So, you’ve seen a lot of companies, perhaps even your competitors, jumping on TikTok, creating fun content, and getting a ton of engagement in return—and now you’re wondering if you should leverage the platform yourself?
You’re at the right place. This blog post will walk you through everything you should know about TikTok, including how to leverage it to drive engagement and conversions with organic content and ads.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
What Is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media app centered around short videos. It’s like a blend of Vine, the now-defunct video platform, and Instagram Stories, but with its own unique flavor.
The app allows users to create and share video clips up to 60 seconds long.
It has become a creative playground where people showcase their talents, share funny moments, and express themselves through music and dance. Its addictive and entertaining content has captured the attention of millions of people.
TikTok desktop version
Why Is TikTok So Popular?
TikTok’s meteoric rise to global popularity can be attributed to a potent blend of accessibility, creativity, and algorithmic magic.
Firstly, TikTok democratizes content creation. Its powerful suite of in-app editing tools makes it easy for anyone to create professional-grade videos, even without any technical expertise.
With a number of effects, filters, and a vast music library at users’ disposal, the app encourages creative self-expression and experimentation.
Secondly, TikTok’s content is inherently social and participatory. The platform is a breeding ground for trends, with users frequently jumping on the latest dance craze, challenge, or meme, adding their unique spin to it.
This culture of participation fosters a sense of community, keeping users engaged and active.
Finally, TikTok’s personalized “For You” feed plays a crucial role in its popularity. The platform’s algorithm curates a stream of videos tailored to each user’s preferences, ensuring they always have something interesting to watch.
The more you use the app, the better it understands your interests, leading to an addictive cycle of personalized content consumption.
In essence, TikTok’s popularity stems from its ability to offer an accessible, creative, and personalized social media experience that resonates with the modern digital consumer.
TikTok VS Other Social Media Platforms
Perhaps the best way to truly understand TikTok is to compare it to other popular social media apps and platforms. Let’s do just that before we move on.
- Compared to Facebook, TikTok focuses more on short, catchy video content rather than text-based posts or link sharing, enabling a quick consumption of content.
- Compared to Instagram, TikTok offers a more extensive set of editing tools for users to create unique and engaging videos, whereas Instagram mainly focuses on aesthetic images.
- Unlike Twitter, which emphasizes text-based communication and real-time updates, TikTok thrives on the ability of its users to tell compelling stories or share trends through short videos.
- When contrasted with LinkedIn, TikTok presents a more informal and creative platform, focusing on entertainment and personal expression rather than professional networking and industry-focused content.
- As opposed to YouTube, which accommodates long-form videos, TikTok capitalizes on short, bite-sized clips that cater to viewers’ short attention spans.
As you can probably tell, TikTok is a category of its own. It’s not like any other social media platform—which is part of the reason why you should consider using it for your startup.
Popular TikTok Content
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way let’s see which content is currently trending on TikTok.
This should give you a better idea of what type of content you could potentially create to start promoting your startup.
- Dance Challenges. TikTok users love to create and share choreographed routines set to popular songs, allowing others to join in and put their own spin on the moves.
- Comedy Skits. Many TikTokers showcase their comedic talents by creating short skits, funny lip-sync videos, or comedic monologues. These videos often incorporate clever editing techniques and witty dialogue.
- Lip-syncing and Dubbing. TikTok users have also popularized “mouthing” along with dialogues, movie scenes, or famous quotes, adding their own flair and comedic timing.
- Challenges and Trends. TikTok is synonymous with challenges and trends that sweep across the platform. From viral dance routines to fitness challenges, makeup transformations, and even DIY experiments, users eagerly participate and put their own creative twists on these trends.
- Talent Showcases. TikTok is also a popular platform for talented individuals to showcase their unique skills. Whether it’s singing, playing musical instruments, painting, dancing, or performing magic tricks, users captivate audiences with their extraordinary abilities.
Example of users participating in a singing challenge. (Source)
When it comes to different content niches, it seems that these are the most popular at the moment of writing:
- DIY and Life Hacks. TikTok is filled with creative do-it-yourself (DIY) videos and life hacks. Users share innovative ways to repurpose household items, create crafts, cook delicious recipes, and offer helpful tips for everyday tasks.
- Beauty and Fashion. The platform is brimming with beauty and fashion content. Users showcase makeup transformations, share skincare routines, provide fashion tips and outfit inspiration, and demonstrate hair styling techniques.
- Pets and Animal Videos. Cute and funny pet videos are an absolute hit on TikTok. Users capture adorable moments with their pets, showcasing their mischievous behavior, funny expressions, and heartwarming interactions.
