Why businesses should use TikTok marketing

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Social media newcomers TikTok are making a serious impact on the everyday netizen and the businesses trying to reach them.

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The world of social media can seem like it’s changing all the time. While Facebook and Instagram show little signs of slowing down, that hasn’t stopped newcomers like TikTok from making a serious impact on the everyday netizen and the businesses trying to reach them. 

A bit about TikTok 

TikTok, known in its native China as Douyin, is a social media channel that specialises in short-form video content. Operating as both an app and website, the platform started as the app Musical.ly, which was taken over by TikTok in 2018, having achieved over 100 million active users. The original Musical.ly app allowed users to lip sync over songs, creating 15-second videos they could then share with other users. 

In the same vein, Tiktok offers short-form user-generated entertainment videos but has expanded beyond music to cover everything from food to fashion, comedy, travel and more. TikTok also added the ‘react’ option, which lets users add their own video alongside another to show their reaction. This has led to creative user responses known as ‘duets’ where one video can be reacted to, be consolidated into one video for another reaction and so on, creating a mosaic video effect.  

It’s worth noting both for general and marketing use, while TikTok operates as Douyin in China, the two platforms and user bases do not overlap with no access to each other's accounts or content.  

Why should businesses use TikTok marketing?  

It can seem like adding another channel to an already well-established social media marketing plan can be a strain on resources, but the rewards are well worth the effort when it comes to TikTok marketing and multiple generations of buyers. 

Gen Z loves it  

They may be the youngest generation, but Gen Z has huge buying power. The demographic will soon be the largest cohort of customers in the US and TikTok is an essential tool for reaching them. The app has already knocked Instagram off its top spot as the Gen Z favourite and is projected to surpass Snapchat by 2023 

In terms of numbers, around 47% of TikTok’s total users are under the age of 30, placing them in the Gen Z demographic, with some overlap from the millennial generation (also an incredibly important market segment for any business as they comprise almost 25% of the US market).  

Other demographics aren’t far behind 

Gen Z may be leading the way with TikTok adoption, but other demographics are following suit. Naturally, millennials also see the appeal in the youth-orientated platform, but even boomers are enticed by the promise of short videos full of value. Overall, there isn’t a huge difference between demographic engagement - ages 10-19, 20-29, 30-39, and 40-49 make up 25, 22, 21.7 and 20.3% of the market respectively. While there is a sharp drop for those aged 50 and older, they still account for 11% of TikTok’s audience.  

Users come back multiple times a day 

TikTok marketing, or any social media marketing for that matter, can seem like a game of chance, throwing content out and hoping something sticks. Luckily for brands, users are willing to come back to TikTok again and again, increasing the chance of your TikTok promotion being discovered. The average user visits TikTok 19 times a day, totalling almost two hours of time on-app across an average day. That means advertising on TikTok has a lot of opportunities to hit the spot — 19 chances a day, in fact.  

TikTok is the world’s most popular website 

It may be a title it’s continually fighting for against the likes of Google, but TikTok is a definite contender to be the platform every business needs to be on. In 2021, it claimed the top website spot multiple times. 

It’s 100% user-generated content 

User-generated content (UGC) has huge pulling power and TikTok is one of the world’s leading platforms for this unique type of content. The TikTok marketing statistics prove UGC needs to be a part of any advertiser’s marketing strategy: 

  • UGC gains 12 times more engagement 
  • UGC and paid content generates about 28% of conversions 
  • TikTok is the third most popular social media site worldwide 
  • Advertising on TikTok has 10% more receptivity than other social media platforms   

Reactions allow for natural TikTok promotion 

User engagement is invaluable to any advertiser creating a TikTok promotion. TikTok enables this on a whole new level. The reaction feature has been responsible for many products going viral, from ice cream to cleaning products. If your service or product can be used in a visually interesting, educational or entertaining way, there’s a good chance the TikTok audience will be receptive.  

It’s ripe with creators 

Understanding how to promote on TikTok is not massively different to other social media channels in the sense  the power of creators and influencers remains unchallenged. But finding the correct partner for your needs is also key. After all, even those with millions of followers can fail on the marketing front if the campaign isn’t executed well. 

It can boost any omnichannel marketing efforts for non-physical products 

For brands without a physical product, it can seem hard to advertise on social media, with no click-bait unboxing videos to drive interest. But TikTok marketing can help with that. In 2021, the most mentioned brands included subscription service Netflix and even Awin advertiser Etsy won an award for its TikTok marketing efforts to drive sales for Mothers’ Day. The takeaway here? If your brand offers value, TikTok users are eager to talk about it.  

