Again, What’s the Deal with TikTok?

cape cod marketing firmsby Brittany McSorley


Back in July, I wrote about TikTok, because even though I am too old to use it without being ironic, I still wanted to understand it. Does that make me a hero? It’s impossible to say, but probably.


Since July was approximately 47 years ago, here’s a refresher: TikTok is a short-form video sharing app. (If you’re my age, you can think of it as Vine without the six-second limit. If you’re younger than me and don’t remember Vine, I refuse to acknowledge your personhood; please leave me in this dark room with my chaotic range of skincare products.) Like Instagram, TikTok has a variety of editing tools and filters for sprucing up videos. You can add music, graphics, virtual backgrounds, all that good stuff. Also like Instagram, TikTok lets you share, comment, and like to your heart’s content. And the front page of the app is like Instagram’s Explore tab, sort of.


In July, several eons back, I suggested that TikTok was worth looking into for social media marketers who had a target audience in the Gen-Z range. The 18-24 crowd really loves this thing. But that was then. Now that a new millennium has dawned, I think it might be time to pay more attention to this app no matter who your customers are.


TikTok currently has around 800 million users. Granted, Facebook still blows that out of the water with 2.7 billion users, but Instagram has about a billion users, meaning TikTok is hot on its heels. And according to research from Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok has “the highest follower engagement rates across 100,000 user profiles sampled.” That sampling included Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter profiles, and TikTok had the best engagement rates across the board, from users with triple-digit followers all the way up to those with more than 100,000.  And between May 2018 and April 2019, in-app spending on TikTok increased by a casual 500%.


So, yeah, it might be time to download it.


Another reason I’ve changed my tune on TikTok marketing? I have two friends who spend a frankly shocking amount of time each day scrolling through the app and sending me a sampling of funny videos. By all accounts, it’s incredibly addictive, which would explain the impressive engagement rates. And the best part is, these friends are my age! Definitely not between 18 and 24!


My point is, unless you market exclusively to people who have been retired for ten to fifteen years, part of your customer base is likely using TikTok now. Even if it’s a small sampling, now is a great time to become comfortable with a platform that’s experiencing soaring popularity and engagement. Wouldn’t you like to go back in time and start marketing on Facebook or Instagram sooner than you did?


I don’t even know what month it is, but there’s no time like the present to experiment with marketing on new social platform. But like I said last time, you should definitely ask a young person for TikTok guidance — at least until I get the hang of it.