- Inspirational and Motivational Content. TikTok is home to a wealth of motivational and inspirational content. Users share personal stories, offer advice, and provide uplifting messages to inspire and support their followers.
- Travel and Adventure. Users take viewers on virtual adventures by sharing travel experiences and breathtaking destinations. They provide travel tips, showcase stunning landscapes, and inspire others to explore the world.
- Educational Content. TikTok users also like watching and sharing bite-sized educational content, from quick science experiments and historical facts to language learning tips and math tutorials.
Quick TikTok Facts
- TikTok originates from China. It was first launched in September 2016 by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company.
- It is very similar to Musical.ly, a Shangai-headquartered short-video sharing app. The two apps merged in 2018, consolidating their user base and features under the TikTok brand.
- Currently, TikTok is the most popular platform among the Gen Z generation born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s. Gen Z-ers have shaped the trends, challenges, and overall culture of the platform.
- TikTok encourages users to express their creativity with its intuitive video editing tools, special effects, and filters. These features help users experiment, push boundaries, and create unique content without extensive technical skills.
- TikTok’s content creators can monetize their popularity through brand partnerships, sponsorships, and collaborations. Brands, on the other hand, get a chance to connect with young people through fun content.
Quick TikTok Stats
- 68% of users find TikTok’s advertising content to be more unique than on other social networks.
- TikTok’s annual revenue reached $9.4 billion in 2022. The platform makes money from advertising, music royalties, subscription fees, and shop commissions.
- According to an October 2022 survey, brands consider TikTok to be one of the social media platforms with the highest ROI for B2B marketers. It tied for second place with Instagram, marking its significant impact on the digital marketing landscape.
- TikTok already reached 1 billion users in 2021.
- As of March 2023, the most engaging video on TikTok was Bella Poach’s lip-syncing “M to the B” by Millie B. It garnered as many as 61 million likes.
- As of April 2023, 21% of TikTok’s audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years. Male users of the same age made up approximately 17.5% of the platform’s global audience.
- Black and Hispanic teens seem to use the platform more frequently than White teens.
Unique TikTok Features Your Startup Should Know About
Let’s see what else makes TikTok so unique and how you can leverage its special features for your own startup.
1. In-App Video Creation And Editing Tools
TikTok’s in-app editing tools are highly intuitive and encourage creativity. With filters, effects, and a vast music library at their disposal, users can create unique and captivating content.
Here are just some of the possibilities with TikTok’s features:
- Users can stack, trim, and split video clips, edit sounds and text, and add overlays or sound effects.
- TikTok’s Photo Mode lets users easily create picture slideshows using their own photos or downloaded images. Just like with videos, users can easily add music, filters, and stickers to their picture slideshows.
- TikTok has also recently extended its post description limit up to 2,200 characters. This change lets creators add more context to their videos or image carousels, share more detailed stories, or simply include more hashtags and increase their chances of being discovered by new audiences.
With that said, there’s no shortage of standalone tools that help non-technical users easily create TikTok-ready videos. At the moment of writing, some of the most popular video editor software are Movavi, CapCut, and BeeCut.
Some can only be used on a phone, while others work on a desktop too.
We should also mention that TikTok gives users access to a number of video templates they can easily use and make their own.
You can learn more about TikTok’s creative tools here.
2. Duets And Stitch Features
TikTok’s Duet and Stitch features allow users to interact with content in unique ways.
Duets let users create side-by-side videos with others and foster collaboration. That way, one creator can easily create a video with another creator.
Stitch lets users “stitch” together their own videos with other TikTok videos, either uploaded previously by them or by other creators. Users can allow or disallow others to use their videos in this way by tweaking their privacy settings.
3. The Explore Tab
The Explore tab on TikTok provides a space for users to find new content or creators they resonate with.
Users can, for example, filter different content according to the categories they’re interested in:
4. TikTok’s Audio Library
TikTok’s Audio Library is just what it sounds like: an expansive library of music and audio snippets that users can use as background music in their own videos.
Users can easily search TikTok’s Audio Library by entering their desired keywords or using filters on the left-hand side. The filters allow them to find sounds that can be used for commercial use, filter them according to themes, and so much more.
5. For You Page (FYP)
The For You Page (FYP) is TikTok’s central feed, curated by the algorithm based on a user’s behavior. This personalized content feed, different for every user, provides a highly customized user experience and sets TikTok apart from other social media platforms.
