TikTok’s growth both locally and across the world has been monumental and swift, writes Pieter Groenewald, CEO of Webfluential. He discusses the platform’s potential to drive breakthrough brand building and meaningful engagement on a monumental scale.
According to We Are Social and Kepios’ Digital 2022: South Africa report, the platform has amassed more than 6.44 million active users, who contribute to the billions of video views and millions of video creations on the platform each month. While its direct advertising costs remain prohibitive, particularly for smaller businesses, there are ways and means of partnering with content creators with established audiences on TikTok to generate content that builds your business and puts your brands in the eyeline of a rapidly-growing user base.
In business boardrooms the world over, as soon as someone mentions TikTok, there is often a silence and a hesitancy to explore what many believe to be a daunting platform. For many, it seems, there are a number of TikTok-related misconceptions that obscure its very real potential as a powerful marketing channel for businesses across the board.
Generally speaking, TikTok is actually a social media platform that can work for all brands, in every category, and its potential to drive engagement on an enormous scale is arguably unrivalled. These considerations alone make it a must for businesses that are looking for a strategy that will deliver real, meaningful results in the realm of brand building.
When it comes to age of the audiences accessible through TikTok, it’s almost always assumed that the range is predominantly Gen Z. Experts and data demonstrate this is not quite the case, however, with 33% of global users between the ages of 16 and 34; 32% of global users between 25 and 34, and 35% of global users 35+. This has caused experts the world over to agree that while TikTok is indeed a powerful tool when it comes to engaging Gen Z, the platform is swiftly attracting older users, and thereby continually expanding the audience base across a wider age range than previously believed.
This growth in users has seen the expansion of brand marketing opportunities. No more does a limit exist that only playful, trendy or youthful brands have relevance. Unexpected brands such as HP, The Washington Post, and even the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, have all found exciting and creative ways to use the platform, illustrating the challenge the platform poses to marketers to think outside the usual parameters and pursue unique creativity that drives deep and resonant engagement.
So, how should you approach the platform? Here are a few tips to assist when it comes to considering TikTok as part of your marketing mix, and tapping into its potential for success for your brand:
Unusual is the usual. That last thing you should do when considering a campaign with content creators on TikTok is view the platform as another ‘standard’ social media platform. Rather, it’s important to recognise TikTok as a channel that enhances your chances of boosting consideration of both your brand and your product. One powerful way to do this is by driving a considered Hashtag Challenge that can deliver results at scale and a rapid pace.
The creator is king. It may seem scary to suggest, but when it comes to getting excellent content on TikTok, businesses need to be prepared to let go. TikTok differs from other social media channels in that it’s less about lifestyle, and more about entertainment. In this context, the creator is king and granting them the autonomy to produce fresh and compelling content that has their audience – and the way the platform works – in mind, can yield the best possible results. Fortunately, TikTok has measures in place that help ensure businesses can remove inappropriate content in a timely manner, so you can focus on all the great content being generated without worrying.
Simplicity is key. The beauty of TikTok is that anyone can get involved. And when we say anyone, we mean anyone. To this end, the campaigns and challenges that businesses devise should be simple enough to inspire the involvement of as many people as possible. The most effective campaigns (with the best results) are those in which a brand feels like a natural part of the challenge so that the audience is never forced to feel like the target of a sales pitch.
A part of a whole. It’s important to consider using TikTok as one part of a broader marketing ecosystem, in spite of its potential to stand alone. Broadcasting the content beyond the platform also helps to amplify the brand message to other audiences, while creating a bigger buzz and driving greater engagement.
While coming to consider TikTok as a viable marketing channel is just the first step, it’s important because the platform is uniquely placed to offer levels of engagement that are unprecedented. When it comes to achieving success, it’s important for businesses to partner with providers that have a detailed knowledge of the platform and relationships with thousands of influencers. In this way, marketers and their businesses can unlock the potential power of brand building and User-Generated Content. Given that it’s a matter of when, and not if, more brands begin to use the platform, now is the perfect time to take the leap and begin experimenting with how it can work for you.