Did you take part in a TikTok trend during quarantine? Whether it be making some whipped coffee or taking part in the wipe it down challenge. I definitely did and so did a lot of brands. This past year, TikTok has become one of the top social media platforms used to market, especially towards younger audiences. A new way to create and share content, while actively engaging with the public has made this one of the top means of marketing.
If you've never used TikTok, it's a social media platform that allows for the creation of videos that are up to a minute long. With just 60 seconds, your goal is to land on as many people's "For You Page" as possible. These videos could be anything from your own imagination or following the latest TikTok trend or challenge. With such a young audience, brands need to know what will grasp the attention of these users. But what is the enticing factor that gets brands onto TikTok? Is it the creation of challenges or the amount of influencers with huge follower bases? Maybe it's the ability to interact with their audience in the comment sections. Either way, this platform has definitely changed the way some brands get involved.
Just like Instagram, influencers are used on TikTok. With the rise in fame of TikTok celebs such as Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae, brands have been partnering with these creators to get some face time with their audience. Influencers offer a fanbase that are less likely to swipe past your ad, which gives your brand an opportunity to get the entire message out. This also triggers the effect of people seeing their favorite celebrity doing or wearing something, they want to mirror it to feel just as "cool." While this is a common practice on a lot of social media platforms, the new found fame of TikTok adds to the appeal of this tactic.
During the pandemic, a new influencer came into the light. Hyram, username skincarebyhyram, has gained his fame by reviewing skin care routines and offering his best researched skin care combinations. In turn, a bunch of his followers created videos showing off the new products he spoke for and letting people know that it did, in fact, work. Some brands he recommended noticed and started to sponsor him. Which paid off as Cerave, a brand Hyram partnered with, sold out for months.
Using hashtags is a way to get your content noticed by people with similar interests. I, for example, tag all my posts with marketing so that people who are interested in marketing have a chance to see my content. With TikTok, branded hashtags are used to get as many people to participate in creating videos using their hashtag. These hashtags become "challenges" for users to try and create their best version of these videos. This gets people involved with a brand in a fun way.
One of my favorite hashtags was the #AerieREAL campaign. This is the TikTok extension of Aerie’s long running Real Beauty campaign, to encourage positivity and loving yourself by showcasing women of all races, weights, and disabilities. The tag challenged women to show the world what real beauty looked like. Branded hashtags are the best way to get user generated content created. This also creates the opportunity to expand their brand-awareness. Even if users choose not to participate, the hashtag will show up on the discover page of TikTok.
Working with influencers is fun but nowhere near as creative as making your own content. Brands that create a profile and make videos have blown up on TikTok with the fun videos they make. This also opens the door for their videos to be shared, expanding the reach of their efforts. Sharing updates, announcements, or just funny videos keep people interested in following that brands account.
One brand that aces content creation is the Washington Post. In recent years, teens have been more invested in current events, so the Washington Post decided this would be the best platform to share information to that audience. Over the past few weeks, The Post has been posting updates on the Inauguration, but in a creative way, either through skit or song. By being so engaging, this has led many users to check in on the news via their TikTok account.
While TikTok may be the new source of creative social media marketing, it's not for everyone. It can be a great place to interact with your audience, but, studies show, only if that audience is on the younger side. In a study in 2020, it was found that 62% of users were under the age of 30. Of that 62%, 32.5% are users ages 10-19. So TikTok may not be the best place to market denture gel, but it's definitely the right place for energy drinks and popular clothing brands. Getting involved with TikTok might be worth looking into if your brand is catering to the right audience.