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How to harness TikTok for a brand

TikTok, the video sharing app which first started as a platform for sharing short dance videos, has now taken over the world with over 3.7 million active users in the UK alone and more than two billion downloads worldwide. In 2020, TikTok officially became the most downloaded app of the year and, far from it being just a platform for teenagers, gained the reputation of being a popular sensation which brands were keen to tap into.

The question is, how can TikTok be used to benefit a business? Here, Digital Designer Harvey Woods from creative marketing agency PMW offers his top advice for getting started.

Look at what’s working

‘Can you make us go viral’ is a question PMW is often asked, and there’s no easy recipe for viral success. However, it can be possible, as Harvey explains:

“With TikTok’s algorithm allowing even the smallest accounts to gain thousands of views, it is possible to ‘go viral’. You will need to have a good piece of content, but you can give your viral chances a boost by watching and studying trending topics so you can be seen as current, using trending music or sounds, ensuring your videos have value so your audience can gain something, creating content that will generate comments, and using the right #hastags.”

Stop, collaborate, and listen

One of the main features on the TikTok platform is the Duet feature. Duets allow users to collaborate and interact with a video that has been previously uploaded, adding their own take on the video. Therefore, duetting with a trending video can be a great way to grow following when getting started.

Create unique content

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TikTok holds serious power when it comes to brand potential, which is why unique content is vital. Harvey commented:

“It is worth noting that TikTok won’t be another platform to copy and paste content across social channels, like most brands do with Facebook, Twitter, and the like. TikTok content is different and constantly changing, which is why spending a lot of time on the platform to monitor the ever-changing trends is essential if you want to make waves from your content.”

‘Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks’

After its amazing year in downloads, TikTok finally created its own platform to allow brands to advertise. Naming the platform TikTok Business, the company launched a bold campaign calling on advertisers to stop making ads, and instead to be ‘more authentic’ and ‘create content that truly speaks to people.’ Think more adding value to people’s lives than the overt sell of traditional advertising.

Keep an eye out on progress

When Facebook ventured into the world of digital storefronts (Facebook Shops), TikTok realised it had to keep up, seeing as e-commerce is the cornerstone feature for many businesses. TikTok’s aim is for brands to showcase catalogues of their products on the platform. To do this, TikTok has partnered with Shopify (a multinational e-commerce website solution) and is in the process of developing these catalogues in a select few European countries to begin with.

To put it in a nutshell, businesses stand the best chance of having TikTok success by getting to know the platform inside out and replicating what works, but with a touch of their own uniqueness.

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