According to data company Sensor Tower, TikTok was the second most downloaded app of 2019, with over 700 million downloads, which means it surpassed Facebook (under 700 million downloads) and Messenger (over 700 million downloads).
The No. 1 app last year was WhatsApp, with over 850 million downloads, which is probably a result of its popularity in India. 45% of TikTok’s first downloaders were also in India.
What exactly is TikTok?
Does the new social media app TikTok confuse you? To many of us, it might seem like just a lip-syncing video app for teens, but it’s much more than that!
If you use it right, you can promote your business or product to a huge audience.
TikTok is a social media app whose users, usually teens and young adults, post short, usually comedy and talent videos, often synced with music (formerly known as musical.ly). The videos are up to 15 seconds long (similar to Instagram stories).
It uses an algorithm to see what you like — by looking at what types of videos you watch and for how long — to deliver the right content to your feed. The app is owned by a Chinese firm called ByteDance, currently the most valuable startup in the world, and has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times.
TikTok is barely 2 years old but is now the fourth largest platform in the world. In 2020, social media marketers need to start looking further from the big 4 (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter) and start including new social media apps like TikTok.
In recent months however, ByteDance and TikTok have been accused of being threats to privacy, security and free speech. The US Army and the US Navy have banned TikTok from use on government phones because of cybersecurity concerns.
The app published a comprehensive update to its community guidelines in order to clarify what content is or isn’t allowed. The updated guidelines, containing around 10 topics, offer specifics about misleading information, and also on minor safety that states that users must meet the minimum age requirement of 13 years, and that content showing “underage delinquent behavior” isn’t allowed.
Why you should (still) join
If you’re wondering if TikTok would be a good marketing tool for your business, then the first thing you should think about is your target audience. If they are already active on other social media, then you should definitely think about using TikTok to promote your business.
Reasons to join:
1. TikTok is relatively new
At least to the business world, which means it is not nearly as saturated as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, the ads are still much cheaper, because there isn’t a strong influencer community yet. The app has just begun exploring paid advertising and there are far fewer influencers fighting for top positions and sponsorships.
Probably the greatest benefit is that most marketers (and managers) older than 30 have never even heard of the platform, unless they have a teenager somewhere in their life.
2- It helps you to start marketing to Gen Z
This is considered an especially challenging group, but it’s becoming more critical as they get financially stronger.
Generation Z doesn’t like advertising. 51% of them now use ad-blockers when browsing, which means the traditional strategies won’t work.
3. Social media is quick
Being on trend is crucial if you want to drive engagement and stay relevant. The thing is, you can’t have both speed and quality production, but the good news is it doesn’t matter anymore. Users are tired of perfect lives portrayed on Instagram and similar platforms. Nowadays, they appreciate more raw and unpolished content.
Compared to Instagram, TikTok rejects overly staged, high-quality content. It has earned a reputation as a casual platform where users can feel comfortable expressing themselves.
It can be your chance to shine and emphasize what is fun about your business. You should clearly understand your brand culture and identity so that what you create is genuine and avoids typical corporate cliches.
The question remains if your audience migrates to a platform like TikTok, will you be there for them? Don’t say we didn’t warn you.