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What is TikTok and should your brand be using it?

Updated: Mar 24

The low down on the world’s most downloaded social app for 2019.

It’s the latest craze when it comes to social media, but TikTok is part of the world’s most valuable startup, ByteDance, valued at $75 billion. Amassing over 1 billion users worldwide in two years, TikTok is the newest form of social media that brands need to put on their radar for 2020.


The Chinese social media video app was previously known as Musical.ly, and has grown by 70 percent in the last year alone, with 188 million downloads in Q1 of 2019. In September 2018, TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Snapchat in monthly installs in the app store.


While TikTok’s demographic has mainly skewed towards Gen Z in the past, we are now starting to see the emergence of new audiences on the platform, as well as the involvement of some early-adopter brands – all asking how they can get involved.


So what actually is it you ask? According to their website, their mission is “to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator, and encourages users to share their passion and creative expressions through their videos.”


TikTok is an entertainment platform, that allows users from all over the world to become an instant content creator. TikTok allows users to film themselves lip-syncing, creating comedy sketches or talking straight to the camera for either 15 or 60 second intervals. Users can choose from a database of sound bites, effects, green screens and songs to accompany their videos.


The real beauty of TikTok is that it’s an entertainment platform, meaning that anyone can jump on and instantly become a content creator. TikTok allows users to film themselves lip-syncing, acting comedy sketches or just talking to the camera for either 15 or 60 second intervals. Users can choose from a database of sound bites, effects, green screens and songs to accompany their videos.


If you’ve been thinking about jumping aboard the TikTok train, we encourage you to. While you can begin to create organic content, that will populate a traditional ‘newsfeed’, where a mixture of popular, trending and new posts will be on auto-play. TikTok recently rolled out their first publicly available product in October 2019, with in-feed ads, hashtag challenge campaigns and hashtag challenge “plus” campaigns, which feature an in-app shoppable product page.

So, where to from here?


With different hashtags and themed videos trending nearly every day, TikTok isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon so you might as well jump on board before it’s too late. Consumers already respond to video content 49% more than static images so there’s really no better time to invest in a vertical video content strategy for your brand.


You won’t amass followers from purely branded content, you’ll need to provide a mixture of entertainment versus branded content. And the best thing, while it’s still early days, brands have the freedom to experiment and have a little more fun with videos.


Still not convinced? Take a page from these big brands, Chipotles’ rendition of Adele, or a series of videos from The Washington Post nailing our everyday work dilemmas. And well, some of them just don’t make any sense, but I can guarantee you’ll be hooked after just a few minutes.

The key is to get creative and remember your audience on TikTok wants to be entertained. If you can entertain while educating, you’ll be a TikTok pro in no time.


Need help with your social strategy? We love working with new platforms, and TikTok is no different. Get in touch now at hello@compasscreative.com.au for more information.


Author Bio



Ellie Parker

Ellie is the Social Media Manager at Compass Studio, fluent in Instagram and a self-confessed meme addict.


An experienced social media strategist and content writer, Ellie is passionate about working with sustainable, ethical brands that give back to the world, and also runs her own blog at Live with Elle.