TikTok – Should Your Business Hop on the Latest Phenomenon?

Best marketing practices include having a proactive approach to creating new strategies for grabbing your audience. Early adopters of new social media platforms have proven that if you can leverage it in its early stages, you can quickly catapult your business much further ahead of competitors that are slow to join.

Take note of the number of users vs. advertisers on the world's largest social media platforms. These platforms were once brand new but have since reached a point where they are so saturated with products and services that it is challenging to compete organically. As a result, these platforms spell bad news for those with limited advertising budgets and are beat out by advertisers that can spend more to reach further.

TikTok is Here to Save the Day for Marketers –Or is it?

TikTok experienced explosive growth in 2019 and 2020 after it acquired Musical.ly in 2017, acquiring 693 million downloads in 2019 and a whopping 850 million in 2020; TikTok is the 7th most downloaded app of the decade despite the 2017 launch date and is expected to reach 1 billion monthly active users by the end of 2021, according to Business of Apps.

TikTok's status as a younger platform is an advantage for marketers. The current core strategy for the app is to acquire more users, thus allowing marketers to focus on content creation before the strategy shifts to monetizing the platform.

Here's the catch – the content on TikTok is a new hybrid of content. Videos can be up to 3 minutes long, but most are 20 seconds or less. The attention span of a user is fleeting, and the video needs to grab attention within the first few seconds. In addition, the content posted on the platform needs to be genuine and not feel like marketing. Simply posting an advertisement will not gain the traction needed to be successful. It's essential to have a separate strategy and dedicated team of content creators for this platform, or you will not see the success you are looking for.

The question of whether your business should be on TikTok depends on multiple factors. Some questions to ask yourself are:

Are you trying to reach a wider audience organically?

Are you comfortable letting TikTok's algorithm decide the target audience for you?
Do you have the time to dedicate to creating content that follows rapidly changing trends while maintaining the brand's voice and desired look and feel?
Do you have creative user-generated content that you can use on the platform?
Can you adopt new ways of marketing instead of the old-school commercial-style ads?

If you answered no to one or more of these, TikTok might not be for you right now. On the other hand, if you answered yes to all these questions, you might be ready to put your business on TikTok. Here are some tips for creating content for TikTok.

Get to the Point

You need to grab users' attention within the first few seconds of the video. TikTok hosts videos up to 3 minutes long, but people's attention spans are only 8 seconds. So if your video doesn't hook them right away, they will scroll past.

You're At the Mercy of the Algorithm

TikTok is not a game of Search Engine Optimization. Your content will pop up on the "For You" page without users searching for it, and if it does well, it will get rolled out to more people; this is how posts go viral. The algorithm essentially tells you what works and what doesn't in terms of engaging content. It's essential to create content for the "For You" page first and foremost for this reason.

Post User-Generated Content

User-generated content is the most authentic content out there. People trust their peers more than anything else. So if you have content from your customers, don't be afraid to use it (with permission, of course)! The more you post that content, the more likely others will create more for you!

Participate in Viral Trends and Use Trending Sounds

A trick for getting a video picked up by the algorithm is to use sounds that are currently trending. TikTok promotes trending sounds to make them easy to find. If your video includes speech, you can still use a sound and mute it; this is a way it is present but not drowning out speech.

Use TikTok to Build Community

Gain the interest of like-minded people through TikTok's advanced algorithm. It's there to help your videos get seen by the people interested in your products and services. Share content that is tailored to their "For You" pages.