In the realm of social media, TikTok reigns supreme. With a staggering 150 million U.S. users as of March 2023 and a projected global user base exceeding 955 million by 2025, TikTok’s influence knows no bounds. In fact, the average U.S. adult is expected to devote 58.4 minutes of their day to TikTok in 2024, as reported by Insider Intelligence.
In essence, a colossal audience awaits your brand’s presence on this vibrant platform. The key lies in your ability to not only capture their attention but also retain it, all within the blink of a 6-second eye.
Here’s the good news: TikTok embraces diversity, and there’s ample space for every brand, provided you comprehend the essence of user expectations and ingeniously align your brand with them.
Even better news: You don’t need to be a dancing sensation to thrive here, although the option is always on the table.
As someone who has delved into the world of social media platforms and crafted brand social accounts for over a decade, I have curated a wealth of insights that I’ve shared in college lectures and conferences. These insights provide invaluable guidance on why TikTok is the chosen platform for millions, how both individuals and brands can carve their niche, and, most importantly, why they should be part of this exhilarating journey. Here are some of the essential lessons I’ve gathered along the way.
Understanding the TikTok Universe
Your primary objective, as a brand, is to craft content that seamlessly blends intrigue, entertainment, visual appeal, humor, timeliness, and community engagement, all while offering an escape from the humdrum of daily life. All this must be accomplished in bite-sized, swipe-worthy video formats that resonate with your audience. (But don’t worry, you don’t have to tick all these boxes simultaneously.)
TikTok’s annual “What’s Next Trend Report” for 2023 is a goldmine of wisdom for brands embarking on their TikTok journey or seeking to elevate their existing presence. TikTok’s commitment to creators and brand accounts is unwavering, as this content propels more users to the platform and enhances user engagement – a win-win for brands. The report elucidates that users flock to the platform for three core reasons:
- Actionable Entertainment: A staggering 4 out of 5 TikTok users consider the platform to be incredibly entertaining. For brands, the most effective messages on TikTok are uplifting, humorous, personalized, or designed to entertain their audiences.
- Creating Space for Joy: TikTok serves as a conduit for happiness, as confirmed by 90% of users who took actions off-platform as a result of their TikTok experience. Content on TikTok, and beyond, should align with the community’s craving for light-heartedness and empower them to embrace joy.
- Community-Forged Ideals: The platform’s unique feature is its ability to unite people through shared niche interests, subsequently broadening their horizons. TikTok is 1.8 times more likely than traditional social platforms to introduce individuals to new topics they didn’t know they liked.
Strategies to Triumph (and Pitfalls to Avoid)
To harness TikTok’s potential, brands can draw inspiration from industry trailblazers like Oreo, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Turner Classic Movies, The Washington Post, and Gymshark. These titans of TikTok consistently execute the following strategies:
- Embrace Your Niche: Identify your brand’s core value proposition and the unique attributes that resonate with your audience on TikTok. The platform thrives on nurturing micro-communities with shared passions and values.
- Trim the Fat: Condense your message into the shortest possible video format. Leverage trending sounds and memes to maximize brevity.
- Seize Opportune Moments: Keep an eye out for unexpected opportunities and respond promptly and fittingly. If your brand aligns with a viral trend or moment, be prepared to stitch, duet, respond, or improvise.
- Engage Actively: Initiate conversations by responding to other brands and viral videos from creators. Engaging with communities and users is a rewarding TikTok strategy.
- Participate in Trends Thoughtfully: Thoughtful, authentic, and timely participation in trends is essential. Your content should resonate with your existing audience and not appear forced.
- Deliver Value: Instead of selling, provide information that users want or entertain them with content that resonates. Your content should offer inherent value without an overt expectation of a purchase.
- Promote Inclusivity and Kindness: TikTok abhors negativity. Avoid unkindness, bias, or stereotypes, as they can lead to unwanted viral attention. Ensure your captions, both closed and open, are inclusive.
- Nail the Hook: Capture viewers’ attention within the initial 3-5 seconds. Think of your opening actions, on-screen text, or spoken lines as headlines to keep viewers engaged.
- Embrace Creativity: Experiment with trending filters, sounds, and editing techniques. Quality isn’t everything; selfie explainer videos can be as potent as fully produced short films, if not more so.
- Leverage Humor: Humorous content often has broad appeal and stands a good chance of reaching a wide audience.
- Explore Diversity: Experiment with various themes, topics, and styles. Diversify your content until you strike gold, then focus on what resonates most.
- Forge Creator Relationships: Collaborate with creators to connect with a relevant audience. It doesn’t