What is TikTok? And will it work for my business?


TikTok…. have you heard about it yet?

Much like the now-retired Vine, TikTok is a shortform video sharing app with over 500 million global users, and it was the most downloaded app in 2018.


Heralding from China, this social media channel allows users to create short videos of 3-15 seconds or looping videos of 3-60 seconds.  The videos can be edited, slowed down or sped up, have music added, and more, all from within the app.


Who is using TikTok?

The majority of TikTok users (41%) are aged between 16-24 years, and these users say they like the platform because they’re “interested in seeing other people’s creativity, and having the chance to be creative themselves” (GlobalWebIndex).

Behaviours of TikTok Engagers

We’re even seeing celebs getting on board – with the Terminator himself posting videos:

What sort of videos are on TikTok?

Most videos tend to be comedic in nature – with plenty of lip syncing, pranks, cooking demonstrations, mesmerising clips such as cake decorating, and other humorous content:

How does the TikTok feed work?

TikTok uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse user’s interested and preferences through their interactions with the content.  For example, the types of videos that they have liked or the videos they have reacted to from a particular user.  Each user then has their own personalised feed delivered, much like Instagram and Facebook.


Should my business consider TikTok?

TikTok would only be recommended as a social media consideration for your business or brand if your customers fell within the 16-24 age bracket, given that they form the overwhelming majority of users.

If this is you, you’ll need to pop your creative hat on and get thinking about what sort of organic video content you can create that will be interesting/fun enough to be liked/shared/reacted to.  Keeping in mind that you don’t need to make the most polished videos to get success here – users will respond to authentic content much better!

Some TikTok business video ideas:

  • Can you do cool product demos?
  • Can you humanise your staff by getting them to lip sync to their favourite song?
  • Can you call on your customers to help create user generated content?  A branded hashtag challenge, i.e. “Show us how you XYZ with our product!”  (see Hashtag Challenges below!)
  • If you have a physical location for your business, can you encourage customers to create content in your store or cafe?

**Please keep in mind that you need to ensure that he videos you create are still in-line with your brand tone of voice and your overall social media strategy!


Check out the Hashtag Challenges on TikTok

Generating Hashtag Challenges can be a great way for your brand to go viral.  Essentially when you issue a Hashtag Challenge, users are encouraged to take the idea and replicate it or expand upon it in their own video.  At any time there are a number of hashtag challenges on the platform that users can participate in.

Take as an example the #TumbleweedChallenge issued by Jimmy Fallon on his popular tv show:

Influencers on TikTok

Influencers will be huge on TikTok.   Universal Pictures have already run a campaign to promote the feature film “The House with a Clock in its Walls“, working with popular users before the film premiered to generate awareness and interest:

‘House with a Clock in Its Walls’ TikTok Influencer campaign – Universal / QYOU –  Streamys Brand Awards Submission from The Q / QYOU Media on Vimeo.

The trick is finding users with a large enough following, and enabling them to create video content that’s in-line with your brand, but still authentic for their followers.


Paid Advertising on TikTok

The paid advertising feature of TikTok only became available in January 2019, and there will (eventually) be 4 ad formats available:  Brand Takeover, In-Feed Native Video, Hashtag Challenge, Branded Lenses.  T

hese are still in their infancy, and not all features are available as yet, but it will be interesting to see how this prevails.


Have you had any experience with TikTok?  Have you seen any business or brands doing something well?

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Simone Douglas

Simone Douglas

Simone is co-founder and Senior Principal Solutions Architect of Social Media AOK. Simone offers over 17 years in corporate management roles encompassing generalist HR recruitment and development of small to large teams across multiple sites, industry sectors and states. Experienced in a variety of social media platforms and their complimentary applications, social media strategy, risk management, disaster recovery and associated HR policies and processes.