Should your brand be on TikTok?

By now, you’ve likely heard about TikTok, the video-based social media app that has taken the world by storm. Recent data declares it as the most downloaded app in Q1 2021, and it just claimed more Gen Z users than Instagram as more and more people join each day.

The data is astounding, proving that its social presence is not to be ignored. But should your brand be on it? Let’s determine this with a five question litmus test. 

  1. Is your audience on it? This first question is the most vital. I urge you not to get on TikTok because “everyone is on it,” but instead to really consider whether or not the audience you are trying to reach is a regular user of it. For example, if your brand is actively trying to recruit or engage with the Gen Z population (those born between 1997 and 2012), you have a higher chance of succeeding than a brand that typically targets Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964). The Gen Z generation has flocked to this platform because of its authenticity and novelty compared to other platforms we know and love as marketers (i.e. Facebook), so the key is to realize this and be able to adapt in ways that make it feel like your brand is part of a Gen Z user’s everyday life instead of crashing or disrupting it.
  2. Do you have a unique story or message to share? TikTok creators thrive because of the original content they produce, or their ability to authentically capitalize on a TikTok trend. Brands that thrive on TikTok the most are ones that post videos that are fun and light-hearted, or naturally relate to their audience in an interesting or unsaturated way. Keep this in mind as you determine whether or not your branded messages are suited for TikTok.
  3. Do you have video capabilities? Let’s not forget that TikTok is ultimately a video platform. While you don’t need to have professional video equipment in order to develop TikTok, you do need to understand video and primary editing functions in order to produce a TikTok consistent with others out there. Many successful TikToks become popular not because of high production value, but because of the way they’re able to edit the video to convey their message or concept in the allotted time, so the more comfortable you or your team is with video, the better your chances are at developing creative, engaging content.
  4. Do you have a dedicated person or team to develop it? TikTok should not be clumped together with all of your other social platforms or thought of as a platform you’re occasionally active on. In order to succeed on TikTok, you’ll likely need to invest time and energy into developing it from the ground up. Someone should be tasked with researching and experimenting with hashtags, for example, to ensure your content is shown to the right audience. In addition, in order to accurately participate in trends, a dedicated team or team member should be regular users of TikTok to be able to accurately report on what’s relevant and what’s not. Lastly, your content has a higher chance of being shared and seen the more you’re active on the platform, so your team should be regularly engaging with other videos to work with the algorithm and increase your brand’s visibility.
  5. Do you have the advertising budget to support it? TikTok was slow to introduce advertising capabilities, but has recently released them in order to cater to more businesses. However, since advertising is relatively new, it might take time and investment to prove Tiktok’s advertising effectiveness for your brand. In terms of the dollar amount, the minimum campaign budget reportedly starts at $500, so be prepared to spend a significant amount of dollars upfront to get started.

If you answered no to more than one of the above questions, chances are your brand isn’t right or ready for TikTok. But if you answered yes to most of them, you should consider investing in this platform that’s more than likely proved it’s here to stay. 

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