Red Hot Thoughts | The Rise of TikTok – should you be using it?

The meteoric rise of TikTok in this past year would have been hard to miss. Having only been released in 2016 in China, it has since become the most downloaded app of 2020. Its influence on other social media channels is already evident, Instagram reels being one of the more obvious adaptations.

However, the rise of TikTok has not been without controversy. There have been international security concerns over user privacy, and concerns over its accessibility to under 18s. Alike to previous platforms of its kind, trends spread rapidly and unsurprisingly some are not so sensible.

Regardless of concerns, TikTok keeps on growing and it does not look as though it will stop anytime soon. The nature of the app highlights the growth of short-form, easy to digest video content. In such a saturated internet-sphere – we simply don’t have the time or the attention-spans for much else. In this blog post, we dive into who is using the platform and whether you should be too…

 Who is using TikTok?

TikTok is estimated to have around 1 billion monthly active users worldwide (higher than LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest), of which 66% are under 30 years old. This audience values authenticity, entertainment, and fun. On average, the most popular types of content are funny videos, personal news/updates, memes, influencer posts and brand/product recommendations. People open the app to be entertained, rather than to connect with friends and family (think YouTube rather than Facebook).

As a relatively new platform, it is less saturated by brands and marketers than other social media channels. However, with an average user daily usage of 60 minutes in the UK, it is likely to become more saturated in the future. Many big brands have already built a presence on the app, from online retailer ASOS to high-end luxury brand Dior.

Should your brand be using it?

The entertainment-first, immersive nature of TikTok means that we anticipate it will be less effective in driving immediate conversions, and more suitable for generating brand awareness. It is also likely to be most effective when targeting a reasonably broad audience of young people, who may be less active on other social media channels such as Facebook. If you are looking to drive awareness within the younger end of your target audience, it may well be for you.

However, bear in mind that TikTok does lend itself better to certain industries than others. Content around fashion, beauty, food, hospitality, and the entertainment industry tend to perform best. Hashtags such as ‘#hairtransformation’, ‘#summeroutfit’, ‘#simplerecipes’ regularly trend. The requirement of a regular stream of creative video content, ideally tailored to the platform, may also be challenging for some brands. On the bright side, it is more about creativity and authenticity than studio-worthy shoots. An iPhone and some imagination will do it. As with all social content, understanding your audience and connecting in an authentic way is at the heart of any good TikTok.

In short, TikTok could be for you if:

  • You goal is to drive awareness within the younger end of your target audience (under 30s).
  • You have the resources and time to create a regular stream of video content (a phone with a camera will do!).
  • You have the creative ability to be inventive and show-off your brand/service in a visually stimulating way.

If you do decide to make the most of this growing, exciting platform – we have compiled a list of top tips:

  • Post frequently – the more you post, the more likely you are to be discovered.
  • Create videos that add value – interesting and relevant to your target audience.
  • Use popular hashtags to help people find you. TikTok’s homepage shows you all the hashtags that are trending.
  • Follow trends in your industry and think about whether you can get involved in an authentic way.
  • Comment on videos and encourage others to comment on your videos.
  • Engage with influencers.

If you are looking to build TikTok into your social media strategy, look out for more top tips from our team or get in touch.

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