Social Media

TikTok Is Growing. Can Your Brand Keep Up?

February 10, 2021

There is no doubt TikTok is one of the hottest platforms in the social media landscape. With the continuous roll out of new creators and TikTok influencers, the question that frequently arises on client calls within our digital agency is how brands can crack the code to reach a broad audience and convert more of them into sales through the platform. With Instagram rolling out a variety of e-commerce capabilities and updates, can TikTok keep up and potentially become the future of e-commerce?

The platform known for short-form videos of dancing, comedy, education and more has recently cropped up with a niche and growing category of shopper focused videos. This growing category includes influencers from Instagram’s fashion, beauty and lifestyle realm looking for their slice of the TikTok pie, along with a new set of creators sharing their everyday favorites and creating more organic engagement than Instagram has ever seen.

Compared to Instagram’s platform usability with tagged brands, links to products and shared affiliate codes, TikTok’s sky-high engagement seems to generate a “must-have” mentality and “where did you get this?” comments pop up on videos containing all kinds of products and services.

Back in October, TikTok announced its partnership with e-commerce platform, Shopify. According to a TechCrunch article, “The deal aims to make it easier for Shopify’s over 1 million merchants to reach TikTok’s younger audience and drive sales. The partnership will eventually expand to include other in-app shopping features, as well…” As brands continue using social media platforms to engage consumers and drive them further down the marketing funnel, it’s critical to evaluate the platforms capabilities and weigh them against the brand’s overall goals.   Our digital shopper marketing team has been keeping a close eye on the app and its potential to be a disruptive force for brand awareness and sales. With holistic brand campaigns constantly being developed to include everything from challenge hashtags, paid ads, organic influencer seeding along with fully blown out ad campaigns, there really is no one size fits all for every single brands. Some major factors we analyze on an hourly basis include what the brand’s goals are, who it’s trying to target and how the power of social media can be leveraged to make the biggest impact. And we can do it for your brand, too – so what are you waiting for? Become a client.

With the rise in organic engagement, it is a question whether brands should turn the wheels at targeting these TikTok influencers or begin their own platform of viral-worthy videos. In full transparency, hitting viral gold does not happen overnight. A brand we recently saw try to dominate the platform was Chobani and their attempt to launch a new product. The brand sought after a number of well-recognized TikTok influencers and engaged them in a paid campaign to challenge their followers to embark on the hashtag journey. Ultimately, we saw the campaign garner a total of 4.8B views and dominate an audience of adults.

The platform truly dominated by today’s youth has learned to garner millions of views per video. These younger creators have somehow managed to crack the code on starting viral worthy trends and dances that even adults have participated in, heightened through pandemic boredom. So, what exactly are the kids doing that puts them at the top of the list on lucrative partners? I believe the common denominator here is organic, holistic, and non-fluffy content. TikTok users seek the app as a means to distract themselves throughout the day, catch some giggles, and learn a thing or too. In today’s world, Instagram has been the platform stamped with a growing number of paid ads, partnerships and such with consumers on board with the transparency. On the contrary, the TikTok platform is in its fruitful stages of developing these updates and adjustments.

Learning to stand out in a crowd of binge-worthy content is key here. With videos falling in each category, it is quite hard to keep up with trending influencers and trends on the app and even harder creating an organic partnership with its many creators. Also on the rise, are brands looking to hire an entire TikTok department to dominate and reign. So as we circle back to the question as to whether brands can dominate the platform, as a public relations firm, our best practice could be to target TikTok creators and influencers and push their marketing efforts to Instagram as all TikTok creators do still reside on Instagram. This cross-over can help push new audiences, new partnerships, and new niche markets. Through influencer marketing, you can engage your audience and spread your brand to millions, and perhaps billions, of people using these apps on a smartphone.

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