An introduction to TikTok
TikTok is a video sharing social media platform that has grown dramatically in popularity over the past few years, with 3.7 million users in the UK who engage with the app for an average of 41 minutes a day*. The company has grown from short, portrait videos that are scrolled through by users of the app.
In January 2022, the amount of daily active users on TikTok was 8.9 million. The app has now seen an impressive rise of users across the last 4 years and as of 2023, TikTok now has over 23 million users using the app every month in the UK**.
In a recent survey it was found that approximately 55 percent of 16 to 24 year olds reported using TikTok multiple times per day*** which shows the significance of young people using the app.
TikTok marketing features
Successful marketing on TikTok is different to marketing on other social media platforms. For example, TikTok only uses vertically shot, short videos compared to other platforms which show text, image and link previous posts. Businesses can maximise engagement by following and keeping up with trends, this can be done by:
- Adding hashtags to videos
- Using trending sounds
- Keeping it short and sweet
- Using striking and visually appealing content
- Promoting TikTok through other social media accounts
- An exciting caption
- Posting your video at the right time of the day
As well as this, TikTok also offer a shop (TikTok shop) that provides businesses a whole new platform, where customers can purchase in the app. This means that businesses can not only promote on TikTok but can also sell their product. 55% of TikTok users have bought something after seeing a brand on the app***, which demonstrates the success that can seen from selling on the TikTok shop.
Influencers with big followings are also utilised by businesses who may want to portray their product to a certain target audience. Companies that are looking for more marketing growth on TikTok can send their product to an established influencer. The influencer then creates a TikTok video, demostrating the product to their wider audience. However, TikTok influencers with a relatively vast following usually require extra funding, due to the immediate increase in followers and sales the businesses can generate.
The impact on social media marketing as a whole
The rise of TikTok has impacted the attention spans of social media users who do not even have the app downloaded. Across social media, videos are becoming drastically shorter with trending sounds becoming essential. In fact, nearly 50% of users surveyed by TikTok said that videos longer than a minute long were “stressful”****. This has encouraged social media platforms like Instagram to create their own form of a short video feature called “Reels.”
Businesses are having to adapt their marketing strategies on social media to compliment the decrease in attention span amongst the users of social media. The shorter the video, and the more eye catching it seems, the higher the chances of success in modern day online marketing.
A good example of a TikTok success story would be Gymshark, who have made themselves one of the fitness industry’s leading brands on the app, reaching 2 million followers in just 6 months*****
The future of digital marketing is unknown however, but it is likely that videos become shorter and shorter due to the domination of TikTok, and the current ongoing decline of attention span among social media users.
TikTok has not only changed how users interact online, but how businesses have adjusted and modified the way they market themselves. TikTok marketing encourages firms to predict trends, research the algorithms and adapt so their company suits multiple audiences, maximising engagement.
The TikTok app has the power to change how well a particular company is performing, as well as its competitors. The more businesses that join the app, the more competition there is. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat follow TikTok very closely, due to TikTok being the leading company in the short video industry.
Whilst TikTok is a growing platform and popular with large brands, smaller organisations are often put off including it in their digital strategy, as it requires both time and resource to be successful. Furthermore, choosing TikTok as a platform is dependent on your product or service offering and the profile of your target audience.
Overall, TikTok has high potential for influencing social media marketing in the future and outperforming leading social media apps in helping businesses to see return on investment for their social media marketing activities.