TikTok, the wildly popular short-form video platform, took the world by storm during the 2020 pandemic. While many predicted TikTok would be a “fad” app, with over 1.6 billion users as of 2023 and an average of more than a million videos viewed every day, TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform of the decade – and it’s here to stay.
Should your brand jump on the TikTok bandwagon? Let's explore the pros and cons!
Pro #1: Reach a Wider Audience: TikTok boasts over a billion monthly active users (Source: Demand Sage), providing an immense potential audience for your brand. In fact, 90% of TikTok users access the app on a daily basis, multiple times a day! With its algorithm-driven content discovery, even smaller businesses have a chance to go viral and gain exposure. It’s all about your content’s ability to grab attention and cater to users’ interests.
Pro #2: Engage Gen Z and Millennials: TikTok's user base primarily consists of younger demographics (See chart below with April 2023 stats by age from a study conducted by Data Reportal). If your target audience includes Gen Z and Millennials, TikTok offers an ideal platform to connect with them authentically through creative and entertaining content.
Pro #3: Boost Brand Awareness and Creativity: TikTok encourages users to unleash their creativity. Through innovative challenges and trends, brands can showcase their personality, build brand awareness, and connect with users on a more personal level. If you’re looking to experiment and take more risks with your marketing efforts, TikTok is the place to do it!
Pro #4: High Engagement: According to Business Insider, TikTok is by far the best platform for brand engagement, outpacing Instagram and other apps. TikTok's engaging features, algorithmic content discovery, viral challenges, emphasis on creativity, active community, seamless sharing capabilities, and diverse content offerings all contribute to creating an environment where users are more likely to interact, participate, and engage with the content they discover on TikTok.
Con #1: Time and Resource Commitment: Creating compelling TikTok content requires time, effort, and resources, in addition to the time it takes to keep up with its quick trend cycles. Consistently producing original videos can be demanding, especially for businesses with limited budgets or small marketing teams.
Thankfully, TikTok has recently added Photo Mode, allowing users to bypass the necessity of creating video content through photo carousels that auto play in the feed, and give the viewer the option to swipe through.
Con #2: ROI and Conversion Challenges: While TikTok can generate brand exposure, converting that into tangible ROI can be challenging. Linking out to websites or driving traffic off the platform is limited, making it harder to directly measure conversions.
Con #3 (the most important): Can you let your hair down?
Above all, the true TikTok success factor will be your brand’s ability to show a different side of its personality and let its hair down. What do we mean by that?
A high level of adaptability is required for brands to do TikTok well. Just because TikTok captures a big share of social media users doesn’t mean business marketing content posted to the site will automatically succeed. In fact, simply treating TikTok like any other social media platform with “perfect-feeling” content will likely result in a lack of performance.
It’s essential to tailor your message and methods to fit TikTok’s unique culture and style.
Success on TikTok requires creating authentic content that resonates with the TikTok community, using catchy music and visual effects and incorporating humour and trends. This includes catering to short attention spans, avoiding polished, overly produced content, and dropping the “corporate” side of your brand – forget about promotional and self-serving content on this app!
In addition to this, TikTok trends move at lightning speed. Brands wanting to succeed on TikTok must be prepared (and need to give their TikTok manager the autonomy) to move quickly and be responsive. If your brand spends too long planning content calendars in advance or requires multiple rounds of reviews, chances are you will miss the opportunity window entirely. All of the tools (text, effect, trending audio, editing) to make a TikTok successful are found directly in the app, making it difficult to plan offline in a traditional content calendar (but screen recordings can help when a second opinion is needed before posting).
Ultimately, whether your brand should be on TikTok depends on your target audience, resources, and marketing goals. Carefully consider the pros and cons, but most importantly, download the app to get the best sense of whether TikTok aligns with your brand identity and objectives.
If you decide to take the leap, or want to improve your TikTok game, contact our team of savvy digital marketers!