TikTok – where a video on how to code and a video of a duck dressed as a baby can comfortably coexist right next to each other. If that seems unrealistic, jump on the platform. You will see choreographed dances, musical renditions, and endless examples of trend videos people love to recreate. The one common theme between them all is a dedication to content that speaks to their audience, whether it’s an individual or business creating it.
With the huge range of what’s considered relevant for TikTok, you may be able to find your niche audience who will appreciate your content – if you put effort into your plans. There are many reasons TikTok is set slightly apart from other forms of social media, and one of the biggest ones is that even if you have a super-strong brand on another platform, that doesn’t confirm you’ll find success on TikTok. On the flip side, if you don’t have a strong following on other platforms, you can still gain a lot of views with just one great video idea.
If you are ready to learn a choreographed dance and jump into the world of TikTok, they just rolled out the perfect reason to start. On June 25th, TikTok released TikTok for Business. This is the start of what the TikTok team is projecting to be the main hub of all things TikTok marketing, from ads to analytics to post insights. While the platform is in its formative stage, it has the potential to grow large enough to rival other standard social ad platforms.
While the current ad opportunities are somewhat unattainable for many brands (there is a minimum TikTok campaign budget of $500) TikTok ad offerings have the room to grow, and the sooner you jump on and understand the platform, the better you can grow with the platform.
TikTok defines itself as:
“TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.”
They stay quite true to this simple definition by showcasing humorous, homemade videos to 800 million users across the world. While sharable videos are commonplace on social platforms like Instagram, there are some key differences in the goals, reach, and contents of these videos.
Instagram feeds are full of impeccable, beautiful images, and videos that show a lot of effort into the visual beauty.
TikTok doesn’t demand the same level of aesthetics, but the videos that perform well have a strong dedication to content. Videos can look homemade, doesn’t need an amazing backdrop, and there’s no need to dress up. Many viral videos include sneaker-clad dads, basement backdrops, and zero props. Where these videos shine is in the editing and a dedication to following the latest trend. It is very welcoming of all types of content, from casual humor to incredible feats or tricks. It’s a place for people and businesses alike to let their hair down.
Instagram favors the accounts with tons of followers, listing the exact follower amount as the most prominent information on a profile. The more followers and likes, the more likely you’ll land on the explore page and in front of new audiences
TikTok’s also doesn’t care about your followers, which allows more of an opportunity for instantly viral posts. Unlike Instagram and other social media networks, videos from “no-names” can go viral in a heartbeat on TikTok because follower count and past performance aren’t main players in the TikTok algorithm. That means there’s a lot more opportunity for discovery — and for anyone, including brands, to gain that viral reach.
Instagram has basic (somewhat limited) video editing capabilities.
TikTok has editing capabilities that exceed Instagram’s platform, with video cutting, music, filters, and other easy-to-use tools. This increases the possibilities with video content and lets individuals flex their creative muscles for creating new viral trends.
When you open the Instagram platform, the first things you see are from people and brands you know and follow. That emphasizes the content you already know you want to see.
When you open the TikTok platform, the first thing you see is the ‘for you’ page. This page consists of videos from individuals and companies that you might not know about yet, but they create content that TikTok thinks you would enjoy. From the perspective of the content creator, it’s much easier to get in front of new faces on TikTok because the platform prioritizes new content to discover.
Instagram is crowded (some complain that it is over-run) with companies and influencers trying to make a buck. Ads are incredibly common, and more or less accepted by platform users.
TikTok has a much lower threshold for companies trying to directly sell products. TikTok’s focus on authentic content, commercial-like videos, and “buy this product” themed content can get a negative reaction.
The Instagram algorithm prioritizes your friends and others that you regularly engage with, so you are always seeing more of what you know about.
The TikTok algorithm works a bit differently – there isn’t much of a focus on showing content from those you already know. Instead, it takes your historical engagement into account and tries to show you the “next big thing” related to your interests. That means TikTok takes trending challenges, sound effects, filters, and songs into account in their algorithm to boost the virality of trends.
