The latest of our weekly series of briefings for our peer network on Friday was led by Sam Christie of TikTok. Christie has been at TikTok for two years and is now the West Coast lead for global business solutions at the company.
His presentation was packed with insight into how TikTok has grown into a unique platform – ‘the last sunny corner of the internet,’ in his words – which gives users and brands an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way.
So how do we, as marketers, engage consumers in this fast-evolving ecosystem? The short answer is by creating communities and cultural moments on the platform. Here are my takeaways from Christie’s briefing.
Launched in 2016, TikTok is still a relatively young channel and Christie is quick to point out that there is no hard and fast method for brands to engage successfully on the platform.
That being said, there are certainly a number of traits or USPs which TikTok has that marketers should be aware of from the outset, that it is:
In short, TikTok is not about advertising or commerce messaging. But it absolutely can be a place where people and brands can engage meaningfully via their content or by contributing to hashtags that are already established.
According to Christie, examples of things working well on the platform include: life hacks, music, and social issues such as Black Lives Matter and mental health awareness.
Of course, the global coronavirus pandemic has seen the platform undergo its own boom, too.
Related content such as the #boredinthehouse meme kickstarted by rapper and user @curtisroach has now surpassed 6b views and a staggering 4.8m related videos where other users have incorporated the audio from the original post into their own lockdown videos.
These viewer numbers are impressive by any measure. Last month, the platform hit 100m monthly active users in the US and as the above graph (courtesy of CNBC) shows, the global growth has been even more impressive, from 500m to nearly 700m MAUs during H1 2020 alone.
Christie is also keen to point out that while TikTok videos are often short in duration, engagement is not necessarily brief. Users are spending around 407 seconds per session (about seven minutes) and more than 40 minutes engaging with content over the course of a day.
For such a young social media channel, TikTok’s unique ecosystem, its reach, and its ability to engage users offers a world of opportunity for brands to get creative.
P&G teamed up with TikTok’s most followed user Charli D’Amelio for the social distancing promo #distancedance.
The consumer goods brand promised to make donations to charities Feeding America and Matthew 25 for the first 3m #distancedance videos made. Overall, the meme has now received more than 17.4b video views.
Proving that even the most everyday product brands can engage on TikTik, Simmons’ #snoozapalooza videos invited co-creation and saw 140% lift to their website.
Videos with the hashtag have now hit 137.8m views in total.
The backpack brand used in-feed video to reach its key demo (students) to promote a mental health awareness message via the #lightentheload campaign. To date it has reached 1.5m views.
DSW gave people a reason to show off their shoes with #toomanyshoes.
The campaign was initiated by 5 TikTok creators. It saw 778,386 video creations and achieved a total of 3.3b video views.
TikTok is a fascinating area of the internet to delve into for users and brands. This is especially true at a time when so many of us are looking for new ways to socialize and engage with others online.
For brands, the platform is a great opportunity for engagement. But realness, collaboration, and creativity need to be at the forefront of any marketers mind if they want to fulfill their potential on the channel.
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