TikTok is the new kid on the block which has been trending for all the right reasons. Its growth, accelerated by the pandemic, has opened opportunities for brands to connect to new audiences in authentic ways. The short form video app, once brushed off as just a dancing app for Gen Z’s, now boasts 8.5 million monthly users, 43% of whom are aged 25+.
Many global companies have already migrated to the platform, reinvigorating their brands with much success. A recent study released by TikTok reports that 59% of users, aged 18-25, say they follow brands on the platform and the same amount have gone on to buy brands after seeing them in a video.
Part of TikTok’s charm is in its authentic and engaging content led by relatable and unpolished content creators. This is a refreshing change; vastly independent from the curated feeds of competitors Instagram and Facebook. This allows brand personas to be presented to audiences in new and creative ways.
However, building an authentic brand persona that is well perceived by new audiences is no simple task. There is no rule book to follow that guarantees results or user engagement, nor a magic formula for virality. In fact, oftentimes your viral videos will be the ones you least expect.
So what can brands do to set themselves up for success?
Before creating any content on the platform your brand must do some serious self-reflection. Reverting back to strategy and asking questions – “what kind of brand are we?” (Playful, luxurious, or educational?) and “how do we want to position our brand?” (make the brand more accessible, relatable or aspirational?). The results of these critical conversations will help to dictate your TikTok strategy and content moving forward.
TikTok’s organic media playbook describes four lenses in which brands can structure their content. The lens you choose to adopt will depend on your brand identity, distinctive owned brand codes, and your planned TikTok personality. These lenses fall into the four categories of character, product, category and tonal. The character lens utilises a specific character as a spokesperson or living avatar of the brand. This may take the form of a single person, a mascot/brand figure, face or specific viewpoint. The product lens works best for brands that are product centric; using their product as a prop to accompany any story or narrative.
The category lens is for brands whose offerings fall within high interest verticals. These interests can be broad (working out, cooking, DIY, sports, fashion) or niche (rug making, travel tips for Bali, festival outfits, vegan baking). Essentially any topic your brand can think of and identify with. Finally, the tonal lens uses distinct visuals and sonic style that is versatile enough to suit a variety of content, whilst remaining true to brand persona. Identifying which lens best suits your brand persona will dictate the content you produce on the app.
The next step in building your brand on TikTok is planning and scheduling content. With TikTok’s volatile nature and accelerated trend cycles, it may seem as though you are always behind the eight ball when it comes to planning out your content. However, all hope is not lost! TikTok suggests a loose content calendar that centers around sparking conversation (announcing brand news, or new products), adapting existing content to the native format, fuelling trends through your brand’s lens, and acting/ reacting to content i.e.responding to comments and playing with new effects.
So, what type of content resonates best with audiences?
Like any marketing strategy, human, universal truths and experiences resonate with audiences and show high engagement rates across the board. 74% of Gen Z and 72% of those aged 26+ want to see “funny content” from brands, 46% use TikTok to watch tutorials and 38% enjoy seeing educational content on the platform. Other factors to consider are visual, category and brand content that are recognisable and ownable through the use of brand codes.
A tried-and-true avenue for kickstarting your brand account and building brand presence on TikTok is through creator led content. Collaborating with relevant and popular content creators will help establish your brand’s lens and personality, whilst reaching new and engaged audiences. Working with creators is the perfect way to break into your niche and be shown the basics of creating engaging content that resonates with audiences.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch with the team at Alpha to discuss the opportunity to build your brand through TikTok.