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Should Your Brand Be...On TikTok?


If We're Being Honest, Probably Not

Cian Duffy
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However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for your brand within TikTok.

Like all social platforms, putting up content and hoping it gains traction isn’t the best way to make a splash on social. Nevertheless, we know you have questions on where brands like yours need to be when new platforms and trends arise. TikTok is one of those platforms, so let’s talk about the right and wrong ways to use TikTok.

WARNING: Though we feel this list is full of great information and readworthy, it is long-winded. You can always drop us a line, instead. We’ll customize this list for you, with a TikTok strategy.

Wrong Way: Making an Account for Your Business

Very few companies have their own TikTok account, and even fewer have a following. This is partly because their content really isn’t interesting and also because people don’t resonate or trust brands in the same way they would with real people.

Believe it or not, this is a good thing.

Besides a handful of TikTok-specific creators (known colloquially as TikTokers), the nature of the platform gives precedence to individual videos instead of creators themselves. Because of the designated For You page, users are more likely to receive catered content due to the highly sensitive algorithm compared to Instagram’s Discover page or Twitter’s Explore page. This means that videos about your brand are going to do better than videos from your brand.

Right Way: Being Product or Service-Focused, Instead of Brand-Focused

What makes TikTok so different from other platforms is the amount of life-changing discoveries and information-sharing occurring on the app daily. It seems people have come out of the woodwork to announce their tried-and-true methods that the rest of us didn’t know we needed and now cannot live without.

The best example of this is Soft Sheen Carson Magic Shaving Powder. If you Google (or Bing, if you’re into that sort of stuff) “TikTok shaving powder," you will receive approximately 1.3 million results of articles, videos, reviews, etc. all on the subject of this shaving powder that is supposedly the most groundbreaking discovery since that apple fell on Isaac Newton. This $2.00 product has been on the market since 1901 and now it’s flying off the shelves. Product life cycle who?

Wrong Way: Coming Up with a Differentiator that Sets Your Content Apart

For a post to trend on TikTok, it either is associated with a certain “sound” or a “side” of TikTok.

What made TikTok gain popularity in the first place was the dance side of TikTok. People couldn’t help learning the dances that certain creators were putting out on the app and if you searched videos by a certain sound, you’d see thousands of identical-looking videos of people doing the same moves to the same song. Whether people are doing lip-syncs, using the trending filters or contributing to the same hashtags, their videos are more likely to be watched than not.

To be clear, we aren’t telling you to stunt your creative content ideas– someone has to start these trends, right? What we are saying is: Don’t ignore the trends just because that’s what everyone else is doing. Spend enough time on the app and you’ll start to learn these trends and find where your brand fits into them.

Spend enough time on the app
and you'll start to learn these trends and find where your brand fits into them.

Right Way: Finding Your Niche

Coming back to the great discoveries that are happening on this app. Finding a certain aesthetic will definitely lead you to some. The best way to do that is to find what kind of side of TikTok you want to be on. Examples of the different sides of TikTok are FoodieTok, Homestead TikTok, Renovation and Cleaning TikTok, and Mental Health TikTok. These are only a few of the many sides that users fall into. These sides allow the type of content to be catered to the categories users are interested in. If your brand falls into one, you can bet it’ll end up on the users’ for you page and they won’t have to work to find you or your brand.

Finding the side your brand fits into might not be so obvious at first.

For instance, one of the sides that is gaining traction on the app is called Cottage Core. It’s a subculture of people who romanticize and celebrate rural life. Say you run a farm or sell sustainable products, Cottage Core might be the side for you. There might even be someone on the app recommending your farm as a stop on a rural road trip or your products for reusable cleaning supplies, and you don’t even know it yet.

BONUS! Right Way: Utilizing Influencer Marketing

Because the app is so video-focused
it will most likely cost you less than an Instagram influencer

So is TikTok the right platform for you? It’s certainly possible, but the ultimate takeaway from this is to be a thoughtful content creator. In the marketing world, we often hear (and sometimes say) that there’s always something new to add to the tool belt. We know how overwhelming it can be, and it’s okay if your brand isn’t ready for another social platform. As with all social platforms, it isn’t enough to make an account and post whatever, whenever. It’s a way better use of your time to keep killing it on the platforms you know you can handle. Sending a specific product or offering an experience to users so they can review it on TikTok can go a long way. Like the Magic Shaving Powder, all it took was a handful of people to recommend it and soon everyone wanted to try it for themselves. Because the app is so video-focused and not creator-focused, it will most likely cost you less than an Instagram influencer campaign.