Not only is it an awesome tune by Kesha, TikTok is the hot social platform of the moment for young people. It already has over 500 million users per month, overtaking both Twitter and Snapchat in 2018. In fact, it was the most downloaded app in the world at the start of 2018. So, is it about time that marketers started to take a more serious look at this app? Will it peak and trough like Vine? Or is it yet another fad?
What is TikTok?
The mobile app allows users to watch musical clips, film 60 second videos, edit them, and add special effects to them like filters. The difference versus the story feature on Instagram or Snapchat is that the video clip doesn’t disappear afterwards. Lip-syncing is a popular video choice, even gummy bears singing Adele is a hit. Unusually you don’t have to follow anyone specifically, you just get fed a stream of content.
Hashtags are a key part of the platform. So far, they have been used effectively to either launch a new challenge or a new filter. This presents a great entry point for brands to engage their audiences by launching their own hashtag. You may have heard about Jimmy Fallon’s tumbleweed challenge, coinciding with the launch of his new ‘Challenge’ segment on the Tonight Show. In a matter of days, 8,000 people shared videos of themselves rolling around on the floor like a tumbleweed. Simple fun.
Jimmy Fallon is one of a handful of celebs making the most of TikTok and it’s already huge in China. Will it see the same success in Europe? We might need one big stunt to kick it off and really put it on the radar. Maybe a Jimmy Fallon Sharpie challenge equivalent?
Users so far have been enjoying an ad-free experience, but the platform has recently started looking to monetise with the introduction of a few ads. As was probably inevitable. It’s also done a first partnership with Guess – the #InMyDenim challenge. It might be a little while yet before we see ads and brand partnerships as a major feature of the platform.
How can marketers use TikTok?
The platform brings a breath of fresh air for marketers with younger audiences looking for a trendy new way to use video content or engage with UGC. It’s a good fit for brands with strong visuals that want to show off a bit of personality too.
There’s influencer potential here too. Unsurprisingly, TikTok has built up quite a strong community already and so-called influencers have already emerged. As influencer marketing continues to demonstrate how powerful it can be it’s worth exploring how this new wave of social stars can be partnered with.
Overall, TikTok is a fun, creative challenge for brands to develop 15 second videos that tell a story. Each video can link to another meaning you can create a longer narrative, but the simpler the content the better. It has the potential to effectively reach a huge audience.
So will TikTok become a mainstream social media platform to add to the big four of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat? We will have to see what 2019 brings for the app. Facebook has already launched a competitor version of their own, Lasso, so it won’t be an easy ride to stay at the top.