Video SEO

TikTok 101: Ideas and Cautions

TikTok is a growing platform for short form mobile video. Gen Z and Millennials spend about an hour a day watching content on the platform. Is this a platform you should consider for your marketing mix?

TikTok By the Numbers

The latest data from Pew Internet indicates that 21% of Americans who use social media use TikTok. Other sources of data show:

  • 62% of TikTok users are ages 10-29
  • Males and females are equally likely to use the platform
  • Popular content is comedy, skits, lifestyle and tricks

If your content is about beauty, fashion, home, travel, food, drink, lifestyle, or music and these demographics align with your target audience, TikTok might be a good channel for your marketing. Before I share some thoughts on how to use the platform, you also need to consider some serious security concerns with the platform.

Security Concerns

TikTok has been at the forefront of countless rumors of privacy violations and security issues. It was banned in India, and by the US Army and Navy with accusations of national security threats.

In its privacy policy, TikTok states that it collects “information you provide in the context of composing, sending, or receiving messages.” Focusing on the use of the word “composing,” TikTok doesn’t just collect data related to what you share using the app. It also gathers data about content you created or wrote but didn’t share. It also collects information about your phone’s model, screen resolution, current OS, phone number, email address, location, and even contact list.

TikTok stores user data in the US and Singapore. It is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

Over the past few years, security researchers found multiple security vulnerabilities within the app. Serious questions are raised about the potential for data amassed by TikTok being exploited by the owners and hackers.

TikTok 101 for Marketers

TikTok content has a high chance of getting a large number of impressions and going viral. Content that is funny and creative combined with the right sound and hashtags will get the attention of users.

To define your brand on TikTok:

  • Create an account. Complete your profile and link to your other social pages.
  • Pick your sound. Sound is an important and expected element on TikTok. Brands that use custom sounds benefit from the sound discovery options on the app.
  • Partner with influencers. Find creators whose content complements your brand voice and values. Work with them, as the experts, to create original TikTok content.
  • Connect and engage with users. The app community expects brands to authentically show up on TikTok, participate in trends, comment on videos, and follow consumers and creators.

To find success, your brand will need to find a voice and originality that resonates with viewers. This is not a place to focus on sales or conversion. The vibe is lighthearted and fun.

Successful efforts are created specifically for the app and use sound and other tools that users expect. Challenges and campaigns that are simple and leave room for users to creatively respond get the most attention. Content that taps into “now” topics also does well.