TikTok: How to promote your business on the youth’s new phenomenon

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TikTok: How to promote your business on the youth’s new phenomenon

These last few decades we have progressively seen the emergence of social media, which have gradually become an integral part of digital marketing strategies. The Covid-19 health crisis has had a particularly important impact on the business world and has impacted their digital transformation in most of the sectors extending from trade to entertainment via education.

“Facebook and Instagram are the prominent networks in this field being used by 94% and 76% of marketers respectively.” (Source: Statista)

More recently, a new phenomenon has emerged and has enjoyed great success, particularly among the youth: TikTok. Indeed, the social media from China now counts more than a billion users per month and this number keeps increasing. Integrating TikTok into your social media strategy can therefore be a real asset for any entrepreneur or business, particularly if their principal target is a young audience. In this article, we will go over the different elements that make TikTok so particular, the dazzling success of this application and we will see how this social media can be integrated into a digital strategy.

Table of contents

1. Where does TikTok’s success come from?

a. Historical background

Some of you may know Musical.ly, the predecessor of TikTok and which up to 2018, had more than 100 million users. This application was used to make humorous videos thanks to its short dialogue options and the choice of numerous songs to choose from those users could imitate in play-back. Nevertheless, the business ByteDance (owner of Musical.ly as well as TikTok), stopped the application and transfer all its users and resources to TikTok.

b. What is TikTok?

It is a very popular application among the youth, particularly among the “Gen Z” regrouping youth under the age of 24 years old. This success is due to the endless options that allow this young public to express their creativity. Its particularity comes from the fact that its users can share 15 second, 1-minute or recently 3-minute videos.

“With more than 100 trillion dollars, the owner of TikTok ‘ByteDance’ is the most profitable start-up in the whole world.” (Source: Hootsuite.com)

In addition to Musical.ly characteristics, TikTok has numerous new functionalities extending to new filters up to a specialised algorithm. Here are some numbers to give you an idea. In less than three years, the application has been able to create a real empire of itself. The application is henceforth available in more than 200 countries and is the seventh most used social media.

2. What distinguishes this application from other social media?

With the digital development, in particular the last few years, it has become more and more important to create original and innovative content. Distinguishing yourself from your competitors is therefore essential to promote your business with success. It is exactly what TikTok allows you to do thanks to its numerous functionalities.

“TikTok users spend on average approximately 52 minutes per day on this platform.” (Source: Wallaroo)

TikTok has a huge influence on young people who can spend hours on it. In spite of some of its harmful consequences such as addiction, the application brings a lot of positive effects on the youth. Indeed, it is recognised for serving as a platform focused on videos of everyday life and allows for the sharing of knowledge on numerous subjects. Art, music and wellbeing are particularly exploited themes, especially with the sharing of cooking recipes or even exercises to keep in shape. It is then easy for the sectors concerned to integrate into it and to please their public if the latter is young and fond of the content found on TikTok.

3. How can we integrate TikTok into a digital strategy?

Its originality distinguishes it from other applications and allows you to attract a very large public. It is therefore necessary to keep this in mind when you want to integrate this network into your digital strategy by taking advantage of a maximum of its functionalities.

a. The most important functionalities

i. Short and attractive videos (effects, filters…)

The content of the applications is constructed in the form of short and often edited videox. It is therefore necessary to produce this type of video to promote your business, which is not always obvious. Luckily the application is intuitive and also offers automatic recommendations. To create a video, you just need to press the button at the bottom in the middle of the screen and choose the length of the video. It is possible to adjust the speed and choose from a wide selection of filters and effects: they are practical for setting the tone of your video. Filters can notably give a comical effect or promote branded products.

It is possible to add sounds and “GIFS” or stickers. These functionalities are especially useful for inserting your brand’s logo or simply photos of certain products. Sounds and music are recommended, particularly if they are trending at that time, as they are more likely to appear in search results and therefore be seen by more people. By taking part in certain trends, your videos may also have more chances to be seen and maybe even go viral.

ii. Algorithm and “For you page”

It is also essential to use the algorithm which ensures that your videos appear on the users’ “For you page”. This algorithm takes into account many factors that suit your profile such as similar videos to those you have looked for, liked or shared but also according to your language on the application as well as your type of mobile device. The algorithm also takes into account some other factors such as geolocation. It will also show you events and videos that come from areas close to your location. This functionality is therefore quite practical if you want to promote local products.  

