TikTok has only been around for a few years, but with the global pandemic that gave everyone more time to explore the platform, its reputation is vastly expanding as the fastest growing social media platform of all time – pushing marketers to consider utilising TikTok and its business benefits. 

As one of the most downloaded apps of all time throughout the last two years, the short-cut video app continues to connect consumers and brands through creative, innovative posts that almost every other social media giant has attempted to replicate the concept in the style of ‘reels’. 

TikTok has over 1 billion active users worldwide, the same number of users that took Instagram almost 9 years to gain. With all social apps, it’s easy to get lost for a couple of hours, but TikTok has a certain je ne sais quoi that leads the younger generation to enjoy hours and hours worth of collaborative content. 

The making of TikTok – a look back on its history 

TikTok doesn’t have a story as romantic as other aspiring startups. It originally began its journey as three different apps trying to make the cut. The initial app was named ‘Musical.ly’, which launched in Shanghai in 2014 but was still widely popular across the UK and US markets. 

In 2016, ByteDance launched a similar service in China called Douyin. With over 100 million users attracted throughout China and Thailand in the space of a year, ByteDance got a flavour for the excitement and decided to expand their brand. By 2018, It bought Musical.ly, bid farewell and welcomed what would be the greatest social media apps of all time… so far. 

What is the secret to TikTok’s success?

TikTok’s overnight phenomenon lies within its extraordinary algorithm – one that learns the ins and outs of what content users want to see on a much quicker scale than many other social platforms. Users have a wide variety of choices when it comes to songs, filters and current trends, trends that can begin from an account with little to no followers, yet end up posted across the entire app as the latest joke or powerful movement.

Instead of searching the app for preferred content, the For You page is so well refined that it seems to be the place where most users will spend their time. The algorithm puts similar content that users have already engaged with in front of them, along with content that it believes has the potential to go viral, regardless of the original poster’s popularity status. 

Addressing TikTok’s audience and creators

It’s no secret that the app’s main demographic is kids, teenagers and young adults, which makes sense since generation Z is known for welcoming new social platforms with open arms. But, as time goes on, adults are also enjoying the app, which argues just how successful the algorithm is. 

The community on TikTok expands to beauty, food, dance, fitness, health, fashion, music and more – making it a great place for brands to promote their products and connect with consumers, influencers and other brands for collaboration opportunities. This level of social interaction has introduced a whole new world of influencer/brand relationships, with TikTok influencers becoming some of the most famous people in the world at this moment in time. 

How can businesses use TikTok for marketing?

The main factor that sets TikTok apart from other social platforms is its ability to encourage an incredibly creative yet informal and fun environment. Brands have become more of a friend to their consumers by taking part in the latest, humourous trends, making them more human and therefore more relatable.

TikTok doesn’t require a huge budget to get in front of the desired audience, it’s been proven time and time again that unpremeditated content makes its way quickly through the For You page than content that is pre-planned to perfection. 

Unlike other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and especially Instagram, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have – reach and engagement on TikTok is limitless. TikTok accounts with zero followers can gain millions of views overnight, just by how the algorithm works. 

Brands who do TikTok well

Netflix – making connections 

Netflix has always known how to communicate with its audience on social media. With their hilariously relatable memes and popular hashtag challenges, TikTok is the perfect place for Netflix to thrive and their account is growing by the millions. The company has even used TikTok to find their latest proteges for films, such as Addison Rae, TikTok dance superstar now turned actress in the latest Netflix Original ‘’He’s All That’’. The immense opportunity for collaboration between teenagers who dance in their bedrooms and corporate giants is what makes TikTok so fascinating.

Ryanair – budget airline, budget content… first-rate success

It’s almost impossible to believe that the UK’s most well-known budget airline is now the perfect example of how quick-witted humour can encourage a large following and mass engagement, but it is true. 

Ryanair has developed a brand consistency that is enjoyed on a viral scale, leading the brand to gain more than a million followers in 2021. While it’s easy for brands to get carried away with the latest trends and forget their core selling point, Ryanair jumps on what’s hot at that current moment all while factoring in their main business offerings. Their relevance, naturally cool persona and the ability not to take themselves too seriously has made them well-loved amongst the Gen Z users on TikTok.

Nandos – cheeky by name, cheeky by nature

Nandos has always pushed the boundaries in its marketing which makes it such a popular and inviting place for everyone to enjoy good chicken and good times. On TikTok, that trademark cheeky humour has the perfect platform to truly express the brand and its out of the box thinking. They love to shed insight on secret menu items, make light-hearted jokes about their customers and share new and upcoming dishes.

Gymshark – working the platform out

Gymshark’s TikTok focuses on how to better yourself through many forms of exercise and aims to provide expertise and support. With help from influencers and brand ambassadors creating human, relatable and comforting content, users are encouraged to post their fitness journeys – putting Gymshark on the map and your For You page. 

TikTok tips and tricks 2021

There are plenty of tips and tricks that marketers can use to get started on Tik Tok:

  • Get branded: Create your branded page on TikTok and start creating different types of content to see what works. Take a look and research all of the latest trends you could follow that are still slightly relevant to your business. The best way to gain popularity on the app is to engage with the current memes and make them fit with your brand. While organic reach on TikTok is fascinating, the content will only do well if it relates to your consumers and the company. 
  • Switch to a business account: The best way to get the most out of Tik ok as a brand is to switch to a business account. This can be done by clicking on ‘Manage Account’ and then ‘Switch to Business Account’. A business account allows you to add a website URL to your profile, access TikTok analytics and analyse stats about your audience and video results. 
  • Try TikTok advertising: While TikTok is on par with Instagram in terms of the number of users each has, TikTok is yet to be suffocated with advertisers – meaning you can achieve great results with less pressure and at a more affordable price. You can promote sponsored hashtag challenges, run in-feed adverts and target age, location and other demographics. Advertisers have the opportunity to target people who have viewed similar content to what they are posting. 
  • Create relationships with influencers: TikTok’s influencer community has seen phenomenal growth since its launch. They are experts on the app and know what works and what doesn’t. Utilising influencers will help you not only promote your products or services but also learn about the app and how to better utilise it.  

TikTok has transformed the marketing world all while overtaking every other social platform that has been around for years. It just goes to show that things can change at a rapid pace, and it’s important as a marketer that you make sure to keep up with the trials as well as the trends.

Get in touch today to find out more about using social media to market your business.