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In my last blog, I revealed my nerdy obsession with all things marketing. This led me to spend a significant amount of time delving into social media sensation, TikTok. 

Now, I’m going to take a closer look at how you can use the platform to drive brand engagement and, ultimately, boost sales. I’ll be looking at TikTok for business.

Understand Your Audience

OK – first things first. If you’re using TikTok as a marketing channel, chances are you’re a consumer brand that wants to reach the hugely influential, digital and mobile native Generation Z: those aged 16 to 21. 

That’s fine. You know your customers better than anyone. But do spend some time on the platform. It’s clear just by looking at some of the featured ‘trending’ videos that the user-generated content here is as often sophisticated as it is plentiful.

Like people, brands can also have their own TikTok account. And a significant number of them already do. It’s not hard to see what companies like Teen Vogue, Apple Music, Calvin Klein, and the NFL stand to gain from being there.

Create Great Content

By ‘great’ I mean shareable, relatable, fun, and engaging. Easier said than done, right?

It’s interesting that less traditionally youth-focused brands are also crushing it. When it comes to getting TikTok’s cheeky, edgy, vibe on point, everyone can do it.

Restaurant brand, Chipotle’s ‘Adele’-inspired video is a great example of a brand doing what it’s supposed to on TikTok (getting nachos to ‘lip sync’). 

Work with Influencers to Get Your Brand Noticed

If you really want to get ahead on TikTok, you’ll need to tap those with the biggest followings: the influencers. 

For example, Chipotle worked with TikTok influencer Brittany Broski (2.4 million followers and counting) to create this odd little comic gem. It is simply about decorating Christmas trees with Tex-Mex ingredients – gaining in excess of 4,000 likes.

Advertise (On TikTok’s Terms)

As with all online marketing channels, the way in which they monetize hinges on the way in which the platform works. On TikTok, advertising takes several key forms. Native ‘in-feed’ content (ads driving website clicks and app downloads), brand takeovers (as it sounds), branded lenses (a la Snapchat and Instagram), and hashtag challenges.

The latter is most unique to TikTok. Brands basically throw down the proverbial gauntlet to users. Inciting them to create content that complements the challenges look and feel – and encourages them to showcase their products. Case study? Uniqlo’s #UTPlayYourWorld (take a look).  

All of The Above

However, as we all know, campaigns are all the more powerful when different elements are aligned together to achieve maximum impact. Consider Guess Jeans’ #InMyDenim campaign – celebrated as one of TikTok for business biggest success stories to date.

In addition to putting together a hashtag challenge (encouraging users to proudly wear their denim), Guess employed numerous TikTok influencers to feature in their campaign and launched a ‘splash page’ takeover to ensure maximum eyeballs.

The result? Pretty significant, according to TikTok:

‘During the 6-day campaign period, #InMyDenim realized over 5,550 user-generated videos, 10.5 million video views, 14.3% engagement rate and over 12,000 additional followers for Guess’ business account on TikTok.’

Long Term?

But the big question is: will TikTok stay the distance? Is it just another fad that youngsters will grow out of? 

All things considered, eventually, the answer is probably ‘yes’. But, like Facebook, you’ll know it’s touched a nerve when it’s 2 billion users strong – even if all the youngsters abandon it. That’s a number marketers would be foolish to ignore.

Like most platforms and marketplaces, the network effect of achieving scale always leads to monetization. It seems TikTok is right at the start of that journey.

Still not clear on how you can use TikTok for your business and boost your brand’s marketing? Contact me today!

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