But how can brands benefit from joining the TikTok community and what do they need to do to be successful on this platform? 

Here, media update’s Taylor Goodman speaks to Hayley Owen-Watters, CEO of Actorvate Influencer Marketing, about everything you need to know to market effectively on TikTok. 

The clock is ‘TikTok’ing, let’s get into it:

How can brands benefit from being on TikTok?  

Brands can benefit from TikTok in two main ways — brand awareness and conversion. A brand’s marketing strategy will vary depending on what they want to achieve.

Brand awareness means creating talkability around your products and services with the end goal being to get more followers and more views of your content. Conversion, on the other hand, means the content has one main purpose — to increase sales or generate traffic to a landing page. 

To achieve both these goals, we encourage our clients to consider:
  • creating original content
  • running paid ads, and
  • using influencers to reach their audience. 
Influencer marketing is the most formidable method to achieve awareness and conversion. It means correctly identifying, approaching and briefing established TikTok content creators and having them creatively record and post sponsored posts on their account. This is in exchange for payment or valuable trade exchanges for their services. 

Sponsored posts could be the influencer filming themselves using your product or service, or (in some cases) doing a dance using your hashtag. 

What makes TikTok unique from other social media platforms regarding marketing? 

TikTok has over one billion active users and a very unique algorithm that is praised for giving smaller content creators a better chance of going viral compared to other platforms. 

There's a greater chance that brands can gain popularity and growth by interest-aligned users without having to pay hundreds of Rands.

TikTok's marketing manager recently noted that the algorithm "prioritises content itself, not a person's following. That means that anyone in any brand can get discovered and seen by millions."

Brands also don't need to have high production value ads — TikTok has a distinctly home-grown feel. It's about being authentic and personable

A recent AdWeek study reported that 49% of TikTok users have purchased a product or service from a brand after seeing it advertised, promoted, or reviewed on TikTok. 

Consumers are also willing to make a purchase if they see an influencer's recommendation of the brand. This is due to the high level of trust between followers and their favourite content creators. 

What type of brands do you feel would be most successful on TikTok? 

Simply put, you shouldn't be on TikTok simply to be on TikTok. Instead, we recommend that a brand analyses its audience and brand identity to decide if marketing on this platform can help increase revenue or brand reach. 

Consider using a TikTok channel for your brand if: 
Your brand has a young target audience
Research from TikTok SA shows that 43% of users on TikTok in South Africa are between the ages of 16 and 24; 33% are between the ages of 25 and 34.

Your brand is highly visual and can play in a fun or educational space 
TikTok isn't a serious platform. Businesses that thrive the most on this platform are ones that post videos that are fun, entertaining and visually pleasing — and that follow popular trends. 

To fit in, brands need to ensure that they meet the same style expected on the platform by using features like:
  • text on the screen
  • fast editing, and
  • the ever-popular text-to-speech voice-over.
Your brand could benefit from influencer marketing 
Influencer marketing is a huge part of the TikTok experience. While basic ad content from brands isn't always welcomed by a user, subtle references to your product or service via influencers are expected on the platform. Using influencer marketing can place your brand in front of new eyes without the need for traditional and often expensive marketing techniques.

Your brand has time to commit to content creation
TikTok users appreciate it if you do not [just] make ads and [rather] focus more on entertaining people. Hence, you should ideally find what excites the viewers and choose the content that best matches their needs.

Once your content has the elements that [users] look for, it will rank up in the 'For You' page and make your brand more visible. TikTok is a place to be playful and to create original content. It's not a place to post your TV ad. Think of it as a place to experiment with new types of content.

Describe your understanding of TikTok's audience

From a South African perspective, the most active audience is the youth (16 to 30), but there is also an audience that brands can target ranging from 30 to 38 years old that is active on the platform. 

While most social media is skewed toward females, this platform is an equal split between the genders. The audience itself is hungry for three types of content. These include:
  • helpful content that educates the audience on topics like finances, cleaning hacks, fashion tips, study hacks and shopping hacks
  • dance videos — specifically Amapiano and local tracks, and
  • comedic skits that make light of things like load shedding, service delivery and South Africanisms. 

Consumers are inundated with marketing messages from brands across all social platforms. With this in mind, how can businesses avoid brand fatigue on Tiktok?

For me this is a simple solution —  decrease your posting frequency and instead increase your quality. 
While more activity does have a positive impact on many social media platforms, users must feel like the time they invested in your content is worth it. There's nothing worse than getting labelled as 'spammy'.

Another key point to remember is that the users need a diet of fresh content — old content can easily lead to fatigue. 

The TikTok algorithm seems to flag repurposed content as low-quality, unlike Instagram, which seems not to mind it. It is apparent that the cultures of these two platforms are quite different and brands need to keep this in mind when producing content. 

Marketers, are you keen to invest in the TikTok space? Why or why not? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to know more about how to nail TikTok marketing? Then be sure to check out these Three brands that nailed TikTok marketing.