6. TikTok’s Code Scanning Feature
TikTok has an in-built QR-code-scanning feature that makes connecting with other users easier than ever. Users can generate and scan TikTok Codes to find and follow accounts instantly, offering a fast and intuitive way to expand their network within the platform.
You can check out how to use this feature in the video below:
What You Need To Know About TikTok Ads
TikTok offers brands four primary types of ads, each serving different marketing needs.
- In-Feed Ads: These are native ads that appear on users’ For You Page and seamlessly integrate with user content. They can help you drive traffic to your website or sell more products and/or services.
- Promote: This ad type allows TikTok creators to turn their organic content into ads directly from the app. “Promote” is equivalent to “boosting” on Facebook. It basically helps you broaden the reach of your posts that are already doing well and enhance their visibility. They can be used for sales purposes, but they may be the most effective in attracting new followers.
Promoting organic content on TikTok. (Source)
- Spark Ads: Spark Ads are quite unique to TikTok, as they allow brands to boost content by other creators. Typically, the brands will boost content that mentions them in a positive light or the content they’ve ordered and made in collaboration with TikTok creators.
- Video Shopping Ads: Finally, video shopping ads allow brands to embed shopping links into their video-based ads, driving direct product exploration and shopping from within the TikTok platform.
Example of an in-feed ad. (Source)
Example of a spark ad. (Source)
Example of a video shopping ad. (Source)
Should You Use TikTok Ads?
Now that we understand the different types of ads on TikTok, let’s try to answer the ultimate question: should your startup use TikTok ads to promote its brand, products, or services?
It depends on several factors. Here are a few questions you should consider before investing your money into TikTok ads:
- Is your audience on TikTok? For example, if you’re primarily targeting older generations, the chances are you won’t find them on TikTok.
- Does your product/service align with TikTok’s values and aesthetics? TikTok is known for its creative, engaging, and often informal content. If your brand has a similar vibe, it could thrive on the platform.
- Are you willing to experiment with your marketing strategies? TikTok, with its unique ad formats and features, requires a different approach than more traditional platforms.
- What is your marketing budget? Although TikTok Ads can offer high ROI, their costs can vary widely based on the ad format, campaign duration, and targeting criteria.
- Are you equipped to create engaging content? TikTok’s user base appreciates original, creative, and engaging content. You need to have the resources and the skills to produce such content to see success.
- Do you have the bandwidth to monitor your campaign and adjust accordingly? The world of TikTok moves quickly, and marketing campaigns need to be monitored and adjusted often to ensure they stay effective and relevant.
If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, you should definitely consider using TikTok ads for your own startup—especially because they have, on average, a high ROI.
TikTok Policies To Watch Out For
Before you jump on TikTok, though, you should familiarize yourself with the platform’s (many) policies to avoid potential pitfalls.
Firstly, TikTok enforces strict community guidelines that prohibit hate speech, discrimination, and harassment. Any content promoting violence, dangerous activities, or illegal behavior is promptly removed.
If your brand’s content infringes upon these rules, you risk getting your account suspended or even getting permanently banned.
Secondly, it’s important you respect copyright laws. TikTok strictly adheres to copyright legislation, and using copyrighted music or visuals without permission can result in your content being removed.
To avoid this, consider using music from TikTok’s extensive music library or creating original sounds yourself.
In terms of advertising, TikTok’s ad policies are detailed and specific. They prohibit false or misleading content, overly sexual or violent imagery, and any form of content that could harm TikTok’s community or reputation.
Furthermore, ads must be clearly identifiable as such and cannot disguise their commercial intent.
Finally, for underage users, TikTok has implemented safety features and stricter default privacy settings to protect them from inappropriate content and interactions.
Brands must ensure their content and engagement practices comply with these child safety measures.
It’s also worth noting that TikTok requires users to be at least 13 years old to create an account, and accounts for users under 18 are set to private by default to ensure their safety online.
TikTok Content Best Practices
Creating compelling content on TikTok requires understanding its unique culture and audience preferences. Here are some best practices for your TikTok content strategy:
- Embrace Authenticity: TikTok users value genuine, relatable content over polished, corporate messages. Your brand’s content should showcase its personality and values in an authentic, humanizing way.
- Leverage Trends: TikTok trends, including popular songs, dances, and challenges, can propel your content to wide audiences. Watch for trending hashtags and sounds, and creatively incorporate them into your brand’s content.
- Engage with Your Audience: TikTok is a social platform, so interaction is key. Respond to comments, collaborate with influencers, and even participate in duets or stitch other users’ content. This engagement can help build a loyal community around your brand.
