Doctor Digital – what is TikTok? Can it help my business grow?

doctor-digital-question
Doctor Digital

Doctor Digital Says:

TikTok, TikTok. Whenever I hear that name, it’s like the sound of the clock winding back my tolerance to learn any more social media channels aimed at GenZ. TikTok is an interesting beast, if Vine, Twitter and Instagram had a baby, this is probably what it would be. What originally started with users lip-syncing along to their favourite music tracks has since taken on a life of its own with users creating content that more closely resembles what you would have seen on Vine. To put it simply, TikTok content is short, often comedic, and meme-worthy. There are also some emerging superstars on the platform, performing their way to influencer status while the crowds are still low.

Still unclear? TikTok is fundamentally a social video sharing app, allowing its 500 million monthly users to create short-form, music-focused videos and edit them with lenses, filters, and AR features. Hmmmm, sounds just like Snapchat back in the day. And who uses it? Simply put, same adopters that flocked to Snapchat — teens. According to data obtained by App Ape Labs, just under 40% of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 10–19, followed closely by 20–29 year-olds with 26% of the userbase. Surprisingly, the majority of the apps users are male (55.6% vs 44.4%). This is maybe less surprising with its Chinese origin, and the non-gendered love of karaoke and performance making it a more level playing field.

Knowing who the channel’s userbase is, is essential in working out whether TikTok is one of the tools you need in your social media and digital marketing toolbox, or whether you are better off spending your time and money building and utilising the channels you are already using. Of course while teens dominate, there are adult users on the channel and you can also use it as destination marketing play and carve out a niche segment while the other grown-ups are busy with their hey boomer Facebook page.

So, if you are going to be one of the cool kids, how does marketing for business work on TikTok? TikTok is in that emergent phase of moving from new platform to having an identity and userbase that can be monetised. TikTok has just begun experimenting with paid media, and TikTok influencers are quickly on the rise so there is huge potential for your brand to dominate its place the platform while it is still affordable. Using tried and true toe dipping methods like creating compelling organic content, brand takeovers and hashtag competitions is a good way to try out the platform’s reach and reaction to your brand for free or low cost.

If you want to invest a little, you can use some of the emerging influencers, native video where your ad is inserted into users feeds, or even go cray and use a sponsored or branded AR lens, which will be live on the platform for 10 days and ranked up high for users to play with. As a platform TikTok is still experimenting with paid advertising but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay informed with the direction it will head when it’s fully launched to stay ahead of the curve.

Video remains a force in social media, so it is unsurprising that new channels are springing up dedicated to more and more niche video offerings from users ever hungry for something new. As with all channels where people cluster, businesses follow. Will it make it out of its infancy into a sustainable and valuable marketing asset? Time will tell, but its current status would indicate yes.