Love it or hate it, the popular social media app TikTok has taken the world by storm. During the height of lockdown, it offered a way to connect with others and provided viral, comedic trends during some dark times. TikTok became the most popular app in 2020 alone and sees over 200 million active users per month, according to a new Business Insider analysis. TikTok also offers niche communities for users to join and interact with, such as global fashion companies that consider TikTok to be one of the most important aspects of their marketing strategy.
Individual influencers have found success on TikTok, too, such as the “best-dressed guy on TikTok” who features luxury brands in his style choices. In addition to luxury brands, there is also space for sustainable brands to make a name for themselves in an environment of conscious consumerism. No matter what your niche is, marketers say that the most important step to achieving success on TikTok is to leverage existing viral trends to gain traction from viewers. This can be tricky, though, since TikTok trends are constantly changing. Something that was popular two weeks ago might be old news by the time your company has time to film, edit, and post the video.
Stepping away from the trends for a second, it’s worth noting that TikTok was under fire last year for privacy concerns and the U.S. government was considering banning access to the app. A lot of large companies told their employees to delete the app from their phone altogether and to stop using it. Celebrities also cautioned the public against the app, and used the opportunity to plug other forms of social media in case TikTok was permanently banned. When looking closely at what data the app tracks, it shows that TikTok does not take any more information than Facebook or other social apps, and there is no way the app will sell your data to other countries. Because of all of the controversy regarding data sharing on the app, it was actually bought out via a deal with Oracle and Walmart to continue to be available in the U.S. As you can imagine, this brought relief to many of the consumers who became avid users during the lockdown.
Now, things have changed significantly from the beginning days of TikTok, and companies of all kinds are researching TikTok strategy as security concerns aren’t as front and center. While people love to joke about the app being “the next vine” or say it will be “dead” in 5 years, I’m not so convinced. As companies continue to introduce TikTok into their marketing strategy and the app remains one of the most downloaded in the world, it’s worth keeping that in mind. Perhaps TikTok won’t disappear as quickly as we think, and marketing professionals simply need to embrace it.
Photo by Solen Feyissa