One of the most invigorating things about being in marketing is that it changes constantly. There is no one way — no cut-and-dry playbook we can all follow for how we increase awareness, differentiate, drive demand, and position our clients in the marketplace. Quite literally every day we can learn — and implement — something new. Our business moves fast, and savvy marketers instinctively know how to ride that wave of change.
I recently had Mike Westgate, head of brand business for TikTok, as a guest on the Integrate & Ignite Podcast. Our conversation was spirited, informative, and nothing short of a thought-provoking education in mastering social’s hottest platform. (You can listen to our conversation here.)
Embracing the fast-moving world of social media and deploying marketing strategies that utilize the platforms means that we must adapt to…and respond to…what Mike calls the speed of culture.
And of all the tools in our marketing toolkit that we deploy to build our clients’ brands, nothing is as culturally significant, as trendy, as cutting edge, and for some as mystifying as TikTok. The video-sharing platform is the fastest growing social app (racking up an astonishing one billion users last year) and one of the most powerful things defining our culture today. Keeping up with it isn’t easy.
The perception shared by many, if not by most, is that the platform is exclusively for outliers and the young. It is most definitely hip, fast, trendy, and flashy. It can appear aimless — even nonsensical and chaotic — but it is also boundlessly creative and enticingly engaging.
It’s also without question an important and powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal.
(Side note: The platform trends toward the younger demographic, but according to data published by the Pew Research Center it is in fact aging up.)
If you are thinking of adding a TikTok strategy to your marketing campaigns, know this: there really aren’t any “wrong” ways to play and post on TikTok. It is, at its core, an entertainment platform above all else. In fact, TikTok’s mantra is to inspire creativity and bring joy. So, if you keep that ethos in mind, the fun easily follows!! It is multi-sensory as well, which means that as marketers, we have carte blanche!! And the best part: TikTok does not need to be over-produced and fussed over. Posts can be done from your phone, in your car, at a store. While Instagram tends to be more polished and all about the aesthetic, and Facebook leans toward a more buttoned-up, no-frills approach…TikTok is all about FUN!
Let’s go through what I call, the “Five Must-Dos for Using TikTok”:
Start now, dive in, and don’t be afraid because there is little to no risk.
Work with content creators and lean in on their expertise and their embedded audience to express your brand. Creator-led content performs magnitudes better than traditional branded content.
Lean into cultural trends. Take part in these trends whenever you can.
Take advantage of what’s unique about the platform: its multi-sensory effects and the native editing, in particular. Always have the sound on, use full screen and a full bleed, and keep it short.
Listen to the community.
It’s all about being real, too. While mostly used by B2C brands, the platform can work for B2B brands, as well, as long as the campaigns are authentic to who and what the brand represents.
And remember: the key to virality is authenticity. You can’t hold back on TikTok.
Because of the nature and intention of the platform, our strategies are always fun, offbeat, sometimes goofy, and ALWAYS aimed to get the audience’s attention. Our TikTok posts are short, snappy, trendy, and even irreverent. One reason why we love TikTok so much is that it is the very essence of the bold and brave marketing that our team embraces and embodies in everything we do.
While you may think that the platform is just for teenagers doing silly dances or for lip-syncing songs (although, there IS a lot of both!!), TikTok can also be a powerful way to reach your customers and to be culturally relevant. So, jump in! The time is now!!