The TikTok boom is fully effective. Since the platform was first available in the US in the summer of 2018, TikTok has generated six billion lifetime downloads in app stores and reached 689 million users worldwide with no plateau in sight.
Between viral dances, memes, recipes, hacks, and other TikTok trends, it’s hard to avoid the platform’s influence so many brands have to wonder – should we be on TikTok?
TikTok has a lot going for brands, but the answer to that question depends on your goals and audience. Even if your brand decides that TikTok isn’t a good fit for you, there is a lot you can learn from the trends that have emerged. And since it appears every platform uses a TikTok-like feature (e.g. Instagram roles, YouTube shorts, Snapchat Spotlight), your brand can leverage the following six TikTok takeaways to influence strategies for your other social channels.
1. Use the quick-cut tutorials with a short stroke
According to Vidyard’s 2021 Video Benchmarks Report, product demos are the most common types of company-created videos, followed by how-tos and explanations. There are more than 84 billion views (and counts) on TikToks with the hashtag #LearnOnTikTok. If that tells you anything, these types of videos are ripe for the platform. In addition, it shows that the audience has an appetite for learning new things, which you can do on any social channel.
With TikTok, you only have 60 seconds to get your message across. Therefore, the creators use quick cuts, clear voice-over instructions, sharp graphics, and subtitles for added context.
2. Make your content accessible
An estimated 15% of the world’s population live with a disability, and it is vital for any brand to make the content they create accessible to all. TikTok has empowered disabled creators to destroy misunderstandings and reveal a side of disability that most people with disabilities have never experienced before.
Adding subtitles to your videos on social networks is an easy way to make them more accessible. You can either create the subtitles yourself or let your social platform do the work for you – IGTV, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube now enable automatic subtitles.
Text-to-Speech is also a popular and powerful feature of TikTok that allows people with visual impairments to enjoy videos and that should be available on other platforms.
Accessibility should be a consideration for all of your branded content, not just videos. The Sprout Social Publishing Suite allows users to add descriptive alt text to images they want to share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn so that people with visual impairments can use a screen reader to see what the image is.
Not only is this the right thing to do, but accessibility is also a competitive advantage. Discover easier ways to make your social media more inclusive and accessible.
3. Double up influencer marketing and user generated content
If you haven’t dipped your toe in the influencer marketing pool, now is a good time like any other. TikTok is an influencer culture incubator that enables popular developers to reach and engage millions of users for the app in minutes. And all without a lot of studio equipment or highly produced content.
Pura Vida Bracelets has fewer than 300,000 followers on TikTok, compared to 2.1 million on Instagram. By partnering with TikTok’s darling Charli D’Amelio, who has over 112 million followers, the brand has used its influence and expanded the reach of its brand. TikTok, which heralds Charli’s own Pura Vida bracelets package, has over 30 million views and 3.5 million likes. And you can bet it will lead to brand awareness, web traffic, and sales for Pura Vida.
TikTok didn’t invent influencer marketing. Influencers have thrived on social channels for years. What TikTok has done is open up new opportunities for brand ambassadors and inspire creative user-generated content. The ability to download TikToks also means brands can easily push relevant TikToks to other platforms like Instagram Reels, Twitter, and more.
Even if your brand isn’t active on TikTok, partnering with influencers or brand ambassadors can be a great way to expand your reach without a comprehensive TikTok branding strategy.
Clorox, for example, doesn’t have an official TikTok brand, but TikTok was the star channel for the latest #YasClean spring cleaning campaign. The campaign caused a sensation by partnering with Billy Porter to create an original, shareable TikTok sound. Videos with the hashtag #YasClean received over 6.5 billion views.
4th Monitor brand keywords on larger TikTok takeaways
TikTok and social channels in general are a platform for people to share unfiltered thoughts, needs, and feelings. When your brand is on your mind, you’ll want to know.
Remi Bader, a 25-year-old curve model, made a name for herself with “realistic trains”, where she tries on clothes and gives her open and funny feedback.
By fashion industry standards, Remi would be considered plus size. But in reality she is just a normal woman with a normal body who wants brands to create clothes that fit her and bodies of all shapes and sizes. She usually marks brands that are on TikTok or uses branded hashtags. She wants these brands to hear, see, and fix the size flaws in her clothing.
There is a valuable lesson to learn here: keep track of your brand keywords even when your brand is not on a social channel. Otherwise, you could be missing out on customer feedback that has the potential to strengthen your brand, products, and services.
With Sprout Social’s listening solution, brands can become a fly on the wall in relevant conversations, so they don’t miss a moment to hear, learn, and improve from their customers.
5. Make your own TikTok challenge
If you’ve kept up with the viral moments of 2020, you probably know that Ocean Spray hit gold when Nathan Apodaca AKA doggface208 posted a TikTok of himself drinking his juice while skateboarding and “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac heard.
The original video, which had over 12 million likes on TikTok, was so popular that people started re-enacting their own versions, which Ocean Spray dubbed the #DreamsChallenge.
On Instagram alone, more than two million posts contain the hashtag #TikTokChallenge. The benefits are that they have a clear call to action that encourages people to join the fun. In the case of Ocean Spray, Mick Fleetwood, PGA Tour players, law enforcement agencies and even the Office of Nuclear Energy took part in the brand challenge.
Ocean Spray also used this viral moment to rename itself. Just by scrolling through the brand’s Instagram you can see a clear distinction in the brand’s content before and after the #DreamsChallenge went viral. Now the brand is sharing more and more playful content inspired by internet culture on all channels.
Cranberry juice is really a busin
… are we cool yet? Are we doing it right? lmk.
– Ocean Spray (@OceanSprayInc) April 2, 2021
Wondering how you can even find TikTok trends? Trending hashtags are regularly updated on TikTok’s Discover page. If you’re interested in creating a brand challenge, add a hashtag so your brand will stand out in the event of a launch. As an added bonus, hashtags can be crossed over and used on channels like Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn.
6th Have fun and experiment with TikTok trends
One of the reasons TikTok is so popular in the first place is that it never gets boring on the platform. People are always finding new ways to use the creator tools, resulting in a constant churn of new trends.
Brands can and should take inspiration from TikTok developers when approaching content. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try new video styles and test them out in your audience. Find new collaborative, creative partners. And have fun doing it.
How to find TikTok trends for your brand: focus on your audience and your authenticity
For brands testing creator-style videos, there is no one right answer to the Instagram Reels vs.TikTok debate. Every social channel and video platform has unique strengths. Above all, prioritize the brand, target-oriented and according to the preferences of your audience.
As social media platforms evolve and more features evolve for developers, we can all look forward to a creative, innovative, and video-driven future of content. Would you like to know what else the future holds? Download this guide and learn how to use data to make smarter predictions for social media.