It doesn’t take a tween to know that TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social platforms in 2020. The popular video app has been spreading like wildfire, definitely among young people, and among a growing number of grown-ups, too. We decided to take a look at what TikTok is, exactly, and how companies can harness its popularity as part of a social media marketing strategy.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-term video sharing platform that has shown continuous growth over the past three years. In basic terms, it allows users to shoot, edit and share 15-second videos from their smartphones. TikTok also provides filters, music, animations and special effects that allow amateur filmmakers to customize their videos.  It’s the heir-apparent to Vine, although some may describe it as a combination of that now-defunct app with elements of Snapchat and Twitter.

TikTok’s typical user falls into the “24 and under” category. In fact, Generation Z makes up a whopping 40% of the app’s users. The app is so closely associated with high school there are even teachers approving clubs to allow students to use the app on campus. But Gen-Z isn’t the only group in love with TikTok, Hollywood seems to be taking hold of it, too, including celebrities such as Post Malone, Cardi B., the Jonas Brothers, Reece Witherspoon, and Jimmy Fallon.

Is TikTok a Worthwhile Tool for Digital Marketing?

If you’re like most of our clients, despite the buzz surrounding this new “it” app, you’re wondering if jumping on a new social media bandwagon is a good idea. Many social media managers are already overwhelmed by maintaining Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube accounts for their business. Is getting on TikTok worth the extra effort? The answer, as with any new social media platform, is: it depends.

One thing that sets TikTok apart from other marketing strategies is the ability to avoid complex rules and guidelines – that’s the advantage of being new and up-and-coming. As of 2019, the app allows four types of marketing: 

  • infeed native content 
  • brand takeovers
  • hashtag challenges
  • branded lenses

These options all are very different and may seem limiting compared with existing organic and paid advertising options available through more robust platforms. Ultimately, however, TikTok’s features can allow businesses to add a fun, relatable approach to their marketing, and show a lighter side of their brand in a  less “sales-y” manner. According to research, that’s a great way to reach Gen-Z, anyway. 

At this point, businesses are just beginning to dip their toes into the waters of TikTok, but more and more big names seem to be experimenting with it by the day. A few of the biggest brands we are starting to see explore what the app has to offer are Chipotle, the Washington Post and the NBA, each of which tends to be using the app to generate brand awareness rather than leads. So far, the results are relatively positive. 

Overall, the takeaway is that TikTok is a video-focused social media platform that combines some of the most-loved features of established platforms and boats a growing, influential audience. With this in mind, TikTok is a great way for businesses to target Gen Z and, possibly, their parents, with branding initiatives in four distinct app-enabled categories. In addition, since the app is relatively new and unexplored in terms of its digital marketing capabilities, there is an opportunity for companies to experiment with how exactly to implement TikTok within their marketing journey while staying authentic to their audiences. 

If you’re looking to add social media marketing to your digital marketing strategy, but aren’t sure which apps to turn to or how to use them to your advantage, get in touch with LuckyTamm today