TikTok – The youth phenomenon
For the past couple of years now, rapidly expanding video sharing platform TikTok, a favorite of the youngest generations, has exploded onto the scene, posing as a significant challenger to all other social networks.
TikTok revolutionized what it meant to produce short-form video content on social media and has all but forced its competitors in the same direction – a challenge to which they have, of course, virtually all risen with varying degrees of success.
With over 130 million users in the United States alone (more than a third of the nation's entire population) and over a billion users worldwide, the app has seen nothing but growth and does not appear to be slowing down in the slightest.
On TikTok, the most popular content types include entertainment, comedy, pranks, and of course its famous dance and music content. This, coupled with a much younger user demographic, has led businesses to approach the platform more cautiously.
But they're catching on, and as the teenage demographic that makes up the majority of the app's users begins to reach adulthood and adopt buying power of its own, many companies that were early adopters of the platform have reaped the benefits of their foresight.
TikTok videos are somewhat unique in that they can include much longer content pieces than some of their competitors. In 2022, TikTok increased the length of its videos from 3 to 10 minutes, greatly boosting the potential for new and innovative content types. This is wildly longer than competitors such as Instagram, the stories of which remain at only 15 seconds in length.
TikTok for businesses
The opportunities for company branding and the access to a newer, younger generation of potential followers and customers have never been more real than they are today, and that's not likely to change.
Even now, TikTok is likely still in its early stages and its full potential is yet to be realized. Organizations that adopt the platform, adding it to their social media campaign strategies, could see themselves both reaching a new global audience – one that is set to be the largest ever – and in many ways future-proofing their digital strategy.
Social media in general has reshaped the way with which businesses interact with their customers and the world, and TikTok has pushed this even further by demanding a level of authenticity and "branded entertainment".
Branded entertainment is exactly what it sounds like but has not been something onto which all businesses immediately jumped. Presenting a lighter, more "human" side of a business, coupled with an emerging demand for authenticity, transparency, and sustainability has never been more prevalent, and organizations that have adopted this approach are really seeing results.
A significant business aspect for TikTok has also been the way in which its creators, who come from all walks of life and all around the world, have become superstar influencers. Realizing the potential of these highly viral creators to help organizations and individuals reach a larger audience, businesses that adopted a TikTok strategy have realized even greater rewards, while catapulting certain influencers to international acclaim.
What is "sassy" branding?
For the past decade or so, there has been a considerable uptick in what we'll refer to as "sassy branding". These companies have taken to social media with attitude and snark that received, at first, some shocked responses from a more conservative business mindset.
We have in large part become more used to this sort of presentation style on platforms such as Twitter, but it wasn't always so, and we still have a ways to go before it is universally accepted – if the trend continues at all. While there have always been businesses comfortable capitalizing on a bit of shock value, as society changes, so too must the businesses that in many ways help shape it. Our business tone and the ways in which we address our communities may have to change.
A brand that isn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with its competitors on Twitter is going to snare itself more retweets. A company that makes thinly veiled references to more risqué topics in its "sassy" TikTok videos, parodies itself or a current trending topic, or one that simply takes a public stance on social issues, will stand out. Fading fast are the days in which traditional social neutrality, austere conservative presentation, and a fear of alienating customers reigned supreme.
TikTok and other social media outlets have demonstrated that it's okay to have some personality, and in fact, brands that go without it may find themselves stuck in the past with a stuffy brand image.
This additional personality opens the door to companies operating as true creators, not just advertisers. Branded entertainment is an effective, viral tool that businesses operating in social media spaces can, and increasingly must, use to its full advantage.
While it is most business's goals to make money, this isn’t a very popular element in society among many individuals these days, so balancing on the line between a salesy approach and a human approach is a challenge of modern business function.
Advertising on TikTok
"Don't make ads – make TikTok videos...."
This is the philosophy presented by TikTok itself to potential advertisers. The company realizes as well as any – if not better – that authenticity and experience are what really matter to users, and the promotion of this authenticity is what their own brand is based around.
Nobody is on social media because they want to watch commercials, dodge advertisements and popups, or have their otherwise seamless social media experience interrupted by corporate promotions.
Seeing this reality, TikTok is steadfast in its insistence on content that flows and that helps foster a sense of community – a sentiment that we at facelift echo. While this less-promotional strategy may seem foreign and new to many marketing departments, and does pose certain creative challenges, it truly is the way in which brands these days can connect with a population of digital natives.
These discerning young people do not have the time for, nor the interest in, traditional advertising. This reality is true across all types of short-form video content on social media these days, TikTok has simply brought it out into the open and cemented it more firmly in the minds of social media users.
It will be interesting to see how TikTok will manage to combine extensive viral reach with boosted content moving forward as the platform dreams up new ways to monetize content.
Users with TikTok Business accounts can access a range of analytics data similar to that available for most social media networks. Much like Instagram, most of the traditional KPIs are available to business account users within the TikTok mobile app, but TikTok also offers this data easily within its desktop version, something Instagram does not.
Once there, most social media managers will be met with a similar dashboard to the ones with which they likely already work. The dashboard includes the normal KPIs such as followers, views, likes, comments, etc., as well as demographic data to accompany it.
Important for creators:
When constructing TikTok videos, please keep in mind the following technical specifications and best practices:
So, is TikTok right for your business?
Only you can decide that, but we think there's a lot of potential for companies and organizations of all types in this space, and we're super excited to watch TikTok's business applications develop.
Because of the demographics of TikTok, it is possible that B2B operations may experience less initial success on TikTok, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment with it anyway. We’re strong believers that any business can be successful on any social media platform, some may simply face different challenges.
And if you do choose to try out TikTok, or are already taking advantage of the platform, we're thrilled to say that facelift can now support you with TikTok analytics via quintly.
To get started with facelift and quintly, check out our free 14-day trial!