TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create and share short-form videos set to music. It first became popular among young people, but with over 1.53 billion users, many businesses have found it to be a reliable way to reach new customers of all demographics. In 2022, the app was banned from being used on government devices and certain university campuses. Despite this, TikTok remains a vital marketing tool that businesses should take full advantage of while it lasts. In this article, we'll give you tips on how to run a TikTok account for your business, but we highly recommend creating a personal account to play around with the platform and keep up with the trends.
How do I go viral on TikTok?
TikTok's algorithm is mysterious. The company has yet to outright explain how it works. However, the more active you are on the platform, the more you can intuit what the algorithm favors. Primarily, that is content that is short, engaging, and shareable. A few minutes on TikTok, and you'll see that content ranges from serious to funny, can be artistic to educational, and touches on any niche you can think of.
It is also not necessary to have a large following to go viral. All content has the potential of ending up on the "For You Page" (the featured section). This means that new businesses have the potential to create content that goes viral and reaches a massive audience. This can lead to increased brand visibility, awareness, new customers, and sales. All you need is a smartphone and a bit of creativity to start creating and sharing content that resonates with TikTok users.
What kind of content actually works?
While TikTok keeps its algorithm closely guarded, users on the platform have found a few strategies that seem to work.
- User interactions: The algorithm takes into account which users engage with which content and uses this information to suggest similar content to those users.
- Video information: The algorithm also looks at information like captions, hashtags, and sounds to understand what a video is about and who it might appeal to.
- Device and account settings: The algorithm takes into account factors like the user's language preference and location, as well as their device type, to deliver a personalized user experience.
There are exceptions to these “rules,” and TikTok will reward creators who create engaging content regardless of whether or not it fits into any recommendations. Don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment!
How do I use trends in my favor?
Here is where you'll have to put in the work. You should dedicate some time every week to going through videos and noting what is trending. On TikTok, trends usually burn bright and fast. You may have a couple of days to a couple of weeks to jump on a trend, but you want to ensure you can relate those trends to your business. Otherwise, you'll come across as trying too hard.
TikTok content focuses on Trending Audio, Filters, and Hashtags. If you make content featuring one of these, your videos will be suggested to users who like similar content. If users like a video featuring a trending song, they might see your video that includes the same trending song right after. Similarly, popular effects and filters can help your content stand out and appeal to a wider audience.
How should I use hashtags?
Hashtags can also be a powerful tool for increasing your content's discoverability. When using hashtags, choose ones relevant to your brand and content and already used by other users on the platform. This is easiest when creating content based on trends you see on the platform, but you can also see how many times a hashtag has been used when writing the caption for your video.
Best of all, combining trending sounds, effects/filters, and hashtags in your TikTok videos can increase their potential to be featured on the "For You" page, helping your content reach a wider audience and potentially go viral.
What should my videos look like?
While some businesses may be tempted to focus on aesthetics, it's important to balance authenticity and visual appeal. TikTok users value genuine and authentic content, so don't be afraid to let your personality shine through. Less polished videos actually do better, so don't overthink it. At the same time, make sure your videos are in line with what others are doing visually. TikTok videos are designed to play in vertical format, which is optimized for mobile viewing, so try and stick to that for most of your videos.
In addition to the vertical format, TikTok videos should also be around 60 seconds long, but it's often best to keep them even shorter than that to keep viewers' attention. Aim to hook viewers in the first few seconds and keep them watching until the end. This can be achieved by creating visually interesting, informative, or entertaining content.
Finally, the most successful videos aim for "rewatchability." This means creating content that viewers will want to watch multiple times because it's particularly funny, informative, or visually engaging. By creating memorable and shareable videos, you can increase the chances that they will be shared and viewed by a wider audience. That's right, shares are yet another way users will come across your content!
What does TikTok offer businesses?
In addition to creating organic content on TikTok, businesses can also take advantage of several paid advertising options, including in-feed ads, brand takeovers, and sponsored hashtag challenges. These ads can target specific audiences based on age, location, and interests, making them a powerful tool for businesses looking to reach a particular demographic.
- In-feed ads: are short videos that appear in users' "For You" feed, much like organic content. They can be up to 60 seconds long and can include links to external websites. In-feed ads can target specific audiences based on age, location, and interests, making them a powerful tool for businesses looking to reach a particular demographic.
- Brand takeovers: are ads that appear when a user first opens the TikTok app. They can be either an image or a short video, and they can include a link to an external website. Because brand takeovers are the first thing users see when they open the app, they can effectively generate brand awareness and capture users' attention. However, they are more expensive than in-feed ads and may be out of reach for smaller businesses.
- Sponsored sounds: Brands can also create their own custom sounds, which can be used by TikTok users in their videos. This can increase brand awareness and create a sense of community around the brand.
- Branded filters and lenses: Like sponsored sounds, brands can also create custom filters and lenses that users can apply to their videos. This can be a fun and engaging way to promote a brand and increase its visibility on the platform.
- Hashtag challenges: Businesses can create hashtag challenges, encouraging users to create and share videos using a particular hashtag. This can be a powerful way to generate user-generated content and increase engagement around a brand or product.
TikTok is a powerful tool for businesses to reach an engaged audience spanning all demographics. To use it effectively, businesses should understand the platform's algorithm and use trending elements in their content. Videos should be visually engaging, short, and "rewatchable." TikTok also offers advertising options, including paid ads, sponsored sounds, branded filters and lenses, and hashtag challenges. As long as you are genuine to your brand, your business will likely find success in adopting this popular platform!