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What is Tiktok

9 min read |  Posted Jun 15, 2022 | Updated 6 months ago

| Written By Atlas Foxx

So What is Tiktok?

Tiktok is a social media platform known for its accelerated growth rate and huge user platform. It’s also acknowledged as a place for many forms of content to come together in a personalized “For You Page”. Tiktok as a marketing platform has great opportunities for growth over multiple platforms.

Tiktok is a low investment platform that makes video content accessible to anyone with a phone! What once required hours of labor is now a button tap or two away. Most videos on the app are filmed on your phone’s camera and appear vertically. The app favors videos over five seconds, but must be under three minutes, this makes it ideal for short skits, or visual marketing without the labor of editing and publishing1. The algorithm also makes it easy to push videos onto the “For You” page through hashtags, popular sounds or trends and video content. 

In the first quarter of 2020, Tiktok set the record for the most downloaded social app, coming in at 315 million installs. And since then has boosted to over one billion active users on the platform, overtaking many others like Twitter, in user base, and Instagram in rate of growth. The creative and user-friendly interface make it ideal for a marketing tool, as well as its built-in analytics features.

These analytic features3 include your individual video growth, views and likes. It also includes profile views and following analytics. Demographics of your audience in both your individual posts and following are also present, such as age range, gender identity, race and even location. This makes it incredibly easy to target your intended audience by viewing what posts are landing on that buyer’s page. 

Tiktok isn’t just for Gen Z2

If you have anyone aged 8-18 in your life, you’ve probably already heard plenty about the app. It’s a common misconception that the app is just for teens but Tiktok isn’t just for the younger generation, or individuals. Some of the most popular Tiktok accounts are brands, and people old enough to remember the 90’s personally. Success on Tiktok is not centralized on your age, but on how you make the algorithm work for you. 

How to take advantage of Tiktok’s algorithm

The tiktok algorithm is highly specified, which makes it easier for brands to target people who already have an interest in their services or products. 

The app will collect data based on:

  •  How fast you scroll (If you immediately scroll away from a video, Tiktok is going to assume it’s not content that you enjoy. So it’s fairly important that you catch your audience’s attention within that half of a second.) 
  • How much of a video you watch, (The longer you stay on a video, the more likely Tiktok is to show you content with similar subjects, or show content from the same creator. So once you’ve hooked a viewer in, your next goal should be to keep them there)
  • What videos you “like” (Similar to your Twitter feed, or Instagram’s discover page, interaction with a post tells Tiktok “Hey I like this topic, I want to see more of this!”, so when your audience likes a video, both curated content and your account will show up more frequently in their feed.)
  •  Who you follow (There’s a reason “Follow for more” is a super common CTA on Tiktok, The app will push the people you follow to your For You Page more often. What does this mean for you as a content creator? Include a verbal Following CTA on your posts.)
  • Who You Are (This may sound vague, we know, but Tiktok’s audience wants authenticity from brands. If you want that video boosting interaction, your audience has to feel like they know you. Brand Voice is incredibly important on this platform, and being someone your audience can laugh and grow with is irreplaceable. It also makes it simple for the app to route your content to For You Pages of people who enjoy similar Brand voices, not just services or goods)

This expansive view on data collection gives the app an edge on personalization. From education, to humor, to a combination of trends, the app makes it fairly easy to go “viral”. Tiktok generally prioritizes entertaining, informative and enjoyable content.

General success is almost guaranteed on the app, if you know how to use it. Hashtags can be an effective tool on Tiktok, but many Tiktoks without hashtags also end up with millions of likes. So what’s the best bet to achieve the coveted “Tiktok Fame”? The most common way to get engagement on Tiktok is through trends. Much like shoulder pads in the 80s, these Trends are an agreed upon phenomenon of recreation. Trends are often either filters on the app or the sounds you apply to your videos. So how do you know what sound/filter is blooming into a trend?

How to identify trends on Tiktok

The most obvious way of identifying a trend is noticing many videos of the same sound or idea showing up on your page. This will give you your first indication of something becoming a trend. Another way is clicking on the sound or filter, and the app will show you how many people have used the filter/sound. For example, “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus, at the time of posting this, has 159.6k videos posted, whereas “Che La Luna” has 792.3k. If you’re looking for Trending hashtags or Filters check out the discover page.

