TikTok: Those Who Dare, Win24th June, 2020 by Pippa Chester
If you’ve seen it, shared it or ‘liked’ it somewhere on social media, it’s probably gone viral on TikTok.
With over 2 billion downloads, this short-form video app boasting dance trends, food challenges, and music overlays is a force to be reckoned with. It’s a never-ending variety talent show keeping people entertained – even more so with quarantine measures. Gone are the days of dancing in front of your bedroom mirror belting out Beyoncé into your hairbrush. Today, people’s smartphones are their stage, and everyone is watching.
And whilst the thought of inflicting my awkward dancing on complete strangers unnerves me, it doesn’t matter. I’m not the main target audience. In fact, fast approaching 30, I’m considered by many to be ‘too old for TikTok’, with the platform’s popularity surging among teens and Generation Z. This has caught brands’ attention who want a piece of the action.
But TikTok has its own language and doesn’t follow the same curated content formula as other platforms. Firstly, sound is searchable, allowing users to scroll through similar videos where people have put their own spin on the sound. Adding hashtags can also be a powerful tool to promote engagement and help the content appear in users’ feeds. But the most trending tags are far from the conventional ones that accompany your typical social content calendar – think #ForYourPage rather than #FeelGoodFriday.
Secondly, content really is king. Unlike YouTube or social media’s darling – Instagram – even accounts with hardly any followers can get millions of views. But you can’t appeal to everyone. The trick is to hone in on a clearly defined audience and think about the type of content they’ll engage with. Partnering with the right content creators with an active following can help boost a brand’s profile, but the same rules apply. Their audience must match your target market and try to allow as much creative freedom as possible, so the partnership feels authentic.
Finally, TikTok has a huge trend culture. From the ‘Renegade’ dance to cooking hacks to small dogs carrying big sticks – anything goes. If current trends aren’t the right fit, brands can create their own and it’s often the most basic and fun concepts that are the most successful.
But not every brand is built to quickly jump on trends or poke fun at itself. The trick is knowing when it’s not the right fit and not forcing it – a bit like a great pair of jeans (force it, and you’ll regret it afterwards).
Turning a blind eye to opportunities, jumping on a hashtag because everyone else is, adopting social media platforms that don’t suit your brand personality – none of this is strategic. Knowing your brand means being realistic about which trends are relevant and which aren’t. But to know that means being willing to step outside your comfort zone and being open to new platforms like TikTok.