Lessons Learned at TikTok's #ReadySetGrow Summit
The platform that recently sparked generational wars over skinny jeans has gained a reputation for being the land of Gen-Z. However, TikTok has an actively engaged subsect of nearly every demographic and niche interest community, from doctors to dancing granddads.
The increasingly popular app has the all-time highest number of downloads recorded in a given quarter, and has no signs of slowing down. In the midst of the pandemic, people of all ages were spending increasingly more time on their mobile devices seeking out new entertainment. Subsequently, people who may have never downloaded the app previously found themselves hooked on the limitless content. Now, even massive brands, like ESPN and Dunkin’ Donuts, are jumping onto TikTok and casting a broader net to engage an all-ages fan base with trendy, relatable content.
If we’re being honest, our Social Media team has spent more hours than we’d care to admit sucked into the vortex that is endless TikTok scrolling. After we virtually attended the platform’s recent #ReadySetGrow Summit, we’re using our prowess for the greater good by sharing a few of our key takeaways.
POST LIKE A CREATOR
After years spent mindlessly scrolling through social platforms like Instagram, TikTok reports that 47% of people are fatigued by the ‘aspirational’ influencer-type content that has become the norm on many of our feeds. As TikTok’s usage continues to skyrocket (with roughly 689 million active users worldwide as of March 2021), it became increasingly evident that users are flocking to the platform in search of authentic content from real people.
That being said, when it comes to posting on TikTok, authenticity always reigns supreme. While content should be valuable by being entertaining or educational to some degree, it’s most important that it remains relatable to viewers. The platform suggests that showing up as a native creator is more likely to resonate than producing high-quality, aesthetic-driven content you may be used to sharing on Instagram. In fact, TikTok reports that low-production videos generally perform best with audiences.
The same remains true when it comes to TikTok’s Paid Advertising platform. According to MGH Social Media VP and Senior Social Marketing Manager Kim Ritchie, “the TikTok ads that perform best for our clients aren’t overly-produced, but look like real TikTok user content.” By using trending sounds and TikTok’s built-in Ad Creator, you’re able to create an ad that seamlessly integrates into the feed, sandwiching perfectly between the latest dance craze and POV meme.
SHOW UP BEFORE YOU'RE READY + FOLLOW TRENDS
When it comes to getting your brand on TikTok, expert users from the platform urged summit attendees to go before you feel ready. In agency settings especially, it’s often easy to get held up in the red tape of creative presentations and approval processes, but the best thing you can do for your client’s TikTok success is to start uploading and continue to do it regularly.
It’s important to keep learning and paying attention to rapidly changing trends to stay on top of your TikTok game. Whether you’re taking creative cues from trending topics or just finding your place in the saturated TikTok community, finding your niche and showing up as yourself will always be most effective. Key creators recommend finding your sweet spot by thinking outside of your usual industry to insert your brand into less obvious viral moments. Luckily, TikTok has awesome discovery tools for trending topics to make joining the conversation painless.
A great example of a brand doing this is the Washington Post. While their videos remain news-adjacent, they capitalize on popular trends and current events to relay information and relate to their young consumers.
Wish I had that hour back. I miss it. Inspired by a @mattemig2 TikTok.♬ son original
The ship - which is twice the height of the Washington Monument - was wedged sideways across the canal. No, the captain wasn’t actually on TikTok.♬ original sound - Tara’s Mum and Dad
SOUND ON + STRATEGIZING
Unlike many platforms, having the sound on is a requirement for the TikTok viewing experience. What sound creators pick is not only a crucial storytelling element of the video, but could also lead to increased discoverability in the app. Songs that are popularized through TikTok have huge virality potential, with Rolling Stone even referring to the app as “the music industry’s new fame machine”.
When advertising on TikTok, having good creative (including song choice!) is critical. ICYMI, you want your creative to appear authentic, and for it to integrate seamlessly into user’s feeds. However, this should still be done strategically, as TikTok reports 70% of success in your campaign will rely on creative.
Platform experts recommend keeping videos short and engaging, and to plan on updating your ad campaign every 2-4 weeks to avoid burnout. If creating that much content sounds overwhelming, don’t fret. It’s likely that your brand fans have already created some great content worth repurposing on your channels.
Let’s be real – we’ve all impulsively bought something after seeing it during a late-night scroll. With organic product placement everywhere on social media, it’s nearly impossible to avoid being influenced into buying something.
According to TikTok, half of their over 600 million user reach has made a purchase after seeing it on the app – unsurprising since ¾ of TikTok users are known to regularly visit e-commerce sites. Products featured on TikTok have unprecedented virality, demonstrated recently by beauty crazes like the Kat Von D foundation and the products used in influencer Madison Beer’s latest makeup tutorial. These widely shared products have completely sold out on the internet, been restocked, and have continued to sell out again and again since.
A great #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt brand example came when Dunkin’ leveraged uber-popular TikToker Charli D’Amelio’s affinity for their products to create a signature drink – ‘The Charli,” which can be ordered at any location (and now even has a spin-off: “The Charli Remix”). The cold-brew drink was a huge success, with cold-brew sales rising by 20% the day the drink launched, and by 45% the day after according to one Dunkin’ executive.
That's right. It's THE CHARLI. WITH SWEET COLD FOAM! @charlidamelio #CharliDunkinRemix♬ original sound - Dunkin'
The influence of TikTok has no signs of slowing down, and neither does the app’s marketing potential. Show up as yourself, start posting authentically, and see what could happen for your brand.