• Alice Violet

Are you underestimating TikTok?

I have a confession to make: I underestimated TikTok, and perhaps even intentionally avoided it. It was surprising for me to do this as I am social media marketer in my late 20's. It is usually I that leaves a meeting irritated by a print-loving traditional marketer who doesn't see how extraordinarily targeted and influential Instagram and Facebook can be (The Great Hack anyone?).

In social media things shift and change direction quickly. The ability to track certain insights might suddenly disappear and complex algorithms constantly add and subtract weight to different parameters changing how likely it is that my target market will see my content. I usually jump at the chance to try new features because doing so increases your exposure. The platforms will always favour accounts who embrace their latest developments, mostly because they want to know how users respond to it. When TikTok started gaining traction however, I didn't jump to download it, explore it or understand it, in fact I actively chose not to.

My reason was because of the dance and challenge style videos, I didn't feel the platform would be relevant to my audiences considering I primarily operate in b2b, luxury and tech spaces. All of these areas skew older and compared to most TikTok trending videos they feel pretty serious.

Is TikTok just for teenagers?

Their demographic breakdown is primarily 10-19 year olds (32%) and 20-29 year olds (29%) but they recently shared the following insights detailing how older people are using the platform in an effort to attract more marketers.

"Every day, millions of parents, teens, grandparents and in betweens come to TikTok to share snippets of their day-to-day life. Here’s what’s unique: often, the whole family participates together - even teens don’t shy away. It used to be a challenge getting everyone to sit still for a photo; now we see perfectly choreographed dance routines from the whole family, including grandma."

They also highlighted these popular hashtags:

#family- 67B views

#familytime- 8B views

#parenting - 4B views

#momsoftiktok- 44B views

#dad- 25B views

#momlife- 20B views

Should I use TikTok for my business?

If you're aimed at teenagers or parents, based on the above insights I would certainly recommend that you add it to your strategy. One of the key things to consider here is that authenticity is key. The overly filtered world of Instagram isn't the norm on TikTok, here relatable comedy reigns and being unique and genuine is essential.

If you're already investing time to creating Instagram Reels, these can be easily repurposed for TikTok. Just remember that this doesn't work the other way around; you can't share a video filmed on TikTok on Instagram because it will have a TikTok watermark on it which will demote its exposure.

It's also worth noting that Instagram is actively seeking brands like yours to use the platform, so if you're aimed at parents and you're a business you might even get an extra push in the algorithm. Add the above hashtags to your content and see whether it helps.

How to get maximum exposure on TikTok

No other platform allows such rapid exposure to all users. This means those without a significant following still appear on the For You Page (similar to Instagram's Explore page). TikTok's user interface also encourages trends; audio or music categorises your content and jumping on what is popular right now increases your exposure.

If you're a business, it might be harder to create videos incorporating trending sounds. You can still add the music and turn the volume down to 0% so that you can freely talk to camera or have no sound while still gaining the exposure benefits.

And finally, be authentic, if your brand naturally lends itself towards memes and playful content aimed at a younger demographic, then embrace it. If you're aimed at the parents then this is an emerging space, try different things and see what works. Another option is to work with established TikTok influencers, this capacity works really well for travel, makeup and fashion brands.