Being a social mama, the minute there’s a new social media app proclaimed to dethrone any of the big major players, I feel it’s my duty to my clients to suss out why all the fuss. Is it going to be a two-minute wonder or a missed opportunity, if I don’t leap on the bandwagon from Day 1?
You’d have to be living under a rock or off-the-grid iso-style to have missed all the noise about Tik Tok. I was keen to find out if Tik Tok was a load of crock or whether it was something I could see me introducing it to my businesses as a way of growing my brand. Granted, I fall slightly outside of the intended demographics (18-24 years old) yet Tik Tok is proving to be entertaining for all ages.
What is TikTok?
Once upon a time, there was an app called Music.ly which was predominately known for lip-syncing. It was a social media app where people created, liked and shared karaoke-style videos. A Beijing company, ByteDance acquired the Music.ly in August 2018 for a sum of money most of us can barely even imagine and rebranded as Tik Tok. Tik Tok provides it’s 800 million users with the ability to create short format videos, 15 seconds long which are then shared out to the mammoth community. It’s got a similar feel to Instagram stories, but they don’t disappear after 24 hours. It is heavily focused on evergreen content that’s entertaining.
I wanted to share my Tik Tok experience and look at some of the pros and cons of signing up to the latest social media app to set the world talking.
My experience with TikTok
I downloaded the app, all set to become an overnight success or TikTok celebrity with more than 100,000 followers. That didn’t happen. In fact, at first, I didn’t get much traction at all. Was I posting to crickets? It certainly felt like it. Despite, posting a video of my now somewhat viral dance of replicating the letters L-O-V-E that received more than 100,000 views, people were commenting and liking my content but still not following me.
I soon discovered I simply didn’t have enough videos. Users want to make sure you’re not just a one-time wonder before making the commitment to hit that follow button. More recently, one of my videos received more than 600,000 views, 50,000 likes and 1,000 comments. I went from 600 followers to 2000 in two weeks, demonstrating the potential for getting exposure for your brand. Follow me on TikTok here.
TikTok for businesses
TikTok opens business opportunities you may not have consider known as brand takeovers. Generally, brand takeovers are when users first open the app they are shown a business branded posts first. Think of it as a book cover. It gives you the user a snapshot of information and they have an option to learn more by opening the book or carry on with what they were doing. Most businesses use brand takeovers for giving their TikTok branded hashtags a plug.
It can be expediently huge for growing your TikTok channel.
One of the more popular ways to advertise is through the use of Hashtag Challenges. It takes a little creativity, but business can create videos with a bespoke skit, dare, or dance routines with an audio file, TikTok users can use with their own videos. Your business can pay to sponsor a hashtag on TikTok which is then displayed on the Discover page to get more exposure. It encourages followers to interact with your business and if it goes viral, then there’s unlimited potential for brand recognition. An example where this worked really well when fashion brand Guess #inmydenim created the hashtag challenge. It was the first promoted hashtag challenge in the USA and involved users sharing before and after videos going from a mess to being best dressed in Guess apparel. The success was due to a clever collaboration with a TikTok influencer with 2.3million followers. User videos with #inmydenim racked more than 38 million views and introduced Guess to a brand new audience amongst Millenials and Gen Z. Proof that with the right collaboration your hashtag challenge has infinite potential.
Does TikTok track you?
Yes! Like all social media platforms, streaming services, on-demand TV apps, all track what you watch, your likes and interest. Conspiracy theorists would have you believe they will use your details for evil, but ultimately, it’s to ensure you get the best experience possible on the platform, so you’re seeing content you’re actually interested in based on what you’ve viewed before.
Of course, every social media network has its cons, keyboard warriors, and people who think their entitled to freedom of speech no matter what they say or who it hurts. Having been in the public eye as an Instagram account, I’d never been subjected to the negativity I experienced on TikTok.
Posting publicly does open yourself to criticism. While most of the comments were positive and people who had a laugh with me, some individuals will take any opportunity to try and bring you down. There were some negative comments and even some really nasty comments referring to my unborn baby. Hiding behind the safety of a keyboard, people get very brave and say things they probably wouldn’t dare to your face. (and some of them are just zitty-faced school kids). Comments can be disabled or deleted, but if you have a child who is particularly sensitive, who takes these comments to heart, I would suggest you disable the comments. Even as an adult, it’s perplexing as to why some people have to be so mean. I had never experienced trolling on Instagram, but on TikTok there’s seems to be a feeling that they’re entitled to comment on your life even though they know nothing about you. I know this is part of putting yourself on a public forum but is it because the demographics are a lot younger and there’s no filter?
Trolls aside, I’ve really enjoyed the positive feedback where people have reached out to let me know I’ve made them smile, laugh or for a few seconds forget whatever they are going through.
Has TikTok been banned?
Due to the app being owned by a Beijing based company, the app has undergone government scrutiny. In January this year, the United States Army told U.S soldiers they were no longer allowed to have the app on any devices owned by the government. There was talk the app was banned across the entire USA and India, but in my research, I’ve found this to be untrue.
If you’d like to set up TikTok or need ideas of how you can use TikTok to suit your business, then feel free to reach out. It can be a lot of fun. Social media apps come and go, but it looks like TikTok is here for the foreseeable future. My advice would be to pounce while it’s still making headlines