How brands can make the most of TikTok

TikTok is fast becoming the most popular app in the world.

It was the second most downloaded app in 2019, dethroning Facebook and Messenger from the top ranks.

It has captured the attention of many – with 400 million daily active users to be exact.
That’s right behind Instagram, who has 500 million daily active users.

It’s clear it’s popular – but what actually does the app do?

In simple terms, TikTok is a video-sharing app.

It allows users to create and share short videos of up to 60 seconds, with the majority of videos being at the 15 second point. Think Vine – redesigned.

TikTok is popular among the younger generations, with 80% of users being aged between 16-34. And it’s much easier to upload a video to than YouTube.

The reason TikTok is so popular is because it allows everyone to be a creator. Everyone is encouraged to share their passion, uniqueness and creativity through videos.

An interesting discovery was the motivations for using TikTok are inherently different from motivations for using other social media platforms.

Take Facebook, for example, one of the most popular reasons people use this platform is to be social. According to Pew Research Centre, 66% of adults online use platforms like Facebook to “stay in touch with friends”.

Contrasting to this insight, the motivation for using TikTok is not for social means, rather it is more creatively-minded. Users revealed they are most interested in seeing “other people’s creativity and having the chance to be creative themselves” (GlobalWebIndex).

These motivational insights show that users value self-expression and want creative and authentic content.

So, what does this mean for brands?

TikTok is all about user-generated content, but unlike other platforms like Instagram and Twitter, the app displays content based on algorithmically created taste profiles. This means on the ‘newsfeed’ the app shows content it thinks the user will like, rather than based on accounts the user follows.

As the voices and perspectives displayed can come from anyone, both ordinary people and celebrities, the importance of authenticity is at an all-time high.

How can brands leverage TikTok?

TikTok is growing at a rapid pace, and your brand can grow with it.

We know video can be daunting for those that are camera shy or not tech-savvy, but before you dismiss the idea, here are three ways your brand can leverage this app.

  1. Use it as a branded marketing channel for your business.
  2. Run an influencer marketing promotion for a branded campaign.
  3. Purchase paid advertising (although it is recommended to hold off this option until the market is more established). 

Let’s look at points 1. and 2. in more detail.

Using TikTok as a branded marketing channel for your business.

In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly sceptical of advertising, the power of raw and personable videos on TikTok is huge. It is a great way to humanise your brand and showcase why your consumers love your product/service.

Here are some video ideas to get you started:

  • Retail brands can film try-on hauls and showcase their clothes in an engaging way. You can even start a series where stylists are randomly given clothing items and they have to create different looks. Get creative, add music and have fun with it!
  • Does your product come in unique packaging? Or do you sell a product that requires set-up? Why not record an unboxing video to showcase your product? Create a call-to-action and get users clicking on your profile.
  • Restaurants and cafes can also show off their delicious food by filming the cooking process or sharing relatable videos of the chefs in the kitchen.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, #HashtagChallenges are great because they are simple to join in and you can add your own branded-flare to it. Chipotle does an awesome job of taking a spin on a viral video and relating it to their brand.

Check out the two videos below to see Chipotle in action.

Original video:

@imjakedanielsMy neighbours watched me film this & now think I’m weird 😂#foryoupage #viral #makemefamous #ukcomedy #uscomedy #makemeviral♬ sprint – goalsounds


Chipotle’s video:

@chipotle@ your Chipotle buddy #fyp #chipotle♬ sprint – goalsounds


Whatever industry your business is in, you can use TikTok as a branded marketing channel to showcase authentic content that will increase reach and drive awareness of your products and services.

Use TikTok to run an influencer marketing promotion.

Although TikTok-specific influencers are not as established yet, the growth of the app provides huge confidence that they will be in the near future. With Generation Z actively avoiding content that looks like a traditional ad, working with influencers on TikTok can be greatly beneficial to your brand as it can help widen your reach on the platform.

Before going ahead with anything, it is important that you research each potential influencer. To drive the best results from this strategy, the influencer’s audience should match your target audience. To help you find this information, look at online tools like Upfluence or Fanbytes. These tools assist brands with social listening and allow specific keyword searches to help brands find the perfect influencer fit. Once influencers are chosen, TikTok offers precise targeting, so you can make sure your brand’s campaign is reaching users that would be interested in your offer.

Over to you.

While TikTok is still a new platform, the huge rise in popularity provides confidence that it will continue to grow in the future.

With users already bouncing between platforms other than the top four (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube), it poses a question for your brand: if your audience moves to a platform like TikTok, will you be there to greet them?

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