Is TikTok Growing?
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If we had a dollar for every time we heard the question “What’s TikTok?” in the last few months, we’d be rich. It’s the social media platform that seems to be everywhere you look in pop culture. Since it exploded onto the scene, TikTok has become a household name and has been almost exclusively the domain of Gen Z and even younger users. The user base exploded during the pandemic, and the number of older users began to change.
As more and varied audiences flock to TikTok which now boasts over 1 billion users, what does it mean for the platform and your brand?
Who’s Using TikTok?
At its initial launch, TikTok with its short video format and creative-in app features and music was ardently embraced by young users and, in 2019, the majority of its monthly active users were in their teens. These young users are still a core presence on TikTok, however, with its explosion in popularity it has become increasingly diverse and its user demographics are continuing to evolve.
More recent reporting shows that while teenagers still represent a healthy 32.5% of TikTok users in the U.S., there’s been steady growth in other age groups. Now, a full 45% of U.S. TikTok users are between the ages of 20 and 40, and 21% are aged 40 and older.
Certainly, that leaves room to grow but all signs point to a significant adoption trend, particularly among Millennials. And it’s not only TikTok’s user numbers that are growing. Engagement with the platform is extremely high with 90% of all users accessing the app daily. International use is also on the rise with steady growth in Asia and China.
What Does That Mean for Brands?
If your brand has a strong appeal for Gen Z and younger users, TikTok is already a major player in the social media landscape that should not be ignored. If you’ve been skipping TikTok in your social media planning because of the young audience age, then it might be time to sit up and take notice.
While TikTok is still a young platform overall, the growth in older adults who are active users is at the very least a trend to watch as you evaluate your strategy to connect with target audiences. When it comes to developing a new platform strategy, you want to stay ahead of the curve, not behind it.
What Does It Take to Succeed on TikTok?
TikTok may be of increasing interest to a wider variety of brands but, like any other platform, success depends on a strategic approach based on the unique character of its particular ecosystem and user preferences. As you consider a TikTok strategy, there are a few important things to keep in mind as a Tiktok creator.
Super Creative Content
It’s important to remember that TikTok is all about creativity. Standard stock content pulled in from other platforms likely won’t cut it here. Content that is one-of-a-kind can blow up on TikTok thanks to the audience’s appreciation of truly unique content. Unique content can also get replayed and turned into a trending sound. TikTok is a mix of unique content and “duets” or reused content, so balancing content that features both your own creative content and weighs in on trending sounds, topics, and challenges that fit your brand is the best strategy.
There’s also a huge trend culture on TikTok so creative spin-offs of existing trends or concepts that are easily replicated by the masses can carry a brand far and wide. And of course, using trending hashtags and sounds can boost the deliverability of your content on TikTok. In addition to creating their unique content, many brands are also partnering with content creators and influencers on TikTok to expand their brand’s reach.
To produce creative content means weighing quality over quantity. Posting consistently on social media is indeed important to drive growth and engagement, higher posting frequency is not necessarily better (and does not drive increased results) if it sacrifices the quality or relevance of the content itself. Focus on the quality of your Tiktok content first to drive quality audience growth and engagement.
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Highly Visual or Sound-Driven Products
If you’re an artist or creator of tangible products (food, crafts, beauty) or music, TikTok could be an excellent place to find brand awareness and increase your engagement rates. Most social media platforms are highly visual, and Tik Tok is more so with its sound and video nature. TikTok has been known to take cookie artists like @thebaileybakery and musical artists like Lil Nas X to the next level of fame.
Comedy and Entertainment Value
Awe-inspiring content wins at the end of the day, whether it’s a comedic break, hashtag challenges, cute puppies, or once-in-a-lifetime captures. We’ve seen everything from amazing sports plays to incredible science experiments go viral quickly. Considering the use of social media as an “escape” from boredom and mundane real-life, clips need to bring entertainment value and those with shareable qualities are instant winners.
The NBA was a TikTok early adopter with casual and funny content unlike what you’ll find on their other channels.
The Washington Post has shown how old school media can go to a new school with entertaining content about current events.
The viral Target challenge propelled awareness and sales for the retailer as users took content into their own hands.
Authentic and Consistent
These key factors are important but ultimately, authenticity is key for the TikTok audience. Content that inspires, entertains, or educates while also keeping the approach real and relatable is the goal. That being the case, TikTok is generally more a place to generate brand awareness rather than direct leads or sales. And like any platform, consistency is key, and it may take some testing and time to find the right voice for your brand on TikTok.
With TikTok’s rising popularity, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the masses move to the platform, even further increasing the average user base and the opportunities for brands to support their marketing efforts on the platform. There’s an incredible potential value for the right brands to stake their claim in the TikTok landscape today as it seems clear that this is one trend that’s here to stay.