In 2021 TikTok surpassed one billion active users. With 2.9 billion active users, Facebook remains the most popular social media platform. But at the rate its growing, many believe that TikTok will steal Facebook’s crown in the next 12 months.
If you’re unfamiliar with TikTok, this is your essential primer. We’ll explain what TikTok is, how it works, who uses it, and how you can make the most of it.
What Is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media platform that lets users share short videos.
TikTok was created in 2016 by Chinese app-developers ByteDance. In China, the app’s known as Douyin. ByteDance changed its name to TikTok for the international market.
Originally, lip-sync videos were the most popular form of content on TikTok. People would film themselves or others miming to songs, usually with a dance. But now TikTok hosts all sorts of short-form video content, including music, comedy, and microblogs. Occasionally you’ll see a new “TikTok challenge”, where users will film themselves undertaking a certain challenge before challenging others to do the same.
Most of the videos on TikTok are around 15 seconds long. No video is ever longer than a minute.
And it’s all video. You can’t share images or text. Just video.
How Does TikTok Work?
When you open the TikTok app, the first thing you’ll see is the TikTok For You Page.
Like with Instagram and Twitter, you can follow hashtags on TikTok, and the For You Page will show you new videos based on the hashtags you follow, and whatever happens to be trending at the time.
But TikTok is primarily a platform for creators. Any TikTok user can create video content quickly and easily, with a host of fast editing options including music, special effects, and filters.
TikTok accounts are public by default. That means that anyone can see your videos. It also means that anyone can contact you, and view your location. It’s possible to set privacy settings though, so that only people you know can view your videos and interact with you. There’s also a restricted mode, which filters out the less family-friendly content.
Who’s Using TikTok?
Gen-Z, mainly. But younger millennials use it too.
According to one source, 25% of TikTok users are aged 10-19. 22.4% are aged 20-29. Only 11% of users are aged 50+.
So almost 50% of TikTok’s users are younger than 34. These figures are true for the US, but the makeup is likely similar in every territory.
TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes a day on the app, either creating videos or watching them.
TikTok’s available in 155 countries and 75 languages. It remains most popular in China, though 40% of users are based outside of China.
How to Use TikTok for Marketing in 2022
Though most TikTok users are Gen-Z, as the platform grows it’s starting to attract a much wider audience. So even if you’re not targeting younger customers, you might still consider making TikTok part of your marketing strategy.
Forget about advertising on TikTok, for now. An explicit self-serving advert would likely sink without a trace on TikTok. The platform sometimes runs “brand takeovers”, where they’ll display full-screen ads when users first open the app. But as these campaigns reportedly cost up to $50,000, they’re probably a little out of your range.
So instead of using TikTok to advertise your products and services, use it to tell your story as a brand and a business: Who are you, what are you doing, and why are you doing it? Be personable and relatable. In short, aim to use TikTok like you’re a user, rather than a brand. As TikTok themselves advise: “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.”
Or, you could partner with a popular creator on TikTok. The Creator Marketplace is an official platform for linking creators with sponsors. TikTok is also experimenting with eCommerce features, which will allow brands to sell products directly from their video content.
Want To Make TikTok Part of Your Marketing Strategy?
This time next year, TikTok could be the biggest social media platform in the world. Your customers are probably already using TikTok. So maybe it’s time you started using TikTok too.
We can help you devise a long-term marketing strategy that’ll help you make a splash on TikTok.