10 TikTok Basics From Someone Who Knows Best: The Intern
Our resident Gen Z-er provides a TikTok explainer
I’m sure many of you have heard about the popular social media app, TikTok, as it has become an unavoidable topic in the marketing industry. The discussion about how TikTok can be used to help promote your business has been around since the app’s release, but it seems like many people are afraid or unwilling to start using it.
As a member of Gen Z—and an intern at EPIC—I can assure you that TikTok is not as scary as it seems.
You probably think (like I did) that my generation makes up the majority of users on TikTok. But in reality, 53% of the active users in the U.S. are over the age of 30! (But I’m sure we Gen Z-ers and Millenials spend the most time on it.) This is why it’s an important social platform for ALL types of businesses to pay attention to.
As a very frequent user of the app (averaging around 14 hours/week), I want to help business owners and marketers learn how TikTok can be used to help them become more successful. Understanding the ins and outs of TikTok can help your business reach an entirely new audience that you may have never thought about marketing to, as well as help build a stronger connection with your existing audience.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a video-focused social media platform with more than 1 billion active users a month. Unlike many other social media platforms, the only content you’ll see on TikTok is short videos. These videos can be anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes long. To watch these videos, users scroll through their “For You” page, which uses a custom algorithm to create a personalized experience for the viewer. This ensures that the user finds most, if not all, of the content they watch interesting or entertaining. And it’s what makes TikTok such a popular and addictive app.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I use a video-focused platform to promote my business?” Trust me … there are a lot of ways to do so.
Bri’s Top 10 TikTok Tips
Here are my key suggestions for making sure you get the most out of the app:
1. Stay up to date on trends.
This may seem overwhelming at first because of how quickly TikTok trends change, but once you get a feel for the app, I promise it gets a bit easier.
2. Create a specific hashtag that you use in all of your posts.
Staying consistent with at least one hashtag in your captions will make it easier for people to discover you. This has been proven to work for many brands, with one example being Bissel’s #littlegreenmachine which got over 69 million views and doubled the number of sales on their vacuums.
3. Collaborate with creators that have a large following.
Influencers—or in this case content creators—are always a great resource to help get attention for your brand, and with the popularity of the app already, many creators have a large following. For instance, Charli D’amelio has more than 133 million followers because of how much users like her dancing content.
4. Comment on viral posts.
You will see that many companies comment on posts that get a lot of attention on the app. Not all of the videos that you might comment on have to relate specifically to your business. Commenting on videos that relate to your business is helpful, but posting a relatable/funny comment on a viral video might also catch the eye of users that are outside of your intended audience. Check out the comments from major brands on this recent video.
5. Post FREQUENTLY!
Posting on a regular basis gives your account more chances to get attention on the “For You” page. Because of the algorithm, the more people that interact with your video, the more “For You” pages your video will reach. So posting regularly will help increase the chances of one of your videos “going viral,” as they say.
6. Be genuine.
One thing my generation is really good at is knowing when content is not genuine. If a video seems forced or unnatural, it won’t get much engagement, and little interaction means it’s unlikely that the algorithm would select your video.
7. Know your audience.
Because of how short TikToks are, it is essential for you to appeal to your audience quickly. Knowing the demographics of your followers and their interests will help you create videos that grab their attention from the start of your video. The “Analytics” tab on your account makes it easy to find a lot of this information, so be sure to check it out!
8. Listen to your audience.
I know this seems self-explanatory, but listening to your audience’s requests will not only increase your sales, but it will also deepen your relationship with your customers. GAP is a great example of successfully listening to their customers. When their iconic brown hoodie went viral, GAP took notice and used it as a way to attract more customers by bringing it back into their product line … and taking it to the next level by letting consumers choose the next color.
9. Be relatable.
Relatability is the best way to gain a larger audience. TikTok is not the app for serious and super-informative videos. Being playful and funny is the best way to have success on the app. Brands such as Duolingo or The Washington Post have become very popular because of how funny and relatable their content is to a majority of TikTok users.
10. Don’t overthink it.
TikTok isn’t meant to have highly produced video content. Authentic and primarily low-budget videos make up for some of the best content on the app. A TikTok shouldn’t take more than a few hours to produce, maybe an hour to plan and an hour to record, so don’t sweat it!
This might seem a bit overwhelming to begin with, but with time it will become an effective way to promote your business. As long as you make sure to stay relevant and post regularly, you will see an increase in followers on your account. With this new knowledge about how TikTok can benefit your business, I hope that you will look into inserting your business in the TikTok world.
Bri Martin is an agency intern for EPIC. She is a senior at West Bend West High School and, when she is not busy with school and EPIC, she spends her time training as a competitive powerlifter.