Sookio Labs: Should you use TikTok for your business?
With over 800 million users, TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms the world has ever seen.
Our Digital Marketing Assistant, Frankie, looks into whether it could help strike a chord with your customers.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a music video social media platform where users watch and create clips, edit them, and add special effects. The most popular videos people make feature lip-syncing or dancing to their favourite tunes.
Like most other apps and social networks, users can follow other users, like and comment on other users’ videos. Aside from the usual social network features of following, liking, sharing, and commenting, with TikTok users can:
record or upload, and choose what song to use
edit short clips and add special effects
search through countless entertaining videos at the touch of a button
A brief history
Back in November, 2017, Bytedance Technology Co, Ltd, a Beijing-based media and tech company, acquired Musical.ly for a reported $1 billion. Musical.ly later merged with its Chinese counterpart TikTok, which also belonged to Bytedance.
Musical.ly let you record homemade, 15-second music videos. You could expect to see ‘Musers’ singing, miming and dancing along to the beat of a song. Like Instagram and Snapchat, the app had funky editing tools which let users speed up or slow down their clips and overlay different filters over the top.
It’s 2019, and now Musical.ly is no longer. Instead, August 2018 saw the merger between Musical.ly and a similar platform by the name of TikTok to create, you guessed it, TikTok!
Why has TikTok had so much success?
Before the merger, Musical.ly already had 100 million users, while TikTok boasted over 500 million. This meant the newly rebranded TikTok already had a mass user-base.
Since the two platforms merged, that number of users has risen to over 800 million.
There are several reasons behind TikTok’s popularity worldwide. It’s short, the video is vertical (the way users naturally hold their phones), it’s mobile-first and focused on music – all very ingrained in young people’s lives.
Brands are encouraged to develop the app’s popularity by posting about it and getting involved by making videos themselves. Even celebrities like Cardi B, Jason Derulo and Khloe Kardashian have opened accounts, and the app has been showcased by celebrities on TV.
Well known brands and famous celebrities will more than likely gain a lot of attention by participating on the app. This is why they love it, because it’s just an advertisement for themselves and another way to interact with people that could be interested in their brand.
In my experience…
To me, TikTok is all about entertainment. Users want to be entertained, they want to smile and be made to laugh.
These days celebs have a giant fanbase. Whenever one of these big stars creates a video on TikTok their follower base will see it on every social media platform they’re on. You’re then creating this transition where all the fanbase from one platform will then hop over to TikTok and see what it’s about.
The word about the app goes around so fast, just one celebrity telling their fans about a video they made on TikTok can lead to millions of downloads.
How does this affect Facebook and Snapchat?
Since TikTok’s dramatic rise, Facebook and Snapchat have become more and more vulnerable. This is because TikTok is constantly surpassing them in terms of daily downloads.
Facebook, which has been around since 2004 has over 989 million app downloads and Snapchat, first introduced in 2011 has over 400 million monthly users. This does make you realise how much of a rapid rise TikTok has gained as the two platforms have been around for much longer.
Seeing as all three platforms offer video features now, it’s a battle to the top. Facebook has a live feature which was particularly unique until Instagram introduced it. TikTok also has the ‘go live’ feature which is bringing more users from Facebook over to its platform.
Snapchat seems like it’s stalling, with no tangible improvements lately. If anything, they’re making it worse. The ‘Snapmaps’ update allowed users to see exactly what street and house their connections were at, prompting safety concerns. Subsequent changes to the whole interface of its Stories feature in 2018 were poorly received.
Meanwhile, TikTok has come along with its exciting and more creative videos, toting new and updated filters to rival Snapchat. TikTok is using its features to attract users from other social media platforms because it just looks more entertaining.
Despite TikTok having such a dramatic rise lately, there are still tons of people using Facebook and Snapchat.
Facebook has been the same for some time now, likewise with Snapchat, although Snapchat has had some updates recently. But Snapchat really hasn’t done a good job with its last few updates with many people contacting the company asking to revert them.
While these platforms, it seems, are trying to find their feet again, TikTok has been wasting no time adding new features like additional filters and stickers, constantly keeping users updated.
Should you use TikTok for your business?
TikTok has changed many lives, handing them a great deal of fame. And with fame comes money. Ordinary people are making videos that are going viral, landing them millions of followers, leading to tons of brands queuing at the door. This is an example of influencer marketing.
The main way your business can use TikTok is by using and creating a hashtag.
Fashion brand, Guess, partnered with TikTok in 2018. Every time TikTok users went into the app, they were directed to the #InMyDenim challenge that urged them to post videos with the hashtag. This is a really good way to get people interacting and talking more about your brand.
TikTok has a young audience. Now, because of this it means only certain brands and businesses can get away with using it.
The fashion industry is a good place for this app because of its young customers wanting to look good and seeing videos on TikTok could tempt them to buy a product.
An example where TikTok could be really effective would be a brand that wants to appeal to a young audience like TikTok itself. Even a business within the music industry, so people being targeted will share the same interests.
TikTok is best for B2C businesses like fashion, food, retail, music. Whereas if your business is B2C or deals with ‘serious’ topics in some way, you’ll be better off sticking with, say, LinkedIn, Twitter, professionally shot videos on YouTube or Vimeo.
So, should your business be using TikTok?
TikTok has more of a niche audience than, say, Facebook or Instagram which appeal all kinds of audiences.
Whether you should use TikTok is all down to what area your business operates in and what you actually want to get out of using TikTok.
It might work if you’re an influencer pushing your personal brand, or if you work in music, video, the arts in general, or anything which targets young people.
If, however, you’re in financial services or something business-to-business focused, it’s not going to do you much good unless you really invest some money into it.
Due to this app being very addictive and playful, I feel like you shouldn’t even try to attempt making video content on TikTok if you don’t operate in the music industry and aren’t targeting a younger audience.
Using it in the wrong way for an unsuitable business could lead to potential customers being put off by your content.
Need help keeping up with digital trends? Contact Sookio to transform your social media results.