At the end of 2019, pre-Covid, when I could walk into my manager’s office, I declared, “I want to make a TikTok account for our brand.”
My manager at the time was a bit more hesitant. How did we know TikTok was going to be or stay relevant? Sure, more brands were getting on the platform thanks to the success of The Washington Post, who now has a full-time TikToker on staff named Dave Jorgenson. But how did we know that it wouldn’t go the way of Vine or Myspace?
It would seem that TikTok is here to stay – at least for a while. TikTok has 682 million active users and remained the No. 1 downloaded app in Q1 of 2021. While the app is geared toward Gen Z, more brands are seeing the importance of using it to build brand recognition.
Take Kum & Go for example. The midwestern convenience store has 2.8 million likes on the platform. The mastermind? A 20-year-old named Evelyn Meyer.
Spokesperson Ariel Rubin said they chose Meyer because they wanted someone who understood the platform to run their account. Meyer already had an extensive following on her personal account. And it worked. The convenience store has more likes than several Fortune 500 companies.
Even Nerf decided to get involved by hiring a Chief TikTok Officer. The application? Creating a video on TikTok that shows why you’d make a great candidate.
Eventually, my manager relented, and we decided to go for it. Our demographic was mostly Gen Z college students, TikTok’s main demographic. By our fourth video, something clicked, and we saw more than 850,000 views. In nine months, we saw 1.5 million views on our videos.
While those are great stats, TikTok may not be the answer for your brand. Before creating an account, here’s what you should ask yourself:
Who are you trying to reach?
Knowing your audience is always a great place to start. Research other companies like yours and see how they use TikTok – if at all. TikTok has all types of niches for different demographics. One of my favorites is #BookTok where people share what they’re reading. If you find a niche that fits your brand, it might be worth looking into.
Does it fit your “voice?”
Not every brand can be Wendy’s or MoonPie. Sometimes, taking an edgy approach can be off-putting and cause more harm than good. When Burger King U.K. decided to tweet, “Women belong in the kitchen,” in order to bring awareness to the fact that less than 20 percent of professional chefs are women, the company was met with backlash. If your voice isn’t naturally edgy, then chances are you may need to better read the room first.
Are you ready to go viral?
TikTok is the social media for everyone because of one unique feature: the For You page. #FYP or #Foryou is content specifically curated to your interests or like history, meaning that if enough people like a certain sound or trend, more and more people will see it. While going viral is great for brand recognition, you need to be ready for comments – good or bad – if your video finds an audience. Having a game plan already in place is something you have to keep in mind.
If you’ve said yes to these three questions, and it fits your strategy, we’d love to help your business find a voice on TikTok!
By Tobi Laukaitis, Account Executive at The Vandiver Group in St. Louis, Missouri