What is TikTok, and why should your business be using it?

It started life as a ‘lip-synching’ app in 2017, but TikTok has grown rapidly to become the most popular short form video sharing app on the web. It allows users to create and edit snappy clips on virtually any topic, then overlay their quick film with music and other special effects to come up with something totally unique.

The great thing about TikTok is it promotes fun, authentic snapshots into users’ lives. Unlike Instagram – which is scattered with #ads and ultimately much more tuned in with celebrity culture – TikTok doesn’t take itself too seriously and enables everyone to get involved in the action with nothing more than a smartphone and some out-of-the-box thinking.

It’s definitely a platform that seeks to entertain the average Joe. But that’s not to say that TikTok hasn’t got its fair share of famous users. Talk show host Jimmy Fallon, professional skater Tony Hawk and entertainer Jennifer Lopez are some of the big names who are active here, and emerging TikTok influencers are reaching hundreds of thousands of users with their quirky and often addictive content.

Who uses TikTok?

TikTok typically attracts users that are between 16 and 24 years old. It’s an app that’s decidedly dominated by Gen Z, with people in this age group making up 41% of its worldwide community, according to the most recent statistics.

But it is beginning to garner attention from a slightly older demographic, so you shouldn’t ignore it altogether if your business targets a more adult crowd.

Should your business be using TikTok?

TikTok is still an emerging concept for companies – but many business owners and brands are already seeing great results by creating and sharing their own video content on the platform.

It’s not a traditional-model social media marketing channel, as it doesn’t have much space for paid display ads. But if your business thrives on user-generated content, you can absolutely use TikTok as a means of boosting awareness of your business and wowing your potential customers with your brand personality.

TikTok is also worth considering as a means of reaching more people because its users are extremely active. 90% of its 800 million log in to the app at least once a day, and the average stay time is 52 minutes – almost the same as Instagram! – meaning you have a great chance to build an audience of content lovers who are likely to return to your channel time and time again.

The key to success on TikTok…

…Is to share stuff that your audience actually wants to consume! It can take a while to find out what your followers like and dislike, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little with your output to see what works.

Many brands have used hashtag challenges as a means of incentivising users to collaborate with them and spread their message, while others have partnered up with some of TikTok’s biggest influencers to tap into a new network of potential buyers, much like they have done in the past on other sites.

Even though it has fallen victim to some controversy in recent months – not least because of President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban it in the US! – right now, I think it’s important for businesses to take a chance on TikTok (as long as its users fit their target demographic). I believe it provides brands with the opportunity to market themselves to a young, content-hungry audience that’s shunning the airs and graces of the older, more established apps and just wanting to have fun.

In the coming months, keep an eye on my social channels for more info on TikTok and lots of tips on how to make this fast-growing social app work for you and your business!