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If you read our last blog post, 5 reasons why you should use video content to stop the scroll, you know that video production is exceedingly on the rise. Even social media giants like Facebook and Instagram are shifting to more video-based content and algorithms. A notable contributing factor to this change is the rise in popularity of the video-focused social networking service TikTok. Everyone from small creators to major enterprises like The Washington Post, Calvin Klein, and the NBA are taking part in the action. Aside from the endless stream of content tailored to your interests, TikTok can also be a gold mine for your business. With engagement rates unlike any other platform, the app gives you access to an audience you may not reach elsewhere.

What is TikTok?

TikTok – formerly known as Musical.ly – started as an app to create and share short-form videos, up to 15 seconds long. These Musical.ly videos were often posted to other, more popular social media sites like Instagram. However, in 2018, Chinese company ByteDance bought the app and moved all its users and accounts to a new app called TikTok. TikTok, while similar to Musical.ly, offered creators more features and a much wider scope for video creation. The video-based social networking site quickly rose in popularity as the users created trending videos like challenges, dance videos, and short comedy videos. While many still consider TikTok “An app that young people dance on.” it has become so much more.

In 2018, major celebrities worldwide did paid partnerships with the app, encouraging masses to download TikTok. Aside from celebrities, local influencers and everyday people started creating videos that piqued local interest. One of the most notable things the app has to offer is its algorithm. Localized content reached other users in the same country, province, and city. This sense of community helped users feel valued on the platform and kept them coming back for more. Because of the straightforward nature of the app, creating, posting, and especially watching content has never been easier. These short-form videos that have been tailored specifically for you show up one after the other, making it easy to keep you engaged for hours. Because of the addicting nature of the app, users are finding themselves getting lost in an endless stream of content.

Why should you care?  

This app has a unique way of holding users’ attention for sometimes even hours on end; This is rarely the case with other platforms that focus on photos or text. A unique aspect of TikTok is that, unlike other social media giants, it doesn’t have space for many traditional ads (yet). However, creators and brands can sponsor content to try to increase engagement. But, despite the lack of traditional advertising space, brands are starting to realize the potential TikTok has as a marketing channel. With over 1 billion users, TikTok is available in more than 150 countries, making it one of the most popular and fast-growing social media apps on the planet.

We can see the effect TikTok has on other social media giants, with apps like Instagram shifting their focus to video content in 2022. The reality is video is only increasing in popularity, and those making the shift now are reaping the benefits. Originally, TikTok was popular only with a very young demographic. But studies show that the TikTok user base is starting to age up, with users ranging in age from 13 – 50+. The app even has a feature for those under 13. Because the most substantial demographic currently on the app is Generation Z (those born between 1997 – 2012), many brands have overlooked the platform. However, it’s crucial to note that nearly all popular social media platforms started with a young consumer base. A Forbes article wrote, “if we have learned anything from the past, we should know that platforms people deem as ‘fads’ (Facebook, Instagram, even the internet itself) often become an integral part of our lives.” TikTok has been on a steady uphill rise in popularity since its fruition, with no signs of slowing down.

While many brands are seeing success from TikTok, it’s important to note the app is unlike any other platform. Using the same strategies that work for apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn likely won’t work on TikTok. Establishing a presence on TikTok requires a unique amount of authenticity that you don’t always see on other platforms. Users will quickly sniff out inauthentic content and choose not to engage with your account. One of the reasons TikTok is so popular is its fun and candid nature, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan your content or put effort into your videos. It does, however, require a bit of a balancing act of sharing your brand messaging without being too salesy. You can showcase what your brand offers without giving off the feeling that you’re making a hard sale. People expect a certain level of playfulness on TikTok, and you won’t see success if you take yourself or your brand too seriously.

It may seem like a lot to take in, but the best thing you can do is jump in head-first. TikTok is an excellent resource for generating brand awareness and engagement if used effectively. Brands that are willing to shake things up, try new things, and laugh at themselves in the process will see rewards for their efforts. TikTok is growing every day, so don’t wait to get on the platform. If nothing else, check out what the other people in your industry are up to. We can’t wait to see you pop up on our FYP!