The holidays are right around the corner, and if you’ve ever worked in a marketing department, you know what that means (especially for social media marketing strategies). As the leaves fall, and Michael Buble is unpacked from the Christmas boxes in the attic, marketing agencies strap in for their busiest time of the year.
Depending on your industry, your holiday marketing calendar can start as early as October and stretch through the end of the year. Holiday promos for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Christmas….the list goes on, can be seen on every social media feed.
That begs the question: how will your business grab a piece of the holiday pie (yum) this year? A consideration you may want to make for your social media strategy is TikTok.
What is TikTok, and should it be a part of your social media strategy?
New social media platforms are rare. The Facebooks (or should we say Meta?) and Googles of the world are constantly improving their algorithms to monopolize as many of the world’s eyeballs as they can, and breaking through that barrier is a massive challenge, no matter the social media strategy.
TikTok is a bit of a unicorn and has managed to break through the noise and garner attention–the attention of over 1 billion active monthly users worldwide to be exact.
TikTok is a social media platform that involves creating and sharing short videos. These videos range anywhere from 15 seconds to three minutes and appear on the infamous FYP (or “For You page”).
The FYP has been a driving force in TikTok’s popularity. Based on an algorithm that learns as you interact with the platform, the FYP gets to know you and your interests at an almost scary rate.
It only took me a few 10-20 minute scroll sessions on TikTok before my FYP felt like home, similar to an old friend showing me all the things I enjoy. This is what draws people into TikTok. It is relatable and, most importantly, feels genuine.
It is also the perfect way to reach people. The organic reach on TikTok is unlike any other platform. You aren’t just creating and sharing content with your TikTok followers. In fact, you are creating content that, if interacted with in certain ways, can explode and go viral, being shown to millions of users. You aren’t limited by how many followers or page likes you have on TikTok. You are only limited by your content.
How does TikTok stack up against other social media platforms?
This is all well and good, but it means nothing if there aren’t people to reach. Right? For this reason, we decided to dive in and see how TikTok measures up against other social media platforms.
As we mentioned earlier, TikTok has already attracted 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, and that number is growing. 130 million of those users are in the United States.
62 percent of TikTok users are ages 10-29 years old and open the app an average of eight times a day. That translates to roughly 52 minutes per day spent on TikTok per user.
Engagement on TikTok is also one of the highest of any social media platform. The other platforms don’t even come close.
TikTok influencers are not your typical influencers. They differ from Instagram influencers who only share a carefully curated snapshot of what life could be like, with the goal of inducing a feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out), making people want something they don’t have.
TikTok influencers appear on the app as your normal, everyday people, living life as you see it. They have the same issues with their cars, jobs, and significant others.
This sense of community being interconnected through relatable content is so powerful that TikTok influencers had a staggering 17.99 percent engagement rate in 2020. Instagram had only 4 percent.
Needless to say, people aren’t just on the app; they are active participants. (Need help with social media marketing? Contact BrandCraft today.)
Using TikTok as a Part of Your Social Media Holiday Strategy
The first thing you need to do is create a TikTok account and start posting. The sooner you begin incorporating TikTok into your social media strategy and content creation pipeline, the sooner you will start seeing what we are talking about.
TikTok empowers its users with easy-to-use content creation tools to make videos directly in the app. Hop on, and start interacting. Learn what people are doing in your industry, and be a part of a few viral trends. You will be amazed at TikTok’sorganic reach potential.
The second thing to do is start running ads. TikTok has its own social media ad platform, similar to Facebook and LinkedIn. We will dive into the world of TikTok paid advertising below. Additionally, you can find out more about business accounts and ads managers here.
Example: How to Set Up a TikTok Ad
Once you have created your business ads account and have poked around a bit, you will inevitably land on the campaign creation page. It looks like this:
For those of you who have done paid ads on Facebook, this will look familiar. Ad platforms are all emulating the success Facebook has seen with similar layouts and options.
TikTok allows you to optimize for things like traffic and conversions, utilizing its own version of the Facebook pixel to track users’ activity through their journey with your brand.
For this campaign, let’s say we want people to go to a specific landing page for a beauty product on our website. We will select traffic and move onto audience creation.
Once in the ad group section of the TikTok ads manager, you will have a few unique options for your campaign. At the top of the ad group page, you will be asked to select the TikTok pixel you would like to use for the campaign. (Information on the TikTok pixel creation and installation process can be found by mousing over “Assets” at the top of the Ads Manager and clicking “Events”.)
TikTok gives you the option to run Automatic Placements or Select Placement. For this campaign, we only want it to run on the TikTok app, so we’ll edit the placements to only include TikTok.
Ad Group Level
We make our demographic selections and move onto the cool part of TikTok Ad Groups. This is the Interest and Behavior section. This section is broken down into three parts: Add Interests, Add Behaviors: Video Interactions, and Add Behaviors: Creator Interactions. This is where you can select the types of behaviors users have when they are on TikTok.
We chose to use the Add Behaviors: Video Interactions section for our audience this time around. TikTok allows you to target people by their behavior with content that falls into designated buckets.
By checking the boxes next to “watched to the end, liked, commented, and shared interactions on beauty videos,” we ensure that the users being served our ads have been active on TikTok in that industry in the past 15 days.
Ad Creation Level
Once you have completed your desired audience targeting, you can transition into ad creation. This is where your holiday creativity can really shine. Keep in mind that TikTok’s tone is different from other platforms.
People aren’t looking to be talked at or sold to, even if they’re engaging in branded content. People are looking to connect. If your ad feels like an ad and pulls people out of the experience they are used to, it will be ignored.
Come up with a fun way to grab attention immediately, and speak genuinely. Songs and sounds play a huge role on TikTok. Jump on a viral sound trend, and use it to your advantage!
Types of TikTok Ads
Conventional ads are not the only option you have on TikTok. Ads come in many shapes and sizes. Thus, if you’re wanting to do something out of the ordinary, there are some cool ad types you can take advantage of. (Be mindful that some of these options cost much more than typical social ads.)
Brand Takeover Ads
Brand takeovers are full-screen, three- to five-second video ads that show up as soon as someone opens the app. The ad will also show up in the For You feed. You can include a clickable hashtag or website link as well.
Branded Hashtag Challenge
In a branded hashtag challenge, a brand asks TikTok users to record themselves performing something, like a choreographed dance, and then post it with a specific hashtag.
These ads are placed at or near the top of the Discovery page, and a click on the hashtag leads visitors to a collection of TikToks from the same challenge.
Like brand takeovers, TopView ads display on the full screen. The difference is that these ads can be 60 seconds long, and they are on a delayed play, so they don’t begin right when the app starts up.
Other: Branded Effects
Branded effects are custom stickers, AR filters, and lenses that users can add to their own videos. They’re similar to Instagram’s AR filters. Each new branded effect is available for 10 days.
Wrapping It All Up
It’s always fun as a marketer when new opportunities like TikTok come up. You never really know how they are going to be perceived. And very often, how they start is never how they end up a couple of years later.
TikTok started out as a place young people would swap dance moves for their favorite songs, and it has quickly (maybe thanks to the pandemic) become a platform for people to connect in a unique way.
Our recommendation would be to give TikTok a try this holiday season in your social media strategy. Digital marketing is all about being present where eyes are, and with 130 million sets of eyeballs on TikTok, it would be a mistake not to at least consider it.