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How does it work and who uses TikTok ?

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Many consider it the social channel of the moment: it has been able to engage young people all over the world with its fast and video-centric format and has recently reached the remarkable milestone of 1 billion active users in the world, a certainly not negligible audience. 

TikTok was the most downloaded App this year, with a 45% increase over 2020. Lockdowns and the rise of more and more followed creators have resulted in a further boost in App downloads globally. But is it possible to exploit the Tik Tok phenomenon also as an acquisition channel for your company, within the Social Media Marketing strategy? The answer is yes, and major brands already do. But you need to know what TikTok is and how it works to carefully evaluate the opportunities and limitations of this channel.

How TikTok was born and how it works

TikTok was born in 2014 in China, as an evolution of the previous Musical.ly, with the desire to combine the passion for music with the logic of a social network like Instagram, but played on videos instead of static images. Users upload their very short creations – mini-videos that generally last 15 seconds – for the sake of showing themselves lip-synching to the hit of the moment, while pretending to talk to their dog by “dubbing” him with famous movie phrases, or even while they dance an improvised raggaeton cut with their best friend … pure entertainment, of the most immediate kind and without paying great attention to the quality of the video itself

Being skeptical is really simple: just sign up as a private user and scroll the feed of amateur videos uploaded by other users for half an hour to start doubting at least a little about the “great steps” made by human evolution …

Seriously, for a marketing manager who approaches this new channel , the knowledge of the platform, of its intended use by the audience and the average target of users is essential to be able to obtain results. Which may be even better than hoped for.

Obviously, this is not a useful tool for all sectors: thinking of “forcing it”, uploading serious videos of conferences and seminars, will make you get very few views at best, at worst even some negative comments from the side. of users. However, there are brands and types of products that can really benefit from them.

What is TikTok, type of users and common use

The App is not the right place for messages that are too self-congratulatory or for scientific dissemination, that’s for sure. TikTok is mostly used by people between the ages of 16 and 24 , according to GlobalWebIndex, so you need to connect with them creatively if you want to engage them with content suitable for this age group and audience.

Now, if it is true, Tik Tok is focused on fun and creativity , so you have to create fun and creative content, in a simple and inexpensive way: in fact, as we mentioned above, it is not necessary that the videos are highly refined or glossy, much less too much. post-products. Just use a smartphone and start shooting, aiming for immediacy, even for brands.

Be careful though: certainly extravagant and slightly over the top videos are very popular on TikTok, but it is not mandatory to do them, especially if they are not in line with your tone of voice . Better a light and nice video that shows your products in an authentic way, rather than looking for the viral effect with something too aggressive, which risks confusing users and clashing with your brand image.

Some brands and industries that are using it well

Several sectors already use TikTok at their best in digital marketing strategies today , because they have content that lends itself to the video format and the light tone of the platform.

Surely, for example, all those sectors in which the tutorial – with a slightly light-hearted mood – is the master, such as beauty : everything related to make-up works very well, as well as tests of particular products, as the famous brand Lush does when it shows the “functioning” of the two “bath bombs” and other items for the beauty routine.

This is also true for travel , where the video experience is certainly immersive, but also for more technical sectors, such as photography , where the tutorials to learn how to best use lenses and filters are very popular.

Another good way to promote your business on TikTok is to launch a hashtag challenge : it means encouraging users to create or recreate content, adding the Brand’s hashtag and thus exploiting the power of UGC, user generated content .

Some big fashion and sportswear brands do it very well : Guess , for example, was one of the first companies to launch a hashtag challenge, offering TikTok users to film themselves wearing the new line of jeans and using the hashtag #InMyDenim .

The same thing has been done in food , by various restaurant chains that cater to a young audience: just invite consumers to recover while they are grappling with the new dish on the menu or with the hamburger in the promo of the day, and then spread the contents – at that point also easily traceable – with a dedicated hashtag.

This, in fact, not only promotes the new product, but favors the interaction and involvement of users, who feel part of the campaign itself.

Finally, sectors related to pure entertainment , such as music – ça va sans dire – and sports can greatly benefit from TikTok : two of the most followed TikTok channels in the USA are, for example, that of the NBA and that of the NFL. .

Another great way to promote your brand is to contact the influencers on the social network, the TikTokers , and collaborate with them for ad hoc content campaigns.

TikTok for Business: how the platform for companies evolves

Why should a company even invest in advertising on TikTok? Not only for its approximately 15 million active users every day , but also because sponsors on the platform have been introduced in recent times. This means that it is not yet a medium too saturated with advertisements like most other social media: in which it implies that users, less bombarded with ads, will be more ready and receptive in accepting any messages from companies, of course. if well thought out and in compliance with the general mood of the channel.

Worldwide, TikTok for Business campaigns have been active since the beginning of 2019 and have already been used by big brands such as Nike, Amazon or Adidas. Recently, however, the company held a global event in streaming , to launch many interesting news related to the world of TikTok for Business.

The real conceptual turning point of this medium is its desire to transform advertising into real entertainment: on TikTok the now abused concept of “native” is, when ever, concrete and real. Only through a positive user experience, satisfying and immersive entertainment, which brings him into the world of the brand, is it possible to establish a relationship that leads to his conversion into a customer.

The quality and interactivity of the contents, therefore, is essential: not commercials as an end in themselves, not self-celebrations, but inclusive, fun messages, which wink at the contest and gamification, sharing, perhaps made not by the company. itself but by a creator – already known and loved by that slice of the public – hired for the occasion. The collaboration between brands and creators, in fact, is one of the most encouraged and promoted business activities by TikTok, which has even launched a “Creator Marketplace”, that is a platform

The limit? Surely the public itself: very targeted but also restricted, falling into a very young age group, and therefore not suitable for many products or services.

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