Big News! We won Ad Age Small Agency of the Year.

October 25, 2021

The Answer is Yes, You Should Be Using Tiktok

Taylor Waisanka

Why You Should Be Using TikTok

It’s no secret that social media is now used for much more than connecting, communicating, and providing entertainment to its users. It has evolved into the largest, most useful marketing tool of its time through app “giants” such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Snapchat. But in 2018, Tiktok came on to the scene as the most downloaded social media app of the year, and again in early 2020 with 700 million downloads globally. With its audience skewing younger (ages 12–25), and despite its raging popularity, Tiktok has remained a foreign concept to many due to its lack of intention and complexities as an app. So, what is Tiktok and why is it so beneficial for brands, yet most are not convinced?

Let’s put it simply.

Tiktok is a short-form video app users can create content through using various sounds, effects, trends, and hashtags. Unlike any of the major social media platforms, Tiktok is an immersive entertainment experience, where users can communicate and see people “face-to-face” through organic, improvisational content by scrolling up and down as opposed to side-to-side. Using an algorithm dictated by likes follows, and general interests, Tiktok makes it easy to find “communities” that best suit the user, along with other appealing content such as #BookTok, #HealthTok, or #FashionTok, to name a few. If we were to compare Tiktok to any platform other than its deceased cousin, Vine, we would compare it to Instagram—a photo/video album of polished, aesthetically pleasing content created to be more of a lookbook of peoples’ lives, passions, careers, etc. Tiktok is more conversational and entertaining in nature, with its low budget demands and wide range of opportunities for connectivity; it’s a place where authenticity is not only accepted, it’s expected. And more than that, it’s celebrated.

So, why does my brand need it?

Generally, if you have a pulse, you’ve heard of Tiktok. As of May 2020, there were 800 million active users, which is the main reason why businesses are now paying close attention to this strange, wonderful phenomenon. Why Tiktok works for so many brands is because it inspires organic growth, giving them the opportunity to build a narrative, engage with their audiences, and truly make the platform their own. Brands have the advantage to be at the forefront of their intended audiences’ feeds by either joining ongoing conversations or creating new ones for users to engage with. Tiktok has also recently implemented Tiktok For Business and the Small Business Resource Center, providing businesses creative tools and resources to help owners get comfortable with creating content. And although Tiktok is known for its “casual posting,” businesses still have the ability to create Ads within the app using various formats such as:

  • TopView: ads that appear when you first open the app
  • Infeed Videos: ads that pop up in between user content to help generate increased clicks, web traffic and downloads
  • Brand Takeovers: brands take over Tiktok for a day and create images, GIFs, and videos that link to web pages or hashtag challenges
  • Hashtag Challenges: ability to be in the foreground or background of videos through trending sounds, filters, or popular hashtags i.e. The Home Depot Beat
  • Influencer-Created Content: partnering with an influencer which could lead to an increase in direct sales and audience growth

When it comes to brands’ social strategies and budgets, they also gain more creative and financial freedom with Tiktok’s low-budget demands and the expectation of user-generated content. After all, that’s the way Tiktok intended it to be—it’s how they’ve created this culture of “realness” users are so attracted to. Tiktok’s Global Head of Small Business Solutions, Becca Sawyer, once said in an interview, “Ads that perform best don’t look or feel like ads—they embody our “Don’t make ads. Make Tiktoks” motto.” This contradictory strategy to most social media platforms has proven to be highly effective with brands such as Aerie, Gap, Home Depot, and Sour Patch Kids, who all took advantage of the app’s many useful features and viral potential.

To give you a look into how it actually works, let’s talk about Aerie’s Crossover Leggings’ success. In 2020, a college student, Hannah Schlenker, bought a pair of Aerie Crossover Leggings at the mall and then later created a video wearing the leggings while dancing to a Justin Bieber song. Her single post prompted over 700,000 searches for the product on Aerie’s website, as well as a surging increase of 200,000% in Google searches. But that’s not all—Aerie then received a total of 130,000 emails from customers requesting to be put on their “notify me” waitlist. Talk about conversions. Many users will tell you, “It only takes one video to go viral, and you’re in.” The challenges for brands have been the willingness to jump into the Tiktok realm and the dedication it takes to stay. 

Not a fad, but a fact.

Many people are concerned about the “trendy” aspect of Tiktok when it comes to their brands, and while trends are fleeting, the app is not. In 2021, Tiktok reached 1 billion users, and it’s projected to only keep growing. Brands should look at Tiktok as a huge opportunity to boost brand awareness and generate more direct sales for their products or services, while also seeing it as an internal opportunity for their brand to develop its narrative, personality, and relevance within the market. So, if you’re still asking yourself, “Should our brand be using Tiktok?” the answer is Yes. If you’re ready to talk Tiktok and learn more about how it can help your brand, reach out to us!