Filling the Vine-shaped hole left in all our hearts, TikTok is a short-form video platform that gives its users 15 seconds to strut their stuff. (These 15-second vids can be stitched together to create 60-second long masterpieces.) This ‘stuff’ typically leans towards the comedic, with TikTokkers using smartphone filters, camera tricks or their own sheer inventiveness to do things like this:
With upwards of a billion users – many of whom are based in China but with an active user count of over 40 million in the UK and the States – TikTok is now a truly global social media player. Which, of course, means it’s something marketing agencies and in-house teams need to take notice of.
The TikTok demographic
TikTok has a similar demographic makeup to Instagram, in that it mostly appeals to or has been taken up by younger people. Around two-thirds of TikTok users are under 30, with nearly 40% being teenagers. Interestingly, the take-up by those in their 40s is higher than those in their 30s, who might still be too wedded to Instagram to find time in their lives for another social platform. There is also a slight bias towards males, who make up just over 55% of users.
The obvious conclusion is that TikTok could be an important medium for those with younger audiences. For example, it’s not difficult to see a Topshop TikTok showing off its latest range through an influencer campaign.
Whilst TikTok is hugely popular in South East Asia – as of 2018, it topped the Google Play download ranks in Cambodia, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and was second in Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea – its global reach is ever-expanding. These first-quarter 2019 download figures show exactly how popular the app is becoming:
Total UK downloads of TikTok now nears 10 million, which means it’s already nearly half as popular as Instagram, and thus represents an opportunity for brands to reach audiences in new ways. Or, at least, in old ways, but via a new medium.
Influencer marketing is hardly new but it’s one of the biggest opportunities for brands wanting to get their messages to TikTok users – especially as they can’t yet advertise on the platform. (Although this is set to change, as TikTok are discussing the possibility of offering biddable ads.)
Take the recent TikTok memeathon, which saw Paris Hilton, Charlie Puth and Kris Jenner team up with TikTok to promote the platform on Twitter. It achieved hundreds of thousands of views, shares, likes and comments across both channels. This cross-channel celebrity promotion been a common tactic TikTok has adopted across the world, from India to Japan, as this article explains.
The time is now to create a uniquely-you TikTok account, before your competitors get in on the act.
The other way marketers can make use of this emerging social media force is, naturally, to create material for it. Just as marketing teams tweet, ‘gram and Facebook what they and their clients are up to, investing your expertise into cultivating a TikTok following could be a key differentiator whilst it’s still a new playground for brands.
This isn’t easy, of course. Inbound marketing in all its forms takes skill, time and money, as our blog explains, but the time is now to create a uniquely-you TikTok account, before your competitors get in on the act.
Not that you should do this for the sake of it. Just as with any other form of social media promotion, if you don’t have anything interesting to say in a way that shows off the premise of the medium you’re using, then don’t force it. Pushing stuff out on social for the sake of it is not a worthwhile use of your time
Tick tock, marketers…
Thanks to its rapid worldwide growth, its ability to produce cross-platform influencer campaigns and its potential for future advertising revenue, brands aiming at a younger audience should be allocating time and budget to TikTok. Whether this is spent on influencer campaigns or creating original material, TikTok is ideal for those who can creatively use video in a way that’s relevant to their product or service.
But if you operate in a competitive industry, be sure to beat your competition to the TikTok punch and grab your audience’s attention before they do.