Woman holding phone taking a selfie

Marketing in the age of TikTok

How the app can benefit your business

5 minute read
Woman holding phone taking a selfie

If you have not heard of TikTok, it is time to emerge from under that rock.

TikTok is a short-form video hosting service that rose in popularity during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Not only is it a source of entertainment, it is also a great platform to market your business.

Social media marketing should be your highest priority

Social Meteor is a boutique creative agency in Perth offering results-driven advertising solutions and social media management for businesses of any size.

Managing Director Luke Whelan said it used a range of advertising and content strategies with a focus on social media.

“TikTok is the most downloaded app in the world right now, hosting more than 1.2 billion users who spend an average of 52 minutes per day scrolling, so it makes sense that you consider whether it’s suitable for your business,” he said.

“We believe your social media marketing strategy should be every modern brand’s first priority when it comes to connecting with an audience.”

Powered by a unique algorithm, TikTok uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a For You Page, which is tailored based on the videos you interact with.

“While social media giants Facebook and Instagram build on connections between people you know in real life, it’s easy to scroll through TikTok for hours and not see anyone you know or follow,” Mr Whelan said.

“TikTok determines your interests by meticulously tracking the type of videos you interact with, whether it’s a like, a comment or a share.”

How to launch yourself or your business on TikTok

In order to increase your reach, Mr Whelan suggested using trending audio and ensuring the first one to two seconds captured the user’s attention.

“It’s way too easy for users to scroll past your content,” he said.

“Videos ranging from 11-15 seconds are optimal but anything over six seconds is ideal.

“Choose a bright, colourful cover photo to attract attention and keep content timely and relevant.

“Just like the other social media platforms, if you have the right tools and resources – particularly because TikTok is video only – it’ll make it much easier to harness the benefits of TikTok marketing.

“It all starts with planning great content and using the best practices.

“However, the shoe doesn’t necessarily fit all industries, especially considering TikTok primarily has a younger audience and is purely video.”

Success on TikTok can be life changing

Using TikTok as her main platform for marketing, Teagan Jacobs – Creative Director and Owner of Perth-based fashion label Teagan Jacobs – realised the power of TikTok in 2020.

“I joined TikTok in February 2020 with the intention of having fun and sharing the beauty within my daily life,” she said.

“It wasn’t until March 2020 when I had my first viral video that I realised just how powerful and life changing the app could be.

“The result of this video was something I could have never imagined.

“The morning after I posted that video, I gained more than 5000 new followers on TikTok, and then those followers trickled through to my Instagram and my website, where I was overwhelmed with orders and support.”

Ms Jacobs said, on average, 97 per cent of her sales came directly through TikTok.

“The Shopify platform, which I sell my garments on, tracks where customers originate from and, if it’s not TikTok, then Instagram comes a close second,” she said.

What are the essentials for content creation?

Ms Jacobs said although strategising your approach was fine to start off with, consistency and authenticity with your content was key.

“If you don’t build a community of people that care about you or what you’re doing, then the audience won’t stick around,” she said.

“Your authenticity will be your most valuable asset and will be more successful in the long run than any viral TikTok trend everyone else is filming.

“In my opinion, it’s more important to be yourself and create that human connection through video, that way you’re offering something that no one else is.”

Ms Jacobs is the sole employee of her business, which makes soft, whimsical and hyper-feminine garments for the hopeless romantic and the daydreamer.

“I design, pattern make, cut and sew all garments myself in my home studio,” she said.

“I spend at least one full day a week sewing, filming and editing video content for TikTok.

“I make exclusive content for TikTok and, at other times, I film while I sew or pack orders for my business – it exerts less effort and it’s a more authentic way to make video content because I am doing the work I would normally do, but just filming the process.”

What business owners will need to know

Mr Whelan had some tips for those looking to market their business on TikTok:

1. The time is now

Getting on a platform early typically makes it easier to gain leverage. Like Facebook and Instagram accounts in the early days, your business is more likely to be seen and have a much higher engagement rate.

2. Get advertising

When it comes to TikTok advertising, there are two ways to target views – interest or behavioural.

Interest targeting is very similar to Facebook where you can select an audience with a particular interest who you wish to see your content.

Behavioural targeting allows you to target views based on their recent behaviour on the app, spanning the last week to fortnight.

3. Don't try too hard

The best way to be successful on TikTok is to show up, engage with the community, have fun and not make advertisements feel like advertisements.

Sour Patch is a great example, boasting more than one million followers, it is the platform’s most followed snack brand.

They have formulated simple yet effective campaigns, including a #SourPatchPrankFunk challenge around April Fool’s Day, where the brand rewarded TikTokers with snacks and money for their pranks.

TikTok encourages users to embody its motto – Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.

4. The power of influence

Once you have established your brand, you can allow influencers to do a lot of the work for you – that is, if you choose the right influencer for your brand.

Choose an influencer based on how you want your brand represented. It can be very successful but also quite detrimental if done incorrectly, so it’s important to get it right.

Influencers charge depending on the number of followers they have, so be mindful of what value they can bring through their audience and whether this is going to make an impact on your brand or not.