Starting with the numbers
Claiming to be the leading destination for short-form mobile video, TikTok’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. And they deliver on their promise, reporting almost 700 million active users in July 2020. Compared to Facebook’s 2.74 billion for the same period, this might not seem like much. But remember – TikTok only launched in 2016, while Facebook’s been around since 2004.
The engagement rate on TikTok is also impressive – In Q2 2021, mega influencers (creators with 1 million or more followers) on TikTok had an average engagement rate of 11.83%. Significantly higher than that of Instagram (0.35%), YouTube (2.75%), Facebook (0.01% ) and Twitter (0.01%)
The TikTok difference – An endless scroll
What makes TikTok interesting is that most users primarily consume content from their “For You” feed (which works like the Explore tab on Instagram) instead of content from specific users they follow. So rather than being served videos from friends, family or pages they’ve “followed”, content from a myriad of creators is delivered to them via TikTok’s advanced algorithm. This creates a passive viewing experience, with the algorithm learning what content a user engages with and enjoys, to deliver similar content right away, creating a unique and continuous experience for each user. That’s why it’s not unusual for users to spend extended periods of time scrolling through the TikTok platform, consuming content from creators they may be finding out about for the first time.
Great news for marketers, right? So, your target audience doesn’t even have to follow you for you to reach them? Not quite.
As the bulk of engagement comes from the platform’s algorithm choosing to deliver your content to users who may enjoy it, only TikToks that resonate with the interests of a user will make it onto their feed.
What are some brands doing right
A large retailer of sporting goods and accessories Decathlon Singapore’s TikTok account creates videos highlighting product features such as the one below with a portable rain jacket that was uploaded during a period of heavy showers in Singapore.
@decathlonsgWhich one do you like better? Come down to buy from our range of rain jackets! 🌂💦🌧 #decathlonsg #fyp #xyzbca #heavyrain #sgtiktok♬ Umbrella – Diana Ibarra
TikTok works well for such timely content that needs to be created quickly to relate to current happenings. Users on the platform are also accustomed to videos that may not have as high a production value since the majority of TikTok clips are uploaded by independent creators and the no-frills style of content comes across as more authentic.
Decathlon also shared educational content on skateboarding tricks during the Olympic season, with the fun fact that skateboarding was officially an Olympic sport in 2021. Such content resonates with their audience and is highly sharable, which increases the chance for virality on the platform.
@decathlonsg#DidYouKnow that Skateboarding is finally an Olympic sport? 🔥✨💙 #OlympicSpirit♬ original sound – Decathlon Singapore
A consumer electronics and mobile communications company known for its mobile phones, Oppo addressed the challenge of building their audience and creating content suited for TikTok by working with creators who were native to the platform.
Beyond leveraging the audiences of these creators, Oppo allowed them to soft sell their products while having content developed with various styles and messaging for new products the brand was launching. For example, they worked with a creator who usually posts about styling tips and fashion to share three poses with the Oppo Reno 6 as part of the launch campaign for the device.
@davidguison3 easy poses with your phone 😉 get your #OPPOReno6 Z 5G at any OPPO concept store or via Lazada for Php19,999 ✨ @oppophilippines♬ original sound – David Guison 🇵🇭
They’ve also had creators create videos explaining key features of their products and how these can help in a real-world scenario. In the video below, influencer yohandalogdog shared tips on using the AI Enhancement feature of the OPPO Reno 6.
@oppophilippinesPhotoshoot ideas with #OPPOReno6’s AI Enhancement feature! What do you think of the results? 😏 #ShotOnOPPO #fyp #TiktokPH♬ original sound – OPPO Philippines
An e-commerce site for apparel, accessories and beauty which stocks a wide range of international brands across all styles and prices ranges. Zalora’s success on TikTok is in partly due to packaging their content well for the platform. This includes featuring lookbooks for outfit inspirations in easily consumable, visually appealing styles.
They also capitalised on a TikTok trends to share promotional information. This type of trend-jacking can be successful when the content created is well-executed, while effectively conveying the brands communications objectives.
@zaloraindonesiaDiskon paling besar Zmin spill di akhir ya guys! Jangan lupa untuk masukkan kode voucher biar makin hemat 🤗 #spillcodevoucher #ZALORA♬ original sound – ZALORA Indonesia
Zalora’s approach on TikTok also included adapting various looks to be suitable for the local audience in Indonesia, like only using product images (instead of models) to share looks inspired by Kendall Jenner’s athleisure looks.
@zaloraindonesiaSport look gini bikin semangat olahraga loh! Semua ada di ZALORA + banyak diskon!! #ZALORAIndonesia #sportlook #kendalljennerlook♬ original sound – ZALORA Indonesia
So, should your brand be on TikTok?
If you’re still wondering, here are some additional things to consider.
The native audience and mindset
TikTok’s audience is aged between 21 – 30 years old, and they’re primarily looking for entertainment on the platform. Does your brand want to connect with this younger demographic, and can your product(s) incorporate humour and entertainment?
A different angle
As mentioned earlier, TikTok users favour content that comes across relatable, authentic and isn’t usually polished. This keeps the platform accessible to their users, where anyone can create and upload content anytime, anywhere. However, this means videos with high production value may stand out, and not necessarily in the best way.
If your brand has a polished persona with strict brand guidelines, you might not get the engagement you desire on TikTok. However, if there is some flexibility in the kind of content your brand rolls out, there is a great opportunity to present a refreshing perspective to your audience. Just as some brands use the disappearing stories feature on platforms or provide behind-the-scenes content for their followers, TikTok can be a platform to engage with users in an informal, less than perfect setting.
Being a relatively new platform, not many brands have fully jumped on board just yet. Audiences do not suffer from much brand fatigue so they’re more willing to interact and engage with branded content, as long as it’s entertaining.
That said, investing resources to develop a proper strategy on a new and relatively untested social media platform can be a scary commitment. Your brand will be entering somewhat uncharted territory and will have to make several educated guesses, which could go either way. Seeking advice from experts on the platform as well as beginning with smaller campaigns to test out content to gather insights would be advisable.
Curious to find out if TikTok is right for your brand? Drop us a message here and our social media experts will be in touch to discuss how TikTok can work for you.