Has your brand gone viral? If you’re not on TikTok, then the answer is probably “no.”
While going viral can be exciting and potentially life-changing for a brand, TikTok is about even more than that. It’s one of the most useful tools your brand could be using for marketing, especially in this new age of user-generated content and social media platforms acting as search engines.
Is your brand harnessing the power of this marketing tool for content creation? This blog post will dive into what you need to know about TikTok, its audience, and the tips and tools to generate content on this popular social media platform.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app with the mission to “inspire creativity and bring joy” that gives users the ability to create and share short videos. It is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and has a Chinese counterpart called Douyin. User videos can be as short as 3 seconds and as long as 10 minutes.
The app has more than 750 million users on a daily basis, with that number soaring to one billion users on a monthly basis. Their global headquarters are in Los Angeles and Singapore, and despite concerns from the American government about security and privacy issues, the app has remained popular in the US and across the world.
The basics of content creation on TikTok
One of the reasons TikTok has been so successful is because of how easy it is to create and edit content. Users can do everything within the app—record, edit, and add filters, effects, and audio. This makes it simple to use and easy to consume, often for hours a day (the average user spends over 1.5 hours scrolling each day).
Unlike Instagram, not all users on TikTok can go live. TikTok has some stipulations based on follower count, meaning only creators with more than 1,000 followers can go live. TikTok also rewards top users—those with over 10,000 followers who have 100,000 views over the last 30 days can earn money.
TikTok also has a feature called TikTok Now, which operates like BeReal, allowing users to share a photo each day. Users can also Duet or Stitch to collaborate with each other and create new content from other users’ videos.
But what TikTok is probably best known for are its audio clips and viral trends. Whether it’s a dance, lip-syncing, or some sort of acting scene, once a video goes viral, it’s bound to be emulated by users across the platform using the same audio. For this reason, paying attention to audio and video trends is crucial—these elements are the rulers of the platform.
Unlike Instagram, which has Stories, Reels, grid posts, and lives, TikTok’s features remain pretty simple for both creators and consumers. And yet, it has the highest social media engagement rate per post.
Who is the typical audience of TikTok?
So, we’ve mentioned how many millions of people are on TikTok. But who are these users, and how can DTC brands identify their target audience for this social platform? Let’s dive into some statistics:
- The majority of users are in the 19–29 age range, followed by those under 18.
- TikTok has more Gen Z users than Instagram.
- The app is available in more than 40 languages, with a huge international audience (more than 150 countries).
- The gender of users skews more heavily female, in the US females outnumber males 2:1.
In the US and worldwide, TikTok users remain steadily younger than other social media apps. So, brands need to take this into consideration, depending on the demographics of their customers. If they’re targeting younger age groups, having a TikTok presence is a must.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of TikTok, its trends, and its users, let’s talk about some tips that direct-to-consumer brands can utilize to get the most out of this popular social media app.
1. Keep searchability in mind
Brands should consider TikTok as a search engine. It’s a great place for new customers to discover your brand, and for existing customers to share how much they love your products or services. Many TikTok users find inspiration and product recommendations on the app—so building up a repertoire of content relating to your brand is crucial.
Hashtags are used on TikTok much like they are on Instagram and Twitter, but users can also search for certain trends or subjects they’re curious about. Having a TikTok presence means you have another place for people to discover your brand, and encouraging shoppers to post about your products will help you gain momentum and garner brand recognition and trust. The more people are posting about your brand, the better.
2. Encourage user-generated content
Since TikTok is heavily concentrated with members of Generation Z, you might not even need to encourage them to post—they may just post because they love your product. So, creating beautiful, consistent branding and offering products that satisfy customer needs can lead to user-generated content you don’t even have to ask for.
But you can also encourage users to create content. Websites like Bounty even give your shoppers the opportunity to earn money just by posting about your brand. Reposting content that real customers have made can be huge for creating brand trust and building a community around your brand.
3. Partner with creators
Depending on your product vertical, it could be beneficial to partner with creators on the app. Influencer marketing has become a huge part of marketing strategy in the last decade, and it’s not going anywhere. Shoppers trust influencers and creators like they would trust a friend’s recommendation—and brands should use this to their advantage.
Influencers can show users a real-life experience. For example, skincare brands rely on before and after photos to showcase how well their products work. Showing a real person using your products and documenting the difference they see is one way to generate interest in your products and give shoppers the push they need to try out your brand.
4. Hashtags are helpful, and so is trending audio
Being successful with TikTok means understanding the algorithm and trends. The world of social media is fast-paced and constantly changing, so brands need to keep up with what kind of content their customers are consuming and ensure they fit their strategy to meet these ever-evolving needs and preferences.
The TikTok algorithm is a lot different than the infamous Instagram algorithm—it’s actually much easier to garner views on TikTok. Paying attention to trends and audio, specifically in the areas and demographics you’re targeting, is key to finding success on the app.
5. Cultivate & catalyze your community
Building a strong community around your brand means that you’ll have natural brand ambassadors talking about your products on social media. It also helps to create a community based on your values and beliefs as a brand. You don’t have to share only product videos—in fact, brands should share other content relating to their brand to build interest and connect with more consumers.
Recharge merchants using TikTok in their favor
For some inspiration to optimize your own TikTok efforts, let’s take a look at two Recharge merchants who have a great presence on the app.
Bite creates community by sharing the things that matter to them as a brand—with sustainability at the forefront. In this way, they create a community around their mission and not just their products. They also post consistently on TikTok with helpful and informative videos that make them easy to find when searching on the app.
While TikTok really lends itself to Beauty & Personal Care and Health & Wellness verticals, it’s also a great place for those in the Food & Beverage vertical, too. Take Bumpin Blends, for example. Their TikTok is an extension of their brand and the perfect place to showcase customer reviews in the form of videos—leading to better trust among new customers and excitement to try their products.
Reaching younger consumers with TikTok
Knowing who uses TikTok and how they match your ideal customer base can help you unlock a whole new category of customers while building a community around your brand. This popular social media app can be helpful for DTC brands looking to engage with their shoppers in new ways and boost interest in their products.
With the tips and tricks offered in this blog post, ecommerce merchants can be on their way to making TikTok a main component of their marketing strategy—creating helpful, informative, and engaging content for their customers.