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Should your brand be on TikTok?
August 5, 2021 | Rachel Bearinger and Amanda Bertolozzi

By now, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve at least heard of TikTok, the fastest-growing social media network ever with a newly minted BILLION (yes, with a “B”) active monthly users. Perhaps someone in your life has showed you a funny video on the app. Or maybe you saw it mentioned in the news when President Trump pushed to ban it in the United States. Heck, as the most-downloaded app of 2020, you may have tried it out yourself.

But what is TikTok?

TikTok is an iOS and Android app that can be used to film, edit and share videos that are three minutes or less. TikTok’s mission is “to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone.” But how is it different from YouTube, Instagram and Facebook?

  1. The set-up. The first thing you see when you open the TikTok app is a feed of videos called the “For You” page. Unlike other social giants, this primary feed is comprised of popular videos from all around the world, plus advertisements from brands (but we’ll get to that later).
  2. The algorithm. As you watch and engage with videos on the “For You” page, TikTok learns what kinds of videos you find entertaining or interesting. Then, it shows you more videos that it thinks you will like, eventually creating a custom “For You” feed of videos tailored precisely to your interests. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, whose feeds are comprised primarily of posts from people you follow, TikTok shows you content from EVERYONE, regardless of whether you follow them or not.

Person holds phone with TikTok logo in front of face

Some of the most popular types of videos on TikTok include dances, comedy sketches, home improvement and “story time” videos. With so many people creating and posting videos (55 percent of users uploaded a video in the last month), there is truly something out there for everyone.

Say, for example, you’re someone who is really into cooking Italian food. There’s a good chance that you’ll eventually see something like this on your “For You” page:

@the_pastaqueenThe Angry Baroness. She’s classy but sassy. Her only vice is her spice ##pasta ##angrybaroness ##thepastaqueen♬ original sound - The Pasta Queen

Or, perhaps you’re a fan of mystery books and looking for new recommendations. TikTok might show you this video:

@bookshelfsistersFast-paced mystery books! :) ##booktok ##readingslump ##bookworm ##influence ##mystery ##reading ##theinheritancegames ##oneofusislying ##bookrecs ##snowday ##fy♬ no body no crime x idsb - kenzie

With a feed that’s so tailored to your interests, you may find yourself scrolling your “For You” page for hours. As you continue your deep dive, you may even wonder if there is a place for your brand on the app.

Should your brand be on TikTok?

The answer to this question is a little different for everyone. Like all things in marketing, it boils down to your goals, objectives and your audience!

Here are some things to think about when considering whether to add TikTok to your marketing toolbox.

Strategy

First and foremost, think about what you are trying to achieve through a TikTok presence. In other words – how can a presence on TikTok help further your organization’s overall marketing goals?

You may want to use it to drive brand awareness among a specific target audience. Or, perhaps you want to use it for a specific product activation. Maybe you want to use it as a way to enhance brand loyalty among existing customers. Once you know your objective, spend some time researching what kind of content furthers your goals.

If your competitors are already active, take note of what kind of content has been successful for them. There’s even a chance that TikTok users are already creating videos about your brand, especially if you’re well-known. Use the search feature to find out. That brings us to our next consideration…

Audience

As of March of this year, 47 percent of users in the United States were between the ages of 10 and 29. That means if you’re looking to reach young people in the U.S., TikTok is a great place to start.

However, don’t assume that individuals older than 29 aren’t using the app. In fact, 22 percent of U.S TikTokers are 30-39, 20 percent are 40-49, and 11 percent are 50 and older.

You can also dig deeper and determine whether an audience for your brand exists on TikTok by using the video search feature. Search for topics related to your brand and see what’s already being posted. If your niche is represented, that’s a strong reason to give TikTok a try.

Capacity

Another important thing to consider is your team’s bandwidth. Are there creative individuals on your marketing team motivated to branch into something new? Any social media marketer will tell you that creating good content for any platform takes time, research and a creative spark. If your team is ready to spruce up its social marketing strategy and has the time to commit, a TikTok presence might be just what you need to fit your brand.

We recommend gathering 1-3 months-worth of content ideas before activating your TikTok presence. If you can easily do that, chances are an ongoing effort is sustainable for your team.

Paying for impressions

Just like other social platforms, TikTok gives brands the ability to amplify content through a paid spend. In most cases, a combination of organic and paid content is the best approach. TikTok gives you the option boost individual videos from your profile or push out video ad campaigns through TikTok for Business.

It also recently introduced Spark ads, which enables brands to leverage an organic TikTok post and its features in their advertising by publishing ads using their own TikTok account's posts or using organic posts made by other creators - with their authorization. You can get inspiration by researching what kinds of ads are performing best right now in the TikTok Ads Library.

Currently, the minimum spend for ad campaigns is quite high. In-feed ads start at $10 per CPM (cost per 1000 views). Brand takeover ads are $50,000 per day, and hashtag challenges are $150,000 per week. However, the base price is trending down. If your brand already has a robust social marketing plan in place, consider expanding it to TikTok.

The power of the algorithm

Currently, there is no other free targeting tool that matches the strength of TikTok’s algorithmic “For You” page. It does the work of finding the people who are most likely to enjoy your content without making you pay for ads. That’s a big deal for brand awareness, because most social platforms require putting money behind posts for even a small portion of your audience to see them in their feed. If you’re already active on social media with video, it could be worth it to see how that content performs on TikTok.

If this blog post has sparked your TikTok curiosity, the best first step you can take is to download the app and spend some time getting familiar with the format. Watch videos, discover trends and take note of the ads that pop up on your “For You” page.

For even more information, check out this comprehensive infographic about the power of TikTok from Sightly or simply drop us a line to discuss the possibility of using the app for your brand.

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