Why TikTok Can (and Can’t) Work For Your Business

TikTok has taken the social media world by storm the last three years after evolving from their previous platform, Musical.ly. As the platform has expanded, the ability for businesses to thrive has followed suit. 

How Does it Work?

TikTok has two feeds for scrolling: “Following” and “For You”. The Following tab has all of the users followed accounts in chronological order, while the default For You tab is a non-chronological algorithm based feed that is “personalized” to the user. The default feed being one that has nothing to do with who-follows-who makes TikTok quite different from most other social media platforms. 

Creators can upload videos up to 3 minutes with the option to add audios, music, text, visual effects, audio closed captions, as well as the ability to splice videos and photos together within the app. TikToks can be liked, commented on, and shared, like most other social media platforms, but it also has features such as Duet and Stitch which allows audiences to directly interact with the creators videos on their own profile. 

Short form media has become the status quo for video content on the internet. This really began in 2013 with Vine, a 7 second video social media platform, and the idea behind that has not gone away per consumer behavior. TikTok does allow some creators to film videos up to 3 minutes long, but overall, the For You Page algorithm tends to favor shorter videos. So, most of the time, TikTok does not take much work to necessarily put together the content itself. 

Does My Business Need It? 

As fun as TikTok is, and as appealing it may sound, it may not be entirely vital to your business’ social media strategy. First off, the primary target audience utilizing TikTok is Generation Z and Millenials, making the majority of users between the ages of 16 and 34. If your target audience as a business does not include this age group, then maybe focus time elsewhere for your digital marketing strategy. 

From a business point of view, TikTok is set up like a template generator. Audios will go viral on TikTok, and creators/businesses get to create their own take on trend formats based off of audios. 

This brings us to the next factor to consider: the extremely quick nature of the platform. As mentioned above, TikTok is a template generator, but the trend cycles of TikTok last 3-5 days, making the need for trend awareness, scheduling, post approval, etc., more urgent than any other social media platform. TikTok may seem simple, but in theory, it is a beast of its own and needs the appropriate bandwidth dedicated towards it. If that dedication is there, TikTok can very quickly and easily lead to the highest engagement rates across different social media channels being used. The audience that uses TikTok is an audience that knows how to properly use social media, so they will absolutely engage with your content if it benefits them. 

How Do We Use It? 

A lot of other social media strategy is based on time of day, geo-targeting, and other more intense forms of planning. TikTok is more of an anomaly in this, as it is a lot more focused on trending content/audios/filters only. Not to sound like a broken record, but this platform is truly about being on top of your game, following what is trending, and moving quickly from there to get your content out. When it comes to TikTok, consistency will always be key. 

The TikTok algorithm is famous for making people famous. Going viral on the internet has truly never been less of a shot in the dark, but also has never been easier for many creators. While maintaining that fame does come easier and requires a lot more preparation, the science behind a viral video is more of the mystery. 

While it may not seem like it, TikTok is still a new territory and is adapting to the commerce and business world very quickly. For those whose business demographics will fit into the glove of the For You page, it is the perfect time to get involved.