In the last few weeks, a paint store worker began posting videos of his paint cans being filled with pigment and removing the top from the gallon once it had been shaken. Viewers enjoyed guessing what color would appear at the end and testing their color theory knowledge so much that each video went viral and was liked by more than two million users. The attention put the independent paint store on the map, and a few days later the user made a video thanking everyone and acknowledging he had since been working down a long line for his services with teenagers and families coming to redecorate their bedrooms or in some cases just to make a pint of paint to appear on the TikTok channel.
More and more, businesses with an interest in the new social media platform have been creating accounts and sharing their daily lives to gain a new audience. Though viral successes are difficult to predict, there are some key indicators that TikTok might be the right choice for your corporate social media strategy.
Review Your Target Audience
While a year ago TikTok was all teenagers convincing their teachers to participate in viral dance videos, the TikTok community has broadened considerably since then. Yes, the 16-21 age group still rules the majority of the audience, but moms drinking wine, middle-aged science enthusiasts showing off experiments, home cooks, men giving marriage advice, a wide variety of artists, and celebrities with older audiences (see: Howie Mandel, Chris Rock) now have TikToks, too. Yes, brands do exist on the platform with varied success, but the vast majority of them are national B2C food and lifestyle brands as they have the greatest opportunity for fruitful exposure. But, as the paint store’s experience shows, finding a niche in the viewership can set your brand apart.
Choosing Content for the Medium
The key to an impactful social media presence is by choosing the platforms for which your business is naturally suited. TikTok’s unique market propositions are its short, looping videos and reusable audio. Does your company have a visual story you can tell in 60 seconds or less? Are your products and services visually striking? Do you have a mascot or employees who would enjoy appearing on camera? Does your business create funny or beautiful audio that others may want to use? Gut answers to these questions are the most reliable indicator of if your brand is a natural pairing with the TikTok platform. While you may still be able to create engaging content for a TikTok account, it’s likely that without these elements it will take up a lot of resources and time to succeed.
The Limitations of TikTok
TikTok offers opportunities for brands to be seen through its viral For You page, but for now the platform also leaves much to be desired for networking purposes. In contrast with a platform like Twitter, a response to another user’s post cannot be seen from the original post. Though this is somewhat remedied context-wise by dueting the original video, thereby posting your video side by side with theirs, it is unlikely to be seen by the same audience. This creates limits on the capability of growing a followership. Some users, like music artists, also complain that the ability for other users to re-upload their audio, thereby removing their trace for credit, leads to unfair followership. All social media platforms have their pitfalls and strategies to overcome them, these are a few for TikTok specifically.
Tips for Success on TikTok
If you decide an account is right for your business, there are some strategies to grow your TikTok viewership while having more fun: Search the trending audio backlogs, and pick out a few you can use to create new posts or follow existing trends. This is a great way of gaining attention from new viewers. But also regularly post original content with original audio clips. This is the best way to keep viewers interested in your content and following you. Keep production simple and low cost for any videos that include a person talking to a camera or showing off a skill. The TikTok community values authenticity and spontaneity over high levels of production. The only time this is challenged is when you are posting highly visual content such as cake decorating, makeup application, a satisfying industrial visage, etc.
Finally, ask your audience to engage with your content by liking, sharing, dueting, commenting and so forth. Similar to a YouTube channel, these metrics are the most likely to bolster your current and future likelihood to appear on the For You page and garner growth. Diving into a new social media landscape can be a fun way to capture your target market, but it takes a savvy social media strategy and a bit of luck to really kick off.