How to promote on TikTok in five steps 

TikTok marketing works similarly to other social media platforms in that you get out what you put in. If you want engagement on TikTok, you have to be prepared to engage and create content people want to watch. 

1. Don’t make ads, make TikTok videos 

Advice from the platform itself — your ads shouldn’t be recognisable as ads, they should first and foremost be videos that offer real value. TikTok’s currency is user generated content and short-form videos, so start making your own. Scroll through your feed to get inspired; some common TikTok formats include: 

Creating or contributing to a hashtag challenge 

TikTok hashtag challenges are wonderfully diverse. They can be all about wholesome fun like Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile challenge, or they can raise important social issues like #ShopBlack — Shopify’s challenge for users to support Black-owned businesses.  

Demonstrating your products 

Prove your product is worth buying in a demonstration video. This is an excellent way to get users reacting in their own duet videos and raising awareness for your brand. This type of video is especially good for things that quickly show their results, such as beauty and cleaning products. 

Before and after videos 

This format works well for ‘makeover’ situations, be that through beauty, a house ‘glow up’ using cleaning or interior design products or a long-term transformation such as fitness. 

Day-in-the-life videos 

Giving your brand a human touch is how to appear authentic — a quality many demographics value. A behind the scenes peek into your business can help you appear more real and credible, whether it's a video of the day-in-the-life of the office dog or a making-of video of your best seller.  

Q&A videos 

Just like an on-site FAQs page, a Q&A video can answer the most common questions customers may have about your brand and products or services. They can also go in the other direction, asking your customers fun questions. Just look at the “Tell me without telling me” trend — TikTok users are excited to share their stories if you give them the right prompt.  

2. Use TikTok promotional tools 

TikTok has its own tool for advertising known as Promote. It makes your content more visible to audiences by driving it up in users’ feeds and aims for several engagement-boosting factors like: 

  • Video views 
  • Followers 
  • Likes, comments and shares 
  • Clickthroughs to your website 

It also helps you track and analyse key statistics for user engagement.  

3. Make sure you’re running a business TikTok account 

TikTok marketing requires a business account that allows you to view important metrics and audience insights. You will then need to make an ad account for any advertising on TikTok. When it comes to TikTok influencer marketing, you’ll also need a business account to track the success of any campaigns. With a business account, advertising on TikTok will become easier to manage with: 

  • The ability to run paid ads 
  • Real-time tracking 
  • Analytics 
  • More visibility allowing you to spot new and rising trends

4. Post regularly (and don’t forget your other channels) 

As mentioned above, users visit the site and app a lot and you should be ready with fresh content as often as possible. Create a TikTok marketing calendar so you’re never having to rush out low-quality content to post. Consider key things like seasonal dates, online trends, hashtag challenges and your own important business milestones, such as product launches, to ensure you have a full calendar of content to push live whenever you need. TikTok itself recommends posting 1-4 times per day to appeal to the ‘always on’ attitude that its main demographic has been raised with.  

Don’t forget about your other channels, either. The average person has seven social media accounts so TikTok can serve as a gateway to your overall internet presence. This is also why a content calendar is a great tool, allowing you to plan a TikTok marketing campaign that is one part of a wider omnichannel strategy.  

 5. Get musical 

TikTok does more than make brands viral, it can quickly make songs into real hits. In the same way social media has made creators the new power figures in marketing, TikTok has also helped put power into the hands of artists. With the correct music selection, you can jump onto the bandwagon of a rising star and their popular track, which in turn will make you appear credible and human — as susceptible to a catchy tune as anyone else.  

TikTok offers short bursts of immersive entertainment and sound is key. As the platform itself says, sound is not a secondary consideration.  

Making the most of TikTok creator marketing 

TikTok creator and influencer marketing helps contribute to an industry that’s worth over $13 billion worldwide. Make it work for your brand by collaborating with these trend-makers. Notably, it’s not the biggest names you need to attract to make an impact. Experts predict that the real power lies with micro-influencers 

Studies suggest that major influencers have lost the edge when it comes to earning trust, especially with Gen Z. This demographic finds trust in those active within their chosen online communities. This is precisely what micro-influencers are, still real people with real interest, not made biased by advertising fees, and with a small following they can engage on a meaningful level. This works in favour of your TikTok marketing budget, too, as smaller creators earn around 10 times less than their mega counterparts, making them the more affordable choice. 

As the newest social media platform with one of the youngest demographics, TikTok puts you at the forefront of rising creators so you can find the perfect person to help you reach your audience. If you’d like to learn more about how working with creators can positively impact your business, contact Awin today. 

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