It’s been about a year since TikTok launched TikTok for Business and challenged brands with the bold statement, “Don’t make ads make TikToks”.
After a year in which brands were eager to join the platform, TikTok released a new message repeating its original advice and shedding more light on what “do TikToks” really means.
The TikTok for Business mantra shouldn’t be taken literally; it’s a useful message for marketers to extend to all social platforms and campaigns. It is meant to encourage marketers to tap into the creative potential of the platform, which is known for the so-called #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon.
In an attempt to highlight the benefits of following TikTok tips, they shared statements from brands that have followed this advertising trend with great success.
As TikTok’s head of global business marketing, Kathy Puris, explained:
“…what’s happening on TikTok is completely unique. Every day people are participating in campaigns, building with them and even creating their own TikTok for the brands and products they love. We often hear people say, “I didn’t even realize it was advertising!” And that’s the purpose of TikTok. The work is so good that it fits in and is celebrated … as TikTok.”
TikTok notes that Internet platforms have evolved, but advertising formats have remained relatively unchanged. However, when you think about how you interact with the ads that appear, you probably imagine skipping them or disconnecting until they disappear, shutting down the view of the content you really wanted to see. That’s why the “TikTok format,” which other social media platforms copy with their own features such as “Rollers,” “Shorts” and “Spotlight,” is more successful. By doing “TikTok,” brands are actually producing valuable and engaging content that is more receptive to a younger audience. As Cathy Puris said, it invites them to be part of the story and develop it, rather than just getting it and moving on, which helps brands get more exposure to new audiences.
Here’s how to do TikTok instead of advertising, according to TikTok:
TikToks take up the entire screen of a mobile device and use them to tell a short, compelling story. Once the viewer has seen the content, they have a seemingly endless number of opportunities to interact with it. From duets to reactions, TikTok users can continue to develop the story, add their own point of view and contribute to viral trending.
Brands can maximize their approach by thinking about different opportunities to interact with users. By creating content that is valuable to audiences and inviting them to participate, brands can attract more leads and build brand loyalty as users become community members rather than outsiders.
Be real, not polished
The trick to a good TikTok brand is to make it feel like it’s all user-generated. Advertising content that is too polished will stand out immediately and will likely be missed. On the other hand, content that feels like part of the community, real and genuine, will spark interest and spark conversation.
Hugo Lewis, co-founder of London-based hair care company Only Curls, told TikTok:
“For us, ‘Don’t do advertising. Do TikToks.” fits perfectly with our strategy for TikTok. We’ve always wanted our channel to be authentic, real and showcase our products in a way that emphasizes how well they work.”
Creating TikToks the TikTok way
Similar to the first tip, the TikToks you create should look natural in their environment. Brands that take the time to learn the format, different styles and tools will have more success. For example, TikTok users use fun transitions to show off new outfits, completed projects or their creative process. Using these trends can help brands blend in and make their videos more interesting.
Join in as you are
Finally, TikTok encourages all brands to join the project because it doesn’t require a big budget. Built-in editing tools such as green screen, voice filters and special effects allow all brands, big and small, to create high-quality content at virtually no cost. Marianne Hewitt, co-founder of best-selling skincare brand Summer Fridays, told TikTok:
“The more unfiltered and real it is, the better it works. On other platforms you have to really invest in your content, have videographers, photographers and models; on TikTok that’s not required, and I love the platform.”
TikTok is already a popular hub for both big and small brands. By releasing this explanation of its approach, TikTok is trying to convince those who are still questioning how they can save time and money by reducing traditional advertising campaigns. For smaller companies, especially small companies, it’s worth a try, as the app is known for getting a lot of publicity and momentum.