In case you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of years, TikTok is the video based social media platform that’s taken the world by storm, and is highly addictive! As PR experts, we also need to be aware of the latest trends in social media and how to utilise this for each of our clients. So, what are the opportunities on TikTok for brands and businesses?
How does it work?
Understanding TikTok as a platform is key! The first thing to know is that TikTok works completely differently to all other social media platforms. Traditionally, social media influencers will focus their efforts, almost exclusively, on building their following and engagement. However, TikTok’s ‘For You Page’ completely flips this on its head. Users will primarily scroll through their ‘For You Page’, essentially a newsfeed filled with videos and accounts that you don’t follow, rather than their ‘Following’ page. Very different from Instagram and Twitter. Think more like YouTube in terms of recommended content mixed with popular videos and people you subscribe to.
Each users For You Page will be slightly different depending on the videos that they view the most. For example, one user's page may be filled with dog videos while another is full of fashion content. It’s important to realise that while some influencers will have an active following, their videos might not necessarily be viewed by their entire audience. One video could fall extremely short of expectations while another blows up! In summary, expect the unexpected.
Stay on trend
Even with this unique formula, there are still a few tricks to help boost your chances of a bigger reach and higher engaged content. There are always new trends developing on TikTok, whether it’s a new dance, a new sound or new music, so it’s crucial that you are actively using the platform to be aware of emerging trends. Try to come up with 2-3 different ideas of ways your client can use a new trend and make it relevant to their business. Anything that is currently trending is more likely to appear on the For You Page and therefore reach more people - success!
Is TikTok the right platform?
Not all brands will naturally sit on TikTok, but, if you can find a way to engage with this platform, it’s definitely worth it! Firstly, understand what audience you’re trying to reach. Many people still have the assumption that TikTok is for GenZ, which is not the case anymore. In fact, 44% of TikTok users are NOT GenZ and adult TikTok users spend more time on TikTok than Facebook users spend on Facebook. So don’t be afraid to push your clients if you think the opportunity is there!
Across all social platforms, we are seeing an emergence of communities within communities - set up to entertain audiences within their audience. For example, influencers will create separate channels for cooking videos, their pets or a new home account. This way, they are able to engage with new audiences who are primarily interested in that one topic while still bringing over their core audience. Due to TikTok’s algorithm and For You Page, well established influencers aren’t necessarily the best option - relevance is much more important than following. Smaller influencers with loyal followers are more likely to start trends with a macro making it big. However, be slightly careful when working with new talent as they may be new to contracts, briefs and deadlines.
To summarise, try to understand the platform before anything. Spend some time using it yourself, getting to know how trends emerge and how people use and interpret them to suit their authentic platform. Then, do a couple of low cost, small trial campaigns working with just two to three content creators and see how the content performs for the brand. Then, keep going! It’s all about experimenting and learning.