Not so long ago you might recall something called Vine. You know…those 6-second-long videos that brought you joy and laughter all those years back? The default app you would go to as you were sitting on the toilet, I’m guessing you know what I mean by now. The app received a lot of praise and acceptance during its time, however its life was cut short in the Spring of 2017.

Eventually platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter came to fill this void, implementing their own versions of Vine into their service, and slowly the world began to forget about this little bundle of joy we called Vine…until TikTok appeared. Like Vine, TikTok is also considered a “Video Sharing Social Networking Service”, it’s built upon its predecessor’s success and pushed itself outside of the Chinese market into the West. As of now, TikTok is available in over 150 markets and in 75 languages, obtaining the title of “most downloaded app” in the US by October 2018. One point to highlight is its popularity among the younger generation with almost 66% of the user-base being under the age 30…perhaps marketers can make use of this. Rather than talk about the app in high-level detail, let us explore what TikTok has to offer in terms of buffing up your marketing strategy. So without further ado… When it comes to marketing on TikTok, there are two avenues you can walk down: the way of the influencer or the path of the original content-er (is that even a word? Well it is now!). 

We’ve all come across influencers in our life, whether that may be platforms like YouTube or Instagram, therefore we cannot neglect the power they bring to the table when alliancing with one to help push your product. The major benefit of having an influencer do the work for you is obviously the fanbase they’ve already built up. All you need to do is to strongly encourage them to make videos either showcasing…borderline endorsing your product or simply just using it. The key to making an alliance with influencer work is to outline the appropriate goals and target the correct audience.

Influencers on TikTok are usually young’uns (like me), who come in various sizes, taste and fashion. Not any Tom, Dick or Harry will cut it for you, so you will definitely find yourself needing to vet the said person. When I say vet, I mean you will need to confirm that the influencer is someone who will genuinely be using your product. Why this matters is because they, as influencers need to remain faithful and authentic to their fans, trying to ‘sell’ something that’s completely relevant.

Once you’ve picked out the correct and appropriate influencer you will need to have time and patience like you would give a baby. Nurture them. Praise them. Feed them. Ok…maybe not the last one. Basically you will need to give a sufficient amount of autonomy, as well as benefits – allowing and trusting them to produce their videos.

Or.. perhaps you might want to dabble in some original work and try to build that cult of personality from the ground up. Be warned though, this approach may lead to higher levels of stress than usual due to the constant engagement of one’s creativity, time and resources, eventually there will come a day when you see yourself just doing TikToks all day long. This way of marketing appears to be trending in the last few years, so don’t be thrown off by the amount of work needing to be put in, if anything, the content generated by yours truly is probably a very good method of engaging with your fanbase. If you are struggling to create a good way of engaging with your audience, a common approach is to try and get them to either interact with your product or to involve them in some competition/challenge. 

One case-study worth mentioning is how a group of guys at this Chinese restaurant called Haidilao came up with the insane idea to give customers the power to create their own dish whilst they filmed them. Needless to say, once these clips were viral, thousands of people began flocking to their doors. As a result, over 2,000 clips were produced with almost 50 million people viewing these, not too shabby for a video platform!

The key to distributing original content is to serve your growing fanbase with light-hearted videos that promote your product, what you want is to build something special between you and your fans. If you sell makeup, show them some cool techniques on how to make that tired face into a not-so-tired face or try to kick off your cooking brand, bake some awesomely presented cakes.

TikTok is booming. Though it doesn’t have an ads platform just yet, we do have these two options. Whether they are ideal for you, remains a question for you to answer. But like with any social networks, the ads platform will arise sooner or later. In the meanwhile, have fun marketing through either of those channels, if you can’t then it’s worth using TikTok for the memes.