With over 16 million active users in Germany, TikTok is one of the big players among social media platforms. For some, the platform has long been an indispensable everyday companion, the average user spends almost an hour a day on the video app. For most companies, however, the platform is still uncharted territory as part of their social media marketing strategy. A successful appearance only works with a sophisticated strategy, creative concepts, enough manpower and, at best, the help of an experienced service provider.
The TikTok specialist Macaw explains how companies make use of the high-flyer app and which points they should consider right from the start.
1. Understand TikTok first
As a basis for a successful TikTok marketing strategy, companies first need a basic understanding of how the platform works. TikTok differs from other apps like Instagram or Facebook in that the social network is completely focused on videos for mobile devices, photos or other forms of content are not supported. TikTok also has two different feeds: the “Follow” feed, which uses the classic social media principle to show content from users who are followed, and the “For You” feed, which plays out content suggested by the algorithm. Exactly this feed is interesting for the TikTok marketing strategy of companies, because there they can go viral relatively quickly with the right content. Companies should then ask themselves who their target group is.
With TikTok you can reach a group whose network preferences and online communication follow their own rules: young people. Well over half of the users are under 25 years of age. Companies shouldn’t see the age limit too narrowly. Because the presence on TikTok creates an emotional bond with tomorrow’s customers early on, which is why car brands such as Mercedes-Benz are also active on the platform. At the same time, the app is increasingly attracting older users.
2. Simple TikTok marketing doesn’t work
In contrast to the perfect presentation on other social media channels, TikTok lives from the creativity of its users. It’s not about looking good, but rather having your own ideas and actively implementing them. Companies can use this to give users the creative freedom to deal personally with the brand. Videos that encourage people to follow suit or participate, such as hashtag challenges, are therefore very popular. While user-generated content is declining on other social networks, TikTok lives from it.
The following applies: If companies succeed in getting numerous people to interact with their videos, they are all the more successful. TikTok is also not a sales-oriented app – companies should therefore not advertise their products, but tell a good story that is subtly branded on the side. Generation Z immediately punishes classic glossy advertising. Rather, companies have to communicate with the target group in an authentic way and be ready to venture into unknown territory.
3. Fast reach – but only if the content is right
In contrast to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, the reach of TikTok does not depend on who already knows the company, who follows it and how long the list of the community is. Quite the opposite: on the “For You” page, the app’s start page, the algorithm selects which videos are displayed to the user. If the average time users watch the video is particularly long, it will be shown to other users. Interesting content can get thousands, sometimes even millions of likes, even though the account is completely new. The personal algorithm is adapted depending on how the user reacts to the content and interacts with it.
Journalists from the Wall Street Journal examined with the help of over 100 bot profiles. Each bot was assigned an age, an IP address for location-based content and a selection of interest tags that were not visible to TikTok. The result: In most cases, the TikTok algorithm needed less than two hours to identify preferences, and for some bots it even took less than 40 minutes. The platform works according to the laws of attention economy – and companies only get this if their videos hit the target group in terms of creativity, entertainment and originality.
4. TikTok Marketing: Without diligence, no price
Basically, social media marketing is not just done, it takes time. As a video-based network, the effort automatically increases again. Companies should definitely plan appropriate resources in order to be able to produce enough fresh content. We recommend at least one post per day, which must be planned with the necessary time for brainstorming and content production. TikTok is also extremely fast-paced. A topic that can be seen in all feeds today may be exhausted again tomorrow. Companies also have to adjust to this; long decision-making paths are counterproductive.
5. Don’t lose sight of the legal aspects
That TikTok Marketing offers many interesting options, but the app is also regularly criticized. The platform has to prove that it takes its control function seriously when it comes to issues such as brand safety, hate speech and the like. Since some of the users of TikTok are very young, the requirements here are particularly high. Another legal pitfall is the music library made available – TikTok users can include excerpts of 15, 30 or even 60 seconds of current hits in their clips. According to their own statements, the app operators have meanwhile concluded contracts with all major record labels, according to which their music may be used. However, companies should not tacitly assume that all questions relating to copyright protection have been resolved. Otherwise, there is a risk of a warning if the music is integrated without a license.
“If you want to be present with the young target group, there is no way around TikTok-Marketing”
“So far, few companies have TikTok seriously on their radar. The big players who already use the platform for their social media marketing, however, achieve impressive reach with their campaigns. Everyone else should be aware that if you want to be present with the young target group, there is no getting around TikTok, ”explains Ann-Kristin Danz, content creator at Macaw and jointly responsible for social media marketing for companies like congstar, Henkel, L’Oréal, Rewe or Melitta.
“Our campaign for congstar, Telekom’s second brand, shows how quickly a company can become a star. With a content frequency of four to five videos per week, its own hashtag challenges such as #dancefordata and #probiertwas geht, as well as employee videos that contribute to the employer brand, the Cologne-based company achieved its goal of opening up an important brand channel in just a few months . congstar has achieved sustainable follower growth with an engagement rate of over 20 percent and an average of at least 100,000 organic video views per week. ”
Also read: Advertising on TikTok – More transparency & precision for advertisers.