The word TikTok is no longer as alienating as other Gen-Z terms (looking at you: turnt, woat, yeet). Anyone older than 18 has slowly, sceptically, added it to their social media lexicon.
It needs to be in there. You don’t just need to be using TikTok as a noun. You need to turn it into a verb. You need it on your marketing horizon, because it’s currently on over 2 billion smartphones and it’s about to become even more popular.
Designed to allow users to share 15-second videos, TikTok mixes the easy-to-record accessibility of Snapchat with the community of Instagram and the extensive music library of Spotify.
It’s no wonder it’s knocked Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat off the most-downloaded app top-spots in recent years.
The video-sharing app has another quality that helps it shine through the rest: it constantly inspires fun, creative, surprising, feel-good content. And it’s not yet been overrun by advertisements.
Thanks to this uplifting atmosphere - videos of lip-syncing, dancing and applying makeup to potatoes - partnerships between influencers and brands on the platform can have a positive impact. It doesn’t feel corporate or commercial. Instead, the focus is on authenticity, organic reach and an algorithm that serves up genuinely interesting content, adjusted to your watching habits over time.
So, the magic question is, can you make money from it?
TikTok o’clock: The time for monetising viral videos is now
Brands and marketing agencies are shifting their budgets from traditional media (such as TV and billboards) and ploughing more effort and money into partnering with relatable influencers.
Researchers at UK games company Online Casinos estimate the app is dominating the social sphere so rapidly that some influencers will be charging close to $1m per post by 2021.
If you can afford to get a big-time TikTok influencer to promote your stuff, it’s totally worth the investment. But thankfully (for those of us on more modest budgets) high-status social stars aren’t the only ones who can earn visibility and money from uploading entertaining videos on TikTok.
The wonder of TikTok is that early-adopters of the platform are ripe for picking when it comes to affordable brand-influencer partnerships. As with all collaborations, you need to make it simple for them to promote your brand organically. And one of the best ways to do that on TikTok is with a challenge.
Challenges for positive cash flows
TikTok users thrive off challenges, such as the #InMyFeelings challenge (more on this here). Paying influencers to promote your own branded challenge is an ideal way to kickstart a chain reaction. A well-executed campaign that’s impossible for other users to resists participating in can inspire hundreds to copy - giving your marketing buck more bang exponentially.
Anyone can replicate the valuable viral success of brands and influencers on the video-sharing app. But they must keep up with this evolving social consciousness. A spokesperson for the app announced TikTok will advertise during the Tokyo Olympics this summer: “TikTok is part of the zeitgeist now. We’re going to continue marketing at these large tentpole moments.”
If you’re a brand, influencer or marketer, watching the way the world is going should be top of your priority list. Right now, the world is championing talent over status - TikTok’s roaring success is proof of this. And if a company this successful continues to increase its marketing efforts, you need to adapt like your business depends on it. It might.