TikTok is the fastest-growing social media channel in the world. And if you are over 24, you may never have seen it.
Mostly kids and young adults engage with TikTok, a platform where anyone can post a 15-second video.
Like other social media, you will see puppies and kittens, but also lots of lip synching and dancing to popular songs, demonstrations of gymnastic flips, grandmas testing whether Mentos combined with a bottle of Coca-Cola really does create a volcano and – of interest to businesses – branding messages.
There is a wild west kind of feel to TikTok, a sense that almost anything goes, but each video also stands on its own, with little danger that the scantily clad dancer posted at the same time as your video will taint your own message.
The buzz around TikTok is that it is a fun place to scroll and gawk.
It also has 500 million users, and is growing faster than Snapchat and Twitter, which means serious-minded folks are thinking of ways to communicate with this new audience.
In addition, there has been news coverage about U.S. government suspicions that TikTok, which is owned by a firm based in China, may be especially vulnerable to spyware or might be used by the Chinese government to peddle misinformation in the West.
But a random scroll of 5 or 10 minutes through TikTok on your phone will reveal that, at the moment, the messaging is more light-hearted than onerous.
A handful of national brands – The Washington Post, Chipotle, the NBA and others – have launched TikTok campaigns that are designed to expand recognition, rather than to directly increase sales. They post videos but also ask viewers to post their own videos with a hashtag attached; Guess Jeans established the #InMyDenim contest, for instance.
TikTok charges $10 per 1,000 impressions and because viewers can scroll quickly through each short video, impressions can accumulate in a short time. Large companies have reportedly spent as much as $300,000 on their campaigns. TikTok also requires a $500 minimum for a campaign.
If you are still interested, download TikTok onto your phone and spend some time enjoying the content.
For businesses that want to attract younger customers, you can create an account, write a quick script that shows an aspect of your product or service in a quirky or fun way, and then shoot a video with your phone. Positive reviews might prompt you to think about a small advertising campaign unlike any you have done before.
Want to have a longer discussion about TikTok, other social media platforms, and how to position your company to attract fans? Email Bingley Digital at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will talk about how we can help.