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Marketing on TikTok: Why You Should Get Started

Marketing on TikTok: Why You Should Get Started

The variety of content on TikTok is nearly endless, which helps explain why brands looking for marketing success now see it as a critical channel.

A middle-aged dad lip synching to a Taylor Swift song. Teens doing choreographed dances from their kitchens. Mini tutorials on how to do everything from fix broken furniture to preparing a gourmet dinner in minutes. The variety of content on TikTok is nearly endless, which helps explain why brands looking for marketing success now see it as a critical channel.

If you’re not one of the hundreds of millions who have already downloaded the app, it might be difficult at first to understand how TikTok is significantly different than similar social media platforms. After all, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all been successfully working with brands for years to try out advertising capabilities along with features that offer organic reach.

Part of what makes TikTok stand out is its format and approach. First, the content is predominantly video-based, with short clips taking up the entirety of the user’s screen. This is in contrast to social services where the use of text descriptions and links have been the primary way brands have engaged with potential audiences.

TikTok was also notable in creating a more dynamic split between the content each user chooses to follow, and the content it curates on their behalf. At the top of the app’s interface sit two headings: “For You” is the content that TikTok recommends based on other clips you’ve watched, commented on or liked. The “Following” section located on the other side, needs to be deliberately clicked on.

This makes for a very different kind of “feed” on TikTok, where the chances of seeing content and people you didn’t know about previously is high. You can then choose to follow those accounts, or simply engage with the content as you please.

Beyond that, there is a sort of “tone” on TikTok that may sometimes feel less polished, or more ‘authentic’ than the aspirational images on Instagram, but more thought-through than the randomly-posted content you might see on Twitter or Facebook.

As with any marketing activity, though, your main focus on using TikTok should be about earning your customers’ trust. As the fifth edition of Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer revealed, 74% of consumers say communicating honestly and transparently is more important now than before the pandemic. Customer loyalty today has never wavered more with 71% of consumers having switched brands at least once in the last year. As consumers’ priorities and behaviors shift, businesses must shift with them.

If that isn’t enough to help you see the value in marketing on TikTok, here’s are some other arguments to make the business case:

1. TikTok’s audience is huge – and filled with coveted demographics

On a worldwide basis, TikTok has achieved an astonishing 1 billion monthly active users. Though that doesn’t make it the most-used social media service, it’s worth noting that users spend an average or more than 1.5 hours on the platform a day.

For those focused more locally, TikTok’s Canadian user base is estimated at nearly nine million people, an increase from more than six million people just two years ago. They also tend to be from younger demographic cohorts. Data collected in 2022 suggested approximately 43% of Canadian TikTok users are aged between 18-29 years old.

2. TikTok’s algorithm is open to newcomers

Brands and creators who spent the last several years accumulating large following on other social media channels have a great advantage. They know that when they share content, it is likely to be seen by their audience compared to recent users who might not be noticed by the algorithm.

TikTok’s algorithm is designed differently, with a focus on discovering new content and people. This has helped drive what might be described as more viral results for many who haven’t been active on the platform for very long.

3. TikTok users are prepared to spend

Plenty of people might log into TikTok to get a quick laugh or to see behind the scenes moments with their favourite celebrities, but they’re just as likely to be on the lookout for their next purchase.

Last year, for example, one of the trending hashtags and phrases on the platform was “TikTok made me buy it.” Advertisers have capitalized on this by promoting products to an audience that is ready to see some relevant recommendations.

4. TikTok is filled with opportunities to engage authentically

There’s a lot of what may appear, at first glance, as copycat content on TikTok. You’ll see many users imitating the same dance moves, for example, or attempting to recreate a stunt. These are actually challenges that spread organically across the platform.

There’s nothing stopping businesses employing the right social media talent from participating in these challenges, where a simple logo or branded clothing might be all it takes to pique users’ interest in learning more about your brand.

Other options include partnering with TikTok influencers for branded collaborations, where those with high follower counts try out your products and services and share their experience. You can jump on trending hashtags or even trending audio in a way that might align with the theme of your latest campaign. Don’t forget those tutorials, either: people might be looking for clips that help them solve common challenges.

5. TikTok offers features tailored to brands

It’s easy to set up a TikTok for Business account. This offers you access to audio and video content, educational resources and most importantly, audience data.

This means you can build upon the marketing efforts you might already have been making in other social media channels to drive greater results. By using marketing automation, for example, you can add TikTok to the channels you use to gauge customer sentiment, build brand equity, and drive more e-commerce sales.

Marketing on TikTok doesn’t necessarily require the kind of production values you might associate with a TV commercial or a billboard campaign. It’s really about joining conversations with everyday consumers in order to build their brand affinity and trust. That means not only sharing content but liking and commenting on others’ TikTok clips.

If TikTok hasn’t been a part of your brand’s social media toolkit so far, now is the time to start leveraging it not only as a tool for marketing success, but as a way to share brand authenticity and establish trust with the customer, in order to build and maintain their loyalty.

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