It’s safe to say that TikTok is not on local marketers’ list of priorities. However, this social media platform has certainly cornered a specific part of the teen market and could be a smart investment for a savvy brand.
If you remember Vine’s burst of short, silly videos you’ll find yourself on common ground while browsing TikTok. The app is filled with user generated musical lip syncing, bedroom dancing and comedy sketches, created through the app by the social media site’s 500 million active monthly users.
For certain brands or companies, TikTok might look like an attractive new space to get involved with, but it comes with its own unique challenges. The problem for those who want to be part of this ecosystem is twofold.
Producing engaging content for Gen Z
Firstly, TikTok is an entertainment platform where users reward creative content and completely ignore that which is not relevant. Users are onboard for awesome videos, and few brands are capable of consistently producing the type of content users will find entertaining or engaging.
Secondly, while marketers have started to crack the Millennial market, the access code to Generation Z – those born in the mid to late 90s – is still unknown. This teen market finds themselves mostly still at school and are living lives that are firmly embedded in the smartphone.
41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24, spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the app, and when browsing this app as an outsider, it’s clear that there are nuances at play which could be difficult to pick up on if you’re generating content from a brand point of view.
Brands that feel comfortable with targeting Generation Z on the app must realise that their strategy should be a long term one. Unfortunately, South African marketers are notoriously focussed on short term gains, so with TikTok it’s a question of managing expectations.
Engaging and exciting
Spur recently jumped on board with their #spuriseverywhere challenge alongside rapper Early B. Users were asked to lip sync or dance to the Spur is Everywhere soundtrack in order to win Spur gift vouchers. The challenge’s hashtag has been viewed 3.3 million times thus far and is continuing to garner participation. It shows the company did their research, offering a way for viewers to engage with the brand thereby using the TikTok’s strongpoint to full effect.
If a brand decides to take on TikTok in such a fashion, it’s pretty clear that they need to be risky. TikTok is not a space for a reserved brand with tight marketing restrictions. You have to engage the platform on its own terms, come up with innovative ideas for funky videos, exciting call to actions and generally just offer more edgy and engaging content. While ads are allowed in users’ feeds, brands must understand that flighting an edited television commercial, as often done for YouTube, is not going to cut the mustard on TikTok.
Working with those in the know
A constant stream of creative videos is unfortunately not in every brand’s realm of possibilities, which could lead down the path of working alongside a TikTok influencer. Not surprisingly, these influencers would be Generation Z, which also brings with it a range of ethical questions regarding working alongside minors.
Listed as South Africa’s TikTok creator with the largest following, is 19-year-old Chané Grobler (@chanegrobler) with 1.5 million followers and 51.1m likes. At time of writing there were a surprisingly little amount of sponsored posts on her feed. Arthur Goldstuck, founder of World Wide Worx and a man who has his finger firmly on the pulse of the local social media scene, created his own TikTok account (@art2gee) to explore this strange world. He managed to interview some of the local big stars, including Grobler, posting these videos on TikTok. He came back surprised, noting, “I’ve never seen such traction on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram, no matter how famous, infamous or unknown the subjects of the content.”
For brands or companies confident to try out TikTok a long-term approach is needed. Don’t expect a sales boom or loads of conversions after only two weeks on the platform; rather see this as a brand affinity or awareness exercise where engaging the audience will lead to the most success.
Craig Hannabus is strategy director at Rogerwilco. Starting out in logistics, he decided to change professions. Having spent the past 11 years working in the digital industry, Hannabus has accumulated experience as a community manager, content writer, developer, and UX strategist. Today, he’s found his place in business strategy.
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