It’s time for TikTok, just don’t overthink it

The popular social network prioritizes fun, not high production values

A TikTok logo seen on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A TikTok logo seen on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

At first, I didn't get TikTok. I thought it was another Snapchat that I'd never understand. As a working parent who can't pull off the moves like these Tik Tok'ers, I couldn't gather how I was even the target for this. So, like many of the unconvinced, I gave up.

But after seeing some pretty clever uses from all kinds of people of different ages, I knew I had to just dive in. I started engaging with TikTok to teach the platform what I was into.

What I quickly learned is, liking content on TikTok isn't about telling the creator you liked the content, it's about telling the algorithm to give you more of what you enjoyed. Fast forward to now and I can't get enough! Neither can 800,000,000 other people.

TikTok is a digital space we go to simply enjoy ourselves and get lost: a potpourri of DIY and weird science facts to shuffle dances and audible memes. But here's the thing. It's not just an entertaining platform, it also has huge benefits for brands.

TikTok drives sales. More than 300 registered companies have posted 12,000+ videos. Now is the time for TikTok, and take it from me — there is no need to overthink it.

Here are a few quick TikTok tips:

Define Your TikTok-self. Who are you on TikTok? What's the entertaining, experimental, fun version of your brand's best self? What categories make sense to play in? It could be sports, DIY, fashion, etc. And, what tone do you want to adopt? Areas like humor, fun facts and home routines are a few to consider.

Nimble is key. TikTok changes hourly so be sure your internal production and approval processes can keep up.

Spin up an agile content strategy. Your approach should allow you to balance between responsive, real-time content that rides fast-moving memes and tent-pole brand moments that are pre-produced and aligned to your business.

Create, create, create! TikTok is a living A/B test for content. Don't worry about it being perfect, highly produced or amazing. The platform's algorithm organically promotes the good stuff and nobody will see the rest. Remember, TikTok is a weird place where anything can go viral.

Be part of the community. Follow the trends. The community rewards brands who "get it" and participate. Jump on the memes in fun and creative ways and be sure to engage with real people.

Make thumb-stoppers. What's going to immediately get someone to pause and watch? This could be something as simple as text that says, "Wait, don't scroll yet," or, "My dad got bit by a shark on vacation." Also, be sure to drive engagement with prompts like, "Double tap to see something cute!"

Be careful with the audio. TikTok provided brands with a stock music library after it announced that they will no longer be able to use popular music. Also, brands need to consult with their legal counsel prior to using audible meme tracks created by users. Of course, you can always get creative and make your own tracks.

Release the Kraken! Boost your high-performing content with paid media products with TikTok For Business.

TikTok is evidence that brands need to be more nimble and creative and less processed and perfect. Society is changing and TikTok is perfectly positioned for where we are headed. However, as TikTok grows, we should monitor news surrounding consumer privacy and policies being enacted from their parent company Byte Dance.

Derek Goode is VP of influencer marketing and social media for 160over90.

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