Why savvy entrepreneurs are on Tik Tok, and why you should join in

TikTok was launched in 2016 as a video platform where people could share and edit videos. The Chinese app has now garnered an impressive 800 million monthly active users, and ranked sixth most downloaded social media apps among Kenyans on Google Play Store.

A 2020 Digital Trends report revealed that out of every 11 minutes spent on a mobile phone, 10 are on an app. That means the opportunity is there to create brand awareness. TikTok may seem like just another app for kids, but to put its growth into perspective, it took Instagram six years before it had the number of active users that TikTok does.

Here are some tips on how to include TikTok in your influencer marketing strategy:

 1.    Is your audience on TikTok?

The largest demographic of TikTok users is between the ages of 16 and 24. As such, it isn’t the place for serious sit-down sales pitches. Begin by studying the platform and what type of content works on TikTok and how to interact with others on the platform. Spend time on the app, make yourself a profile, follow popular users, and create practice content until you feel like you have a handle on what real users like to engage with and what the platform’s culture is.

It’s still unclear exactly how the algorithm works, but it seems to be much easier for your video content to go viral on TikTok than on other social media platforms. Create original, fun and visually appealing content incorporating your products and services and your business might go viral and catapult you into incredible success.

 2.  Creating approachable, fun content

Content is king, more so on TikTok. A good example is a 19-year-old Kenyan by the name Azziad Nasenya. She had been a creator on the platform for a while but it only took one video of her dancing in the ‘Utawezana’ challenge for her infectious smile to win over the hearts of Kenyans. She got instantly famous, landed a TV role and numerous endorsements. Nasenya was already a media student who used the app as a stepping stone to her career.

One of the biggest benefits of TikTok is that you don’t need to create highly-polished videos. In fact, it largely rejects it. Just pull out your smartphone and start filming.

 Here are some content ideas:

a.  Make video demonstrations: Of how to use your products or how not to. You can also use third-party apps like Boosted for more options for filters, text, and effects.

b. Go behind the scenes. This is a great opportunity to showcase your business in a less formal and more relaxed way.

c. Follow a trend: Keep an eye out for trends that suit your brand, and join in the fun.

d. Introduce a pet: 15 years after the first cat video was uploaded to YouTube, pets are still one of the most popular subjects of content on the Internet. If you have a pet, consider making it your business mascot!

 3.  Create a hashtag challenge

Hashtag challenges encourage users to create videos within a certain theme and add your branded hashtag to it. You can offer prizes as an incentive to join. They work especially well when they give users a fun idea for their own content to create.

One example of a highly successful campaign in the US was the #GuacDance by Chipotle. In honour of National Avocado Day, they encouraged users to post videos of themselves dancing to express their love for guacamole. There were 250,000 submissions, and Chipotle served 800,000 sides of guacamole that day.

Another is fashion retailer Guess’ #inmydenim challenge. The company prompted TikTok users to share a video of them going from rags to riches, in their Guess attire of course.

4.  Influencer collaboration

Don’t fight it, influencers are important for any social media campaign. In Kenya, influencer collaboration is fairly new but slowly taking up. Users as well as businesses have not fully explored how many numbers can be pulled in just one post by one influencer. Brands that are serious about making it on TikTok need to consider reaching out for a collaboration with someone that the 16 to 24 year olds like on social media.

A popular example of influencer marketing on TikTok is from Bang Energy, a sports energy drink company that partnered with the well-known influencer Danielle Cohn. The American influencer managed to rack up nearly 250,000 likes from her 17 million following on the sponsored video.

Another example is from Chipotle again. YouTube Influencer David Dobrik did a paid marketing campaign for the #ChipotleLidFlip challenge and got more than 100,000 submissions and 230 million views.

The key is to use an influencer whose audience matches your target audience. Hunt for online tools that let you search bios on TikTok, look for mentions of other brands, the most popular languages used in an influencer audience and more.

 5. TikTok advertising

It took a while but TikTok has finally introduced ads to their platform. A global survey by Global WebIndex found that 52 per cent of TikTok users globally would buy a product just to be part of a community. Further, 61 per cent tend to buy products advertised. The app offers precise targeting so you can make sure your ads are reaching the exact users that would be interested in what you have to offer.

TikTok offers four different types of ads. There is Infeed Native Content. This type of ad is similar to Snapchat or Instagram story ads and supports multiple features like website clicks or app downloads. You can measure the campaign’s success through tracking clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), video views and engagements.

Brand Takeovers are those that let brands take over TikTok for the day. A brand takeover ad pops up when someone opens TikTok. They can create images, GIFs and videos with embedded links to landing pages or hashtag challenges. TikTok only allows one advertiser for this format per day, and guarantees five million daily impressions.

There are also Branded Lenses, which are like the Snapchat 2D and 3D lenses for faces and photos. According to TikTok, 64 per cent of its users have tried face filters and lenses.

Lastly, there is Hashtag Challenges. Instead of trying to make a hashtag challenge go viral on your own, you can use promoted hashtags to get more engagement.

TikTok is here and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Might as well get familiar with the app and have some fun.