TikTok on the marketing clock

September 14, 2020

By BOOMMer Ciara Bonner

During this lockdown, there has been one thing that has kept me up at night… TikTok, (and no not the Ke$ha song that we millennials sing as if it was the national anthem) the short video app that has taken the world by storm. If you haven’t heard of TikTok well then, I have to ask you one question, how’s the rock you’ve been living under?

Having launched in 2016, it’s safe to say that 2020 has been the year that saw the app’s popularity skyrocket having a total of approximately 800 million active users worldwide as of 2020* as well as over 2 billion downloads on the App Store and Google Play, doubling its downloads in just over a year!**. Although lockdown has been a tough one for us all, TikTok has certainly benefited and is now the 9th largest social platform.

The 15-60 second video platform allows all users to become content creators by providing sounds and effects at the click of a button, and of course, companies are now using TikTok to market their products and interact with customers across the world- which is no surprise considering its popularity amongst the 18-34 year old demographic. 36% of users fall into this demographic which runs parallel to their high percentage of shopping (both online and high street) at/for brands they have seen advertised online.

So how can you use the recent tending social media platform as a means to effectively market? Here are some tips and examples of those who have found success by doing so:

Hashtags- Like most platforms #Hashtags are a great way to get your post onto the main page or multiple newsfeeds. For example, TikTok’s ‘For You Page’ fills each user's newsfeed with videos they think the user will most enjoy/interact with. The popular hashtag ‘#fyp’ has been used a total of 4244.7 billion times in order to be seen across different dimensions of TikTok’s, we definitely encourage using this when posting a few videos!

2. User-Generated Content (UGC)- Building on from hashtags, UGC is a great way to host a conversation between the brand and its customers. TikTok has proven to be a great tool for this type of content with the interactive challenges and dances that trend on the platform. Chipotle is a great example of a brand using UGC with the start of the ‘Chipotle Lid Flip Challenge’. Chipotle used this as a chance to promote their free delivery during Cinco de Mayo by challenging customers to flip their lids onto their fast food containers without using their hands. The trend was mentioned over 312 Million times through ‘#chipotlelidflip’ and also provided customers with an incentive to go and buy from the chain in order to participate therefore boosting their sales and brand awareness.

3. Partnering with Influencers- Like all social platforms, influencers have power over certain audiences across apps and TikTok is no exemption. Influencers reach various number of users across media platforms and are a key part of online advertisements for brands. Charlie D’Amelio (the 15-year-old TikTok sensation with 84.3 Million followers) came to light on the app by participating in dance challenges and gained notoriety on the app amongst its users. Following her surge in popularity, brands such as Morphe approached her for a collab collection and now the teen is thriving with a cosmetic line with her name on it that frequently features in her videos. Sabra Hummus has also snagged the TikTok royal by staring her in their upcoming Super Bowl ad.

With TikTok’s popularity continuing to grow and showing no signs of it slowing down, companies would be neglecting a large consumer group that may be a key demographic in their industry. With tools such as brand takeovers and hashtag challenges, TikTok provides an informal conversation with consumers which many are keen to fully immerse themselves in due to the experience economy that millennials now live in. Despite TikTok’s infancy, it has proven it is a platform that is here for the long run, and like many other social platforms, it is becoming a staple in brand marketing.


*(Datareportal, 2020)

**(Sensor Tower, 2020).



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