Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard of TikTok. Even if you have been wary of the platform based on sensational headlines purporting it is some sort of Chinese weapon, odds are you’ve encountered TikTok in some form while browsing the Internet.
Since its debut in 2016, TikTok has exploded in popularity. Available in more than 150 different markets, the short-form video platform reached 3 billion downloads in 2021 and 1 billion daily users in early 2022. It has over 130 million active users in the United States where it is more popular that Instagram among Gen Z users. That kind of audience is hard to ignore, so it is no surprise that brands have shown a lot of interest.
The NFL, NBA, Calvin Klein, Guess, ESPN, Bentley Motors, Chipotle, and Reese’s are just some of the major brands taking advantage of TikTok. It can be a great way to promote your business too, if you understand the platform, its advantages, and limitations.
Here’s the lowdown on what makes TikTok tick and how it can work for your brand.
Create Your Own Content
Creating your own content is the most straightforward way to promote your business on TikTok. However, creating captivating content requires effort and know-how. Despite the fact that TikTok videos are typically short and simple, you can expect to invest significant resources to produce them. You’ll need to consider factors like:
• Developing the overall concept
Let’s break down some of those bullet points.
Planning and scripting are critical to producing any marketing video whether it is a 60-second commercial for broadcast, Instagram Reel, or 15-second TikTok clip. Work out what you want to show and say, as well as what you want your audience to do.
Next you can move onto the technical aspects of production starting with your video production values. Smartphones such as the iPhone 13 or Samsung Galaxy S21 are popular for small productions, but 4K vlogging cameras such as the Sony ZV-E10, Fujifilm X-T200, or Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III are better and offer greater flexibility in terms of options and connectivity. If you want to go seriously pro, consider a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.
Whether you work with a smartphone or a high-end camera, lighting remains key. If shooting outdoors, make sure you have ample sunlight and consider fill light. This can be as simple as using a piece of white foam core as a reflector. If shooting indoors, you can start with an inexpensive ring light or graduate to more professional LED light panels and soft box diffusers.
Once the visual factors are set, it is time consider sound. Audio is often an afterthought for novice creators who get caught up in the visual aspects of their video. But bad sound can kill even the best video. So be sure to pay attention to audio quality starting with microphone selection and placement.
Your smartphone or vlogging camera’s built-in microphone may be sufficient, but if your production relies on an on-camera personality speaking to the audience, using an external shotgun mic, boom mic, or lavalier is better. If your video includes a voice-over, make sure your studio microphone is up to snuff so you can avoid hiss and pops.
Finally, there’s the music. It wouldn’t be TikTok if it didn’t include some background music. But unless you are recording your own original music, you will either need to consider acquiring rights or using royalty free stock music.
If all this sounds like a lot, well, it is. Just remember that as a brand, you have more responsibility in terms of presenting your brand in the best way and adhering to legal requirements to protect it than an individual creator making dance videos in their bedroom. But with the right basic equipment and a little practice, you can produce quality content that will showcase your brand to millions or even billions of TikTok users.
Work With Influencers
If creating your own content is outside of your wheelhouse, don’t worry. You have options. As with any other social media platform, working with Influencers or Creators to produce content can be a good solution. Doing so has serious benefits: 35% of users discover products and brands via Creators and 65% say they enjoy Creator posts about products or brands.
Finding the right Influencer doesn’t have to be hard. TikTok Creators Marketplace enables brands to partner with over 100,000 Influencers. Partnering with Influencers can boost view-through rates by 193%. Depending on the size of their following and how many users engage with their content, a simple investment could provide an exponential return.
Working with an Influencer will involve you paying for the individual to produce, showcase, review, or promote the product or service your business offers. An experienced Influencer will have produced thousands of videos already so you will have a good idea of the quality to expect.
But regardless of experience or quality, be sure to only work with Influencers who have a positive reputation. Otherwise, working with the Influencer could do more harm than good.
Advertise Natively on the Platform
If you’d prefer a more direct strategy, it’s possible to advertise on TikTok instead. According to the Hootsuite Digital 2022 Report, TikTok ads reach 17.9% of all Internet users age 18+. That’s 884.9 million people! Its reach is highest for Gen Z, reaching 25% of female aged 18-24 and 17.9 of males. In the United States, TikTok ads can potentially reach 50.3% of adults.
Specifically, there are four primary ways the platform allows you to pay for advertisements:
• Branded Lenses: These are custom filters related to your business.
• Sponsored Hashtags: Hashtags that your company sponsors will receive a custom banner on the app’s Discover page.
• Brand Takeovers: Before users are initially able to see other content, they will see advertisements in this category.
• Native Ads: These ads play between content that has been created by other users.
You’ll have plenty of advertising potential through the above methods. Keep in mind that some may be more effective than others since there are many variables at play (such as what industry you operate in, what you sell, etc.).
A Good TikTok Strategy Could Be Game-Changing for Your Brand
The information presented here provides a primer so you can develop your own TikTok advertising program. So, what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking!