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What is TikTok

What is TikTok and should you be using it for your business?

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If you have a teenage child living under your roof, you may know a little bit about TikTok. This Chinese app can be thought of as a Vine/Twitter/Instagram hybrid, and with more than 500 million users, you could say that it’s a combination of features have grown quite the userbase.

But the question is whether this social platform, that pulls no punches in being different to the mainstream, really represents a chance to boost your own list of customers.

So, let’s find out – here is everything you need to know about TikTok and how to tell whether it could do your business good.

The lowdown (in 30 seconds’ flat)

In its previous life, TikTok was known as Musical.ly. Its growth has been spurred on by the shutting of shop by Vine back in 2017. At its core, TikTok is all about creating short-form, music-based videos, with the platform allowing for the editing of videos with lenses, filters, and AR (augmented reality) features.

Since it launched in 2017, the TikTok app has been steadily gaining ground, with its central audience aged between 10 and 19 (this age group accounts for more than 40% of TikTok users). If you’re planning on grabbing the attention of Gen Z, TikTok is pretty much where it’s at.

That said, this app is still relatively fresh-faced, and its unique angle on the well-worn social media industry means that its growth may have only just begun.

TikTok has also been given somewhat a celebrity sheen, as stars including Cardi B, Jason Derulo and Khloe Kardashian have all opened accounts, as well as the app being showcased by celebrities on TV.

How TikTok works

Before you take TikTok for a spin, you first need to get accustomed with the rules and the way in which businesses and audiences interact.

Create your profile, follow some users in your industry and post some practice content. This will help you get a feel for the culture here, which is pretty different to what you may be used to on Facebook or Twitter.

Being genuine is critical in the world of TikTok. Stay true to your brand identity or expect to come across as insincere.

So, is TikTok right for your business?

Asides from the demographics being heavily slanted towards Gen Z, TikTok is also a platform where audiences expect to be entertained. Here users are looking for laughs and feel-good videos, so if you’re considering this for your marketing mix you should expect an uphill learning curve when it comes to what works and what doesn’t.

There are two compelling reasons to knuckle down and step onto that curve however…

One, this is a flourishing social app with user numbers that grow month in, month out. This becomes even more remarkable as Facebook growth has stalled and Snapchat has been hit with a user backlash following the introduction of Snapmaps, and all the privacy concerns that come along with them.

If you’re an avid user of Snapchat and have secured some solid business results from it, then you may want to hedge your bets – a lot of the features, content creation and culture will feel familiar too.

Two, you can create and capture a monopoly on a hashtag. One shining example of this working exceptional well is the #inmydenim hashtag, which was created by fashion brand, ‘Guess’ when they partnered with TikTok in 2018. Every time TikTok users went into the app, they were directed to the #InMyDenim challenge that urged them to post videos with the hashtag. This is an exceptional way to encourage people to interact and talk about your brand.

Paid advertising is coming soon

Keep your ear to the ground, TikTok will soon be launching four forms of paid advertising in the UK and US.

They’ve been busy behind the scenes testing and tweaking their PPC offering, which will include brand takeovers, in-feed native videos, branded hashtag challenges and Snapchat-style lenses. TikTok will offer up some useful analytics to measure your campaign success through tracking clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), video views and engagements.

For the time-being at least, TikTok will be a social platform of two halves. For some businesses it’ll work wonders, while for others they may find a lack of audience that leads to disappointing results… at least for the time being.

All in all, however, this social app is one to watch. If TikTok isn’t a hit with your audience today, it just might be tomorrow.

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