On Instagram and other hashtag-friendly social platforms, hashtags are a direct link to your content, and they can help users find what they’re looking for. Hashtags are specific so users can find niche industry or company information.
TikTok hashtags have the same function, but they are also used to categorize our content for optimal audience targeting. That means the better your TikTok hashtag strategy, the more ‘for you’ pages your content can be showcased on.
A TikTok pro account was TikTok’s first attempt to make the platform more valuable to those trying to grow brand recognition through the platform.
The pro account is similar to the standard account, except it has an analytics tool that helps users gain a better understanding of post performance and engagement. This tool provides an overview and insights on things like your weekly and monthly views, follower growth, and trending videos.
There are no hoops to jump through or fees to pay to upgrade to a TikTok pro account – the option is free and open to all. All you have to do is toggle on the pro account feature.
Once you activate your Pro Account, you’ll find a new analytics button under your account options.
TikTok defines TikTok for Business as:
“A global brand and platform that is home to all current and future marketing solutions for brands. TikTok For Business is designed to give brands and marketers the tools to be creative storytellers and meaningfully engage with the TikTok community.”
With TikTok for business, you sign up your profile as a business and state that you’re selling goods/services. After doing that, you can tap into advertising options, insights, and audience growth strategies for brands. There are opportunities to leverage sponsored hashtag challenges, work with TikTok influencers, brand takeovers, and move past organic strategies to grow recognition among TikTok users.
Currently, advertising on TikTok takes more time, effort, strategy, and money than other accounts – you can’t just create an ad and link it to your site. While it may take more, the result can lead to not only millions of views but also tons of user-generated videos mentioning your brand.
One of the most intriguing campaign strategies is the hashtag challenge. For example, when Universal Pictures wanted to increase the visibility of a new fantasy movie, they launched a Hashtag Challenge called #FindYourMagic.They worked with 10 influencers and allowed users to interpret the theme in their way whether it was card tricks or filter illusions. This campaign resulted in 1.3 million likes on influencer videos, 19K user-generated content, and 11K new account followers.
While these results may make you want to run to TikTok for campaigns, these hashtag challenge campaign budgets that include promotional support can run up to 150 thousand per day. Yikes!
You can’t just use content from another social platform to recycle on TikTok. You can try, but chances are you won’t see any return on that effort. Brands need to follow the rules of TikTok to flourish – here are some tips to start you off on the right foot!
You’re about to get your most fun task yet – surfing TikTok. Familiarize yourself with the style of content that is trending, and find the intersection between successful TikTok trends and your brand voice.
Don’t just jump on the first trend you come across, because it may seem forced and disconnected. Research trends that you can relate to your company as a happy medium between relevancy and consistency. Some types of brand-friendly content could be:
See if there are any industry-specific niche trends to hop on. Depending on your industry, there are different crazes to be aware of. TikTok content usually falls under one (or all) of 4 themes: educational, creative, impressive, or funny. If your industry embodies one of these entertainment types, you are in a good place to create great TikTok content.
TikTok only accepts vertical video, which is another reason it’s hard to recycle content from other social platforms. TikTok prioritizes content that was created on their platform, using their editing capabilities and including their sound effects. If you don’t use their platform to create content, you may miss out on some serious reach.
While on other social platforms use specific hashtags to get seen for niche topics, on TikTok you may have better success using general hashtags. For example, if you’re creating hair tutorials, you would use #hair or #hairstyle. These simpler hashtags make your content more visible within the category of which you create content.
Overall, when you have a blast planning and creating content, you are probably making the right stuff. Users can tell when someone is uncomfortable or unenthusiastic, or especially if someone’s trying to force content from other platforms to fit on TikTok.
While TikTok is every 30+ year-olds favorite joke, some companies are finding their standing on this unique platform and growing their Gen Z following because of it. For those feeling clueless on how to create a modern, productive social strategy, reach out to our team!