So You Want to be on TikTok

We thought we’d help you with a primer and offer tips to start smart with the platform.

There’s no denying it — TikTok is where it’s at in 2020.

It hasn’t been long since this 800 million-strong app was an outlier in the social media game, and a lot have come and gone since it entered the market in 2018. Its rapid rise is such a game-changer that we’re seeing the who’s who of celebrities and advertisers create and launch trends on the app to engage younger audiences.

The lowdown on TikTok

TikTok allows users to be creative with short-form videos using its various in-app elements.

It’s the “leading destination for short-form mobile videos,” TikTok claims. While such a statement isn’t entirely wrong, it’s not the first of its kind to reach its level of popularity. After all, the app came into being when its parent company ByteDance absorbed and its existing users, which has a similar DNA, to the TikTok platform in August 2018.

What can you do on TikTok?

Short answer? A lot.

It rivals more prominent apps for almost the same features, but the app does edge them out in a few areas:

Hashtags are big on TikTok, and here’s where you see what’s currently raking in numbers. On this feed, you can search for songs, effects, videos, or add friends by using a tagging system called TikCodes.

TikCodes are unique QR codes you can scan to follow people instead of manually looking up usernames. These are assigned to every profile, so you can add and share your own TikCode as well.

To add friends on iOS, open the scanner by long-pressing the app and picking “Scan” on the menu. For Android, however, you have to look it up on the app by locating the three dots on the top right portion, picking “TikCode,” and opening the scanner.

It’s a video-centric platform, so basically you can create videos with filters, music, lenses, participate in challenges, do duets, create your heart’s content with the wide-ranging elements of TikTok.

React and Interact:
Like most social media platforms, you can comment, tap to give hearts, and tag people on videos.

What TikTok can do for you

It’s a new platform and an even playing field for creativity, so there’s a great deal of leeway in making buzz-worthy original content for your brand. You’re sure to find many ways to channel your branding in suitable means such as:

Native Content:
Nothing beats organic, especially in a platform where content is king, which defines TikTok perfectly. Doing something original that’s also fun or informative for others remains the best way to stand out on the app — and you can definitely make do by applying your brand identity.

The Washington Post,
for example, launched its own TikTok account to connect with younger audiences. Its goal is to have young viewers know the Post and its reporters, in their own brand of humor. They created an account in May 2019 — they now have 552.7k followers and 23.7M.

Brand Takeovers:
Brand takeovers are basically full-screen ads that you see when you open TikTok. It’s usually a three to five-second display of an image or GIF with a link to a challenge or a brand’s page.

Too Faced launched a brand takeover on TikTok to bring awareness to their Lip Injection Extreme lip gloss by showing a before-and-after effect in a five-second video, which earned 7.6M impressions and 1.3M clicks to the product page.

Unlike the Brand Takeover format, this distraction-free ad features short-form videos for up to 60 seconds.

Courtesy of TikTok

This feature from Oppo India is also seen on their page with a different aspect ratio, but it was shown to be in full-screen as an ad.

In-Feed Ads:
In-feed ads are native videos that appear while users scroll for content. They’re full-screen, 15-second videos with music and a CTA that you can use to direct people to another page or a challenge.

Courtesy of TikTok

This ad by Ulike appeared on the “For You” feed on TikTok. Users were able to like, tap to give a heart, follow the brand, and use the same featured music for their videos.

Hashtag Challenges:
People follow what’s new and easy, and challenges are an easy way to start a trend — but do make sure your challenge is fun and doable for people to riff on it.

Guess’ viral #InMyDenim TikTok campaign is a call on users to show how they wear and style their denim. The hashtag has 50.9M views and counting.

Filters and Lenses:
Much like on Instagram or Snapchat, TikTok filters and lenses can also work for brands. It’s an easy way to get on your audiences’ feed through videos and photos.

Huawei Philippines launched the #SuperNovaPH contest with its own filter and song to promote the new HUAWEI nova 7 SE. To win the “first super 5G phone for the youth,” the dance challenge got a lot of participation and 82.3M views.

Influencer Work:
This is probably the easiest way to get attention on TikTok if you’re just starting. Influencers can give you content that fits your brand and can widen your reach to a new generation of users!

Dancer and social media personality Addison Rae’s (addisonre on TikTok) take on the #OwnTheCurve challenge sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. This was the healthcare company’s campaign that reminds people to stay home, practice social distancing, and do frequent hand washing by encouraging them to give their most fun interpretation of being in quarantine. This challenge has 7.4B views.

Ready to create?

TikTok is having a moment. Its simple mission to be fun can be spun in many ways — and most of those can be integrated into building up your brand. Use these guidelines to get started on the platform, explore, and you just might find your content on highlight one of these days.

on July 2, 2020