In light of the pandemic, people have been turning to mobile apps — whether to shop for groceries, keep in touch with friends, or stay entertained. TikTok is one such app that has seen a meteoric rise as of late. In fact, an App Annie representative reports that TikTok has reached an average of 53.5 million weekly users in the U.S. in 2020 — a whooping 75% increase from the start of the year.
The user-friendliness of the interface combined with massive amounts of content makes for a diverse, enriching experience. From educational videos and funny clips to DIYs and dancing — you can find pretty much anything on TikTok. Of course, businesses have also jumped on the bandwagon, in an attempt to tap into the app’s invested user base.
After all, the app provides so many ways to get creative and showcase your products and services. If you’re wondering how to use TikTok for your brand, here’s how to get started.
Get to know the platform
With some social media platforms, all you need is great visuals and catchy captions — but the same can’t totally be said for TikTok. In a nutshell, it’s an app where you can share videos up to 60 seconds long. Now, this may not sound that different from Instagram Stories, YouTube, Snapchat, or even Vine. However, TikTok effectively combines the best parts of these platforms. You consume content through a feed, just like Facebook and Twitter. You also get suggestions through an algorithm rather than followers, like Netflix. Finally, you can only create content using a mobile phone, similar to Snapchat and Instagram. It creates a unique way to convey and consume information, so you need to be able to produce bite-sized content that is a fit for the platform.
Don’t be afraid to get fun and creative
TikTok isn’t the place to do serious sales pitches. A few minutes of scrolling through your feed will show you that the videos try to hook viewers in a matter of seconds. That being said, TikTok is all about light, creative fun — and you don’t even need highly polished videos. It’s a place for users and brands alike to experiment with trends and show a more casual and approachable side of themselves. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you can share outfit ideas, or even post dancing videos wearing your pieces. Or if you’re a skincare brand, you can post product demos and tips on how to maximize your items. The possibilities are endless.
Remember to post consistently
Entrepreneur Devin Caherly emphasizes that the app rewards consistency. If you really want to keep your brand top-of-mind for audiences, consider posting at least once a day. Chriselle Lim, co-founder and CMO of bümo, even recommends posting up to five videos in a day. However, manually publishing every post can indeed be tricky to keep track of. To help you out, consider using a TikTok scheduler. It helps you plan your posts in advance, making it easier to strategize your content and prepare them for publishing in one go. Moreover, a scheduler lets you crop videos so it’s optimized for TikTok. All in all, ensuring consistency is a good way to let audiences know that they’ve always got something to look forward to.
Collaborate with TikTok influencers
Working with influencers allows you to connect with a wider audience. The first step is to make sure that the people you’re partnering with matches your target audience. For one, you can send them free products in exchange for a review or a creative video. As an example, those in the fashion industry can tap influencers like Wisdom Kaye, who has collaborated with brands like Balmain and Depop. On the other hand, sustainable and wellness brands can partner with eco-focused influencers like Taylor Bright and Megan McSherry. Generally, the bigger the account, the more expensive a collaboration might be. However, the ROI can be huge if you find the right collaborators.
Don’t post for the sake of posting
It can be tempting to keep churning out content to stay relevant. But if you try to force it, you may just end up in a creative rut. Moreover, you don’t want to be posting just for the sake of posting. When you’re just starting out, it’s better to focus on quality rather than quantity. Ensure that every post is value-adding and is actually relevant to your brand. Take your cue from Lim, who — apart from being co-founder and CMO of bümo — also rose to fame because of her funny “rich mom” branding on TikTok. This is something viewers can see in all her videos — from her make-up tips to fashion hacks. Meanwhile, Chipotle thinks up ingenious ways to insert their brand into culturally relevant topics, such as videos like “The Signs as Chipotle Ingredients.” No matter what content you choose to make, connect it to your brand in a way that fits.
Deborah J Clawson
I have covered startups, retail and ecommerce industry for well over a decade and written for publications including Entrepreneur magazine, Vizaca magazine, Thrive Global, Bloomberg News. I have also been ranked as a top industry influencer since 2014. I’m just as eager to take in the stories of consumers. My passion for storytelling goes beyond retail. Originally from the UK but have traveled to many countries.