The kids are using it. Young adults are using it. Even Wendy’s is using it. Let’s explore TikTok and what you can do with it.
If you’ve been even remotely close to not living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard of TikTok — the new social media app that almost feels like the lovechild of Instagram Stories and Vine — where you can shoot, edit, and post videos onto the app of you singing along to a song, doing a comedy bit, or even throwing Kraft Singles at cats (it’s a thing). Even if you don’t have the app, you may have seen a TikTok watermarked video pop up on any other social media app, such as Twitter or Facebook.
Now, obviously, according to the title of this article, this is not for Gen-Zers who are already familiar with the app. This is for the folks who have heard about the app and maybe want to use it to expand their social media reach — maybe even for a brand you work on.
So, join me as we determine what even is a TikTok and how to use this new platform.
So . . . What Is TikTok, Really?
TikTok basically originated with Musical.ly, which was an app for people to lip sync to music and share the videos with their friends. Once Musical.ly came out from the company that owned TikTok, they merged the two to become what TikTok is today. In short, the app is a video-based platform for people to share their own created content with others. Just like other video-based platforms — such as Instagram Live/Stories — you can either create the content within the app’s video recording features, or you can upload content.
If you’re a content creator who already has branded video content, make sure to check out our PremiumBeat article about TikTok for video producers.
So, what makes this app different from the others? I’d say that it’s their unique video editing features that elevates it above its competition. It’s got filters, you can add music, and there are even special animations and graphics that can manipulate your video instantaneously. It’s got trimming abilities and basic edit functions, so you can really make something creative without knowing anything about conventional editing programs.
For the past few years, as it gained popularity extremely quickly, it was mainly Gen-Z kids who were using and sharing videos with the app. However, as it’s gone mainstream, celebrities and companies have begun to adopt the trend.
What Out-of-Touch Adults Need to Know
If he can do it, so can you.
Hashtags and viral “Challenges” are a very important part of the TikTok EcoSphere. You use them to tag your videos, and most of them follow a unique format that becomes viral as more people tag along with the trend.
As you can see with the TikTok above, the #freezeframe hashtag has become wildly popular over the past few weeks, ever since the “freeze frame” video effect became available. Using them can lead to your video being seen by users who didn’t originally follow you, since the “Discover” page of TikTok is the main source of new content on the site.
Now, before you jump the gun and start recording TikToks for your brand with the page’s hashtags (or even try to create your own), you must remember that you should wield this power with extreme caution. Young people are extremely weary of brands encroaching on their space, trying to sell them something. They’ve been dealing with it basically their entire lives, and they know it when they see it.
Let’s take The Washington Post as an example of a brand that’s doing it correctly — taking a popular meme and inserting their own company flair.
Of course, this is a play on the uber-popular Netflix reality show Love is Blind but with their own spin. They communicated their 25 percent off sale, but here’s the important part: they made it funny. Brands that are marketing well on TikTok are playing the game — creating funny and relatable videos that people will like and share of their own volition. These brands are not directly advertising with the same tired, safe social media posts.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to go out there and spend all of your time creating TikToks that’ll somehow gain you notoriety on the site. Quite the contrary. Most brands that are performing well on the site are doing so because they’re having fun with it! It’s an extremely expressive app that allows you to get creative, fun, and weird. If you’ve got a small brand that deals with creative wares, incorporate them. Got your own craft shop? Start doing DIY TikToks to show your followers how to create something! It’s all about showcasing your brand while maintaining a fun, laid-back vibe that people will relate to. It’s not any different than any other social media platform, but TikTok gives you all the tools you need to express yourself — or your company — in a fun, positive way.
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