Why You Should Be Using TikTok
2020: the year of banana bread, Joe Wicks’ PE classes and ‘you’re on mute’. It is extremely likely that you never want to hear any of these phrases again, and we certainly won’t judge you for that. It’s fair to say that last year was a period of time we will all be planning to forget about as soon as humanly possible.
However. There was one trend that emerged from the rubble of 2020 that is worth paying attention to. This a trend which captured the hearts and attention spans of entire generations, and has arguably come to represent a pivotal turning point in society, politics and digital culture. This trend is, of course, TikTok.
THE DREADED T WORD
If you’ve made it this far, you’ll likely already have heard of the social media app that’s taken the world by storm. Although the app in question has a long and winding history, originating under the name Douyin in the Chinese market before being launched internationally in 2017, here’s everything you need to know about its current state:
- TikTok is a video sharing app on which users film, edit and share videos which are up to 60 seconds in length
- It was downloaded more times than any other social media platform – yes, that includes EVERY other platform- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (if you’re wondering, that’s 2 BILLION downloads. Yes you did read that correctly, billion)
- In 2020, TikTok had an average of 800 million monthly users worldwide
The fact of the matter is, we can’t ignore this app. It’s a big deal, and it’s consuming more of the social media market share every day. So we’re guessing you now likely have 2 questions:
- How does TikTok work?
- How is it relevant for me and/or my company?
Don’t worry, we have done the work for you. Here at CAL Social we’ve spent hours on and off this platform researching the mechanics of the app, upskilling ourselves from 0 to over 20,000 cumulative followers. In this series, we will look to demystify and simplify the TikTok platform; exploring FAQs, translating trends from ‘teenager’ into ‘adult’ as well as analysing why the platform has seen such significant success over the last 12 months. Most importantly, we will show how you can immediately start using it to generate value for yourself or your team.
Today, we’re going to start with the basics.
WHAT THE HELL IS IT? IN LAYMAN’S TERMS
I downloaded TikTok over 2 years ago and promptly felt overwhelmed, exposed and even scared. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Through spending significant time researching both on and off the platform, I managed to acquire a following of over 12,000 members. The best way to get a feel for the app is to download it and spend a couple of hours on it – you’ll quickly get the gist.
So.. it’s like Facebook or Instagram, but just with videos?
Wrong. Here’s the 3 main ways it differs:
- The ‘For You’ page is new
- The content style is different
- Music is allowed and encouraged!
There’s a bunch of other reasons as to why it’s so successful, which we will be exploring in further posts. As a starter for ten we observed the following:
- Focuses on authentic content (low production budgets, levelling the playing field)
- Clever incentivisation from TikTok (they pay you to create- have you heard of the TikTok creator fund? If you haven’t, read here)
- The platform’s incredible algorithm
- Trends that can be repurposed for all niches
- The platform is not yet oversaturated or corporate
Furthermore, a question that has been doing the rounds is: isn’t TikTok just for kids?
No, it’s really not. The beauty of the incredible TikTok algorithm is that it’s able to put each user very quickly into their own side of TikTok, so the kids see what they like and the adults see what they like. If you have kids who are on TikTok and any of this feels slightly worrying, rest assured that the algorithm also immediately removes videos which include nudity, swear words, discussion about sex and drugs (which can in itself sometimes be problematic but that warrants a whole blog post to itself).
SO YOU’RE NEW TO TIKTOK, WHERE DO YOU START?
Step 1: download the app and have a browse on your ‘For You’ page. After a little while you should start to notice a few things:
- There are a lot of people dancing
- Each video had a sound on it. You can click to see where this sound has also been used in other people’s videos, by clicking on the circle in the bottom right hand corner
- Some videos have A LOT of likes. Millions of them
- You can start following accounts (by pressing the small plus button where their profile picture is on the right) that you like or think will be useful to your brand or company you’ve set your TikTok up for. Their videos will appear in a separate tab called “following” which you can access at the top of the page.
IS IT RELEVANT FOR ME AND MY COMPANY?
- Because the app is still new and people are still building a base of who they’re following and engaging with, the potential to go ‘viral’ and reach huge amounts of people is very much there, unlike other current platforms
- Authentic, unpolished content performs better on TikTok. This means you don’t have to be spending huge amounts of money making your content. People want to see the behind the scenes of your business, they want to see raw footage of a day in the life, they want to see you put your own spin on popular trends
- By putting a link in to your other social channels you’ll see an increase in people following you on all other platforms too
Just by reading this, you’re still ahead of the curve. You don’t lose a thing by starting now and you could be pleasantly surprised by how lucrative it can be for yourself and your business. There are a lot of brands and people out there who are still resistant to TikTok because they don’t know how powerful it can be.
Check back in for part two about different case studies, brands doing it well, how advertising works and more.