Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and… TikTok? As new social media platforms continue to evolve, it’s important for marketers to adapt their social media strategy to attract, retain, and engage with new audiences across digital platforms. 

TikTok has exploded onto the scene after the Chinese company, ByteDance, acquired Music.ly in 2017. Over the past six months, you may have heard about a video, a trend, or a product that is “as seen on TikTok”. Before you roll your eyes and say, “TikTok is not for a brand like ours, it’s just a bunch of teenagers dancing” please consider a few things.

1. Combining Content and Sound

Never before has a social media platform found a way to completely democratize content and sound. Any sound byte created on TikTok, licensed by TikTok, or used on TikTok is available for use on videos. This creates an interesting opportunity and the next level of viral marketing that has never been available.

Consider the following example from E.l.f. Cosmetics. They created a song titled, “Eyes Lips Face” in collaboration with a few under the radar artists, and the video generated, to date, over 4.7 billion views and was the first major viral brand experiment on TikTok. Since then it has been the center of millions of hashtags and videos used or created on the platform.

2. Targeted Content Designed for the Viewer

Follower count has always been a key factor when it comes to social media for brands and influencers. While this is still a factor, TikTok developed a “For You Page” (FYP) that is the focal point of the app. This content allows for new viral sensations to pop every day, regardless of follower count, and through this are creating new ‘Influencers’ by the minute. This stream is a prime opportunity for any major brand to market on and allows for incredible influencer partnership opportunities that are not limited to a swath of only ~1,000 major influencers.

3. Organic and Paid Post Opportunity

Organic and paid posts create equal amounts of opportunity. Touching on organic posts first, TikTok creates an environment where brands get to be a part of the fun, creativity, and trend-setting. Through hashtag challenges and trends and content partnerships, brands are able to connect and interact with users in ways that have never been done before. A great example of this is Chipotle. They create content threads through relevant hashtags and not only utilize existing music puns, but create content challenges that influencers are encouraged, and rewarded, to play along with.

While it seems like just another tempting platform to sink money into, the results of TikTok’s recent paid advertising abilities speak for themselves. TikTok has created a myriad of advertising opportunities that do not disappoint. Brand Takeovers, the new billboard-esque ads that every FYP viewer sees upon launching the app, to in-feed ads as a user scrolls through their feed, and finally hashtag challenges, TikTok boasts a new form of digital advertising that brings the fun back into ads.

Brands are beginning to create, and are rewarded for advertisements that are entertaining and fun to watch, along with being relevant to current events. In partnership with VaynerMedia, Sabra Hummus created several fun, witty, and fun advertisements that ran in tandem with Super Bowl ads this past year. This was a landmark decision by their team that created a new avenue for channel strategists to consider.

TikTok is creating an environment where advertisements have the opportunity to not only reach millions of consumers but also go viral and start digital trends. This allows marketing teams to capitalize on TikTok’s unique virality potential and reach, while also creating the buzz that old VW billboard and magazine ads once did.

4. Attracting the Next Generation

TikTok has created a platform that allows advertisers and brands to reach the next age of consumers and connect with them how they want to be connected with. Facebook is still a giant in advertising, but you don’t hear anyone in the news talking about a Facebook Ad unless it seems to be very controversial. In an environment where content is rewarded for its creativity and wit, TikTok allows advertisers to truly go viral and play to their creative side. Whether that is through a hashtag challenge, new music soundbites, or even dances, TikTok provides a new avenue for advertisers to utilize their creativity and the sharp minds of their agency partners.

5. Next Level Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing actually works on TikTok. Historically, a well-placed blog post, product placement in a movie, or collaboration video on YouTube worked pretty well. With the market becoming more and more saturated with brand collaborations, and new regulations surrounding them, audiences are getting better at detecting influencer’s paid partnerships.

TikTok is changing the way these collaborations are done and providing opportunities for them to reach more consumers than just that of an influencer’s following. Take the jelly fruit explosion for example. A popular TikTok influencer named Jaden took a video going to a local dollar store and buying a pack of Fruity’s Ju-C Jello Bags that were consumed by biting off the tip and slurping down the sweet flavors contained inside. Soon, every influencer on TikTok was creating a video after they tracked down this trendy snack and the market for fruit-flavored jellies was overwhelmed. Stock was purchased and the reselling on eBay began until the company could produce more. This somewhat simple, children’s product became an overnight sensation because it was seen as an exclusive, unique product.

While your organization doesn’t need to hire a musician to create a song or partner with hordes of 17-year-old internet stars, TikTok is the most democratic, and newly effective social media platform that has been built since Instagram.

Not only has it surpassed 1 billion users, with 800 million being monthly active users, but their average minutes per user is also at 52 minutes, with an average open of 8 times per day, per user.

TikTok is an opportunity for brands that will allow them to explore, innovate, create, while they find their niche. This new platform is a breeding ground for innovative content where the new generations are flocking to, and where older generations are beginning to explore more and more each day.

Will you begin incorporating TikTok into your social media strategy? Let us know in the comments below.