Furthermore, it is based on several “levels of interest” of the user. A “strong interest indicator” for the algorithm is notably when a user watches a whole video and then watches it again, whereas geolocation is only a “weak indicator” as it says less about the individual’s preferences. Even if non-interested people receive these videos, it is possible for them to press a long time on the video and choose the “not interested” option that they do not have to see the same type of video again. By using the best hashtags as well as a good caption, your videos can appear to as many people as possible. Thanks to keywords, it is also possible to target your audience and thus attract potentially interested clients. It is then very important to select them correctly.

iii. Sharing videos

It is easy to share your videos and choose whether to share them with your followers only or with everybody. The “share” button also allows you to directly share the video on other social media. It can notably be sent via Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp or by email for those who do not have TikTok. The application also allows you to send your content to “your friends” on the application via the message section and allows them, by clicking on the video, to access the profile and the video itself to subscribe or like it. This is practical for getting your videos seen by people who do not use TikTok and thus increase their success. Also, the more active your followers are, the more it increases your chances to be favoured by the algorithm.

iv. Real-time analysis

For the content creators, the “Real-time analytics” option allows them to see the statistics linked to their content and thus adapt their videos according to their performance. If a certain type of content has received more views and likes than others, they can gear their future videos more towards that style. This functionality also generates graphs that show 7- or 28-day statistics and allows viewers to be classified by gender, location and activity on the application. This powerful tool is therefore a real advantage for developing and analysing their digital strategy on TikTok.

b. Using influencers

As we have shown in a previous article, it is very advantageous to integrate influencers into your digital strategy. Particularly on TikTok, this is even more the case as this will increase the visibility of your videos and the algorithm will give them an advantageous place in the feed. As TikTok is a video content sharing platform, the influencers looking to distinguish themselves can create videos in a unique style by employing the application’s resources to promote the partner brand’s products. The algorithm prioritises the appearance of influencers’ videos on the “For You Page” for people who have shown interest in similar videos before. These people are therefore more likely to be interested in this type of content, the videos will not only be shown to the followers of this influencer but far beyond. This page is quite similar to the “Discover” page on Instagram, but thanks to the algorithm these are more developed and efficient.

“The TikTok’s “For You Page” is the equivalent of the Instagram’s “Discover” page, except that it has a more advanced and engaged algorithm. It is much more personalised according to the user’s interests and its vertical screen experience allows them to continue scrolling.” (Source: Digital Agency Network)

i. Challenges

Influencers can start “Challenges” that often become viral. In this case, the fashion brand GUESS’ September 2018 advertising campaign encouraged consumers to use their GUESS jeans creatively and share videos thanks to the hashtag #InMyDenim. This challenge started with the use of 4 influencers who presented content ideas and appeared whenever users opened the application.

“During the 6-day campaign, #InMyDenim achieved more than 5,500 user videos, 10.5 million views, 14.3% involvement and more than 12,000 new followers on the business Guess account.” (Source: TikTok for Business)

ii. Duets and Livestream

Other options that influencers can use are the “Duets” and the “Livestream”. The “duet” option allows you to take a video and react to it or imitate it by appearing next to the original video. They can therefore create videos with your products and encourage others to recreate or react to them. They can also react to their followers’ videos and film their reactions in return.

“Livestreams” allow influencers to connect with their audience through comments and thus answer their questions and see their reactions to their content. Their public can send them “virtual gifts” that can be bought by consumers online and sent to their preferred influencers during livestreams. They will receive them as “diamonds” that they can collect and when they obtain a specific number, exchange them for money. If you have used an influencer for your digital strategy, they can present your products and answer consumers’ questions live. It is therefore very advantageous to use them as they have more resources to share your products and mostly to attract a target audience.

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It is therefore very advantageous to integrate TikTok into your digital strategy. Given the number of users and the time spent on the platform, your company can really get into the game by exploiting a maximum of different functionalities and borrowing codes. It is one of the best applications for reaching a young public. By calling influencers and setting up “challenges”, your brand can really get known and perhaps even go viral in a short time. The numerous options on the application as well as the power of the algorithm allow for greater targeting and give each company the possibility to create and broadcast videos in a style that is unique to them.

The integration of TikTok in your strategy on social media is therefore strongly recommended, especially if the main target of your company is young. We hope you enjoyed the article and that it helped you discover more about this growing network, so please do not hesitate to leave us a comment to share your ideas, impressions and experiences with TikTok. We will be happy to read what you think about it and exchange with you.

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