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Why TikTok could be the next big marketing tool

If you think TikTok is just a platform for teenage girls to post videos of their latest dance moves, you’re wrong—in the coming year, it might be the best place to punt your brand to a new generation.

First launched in China in 2016, the video-sharing app was made available internationally in 2018 and has since become the 7th most downloaded mobile app of the decade 2010-2019, and has over 500 million active users. Seeing as though most of these users are teens and young adults, marketers are recognising TikTok as a powerful platform for engagement.

Over the past couple of years, several large brands have created a presence on the app, not so much in the hope of generating traffic but to enhance their brand and appeal to the loyalties of a new generation. Bear in mind that TikTok is fast-paced, and the videos that stand out and go viral are inevitably quirky and light-hearted, however this doesn’t mean that a ‘serious’ brand can’t join in the fun and reap the rewards of some creative thinking.

In fact, some of the brands that have a hosted successful campaigns on the app include the Washington Post, San Diego Zoo and United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development—not exactly fashionable or trendy, yet some clever ideas and methods of engagement have earned them enviable social cachet.

TikTok presents brands with an opportunity to experiment with their lighter side, almost like an alter-ego. Because the app is still relatively new compared to something like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, there is still plenty of room for experimentation and lateral-thinking—no ‘rules’ have yet been established.

And, as discussed in Evolve’s latest White Paper on marketing trends, personal engagement is probably the most important marketing strategy of the 21st century. People, particularly the young, do not see a product as something they simply purchase, they want it to align with their social values. Simple, fast—most TikTok videos are between 15 and 60 seconds long—and well thought out videos on TikTok can get a brand’s message across very effectively (and cheaply). A 15-second unedited and unscripted video of a ‘normal’ person using your product is increasingly more effective than the ‘traditional’ marketing and advertising methods the younger generation are especially wary of.

Granted, TikTok might not fit quite right with your brand at the moment, but it’s definitely worth having a look at. Not only could it spark a few ideas for your current social media campaigns, it’ll give you a free and invaluable look into the minds of the upcoming generation, whose fidelity and buying power are key for your future growth.

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