Well, it looks like Tik Tok is no longer the prerogative of young people! The app that used to feature teenagers dancing challenges is now attracting new and diversified audiences since its huge success back to the lockdown period (it was downloaded 115 million times worldwide). While celebrities and public personalities are progressively investing the app, the hype that goes with it inevitably starts triggering interest of brands and companies. So, is Tik Tok the new Instagram in 2020? Should we consider integrating this famous platform within our digital strategy? To help you see clearly, Altitude takes you on a Tik Tok journey and highlights its specificities. We’ll also give you our tips and tricks to make sure you won’t miss the boat!

Tik Tok, created in China in 2016, is an application mainly showcasing videos of teen members dancing, performing imitations and lip-synching to popular songs.  Long story short, when you login on Tik Tok, you’ll find people having fun. Tik Tok’s main characteristics are indeed based on rhythm, entertainment and also self-mockery, which make it quite different than other social media networks. In this sense, Tik Tok incarnates an escaping virtual space where users don’t take themselves seriously.

Capture décran 2020 06 18 à 17.01.59A new role during lockdown 

During this period where habits are reinvented and all eyes are online, Tik Tok starts attracting new kind of people, such as those looking to escape from stress, or creative savvy discovering the inventive potential of the app.

Throughout the month of March, it’s blowing-up: Tik Tok is being uploaded 65 million times worldwide. This boom also marks a change of scope for the app as new media and personalities start joining the dance, and not only to have fun but also to pass messages.

A strategic use, the Washington Post « case study »

Harvesting Tik Tok with a strategic view isn’t as such a brand new practice, but the lockdown period has mainly emphasised this possibility. This is the case of Washington Post’ journalist’s Dave Jorgenson ‘s Tik Tok account, that became a real hit during the Covid 19 outbreak.

It’s been a year that Dave Jorgenson pitched the idea to his editorial team to open an account on Tik Tok with the purpose of catching young people’s attention around news and information. He made several fun and instructive videos with this intention and managed to make them each more creative than others.  

Today Dave Jorgenson’s followers’ number goes beyond 450 000.  The short video formats are taking over the newspapers’ comic strips. Beyond the possibility to raise awareness with Tik Tok, the Washington Post ‘ case also highlights how you can work your e-reputation as well. Once you managed to get yourself an audience, this is a superb opportunity to highlight your “behind the scenes” moments.  “I saw it very early on that people were really excited to see a reporter just at their desk,” Jorgenson said. “They’ve just never seen that. They’ve seen, like, the 24-hour cable-TV version, where you see someone's head on the screen. But they haven’t seen a journalist working at their desk.” theatlantic.com

Online marketing taking-off 

How can companies navigate within this new digital landscape? The purpose of Tik Tok isn’t around product placement but rather about offering its users the possibility to express creatively and authentically. But it has also a big potential for companies to standout and to engage audiences, especially if young ones are part of your target publics.

In Europe, France is quite advanced in that perspective. Steve agency, specialized in ads and digital strategy, has been closely studying the different Tik Tok’s functionalities since early 2020 and has just kicked-off “Steve Tok”, a new service department exclusively dedicated to Tik Tok. “To stand-out from the mass flow, it’s simple: you got to be creative!” are explaining Steve’s leaders on the blog “« la Réclame ». « Just as Facebook 12 years ago, it’s creativity that takes the lead. You can trigger thousands impressions with organic content thanks to good choice of music (take advantage of the most viral sound ranking propose by the app), the good challenge (must be viral and original but also likely to reach the biggest number), the right hashtag (here the hip ones would be #fyp pour # ForYourPage, fostering strong visibility throughout the online stream), the right pop culture reference and there you go ! You need to go out there, try and start over. » lareclame.fr

There isn’t yet a Belgian company mirroring Steve ‘s example, but the offer starts to build up. Up to that point, we would recommend you to:

1. Monitor

If taking the great leap scares you, why not starting by integrating Tik Tok within your daily or weekly monitoring strategy? Have a look and get familiar with the trends online and discover what your target audiences like and do on the app. This will help you getting some new ideas and figuring-out where to start. 

2. Create content

If you are a brand representative, it is possible for you to create content, join some games and competitions, launch some challenges or also collaborate with relevant Tik Tok influencers in your niche. But make sure you maintain the “Tik Tok style” and communicate creatively either by initiating your own inspiring hashtag challenges or through musical sceneries. Keep in mind that top performing challenges can inspire hundred of thousands Tik Tokers to repeat the movement and make videos about a brand. What a nice way to boost views and create viral content!

3. Business culture

Tik Tok offers a great opportunity to showcase your offices’ daily life and highlight your business culture. Don’t hesitate to ask your employees to join the initiative and let them be creative.

In conclusion, don’ wait for others and already start playing with Tik Tok possibilities. As Guillaume Lartigue, Steve’s agency’s co-director, said: “Start immediately! Those companies who will know how to capture audience’s attention today will surely be rewarded. Following that, places will start becoming expensive. We don’t advise brands to open a new account immediately, but to start at least with activations and joining challenges. In any cases, not having a look out there might lead to a shortfall very quickly”.

You will have to go beyond your usual habits but the game is worth the effort and, who knows, you might start enjoying the Tik Tok ride!

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