Viral videos, intriguing virtual challenges and amusing trends is what runs through the very core of TikTok.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the newest social media platform is reserved purely for bored teenagers. While 66% of users are under 30 years old, TikTok offers unique possibilities for increasing brand awareness.

Available in more than 150 countries, the app has been downloaded more than 2 billion times, creating powerful marketing opportunities for businesses willing to embrace the platform.

Mo Works Creative Agency Social Media Manager Melissa Davis told The CEO Magazine that with 800 million monthly active users, businesses can leverage valuable awareness simply from using the platform for strategic and innovative marketing.

“TikTok has picked up fast, even more so with quarantine measures around the world,” she explains. “It gets new downloads every day and these fresh users aren’t completely familiar with the platform, making them more open to sponsored content (influencers or partnerships) and ads, compared to other common platforms.”

TikTok was initially released in September 2016 by parent company ByteDance, but it has skyrocketed in global popularity in the past 18 months. Zhang Yiming is the billionaire behind the video sharing tool, which is the second most downloaded app of 2019, according to Visual Capitalist.

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The secret to its rapid success? It allows anyone to get creative and express themselves through short videos (up to 60 seconds long) helping to build human connection.

“Short videos make for very engaging content across all social media platforms – and TikTok is made entirely of them,” Melissa shares. “Some of the most engaging videos are chiropractors giving back pain advice, pilots giving behind-the-scenes tours of planes and cockpits, museums doing walking tours, restaurants and some of the world’s top chefs sharing recipe tutorials.”

With 500 million users in India, 180 million in China and 130 million in the US, the creative platform offers an incredibly diverse audience when it comes to marketing. But it won’t be like this forever.

Sponsored ads flood Instagram and Facebook so abundantly it’s become white noise to many users.

Marketers know soon TikTok will also have too many businesses trying to advertise on it and sponsored content will be as prolific as it is on Instagram,” Melissa explains. “The potential for industry leaders to benefit from the platform may not last long.”

4 ways businesses can use TikTok

Pepsi India, Guess and Netflix on TikTok
Pepsi India, Guess and Netflix on TikTok. Images: TikTok

  1. Content is key
  2. “It’s a great place to connect to customers through content including behind-the-scenes videos, everyday people using your product and tutorials,” she says.

    “TikTok has challenges and trends. If you keep up to date with them, use the relevant hashtag and create enticing content in line with the trend, your business could feature on the TikTok Discover page. There, your videos will potentially get lots of views from non-followers.”

  3. Understand the creative outlet
  4. “Don’t make an account and start posting generic, repurposed content you already have across your other social media accounts,” Melissa explains. “Spend some time watching and understanding the platform.

    “Monitor competitors’ accounts so you’re across what TikTok is and how you can generate content.”

  5. Work with influencers
  6. “If you want to advertise your product on TikTok, consider using influencers,” she says. “They have the audiences that would take you a long time to acquire.”

  7. Embrace advertising
  8. “TikTok is a trending social media platform and is still fresh, meaning users aren’t jaded by targeted ads like they are on Instagram,” Melissa shares. “Users are more open and engaged with content on the platform.

    “Businesses can pay for advertising, but with the right strategies in place they can also connect TikTok users with their brand.”