TikTok’s time is now

By Harry Willis

TikTok has evolved beyond its original scope as a teenager’s app to become an essential means for businesses to get discovered, reach new audiences, and build brand awareness.

Forty-five per cent of kiwis aged 14-70 are on TikTok, a total of 1.7 million people.

Furthermore, around 30% of New Zealand’s TikTok audience can be found there exclusively – they don’t have accounts on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or other popular social networking sites.

TikTok is being taken seriously by businesses as a marketing strategy. The apps powerful algorithms are hungry for content, and constantly feed users new hyper-relevant videos whenever the app is opened. The benefits are clear. A TikTok study found that 37% of TikTok users instantly seek to buy a product upon discovering it.

However, there are conventions to abide by. TikTok is not a social network, but a storytelling platform. Users are looking for content that reflects their values and speaks to their experience. The old marketing techniques will not fare well with TikTok users.

Millennials and Gen Z don’t like to be bothered by advertisements, which is why 51% of them use ad-blockers. Smart marketers will find less invasive techniques and quickly grab the attention of their target audience through engaging content. With the content vibe of TikTok, the key is to devise marketing that doesn’t look like marketing and build brand recognition by being entertaining and connecting.

Create organic content

TikTok for business involves focusing on creating videos that are creative and informative.

If you’re a brand looking to join TikTok, there’s a liklihood there will already be people talking about your product. Others are already having the conversation, so make the most of the existing dynamic, jump in and engage.

TikTok is all about fun, quirky, and creative content. Creatives on the TikTok creator’s marketplace can promote your brand in a non-intrusive way. With TikTok building it’s NZ team currently, we can expect this to be available locally soon.

Crawl, walk, run

TikTok’s Crawl Walk Run approach is a good guide to promotion and engagement:

Crawl: Create content using existing assets on hand. This low investment for high return could involve asking a staff member to talk about their favourite product or work perk.

Walk: Jump on a TikTok trend. Visit trends.tiktok.com to discover the latest trending song, or viral dance, and insert your organisation into the discussion. Ride the wave while it’s breaking – but don’t get caught in the white wash. The typical life cycle for a trend on TikTok is 3-4 days. A great example of the Walk approach is the Wellington City Council: https://www.tiktok.com/@wgtncc/video/7148307875260009729?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en

Run: This involves going for bigger impact, leading or creating the trends. This could be the origin of a viral dance or hack, or establishing a successful TikTok challenge. Insert yourself into the conversation, like trending AI photo generator app Lensa ai with its current chokehold on the internet, inviting users to create graphic, creative ai generated selfies: https://www.times-series.co.uk/news/national/uk-today/23172183.lensa-ai-art-generator-tiktok/ 

Other tips.

If you’re looking to jump on the platform, try a stress test internally. Create some content, and get an internal reivew (from all ages) before posting.

You have the first three seconds to capture the attention of an audience. If you can’t make someone stay this long, don’t bother – the thumb will scroll you away.

Stuck on where to start? Look at your comms strategy, and audiences. Who are you trying to reach? How will you reach them? Note that the expression of your brand will be different on TikTok. Take a step back and observe, what will work?

Adding Calls to Action (CTAs) in TikTok video text can up conversion by 150%.

Users are looking for humanity, and human connection. Use faces, or POV in your content.

When engaging with ‘creators’: trust the talent, don’t be prescriptive – users can spot bad sponsored content a mile away.

Lastly, don’t try to do everything, you’re not going to take over TikTok. Aim for targeted audiences and succeed on a smaller scale.

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