January 15, 2020

5 Ways Brands can Leverage TikTok in 2020

4 minute read
TikTok is set to be one of the biggest social media platforms in 2020.TikTok is set to be one of the biggest social media platforms in 2020.
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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few months, you’ve no doubt heard of TikTok. However, like many, you may be somewhat confused about how the platform works and quite frankly, what all the fuss is about.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video, with a mission to inspire creativity and bring joy.

Video creators either record within the app or upload vertical videos of up to 15 seconds in length. They also have the option to connect multiple clips together for up to 60 seconds of total recording, but the shorter-form videos tend to dominate TikTok’s “For You” section, where users spend 75 percent of their time on the platform. An extensive editing toolkit, with an array or filters and effects, and a massive music library, lets users tune and score their content to clever and comedic effect.

Fed by its algorithm, the TikTok For You feed shows users content it thinks they will like, and makes adjustments based on their behavior over time.

As New York Times columnist John Herrman put it,

"Imagine a version of Facebook that was able to fill your feed before you’d friended a single person. That’s TikTok.”


Is it for me?

Scrolling the For You feed in TikTok, you may be wondering how creative some of the videos are. Mostly it’s half-dressed teens replicating dance moves from some viral dance off or #hashtagchallenge. But before you put your nana pants on and dismiss TikTok as a teen fad, read on to see why it’s one of the fastest growing platforms in the world.

TikTok was launched in September 2016, and in the three years since its launch, it’s safe to say that it has exploded in popularity. TikTok has 500 million active users worldwide (Datareportal, 2019). This makes TikTok 9th in terms of social network sites, ahead of better known sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

Check out more of TikTok’s impressive stats and you start to understand that this is a platform we’ll be hearing a lot more about in 2020.

TikTok gives brands a chance to show their lighter side.

Should brands pay attention?

It’s a very effective platform for brands. Product placement, unboxings, live streaming and branded challenges (especially) are all very easy to execute and can be very powerful. There are also very few Australian brands currently using TikTok influencers. While brands like Superdry and Samsung are starting to test the waters, the lack of ad clutter means brands have the opportunity to deliver campaigns that will generate cut-through.


5 ways brands leverage TikTok

We've rounded up 5 of the best ways for brands to drive social media engagement with the millennial audience in 2020. Plus we've included a few links below to showcase how brands are successfully leveraging TikTok already. As a fast-growing and untapped platform from an advertising perspective, taking the leap and launching a brand strategy for TikTok will see successful brands leap ahead in creating cut-through. Plus as an event marketer, TikTok now needs to be kept in mind as part of your live event strategy, and how you're making it easy for attendees to create and share content that is suited to TikTok too.

1. Advertising

Unlike the early days of Snapchat, TikTok is readily open to advertisers and provides a dedicated website with case studies, explainer videos and all the info you need to gather some inspo and launch your advertising campaign. Ads can show within TikTok either at the bottom of an existing user video, or as a dedicated video within the feed.

Calvin Klein has successfully leveraged TikTok.


2. Influencer marketing

TikTok has a whole new breed of influencers who are creative and eager to work with brands. What’s exciting, is that many of these top influencers have built a following in a short amount of time. Brands can partner with influencers to create authentic content that heros the brand in a fun and entertaining way. Australian influencers are also some of the biggest on Tik Tok, with the likes of Ricky Chainz (@thechainzfamily), DubSmashKing (@ianz95) and Rifenstine (@rifenstine) all accruing well over 1.5m fans. And the scariest part? They only launched their profiles over the past 12 months.

3. Hashtag challenges

One of the most effective ways to market to the TikTok community is by leveraging the platform’s Hashtag Challenges. Successful brands have either tapped into TikTok-owned challenges, or created their own branded contests, inviting users to develop content related to the hashtag. Some companies have gone as far as providing new music clips for users to interact with. And offering prizes for top content doesn’t hurt, either (for snack brand Kind’s #kindsimplecrunchcontest Hashtag Challenge, the user whose video earned the most views received a free trip to New York and a year’s supply of Kind Simple Crunch Bars). Marketers can also leverage TikTok’s Hashtag Challenge Plus feature, which adds a shop-able component to sponsored Hashtag Challenges, allowing users to purchase a brand’s products without leaving the app. Watch out Instagram!

Chipotle's Hashtag Challenge gained viral momentum

4. Live Events

At the heart of TikTok is user generated content and live events are the perfect landscape to engage consumers in creating and sharing content. Video booths are becoming a popular trend for live events. From confession booths to lip sync and dance offs, capturing video content specifically for TikTok at live events is now available to event marketers and highly engaging for the millennial and teen audiences. Attendees are able to instantly receive their videos to their own device at the event, and upload to TikTok with relevant brand hashtags. Where TikTok differs to Instagram is in the type of content. It's more choreographed and staged - giving marketers and event planners a chance to get creative in building content creation opportunities into their events.

5. Brand takeovers

Brand takeovers are another way marketers can leverage TikTok. Brands have the option to advertise using still images, GIFs and videos, and the sponsored content can be linked to the company’s landing page or a TikTok hashtag challenge. But keep in mind, takeovers are exclusive to particular categories, and only one brand can take over a category each day. Companies can also create their own branded lenses, like those found on Snapchat and Instagram, which are available for a set amount of time and featured in key locations throughout the app during that period.


Want to learn more?

We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite articles on TikTok, including some great case studies on how brands are leveraging TikTok to reach new audiences. 

What is TikTok
TikTok Statistics
8 Ways Brands can utilise TikTok
Taking TikTok Influencer Marketing Seriously
Brands on TikTok


Is TikTok Right for Your Brand?

If you're looking to tap into the next generation of consumers, you need to ensure your brand is "showing up" in the platform where they're most active. 

If you’re an event marketer looking to leverage this incredibly fast-growing trend at live events, get in touch to chat through ways we can help.


Curious about integrating TikTok into your marketing strategy?