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TikTok

Think your brand is ready for TikTok?

TikTok is much more than a dancing app for Gen Z’ers.

The Chinese social media platform, developed from popular lip-syncing app Music.ly, has captured the hearts and minds of over one billion monthly users and become a must-have platform for businesses striving for the attention of the younger market.

TikTok is a treasure trove of bite-sized content which, thanks to its clever algorithm, is tailored to you and your interests.

Who’s using it?

With people locked inside their homes, TikTok became the behemoth it is today, providing much needed reprieve from the pandemic and making those living in isolation feel less alone.

Despite TikTok openly welcoming third-party trackers to collect user data and do who-knows-what with it, Australians have not been turned off.

In fact, in 2020 alone Australia recorded an average of 42 million hours per month spent on TikTok and that number is continuing to grow, with TikTok coming in first place as the most downloaded app in 2021.

As for who is making up those hours, the age range may be a little older than first imagined.

Businessofapps.com reported that 35 per cent of TikTok users in 2021 were aged between 19 to 29 years of age, and 59 per cent of users were female. Following closely behind was the under 18s with 28 per cent and 30 to 39 category with 19 per cent.

Understanding the opportunity

For brands, TikTok may feel like just another social media platform they need to get accustomed to, create content for, and constantly monitor.

While it may feel like the wild west, it is crucial that your company can at least understand the opportunities TikTok presents when considering whether it is the right social media platform for you.

The platform provides brands an opportunity to broaden their reach beyond the standard Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users, and target a more untouched audience.

A brand who is doing this well is Telstra.

Known for its expensive and out-of-budget phone plans, young people have never been itsTelstra’s target market, especially when up against much cheaper competitors.

Telstra’s recent emergence on TikTok has worked wonders for its presence amongst this challenging market, humanising its brand and successfully attracting the attention of around one million users with every video.

@telstra POV: Building Australia’s best network 🥺 #telstra ♬ Lo – Official Sound Studio

Should you be on TikTok?

Yes and no.

Like all communications tools, it needs to be a part of a well thought out strategy, and too much content for the sake of it will do little to engage your audience.

However, TikTok does provide an exciting opportunity if you can hit the sweet spot: the potential to go viral.

Unlike Facebook or Instagram, TikTok’s ‘For You’ page (TikTok’s home page), displays videos which are either viral or tailored to users’ interests based on a very complex and accurate algorithm.

Your brand can be seen by thousands, if not millions of people, and if you strike the right chord, you don’t even have to pay to advertise it.

And while you may not have to invest a significant amount of money in advertising like you do on Meta’s platforms, the trade-off is investing your time on the app, understanding what’s trending and what resonates with audiences.

But going viral is neither easy nor simple. There is no formula to going viral, but there are steps you can take to ensure your content connects with people.

What you need to know

If you decide to bite the bullet and sign up for a TikTok account, the best place to start is setting out a clear and concise strategy.

Some must-haves for your strategy are:

  • Why is your brand on TikTok?
  • Who are you trying to target?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • How much time and resources are you willing to dedicate to TikTok?

Your content ideation should follow a loose content pillar strategy, where you categorise content to fit a content pillar that is both important to your organisation and interesting for your audience.

For example, a zoo might have an education content pillar and create videos that explain new research outcomes for a particular species.

@perthzoo We’re doing some snakey DNA work with Curtin University to solve the mysteries of the cryptic Pilbara Olive Python 🐍 #perthzoo #snakes_world #science ♬ original sound – Perth Zoo

The same zoo might also have a behind the scenes pillar with entertainment videos like animals eating their favourite food.

@perthzoo That tongue tho 😳 #perthzoo #echidna #aussieanimals #animalsdoingthings #zoo #zootiktok #aussietiktok ♬ original sound – KO

Getting the audience involved

The key to gaining traction on TikTok is to focus on engagement rather than fitting your content into a mould where you repeat key messages. The platform and its users favour creativity and humour.

You can weave your key messages into your content, but entertainment value comes first.

One account that understood the assignment is WA Police, who uses TikTok trends to convey a public safety message, all while humanising its workforce. WA Police has a highly engaged audience, receiving millions likes and views, with over 150,000 followers, despite only posting five videos over two years.

@wapolice When you accidentally say “you too” 🤦‍♂️ 👮🏼‍♀️ Did we do it right @Jake Krantz? #wapol #auspolice #police #fyp ♬ Safe and Sound Capital Cities – Jake Krantz

Tips for creating good content

Depending on your level of commitment, TikTok can be highly time consuming.

Here’s a handy to do list to keep close while creating your videos:

  • Monitor what’s trending so your content remains relevant and is more likely to end up on the For You page
  • Write a loose script
  • Record your video – using your phone camera is enough, just be sure to film in portrait!
  • Edit your video – this may take longer if you want to add interesting transitions
  • Add your music (bonus points if it’s a trending song on TikTok)
  • Write a caption (bonus points for emojis)
  • Decide on three to five hashtags to help users find your content (reference the For You page to see what’s trending)
  • Keep an eye on your engagement and be sure to reply to comments!

You are then going to have to do it all over again, but different.

Testing, 1 2…

The secret to understanding what content works on TikTok is testing.

Take some time to test different types of content so you can learn what works well and what ‘flops’.

Review your metrics and comments (or lack thereof…) to better understand your audience and their expectations.

Keep a close eye on the kinds of videos that are ‘in season’ and do your best to add your own flair to those trends.

Oh no, our TikTok, it’s broken…

Don’t get hung up on underperforming content. Building your TikTok account takes time, patience, and creativity.

Continue testing content and learn from every video you publish.

Shed some of your thinking about social media content creation and most importantly, have fun.