- Create Educational Content: ‘Edutok’ is a popular genre on the platform, where users share and consume educational and informative content. If relevant, provide tips, hacks, or industry insights to add value to your audience.
- Consistency is Key: Regular posting helps keep your audience engaged and increases your visibility on the platform. Aim to post at least once a day, at times when your audience is most active.
- Use TikTok’s Tools: Make the most of the platform’s creative tools like filters, effects, and editing features to create visually appealing, engaging content.
By following these best practices, you can ensure your brand’s content resonates with the TikTok community, fostering stronger connections and enhancing your brand’s presence on the platform.
TikTok Ads Best Practices
Finally, let me give you some tips on using TikTok ads if you’re sure that’s the right move for your startup.
- Know Your Audience: Before launching any ad campaign, you must have a clear understanding of your target audience. With TikTok’s diverse user base, defining your audience helps ensure that your ads are shown to users most likely to be interested in your product or service.
- Leverage the Platform’s Uniqueness: TikTok is all about creativity and fun. Ensure your ads reflect this vibe and naturally fit into users’ feeds. Avoid overly polished, traditional advertising content; instead, aim for authentic, relatable ads that feel more like user-generated content.
- Utilize TikTok’s Ad Formats Wisely: As mentioned, TikTok offers several ad formats, each with its own strengths. In-Feed Ads are great for increasing brand awareness, while Branded Hashtag Challenges can boost user engagement. Use the format that best suits your campaign goals.
- Harness the Power of TikTok Trends: Incorporate trending music, hashtags, or challenges into your ads to increase their relevance and appeal to TikTok users.
- Include Clear Calls-to-Action: Regardless of how engaging your ad is, if users don’t know what to do after watching it, they’re unlikely to convert. Make sure your ads include clear calls-to-action, guiding users toward the desired action, be it visiting your website, downloading an app, or making a purchase.
- Test and Optimize: Always test different elements of your ads, like creative, ad format, or targeting parameters, and analyze the performance data to continually optimize your campaigns. TikTok’s ad platform provides detailed analytics that you can leverage to make data-driven decisions.
- Capitalize on User-Generated Content (UGC): User-generated content is highly popular on TikTok. If appropriate, consider ways to involve your audience in ad content creation, perhaps through contests or influencer partnerships.
By following these best practices, you can increase the effectiveness of your TikTok ad campaigns, maximizing reach, engagement, and conversion. Remember, the key to success on TikTok is being authentic, creative, and engaging, just like its community.
Is TikTok Free?
Yes, TikTok is free to download and use. It’s available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and users can create an account, browse content, and upload their own videos without any charges.
However, TikTok does offer in-app purchases, including coins and gifts that users can buy to support their favorite creators during live streams.
Additionally, brands and advertisers pay to promote their products or services on the platform through various ad formats, but these costs do not affect the general users who merely consume or create content on the platform.
Can Someone See If You Viewed Their TikTok?
Yes, other people can see you viewed their TikTok. However, you can bypass this by turning your Profile view history off in your privacy settings on TikTok.
Keep in mind that turning it off also means you won’t be able to see when others view your TikTok.
What Age Group Is TikTok For?
TikTok is primarily popular among Gen Z, typically individuals between the ages of 16 and 24. However, its user base is rapidly expanding, and it’s becoming increasingly popular among Millennials and even older age groups.
What Are The Cons Of TikTok?
Some of the cons associated with TikTok include privacy concerns, potential exposure to inappropriate or harmful content, the app’s addictive nature, and potential cyberbullying.
- Privacy concerns are related to the collection of user data and the platform’s algorithmic recommendation system. Users should be cautious about sharing personal information and consider adjusting their privacy settings.
- TikTok’s vast user-generated content may expose users to inappropriate or offensive material, despite the platform’s efforts to enforce community guidelines.
- TikTok’s addictive nature, with its endless scrolling and engaging content, can lead to excessive screen time and potential productivity loss.
- Lastly, like other social media platforms, TikTok can be used for cyberbullying. This calls for responsible usage and proactive measures to ensure a safe and positive experience on the platform.
TikTok has emerged as a dynamic and creative platform that startups can no longer ignore. With its highly engaged user base, a rich variety of content, and unique ad offerings, it provides a fertile ground for brands to connect with audiences.
As a startup looking to carve your own space in the market, embracing TikTok could be a strategic move. Leveraging its in-app tools and features, you can tell your brand’s story, engage with your audience, and drive conversions.
But remember: success on TikTok hinges on authenticity, creativity, and an understanding of the platform’s culture. Do your homework, and we’re sure you’ll see a ton of success in return.