A once predominately lip-synching app has grown into a full short-form video content hub.
The platform sports features similar to those of Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter all meshed together to suck people in and keep them scrolling for more.
That’s right, we’re talking TikTok.
TikTok is booming and there is no way to ignore it. So, it is about time we address it head-on.
1. The Number of People on the App Is Insane
It’s probably no surprise to many that TikTok is heavily dominated by 18- to 34-year-olds.
Much like many previous “hot” social media platforms, young people adopted the platform first and held it close to their chest in the early days (when TikTok was still Musical.ly).
And while the users still heavily skew younger, the number of adults flocking to the platform cannot be overlooked. According to MarketingCharts, in May 2019 more than 1 in 8 U.S. adults had adopted the platform.
Today, the app has more than 1.5 billion users and you can find dentists, cops, teachers, parents, and even grandparents on the platform.
How to Find out If Your Audience Is on Tiktok
If you click on the “message” looking icon on a TikTok video, you can see who is commenting on the video.
Go through a few of the profiles and see what kind of person is interacting with what kind of content.
Remember, just because you find something interesting doesn’t mean your target audience will find something interesting.
You should be looking to find content that your target audience is interacting with.
2. The Users Aren’t Passive
Before opening the TikTok app, users are already committing to an immersive experience.
Video is the only type of content that captures all of your attention. Not only do you have to be looking at the screen, but your sound has to be on as well because the audio plays such a major role in the content.
So when a user opens up the app, they are dedicating their attention to the videos they are going to be watching.
Just Because Users Are There, Doesn’t Mean They’re There for You
Businesses have a really bad habit of running to the water hole and splashing around in it when they just need to line up and drink the water.
There is no reason for you to create a TikTok account if you are not going to be offering value in one way or another.
Users are there for entertainment, so be entertaining!
Sometimes you can get away with being educational, but that content will still have to be entertaining and engaging.
Remember, all it takes is a scroll for you to be out of the picture.
3. Attention Is Easy to Capture
Perhaps the most valuable feature of TikTok is the presentation of content.
Content is presented in a full-screen format which means there are no other distractions and there are no “partial” impressions.
This is very different from some platforms where an impression may be counted when only part of the post has been shown (see Google Ads).
With TikTok, you have the full attention of the user for at least a split second. All you have to do is figure out how to keep them watching.
And that may not be too hard as the latest study shows that, on average, users are spending 52 minutes per day on TikTok.
That means that, even if every video was a full minute long (which most aren’t), the audience watches at least 52 videos daily on TikTok.
Most platforms today are pay-to-play and even when you do pay, the platform layouts make it easy to skip through the content without even noticing a brand name – TikTok may be an exception.
Capturing User Attention on TikTok
Now, you are guaranteed users’ full attention for a split second and what you do with that split second is make or break.
So remember, users are used to fast content that is constantly changing.
They’re used to seeing people lip-synching videos, dancing videos, jump cuts, filters, editing, and “stories.”
If you aren’t offering one of those things in that first split-second, you aren’t going to make the cut.
4. Some(Not Every)One Else Is Already Doing It
Family Feud, Will Smith, Walmart, Chipotle, the NBA, tons of zoos and so many other businesses are already using TikTok.
Basically, brands that target younger people are starting to take advantage of the platform.
But remember, earlier we said that more than 1 in 8 U.S. adults are on the platform. We are just now starting to see brands like Guess, Sephora, and HP join in on the fun.
And while 89% of marketers are adding Facebook to their social media marketing plans for 2020, only 4% are adding TikTok according to the 2019 Sprout Social Index.
As a marketer, when I see that gap, I see opportunity!
There are over 1.5 billion people on a platform and only 4% of businesses are there?! Count me in!
Decide What Is Right for You
There are a few ways to get active on TikTok, just like anywhere else you can either post organically or you can do a paid campaign.
Organic posts are obviously the videos you can just post straight from your phone right after you record it.
TikTok is also allowing people to place ads in the form of promoted hashtags, in-feed ads, brand takeovers, or branded effects.
5. It’s Just Fun
No, TikTok is not going to be for everyone.
Just like Twitter isn’t for everyone. But most brands have something they can add to the platform – even if it is just UGC.
The reality of it is that consumers are craving ways to connect with brands.
Most marketers would argue that the best way to connect is through authenticity and relevancy. And what is more authentic and relevant than your sweet vet doing the Git Up Challenge with a puppy?
The platform gets people out of their comfort zone and also allows them to show off their talents all while being creative.
TikTok is just another opportunity to meet people where they are in a sense they understand and enjoy.
Creating Your First TikTok
I suggest creating your first TikTok to a “sound.” The sounds will give you a place to start your video (and people to copy).
There are a few ways to find sounds on TikTok – the first is to tap the sounds word at the top of the TikTok video capture screen. Tapping that will allow you to find sounds, but won’t show you any videos to pull inspiration from.
Another way to find sounds, probably the easiest is by watching tons of videos. Eventually, you will stumble across something that you like or you can make videos to.
Once you find that sound, all you need to do to use it is tap the record looking icon. You’ll be taken to a screen with a red “use this sound” button.
Getting your brand or business on TikTok does not have to be difficult.
But at some point, it is going to become a must.
Let 2020 be the year you dominate TikTok and get ahead of the game.
All screenshots taken by author, January 2020