May 7, 2020 Heather Wilson

Why You Should Be Using TikTok

TikTok is a video-sharing app that has become a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 1.5 billion downloads and more than 500 million active monthly users. Before dismissing TikTok as just a fad of young people sharing lip-sync and dance videos, you need to understand its true potential. And now is the time to get ahead of your competitors and add TikTok to your social media marketing arsenal.

We’ll help you get started tips and takeaways from brands that have already done well on TikTok.

What is TikTok?

Launched in 2016, TikTok is one of the newest social media platforms and it has exploded in popularity. The platform hosts 15- to 60-second user-generated videos, and yes, many of those videos are of dancing, lip-syncing, memes, comedy sketches and other playful activities. Interactive features allow users to customize, edit, filter and manipulate videos, and there is a “react” feature that lets users film their reactions to specific videos. Privacy settings allow users to decide who can view specific videos — public, friends only or private.

Where things get really interesting — and what has been central to TikTok’s success — is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze users’ interests and preferences based on their interactions with the content. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok minimizes the importance of content created by friends or others a user might follow. When users open the app, they are automatically taken to the “for you” page that TikTok’s AI algorithm automatically fills with curated clips. Rather than relying on users to curate content for themselves, as happens on Facebook or Instagram, TikTok makes its AI-curated content discovery central to the user experience, which is why some videos go viral almost instantly.

Why TikTok?

The reason your company should be on TikTok is the sheer volume of users using the app. How TikTok’s algorithm works isn’t entirely known, but it’s fair to say that your company’s videos are more likely to go viral on TikTok than on any other social media platform. 

With TikTok growing exponentially around the world, now is the time for brands to establish a foothold on the platform. Since early 2019 the app has allowed in-feed advertising, and big brands like Nike, Grubhub and Chipotle are already on board. With unique ad creation features and advanced targeting, the platform’s ads are unique in the social media space. 

Who Are TikTok Users?

TikTok’s biggest demographic is young people aged 16-24, who represent about 40% of users. Many in this age group have moved away from Facebook and Twitter, so it’s not surprising that they would be attracted to this new platform. In 2019, the fastest growing age group on TikTok was 25-34 year-olds. Like any social media platform, users will age up over time, which is one reason companies should get involved now. In terms of gender, 44% of TikTok users are female and 56% are male. And in the United States, 52% of TikTok users are on iPhones.

Engagement is high, with 90% of TikTok users using the app on a daily basis and an average of 52 minutes per day spent on the app.

Tips for Brands on TikTok

While you can’t expect every post to go viral, TikTok is nonetheless a fantastic tool for connecting with a young, diverse audience. Now is the time to capitalize on the app’s infancy and use it to experiment with different strategies. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, you won’t be penalized if your video doesn’t get millions of views. So why not take a few risks? 

3 Tips for Getting Started on TikTok:

1. Show a Different Side of Your Company

TikTok is a hub for creativity and, most of all, humor. By showing the behind-the-scenes, unscripted reality of your company and its employees, your brand will appear more trustworthy, relatable and authentic to potential customers.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get A Little Weird

Because TikTok is so new — Facebook had been around for more than a decade when TikTok launched — there aren’t well-known best practices or rules like there are on established social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Users are more likely to reward your brand for being bold and coloring outside the lines. 

3. Engage with Users

Between challenges, duets, likes, comments and shares, there are plenty of ways to engage with TikTok users. TikTok provides a golden opportunity to be creative when it comes to interacting with a new, highly engaged audience. 

3 Brands Who Are Crushing It on TikTok

MotoAmerica: MotoAmerica, the premier motorcycle road racing series in the U.S. and a Kahn Media client, was born for TikTok. While its presence is relatively new to the platform, it has taken it by storm, amassing 9.1 million views and more than 56,000 followers with just a handful of videos. How? MotoAmerica’s strategy is two-fold: repurposing old-yet-exciting content from previous races (crashes!) and mixing it with the latest trends. The strategy works. It has consistently produced content that resonates with MotoAmerica’s target audience — youth.

e.l.f. Cosmetics: e.l.f. Cosmetics is one of the first companies to make a significant investment in its TikTok content. In 2019, it commissioned a song for a TikTok campaign and used influencers to help promote it. The song, called “Eyes. Lips. Face.” and named after the brand name’s acronym, is believed to be the first original song commissioned for a TikTok campaign. e.l.f. hired influencers to create content for their own accounts, trusting them to produce whatever they wanted. The current count of participants using the song and hashtags is over 4 billion. 

ESPN: Since joining the app, ESPN has dominated TikTok by posting videos on a consistent basis and positioning itself as a steady source of content. ESPN posts funny mixes of bloopers from its TV shows as well user-generated content featuring some type of athleticism. Looking for recaps or highlights? You won’t find them on TikTok. ESPN has done a great job of using different social platforms for different types of content, which encourages followers to seek it out. 

Now Is the Time for TikTok

If TikTok isn’t already a part of your social media strategy, you’re missing out. Now is the perfect time to increase your brand’s visibility and engagement on this rapidly growing platform. It’s worth investing time to learn more about TitTok and develop a plan to create compelling content that will resonate with your target audience. Start simple and look at your existing content — identify the low-hanging fruit that you can repurpose for TikTok.

Need help? Contact us today at for an introductory consultation and start making social media work for you, not against you.