwagon?

Many brands successfully leveraged TikTok as part of their marketing strategy during lockdown – should you join them?



 

TikTok subscriptions rocketed during lockdown, with the platform now enjoying a whole new following. Should it be forming a part of your company’s digital marketing strategy? And if so, how do you harness it to the advantage of your company?

TikTok for beginners

TikTok was created by Chinese entrepreneur Zhang Yiming, and describes itself as ‘the leading destination for short-form mobile video’. Essentially, the platform enables users to create short videos where they can lip-sync, re-enact memes or dance to music or sound clips.

Despite coming into existence in 2012, TikTok’s popularity has soared as a result of the pandemic, with The Guardian reporting that during the week the UK went into lockdown: ‘UK installations surged by 34%’, as Brits were forced to stay indoors amid the height of the virus restrictions.

While TikTok has always been popular amongst young people, its coronavirus-induced popularity surge has resulted in more users from older generations. However, it’s worth noting that older users are still a minority, with social-media scheduling platform Hootsuite reporting that: ‘Combined, the 13-24-year-old segments represents 69% of the app’s user base’.

TikTok as a (lockdown) digital marketing strategy

Some businesses have adopted TikTok with huge success, for example, the BBC covered an Indian bridal outfitter who has used the platform to generate sales from around the world after losing out on half a million pounds worth of trade as the wedding industry was forced to grind to a halt during lockdown.

But it’s not just the more obvious (fashion and health) industries that have managed to benefit from the social media platform; The Washington Post has run a relatable and accessible campaign on TikTok, illustrating the power of the platform to generate brand recognition within a whole new demographic.

UK sports brand, Gym Shark, has also run a noteworthy TikTok campaign, posting work out videos as well as generally entertaining content, which has resulted in 1.9 million followers.

TikTok marketing strategies

So, how could you utilise the platform within your digital marketing? There are three main avenues that you could go down to promote your brand on TikTok:

  1. Create a channel. This is the most cost-effective and simplest way to run a marketing campaign on TikTok, as it would enable you to create your own content and hopefully build up an organic following. Despite this, it might not be the most efficient way to increase your brand recognition – or sales – via the platform; increasing your following is likely to take time and creating content can sometimes be difficult.
  2. While influencers are not free – unlike the first option – it would negate the challenge of trying to build up your own TikTok following. By reaching out to individuals already big on the platform, you could devise some form of mutually beneficial collaboration and reach a greater number of people more quickly.
  3. Pay for adverts. Finally, you could just pay to take out advertising space on the platform. The drawback to this is that because the platform is relatively new, there isn’t a lot of research into whether paid advertising on TikTok works.

How to decide whether your business should be on TikTok

There is no right or wrong answer as to whether your business should be on TikTok; as the Washington Post example shows, businesses that you might not typically associate with a short-form video platform are thriving on it. However, here are some things to consider when deciding whether to dive into the world of TikTok:

  • Who is your target audience? If you’re looking to market to Generation Z’s or even Generation Alphas, then the platform might work for you. However, if you’re looking to reach Baby Boomers then the answer is less straightforward. Here, you might want to consider what your typical clients look like. Do they have kids? If yes, they might be some of the minority of TikTok users within this category. Are they typically tech savvy? Again, this might give you more of an indication as to whether TikTok is appropriate.
  • Does it fit in with your brand image? Straight away, there are going to be some industries where the platform is not going to be appropriate. For example, if you run an undertaker’s, it probably will not resonate well with potential customers if you are seen messing around on TikTok.
  • Does it fit within your marketing? Your marketing across different platforms will necessarily be different, but should still be complementary. If it seems like your TikTok account would not fit in with your current messaging, then don’t do it.
  • Can you afford it? While TikTok is free, you have to set aside time to create content your audience will want to engage with, and if you choose to go down the influencer route, then you are likely to incur some direct costs.

TikTok is a popular new social media platform that brings exciting opportunities for digital marketing strategies that could be beneficial to your business, but you need to weigh up whether it fits with your overall brand image and marketing strategy.

To discuss whether this could be a strategy for your business, message us at [email protected] or call 01892 534 044 .