TikTok has absolutely exploded to become one of the leading social platforms, gaining more active users in three years than it took Instagram to get in six. However, with any new social platform, businesses are looking for ways to leverage TikTok for marketing purposes. The question is, can traditional businesses use TikTok successfully, or is the platform only for e-commerce and newer business models?

To Play the Game, You Need to Understand the Rules

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all other social media platforms can be leveraged for marketing and sales. TikTok is no different, but like anything, you have to understand the environment before you can start doing anything. TikTok has been around for a few years, but exploded in 2020, when people were quarantined during the pandemic and had time to explore the app and how it works. While TikTok is often looked at as something that is only used by younger people, the reality is that the app has retained users even as they age. Additionally, older demographics are moving to TikTok as an alternative to Facebook and Twitter.

The biggest thing businesses need to understand is that TikTok is not like YouTube. The only similarity they have is that both are used primarily for video. But where YouTube has now time limits on content, TikTok only recently extended its limits to 10 minutes per video. This means businesses, content creators, and all people looking to leverage TikTok for marketing or conversions need to be focused on making a point to get engagements.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Conventional businesses might be tempted to use TikTok to publish their version of an elevator pitch. Elevator pitches rarely work in the real world, so they are going to get even less traction in the fast-paced, visually-engaging environment of TikTok, where the audience is younger and tech-savvy. The average TikTok video is between 15 seconds and a minute and a half, which does not give businesses much time to make a point. This has not prevented businesses from leveraging TikTok with great results. The trick is to do something that is aligned with the majority of users on the platform. Since content can be given hashtags, it is easy for businesses to search relevant keywords and see what content is getting the most views. This will allow businesses to use some very original marketing strategies:

  • The Challenge: TikTok is known for its challenges. Singing challenges. Dance challenges. The people of TikTok love challenges, so a business that issues a challenge as a contest to gain followers and visitors will be able to penetrate the platform’s audience and leverage those antics for conversions.
  • Influencer Transparency: Gone are the days of courting celebrities and hoping they will mention your brand. TikTok influencers are very upfront about what they do, and it is no longer an “open secret” that businesses and organizations pay users with lots of followers to promote products and services. 
  • Branded Channels: While businesses are still warming up to TikTok, others have already made inroads with branded channels for fun, shareable, and informative content. The major brands have started down this road, and there is still room for others. 
  • Choose Your Content: While the younger demographic loves challenges, some use TikTok for informative content. One of TikTok’s biggest users gives financial advice to teens. Refer to the hashtags that are relevant to your business and brand. What content gets the most views? Is it entertaining? Is it informative? How can you best reach your audience?

Using TikTok for Your Business

TikTok can easily be used by traditional businesses so long as they have an unconventional approach to marketing. Outpace Digital Marketing has been providing strategies and content for businesses that want to leverage social media platforms of every type to grow and proliferate their brand identities. Reach out to us today if you want to discuss how TikTok can benefit your business.