The deadliest competitor with the potential to bring Facebook to its knees lately is none other than TikTok. It’s rampant, unregulated reach can only be tamed by us, the marketers. Read on.
Source of image:@Blog cover-Medium
While the sensible part of the country goes ‘Oh lord, it’s back.’, we marketers must go ‘Thank the lord, it’s back.’ Here’s why – it’s a 120 MILLION PLUS monthly active indian user-market! After it’s ban, the number is only on the rise. Overall, Tik Tok added 188 million new users in Q1 of 2019. Indian users made up for almost half the new Tik Tok populous. However, this market is currently nothing more than an audience for user generated content. The biggest challenge us marketers will face here is the ‘user generated content’. A challenge this big was observed when Brands joined Twitter and were faced with an overwhelming rise in grievances from their customers. A new job profile needed to be created as a solution, as we now call it – ORM or Online Reputation Management.
What is TikTok?
Tik Tok is a short-video sharing social app for creative expression (it lets you do some really cool stuff with editing tools that are immensely easy to use and the results are surprisingly extraordinary!). It is this wow factor of TikTok that made it an almost over-night success last year, to the point that it’s going toe-to-toe against the all-father of social media, Facebook with its record 1 BILLION download milestone last Feb.
Our current challenge with Tik Tok is the content that users are generating. The app is currently feasting on brain cells that could have been used for a better purpose. Banning the app only made the situation worse, both socially and economically. ByteDance, the chinese app developer and creator of Tik Tok, filed financial losses of over $500,000 a day, putting over 250 jobs at risk. Boy, do we love our numbers. Time to leverage on this chaos, as we say.
So we sat down and took some notes. The results we observed have scarred us and enlightened us at the same time. Creativity here has every niche imaginable. From dance moves to facial expressions, mimicry to tomfoolery, everything here is valid. Tik Tok is an absolute treasure-trove of user generated content.
Internationally, the most popular of all videos are ‘Challenge videos’. People choose a nice, trendy up-beat song or audio clip and react to it (usually dancing) which then picks up trend through cross-sharing social media word-of-mouth. In a nutshell, look cool or look like a fool, share it, have other people follow in suit. Bam! Challenge successful. Users on the international circuit really do take a lot of effort into making Tik Tok videos.
The same cannot be said about our dear Indian users. We came across a lot of cringe at every turn, while the true gems of the platform are happy serving their niche audience of 200. Our cringe-o-meter was on red and fuming by the end of our research. Some of us almost petitioned for a ban again at the sheer stupidity and narcissism that ran rampant across the most active and popular of users. The true concept of a challenge is seemingly non-existent here. Tik Tok India as a whole has daddy issues.
Nonetheless, if there’s one thing that we noticed to be in common between the audience, it’d be their shared hatred for ads on the app. True, advertising channels and tools must be unique for each social media platform, and ByteDance is still experimenting. Ads did premiere in Jan’19 and people instantly hated it. Despite this, brands have leveraged the platform to promote their products and share their messages, just like ViVo India with their #GoPop challenge using a signature ‘V step’ dance style to promote the V15 Pro smartphone’s unique pop-up camera. Clean & Clear initiated a lip-sync challenge with girls lip-syncing to 1 of 5 rap songs. They called it #UnbottleApnaSwag. Other brands in India to get with the program include Shaadi.com and Myntra. Internationally, brands like Coca-Cola, GUESS, Nike, Google, Sony Pictures and more have marked their territory on this platform already. It’s time you learned to do the same.
Opportunities for Brands on Tik Tok
From observation, there are 4 ways to go about leveraging Tik Tok for brand engagement that do not involve being too intrusive about ads with users.
Hashtag challenges on Tik Tok can be initiated by anyone, free of cost but also can be sponsored/promoted by Tik Tok for brands. This includes brands too. The campaigns held here must be content-oriented above all. No one will do a challenge if it isn’t relatable to them. Hashtag challenges are a vital usage point of Tik Tok and also the most interactive of all the ways you can advertise here.
This revolutionary ad format generates amazing results, as proven by Huawei. The company launched Honor 10 with a 22-day #1MillionAudition campaign in India. Influencers, top and bottom-barrel went wild for the Honor #1MillionAudition that saw over 73K users’ participation generating 40k UGC short videos with 640 Million views, and 321 Million impressions during their campaign’s time-frame.
They’re the first thing your user will see when they open the app and can direct them to your website or hashtag challenge. Users can skip this ad and continue to use the app. Your objective is to ensure that they watch the whole thing and not skip or close the app instantly.
As with Instagram Stories, they’re interactive sponsored posts that you can promote your brand with. Keep in mind that these ads are just as easy to dismiss by users. Catching their attention needs to be content-oriented.
This is how Snapchat made it real for marketers on their platform. Branded lenses can stay on trend for as long as 10 days if the filter is really good and promotes the brand in a relatable, fun way.
Here’s how you can leverage on this chaos to execute successful marketing campaigns on Tik Tok:
- Start by creating a Hashtag challenge integrated with a brand lens. Hashtag challenges are fun activities that include lip-sync, dance moves, whacky skits and such. The easier it is to do, the more chances to make it engaging.
- Select a popular track or audio clip. The right piece of sound can snowball your hashtag challenge to viral video fame across other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Music plays a very important part in creating Tik Tok campaigns, so make sure you are on top of music trends, both local and international. You can also use custom audio like Budwiser used for Spotify ads with DIVINE. Remember the KiKi challenge?
- Cross-promote the pre-challenge buzz on your brand’s other social media channels. This will prompt your audience on other platforms to keep a lookout for something interesting coming soon. On Tik Tok, use Brand Takeover ads to build the buzz.
- Get Tik Tok micro influencers to participate through paid partnerships. Give the challenge some time to build an organic base. Use in-feed native ads to promote the challenge.
- Once you notice the numbers rise, get macro influencers to participate. Again, give time to grow the challenge organically. Closely monitor the growth ratio, when it looks like your challenge is losing momentum, have micro influencers make tutorial videos on YouTube/Instagram/Facebook. This step is vital to maintain the momentum of your challenge, especially when you need to reach your next impressions milestone.
- (Optional) Finally, when you have reached the peak of your impressions campaign, surprise them all with a Giveaway.
We do not believe in leveraging on giveaways as a bribe for consumers to participate in contests. It takes time and effort to build a name on social media and we recommend running simple hashtag challenges on Tik Tok to build your brand image before launching a Giveaway campaign. When you have a good base of participants from past challenges winning these giveaways, it feels different. They feel good.