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TikTok – tap into a growing community with our top tips for meaningful marketing

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

One woman sits in a trolley holding a social media 'like' symbol whilst another woman pushes the trolley

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, with over 689 million monthly active users. In May 2021, TikTok was the number one downloaded app in the iTunes Store with nearly 80 million downloads in the US alone. A growing number of organizations are harnessing the power of TikTok's global community to connect to people and raise brand awareness. We take a look at the potential of TikTok for marketing and talking through some handy tips and tricks for success.

Do you use TikTok for marketing? We would love to hear about your experiences – drop us a comment below or through social with #intbunch.

What is TikTok?

Beijing-based company ByteDance created the video social network Douyin for the Chinese market in 2016. They then launched TikTok in 2017 for those outside of China.

TikTok is a media app for iOS and Android that allows users to create and share short video content. It differs from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The emphasis is entirely on entertainment through video – it encourages people to get creative and share short video content that will be noticed and enjoyed by millions. It really fosters creativity, allowing users to record, edit, and share videos up to 60 seconds that are spiced up with filters, music, animation, special effects, and more.

TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.

Who should I follow on TikTok?

Starting out on a new platform can seem daunting. It is always a good idea to look for people from your other existing networks and platforms to get you started with a community. We have also put together a little list of accounts we find fun and inspiring to get you going.

  • @royalsocietyofchemistry - RSC showcase lots of fun experiments and how to videos as well as covering topics like a live stream of Nasa's Perseverance Rover landing, how can we make plastics that we can recycle forever, why do easter eggs have a best before date, does Irn-bru really contain iron?!

  • @odessapaigeturner - US children's librarian who makes great use of the TikTok #Stitch feature (collaborative video) and does some great fun videos showing off her fun collection of dungarees!

  • @LSU - A great example of a university account on TikTok making really good use of trends on TikTok and showcasing their student experiences in fun and original ways

  • @WashingtonPost - Dave Jorgenson makes daily, sometimes twice daily unusual and surreal TikToks and is a great example of posting consistent entertaining content that really grabs their audience

Are people using TikTok for marketing?

Despite its apparent ubiquity, marketing on TikTok is still in its infancy. Most industry marketers don't have experience with how the platform can work for marketing. It isn't something that many marketers have dedicated time or budget to yet.

TikTok is ignored by most marketers: Only 9% of marketers are using TikTok. A significant 68% do not plan on using the platform in the next year; however, 32% are interested in learning more about TikTok.

The key takeaway from this is that, although marketing activity is still reasonably low from organizations on TikTok - it is a growing area of interest. It won't be long until most marketing strategies include a plan for TikTok. So now is the right time to focus on it and get ahead of the trend.

How can you get started with marketing on TikTok?

As on Instagram, with TikTok, you have the opportunity to set up a company account and publish messages and videos via your own company channel. In 2020, TikTok launched TikTok for Business – here you can explore resources, tips and support threads to help get you up to speed with the potential the platform has for businesses. The tricky part with getting started can be knowing how to connect with your audience and build a relevant community.

It would be wrong to approach TikTok marketing the same way you approach Instagram or Facebook marketing. TikTok is an entirely different social network, with unique trends, features, and behaviours.

A crown cheers with their hands in the air in front of bright stage lights

In this article from Hootsuite focusing on marketing strategies for TikTok, Katie Sehl recommends really getting to understand the demographics of TikTok before you start posting content. This is especially important as 66% of TikTok's users are under 30 – trends move fast on TikTok, and you need to be able to keep up.

Take a look at the type of brands that are using TikTok for marketing now. What works well for them? Are they making good use of the specific features TikTok has, like the hashtag challenges, duets and filters?

Suppose you are already using TikTok and wondering how to measure the results of your TikTok marketing efforts. In that case, Social Media Examiner's Lachlan Kirkwood advises marketers to switch to a TikTok Pro Account to Access TikTok Analytics.

Strategic tips for marketing on TikTok

Four people sit in a row holding social media symbols including a hashtag, a star and a camera
  • Consistency – decide on your tone of voice and style for TikTok and stick to it. You want people to recognize your content to give you a strong identity

  • Community – know your audience. Are the majority of people seeing your content going to be in a certain age bracket? If so, you need to know how to appeal to them. Influencer Marketing Hub stated that in 2020, there were 200 million monthly users in India but due to political reasons, it has been banned in India for the second time and remains so. 55% of TikTok worldwide users are under 30 years old (Gen Z) but in 2020 when the world went into a pandemic, older generations descended on TikTok and so the generational spread is quite mixed now with celebrities of all ages using TikTok

  • Hashtag challenges – this feature can gain you high interaction and visibility if used well. Check out some of the trending challenges for inspiration - the #RaindropChallenge has more than 685 million views. The #TumbleweedChallenge created 8,000 videos and had more than 9 million views in a week

  • Storytelling – TikTok is all about entertainment and creativity – explore ways to tell a story in your marketing through video, song and dance

  • Scheduling – set yourself a consistent schedule – this might be once or day, or twice a week – it needs to be something you can maintain so you don't get lost in the noise

TikTok – are you not entertained?

To succeed with TikTok, you need to create a steady stream of engaging videos and offer interesting or unusual content. Your aim is to be authentic, get noticed, and make meaningful connections with your target audience. Experts in social media marketing have some valuable advice to offer when it comes to approaching marketing for TikTok.

Succeeding with TikTok comes down to creating exciting content. If you can do that, people are more likely to watch and engage with your videos, resulting in the algorithm putting your content in front of more people.

TikTok is still purely entertainment; the ad world hasn't bombarded it—yet. That means two things: The ad value is underpriced, and the audience is growing rapidly. If your marketing doesn't appear entertaining, they will flick right past you.

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