TikTok has been blowing up since the beginning of the global pandemic last year and has been the number one social media app amongst other apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, with 689 million users internationally every month (Business of Apps, 2021) It is reported that there are 100 million TikTok users in the US every month followed by 100 million TikTok users in Europe, with 17 million in the UK, 11 million in France, 11 million in Germany, and 4 million in Malaysia. (ibid) We usually see TikTok as an app to pass time, big brands however see this as an opportunity to expand their digital marketing strategy.
Ever heard of challenges such as the “Any Song Challenge”, “Iko Iko Dance Challenge” or “Lay It Down Challenge”? No? Well, this is a sign that you should hop on the trend and download the app before it is too late!
TikTok, formally known as Musical.ly, is an app similar to Vine where it involves the creation of short videos and these videos will then be shared with other users on the platform. Typically, users will upload videos of themselves either lip-syncing or dancing to trendy songs while others who are more talented, post original content eventually becoming influencers themselves.
In this current era, more and more brands are looking for new ways to reach their target audience. Thanks to the advancement of technologies, big brands such as Gucci, and Samsung have been using TikTok to advertise and create content for their own brand. This changes the world of advertisements as TikTok videos often range from 15 seconds to a minute, thus, capturing the attention of viewers scrolling through the app. Most brands are currently making short videos and are slowly moving away from making 3 minute long commercial ads.
Besides their 15-second video feature, TikTok also has another feature where it allows users to live stream wherever they are. Just like Facebook and Instagram, this app allows the brands to connect with their followers in new interesting ways.
What are Malaysian brands doing on TikTok?
Online shopping platform brands such as Shopee and Lazada have been in the TikTok game since last year with a following of 483.8k and 422.2k followers respectively. Thanks to the influence of TikTok, these brands are leveraging on shopping festivals such as 11.11 to come up with creative ways to incorporate challenges when producing content for their followers to see. This allows them to stay on trend and attract younger consumers to go to their website. Nowadays, it is the consumers who have control of the brand and not the other way around anymore.
Shopee has created a trend called “Shopee Check” where they show off interesting and handy products for everyone to see. This can be seen all over their TikTok feed. By doing so, Shopee attracts new viewers every time these kinds of advertisements show up on their For You Page (FYP). Lazada did something similar as well. Instead of having their own audio clip like Shopee, Lazada showcases items in a manner where they tell their audiences, “Hey, I think you need this”.
Other brands such as Maxis, Sephora, and McDonald’s had also joined the bandwagon by creating interesting content on TikTok as well. As the majority of TikTok’s users are in the newer generation, brands will try to keep up with trends and will lean towards their target audiences’ preferences by incorporating this app into their digital marketing strategy. (Cristea, 2021)
This is important as the newer generation has a higher tendency to buy things online especially if that product is trending on social media. An example would be Aerie’s Seasum High Waist Slimming Booty Leggings, also known as the “TikTok leggings” after this product blew up on TikTok. Many women started buying this pair of leggings and recorded their partner’s reaction. In the months since the leggings went viral, Aerie has sold out of most sizes and received a total of 130,000 emails from customers asking to be placed on the product’s waitlist. (Gray, 2021)
On the other hand, more well-known brands will often ask influencers and KOLs to promote their brand by giving them items to test out. These influencers will then create interesting videos based on what is trending at that time.
Are other international brands using TikTok too?
International brands such as Guess, Chipotle, and Target have a bigger impact on their following worldwide. Target utilizes “the shopping haul and product recommendations” TikTok trend which consists of popular TikTokers shopping at Target and highlighting items you “need.”
Other than that, Chipotle, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant chain has also found success on the app, becoming the first restaurant brand to break 1 million followers and 20 million likes. Similar to Target, Chipotle uses well-known TikTokers to promote the brand. They also started building brand awareness with campaigns ranging from free delivery to TikTok digital menu hacks when the pandemic happened. (Mahan, 2021)
TikTok has also helped Chipotle by generating more than 500,000 social engagements and 1.4 billion earned impressions by making Miley Cyrus’s go-to Chipotle order a limited-time menu item after Miley Cyrus herself commented on one of their challenge videos. (ibid)
So what now?
First, brands should try to identify what kind of message they want to convey to their audiences on the platform. Once you have done that, it is time to create content that is engaging, fun, and creative, just like the app itself! Here are some of the functions that could help you get started:
Have Livestreams to connect with followers
Just like Facebook and Instagram, content creators and influencers can broadcast live and talk about anything but, of course, staying on topic about their brand. This will connect both parties since the brand is showing its real self to its followers. TikTok is also a great place to showcase business behind the scenes or in-the-moment content too.
Have younger influencers promote products
Just like those other brands that are mentioned before, why not have these Tiktokers help you promote your brand? This allows them to connect with any younger target audiences and this will help you reach a wider range of people. There’s already a lot of trending content on TikTok – like dance trends, hauls, you name it!
Film try-on videos
If your brand is a boutique or a retail store, try using TikTok for the ever-popular try-on videos. You can film a whole season’s worth of sales. TikTok has all sorts of functions to play with. Brands can film in a fun sped-up style video, play with filters and even add fun, trendy music in the background. This way, you can attract the right followers that suit your target audience.
Why should brands consider an app like TikTok?
Brands should start using TikTok as it is not only the most used app to date but it is also a good way to reach out to a younger target audience. Statistics show that the majority of TikTok users in the United States as of March 2021 are between ages 10 – 19. (Statista)
(Source: Statista https://www.statista.com/statistics/1095186/tiktok-us-users-age/)
This is because the app itself has a specific user demographic of its own as well. Tik Tok is most popular among people age 16 – 24, which makes up 60% of the total userbase. TikTok reports that 80% of all users are between the ages of 16 – 34, confirming that this probably isn’t the channel for marketing to the older crowd. (Dievendorf, 2021) So if your brand’s target audience aligns with TikTok’s demographic, why consider using TikTok in your future digital marketing mix for your digital agency in Malaysia.
If you noticed in the recent Instagram update, Instagram actually stepped up their game by introducing Instagram Reels. Just like TikTok, users on Instagram can also film short videos without using TikTok. (Aten, n.d) Trends spread fast in TikTok. There is a higher chance for your brand to get higher engagement if your video is trending. The chances of other followers on TikTok replicating that video and making their own version are greater because of that one trending video you have.
Soon TikTok users worldwide will be spreading the trend all over the world. Thus, making your brand more well-known than others. Moreover, it is also good to know how TikTok measures their engagement in order to produce good quality videos that people won’t just scroll after looking at it for one second.
All in all, TikTok is an app that provides the ability for users and brands to connect with their audiences in new, fun, and exciting ways. So you are still considering TikTok after reading this article? What are you waiting for? Join the TikTok fam before it’s too late.
Links to the videos:
Any Song Challenge
Iko Iko Dance Challenge
Lay It Down Challenge
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Williams, K., 2020. Top Social Media Apps Worldwide for January 2020 by Downloads. [online] Sensor Tower Blog. Available at: <https://sensortower.com/blog/top-social-media-apps-worldwide-january-2020#:~:text=Feb%2021%2C%202020-,Top%20Social%20Media%20Apps%20Worldwide%20for%20January%202020%20by%20Downloads,percent%20increase%20from%20January%202019.> [Accessed 23 May 2021].