Once you’ve identified a trend, the next question is: “But when should I post?”

How often to post on Tiktok

Unlike other social media, Tiktok will practically tell you when to post. In the analytics section, you can view how many of your followers are currently active. This is also viewable in the “Go Live” section of your app (This feature is similar to Instagram Live). You should post when a large number of your followers are active, or generally around 10am-2pm EST according to Business Insider4. However, remember Tiktok is a worldwide platform, and if you truly want to make the most of your following, check where the majority of your following is from in your analytics section. With your majorities location, you can do further research about Tiktok usage in that area to find peak posting times.

In These Photos you can see that this creator’s peak time for posting is around 2-3pm, and that most of their followers are women from the United States. Depending upon what the target audience and market is, you can try different tactics to reach them, and use analytics to see if it was successful.

Getting Started on Tiktok

For ideas of how brands can succeed on Tiktok, check out brand pages such as RyanAir, Duolingo and Trojan. They encompass humor, trends and educational content about their services. Informational and “ a day in my life” videos are also common techniques to draw clientele to a brand’s account, as it makes you feel less robotic and more human. 

If you’re looking to grow your business on this platform, look at your competitors, or similar markets. If you are a business that specializes in pet care: food, toys, apparel, etc. look to accounts like Barkbox. Barkbox engages with their audience of millennial pet owners by highlighting their humorous toy selection. Their meme related toys are the star of their tiktok, because that is what their audience engages with the most. 

ScrubDaddy is another loved Tiktok account. They notoriously make fun of their start on the television show SharkTank, and highlight their various products with Trend Participation. They’ve personified the ScrubDaddy and made it into a Tiktok phonomemon, as of writing this, ScrubDaddy boasts 1.3 million followers and 33 million likes! 

There are plenty of successful brands on Tiktok, all catering to different industries, however they have one thing in common, their followers enjoy seeing their content. When they see these videos, they don’t feel like they’re seeing an ad, and they don’t even realize they’re being marketed to! Yet, ScrubDaddy states that since creating this platform, their sales have increased 30%5. That is an amazing ROI, as Tik Tok is so low-investment. This all happened because ScrubDaddy formed a relationship with their consumer. I mean who doesn’t want to create a bond with a smiley face dish sponge? 

The most important thing to do on Tiktok is to start, some people have their very first video “blow up”. Creating Brand Voice from your very first video and establishing fun and engaging content is key to the app. If your general Brand Voice is more informational, put that information into a more lighthearted context or apply some humor. 

This is your chance to get up close and personal with your audience, and show them the faces behind your Business Front. This will ensure you create a relationship with them, and they will come back to your product and even recommend it to friends and family.

In conclusion, Tiktok is an excellent brand tool that gives even the smallest businesses a chance to grow a large base of following. Digital marketing institute writes “TikTok provides marketers with a level playing field when it comes to reach and engagement. Unlike social media platforms such as Instagram or YouTube, TikTok accounts with zero followers can get millions of views on a new video thanks to the viral nature of the algorithm.” 

Sources Cited

  1. Battisby, Alison. “An in-Depth Look at Marketing on TikTok: Blog: Online Digital Marketing Courses.” Digital Marketing Institute, https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/an-in-depth-look-at-marketing-on-tiktok. 
  2. “How to Create a Successful Tiktok Marketing Strategy for 2022.” Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard, 11 Mar. 2022, https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-marketing/. 
  3. “Understanding Your Analytics.” TikTok Creator Portal, Tiktok, 17 Mar. 2022, https://www.tiktok.com/creators/creator-portal/en-us/tiktok-content-strategy/understanding-your-analytics/. 
  4. Antonelli, William. “What’s the Best Time to Post on TikTok? How to Get More Views Using the App’s Analytics and Other Strategies.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 18 Aug. 2021, https://www.businessinsider.com/best-time-to-post-on-tiktok. 
  5. Krzaczek, Katie. “Scrub Daddy’s CEO Says the Brand’s ‘more Edgy’ Tiktok Presence Is Paying off.” Https://www.inquirer.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 20 Apr. 2022. Web. 30 Apr. 2022.