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Is it Time for my Business to be on TikTok?

| Flourish Monthly

Hey everyone, Bailey here! As you may have read about a few weeks ago on our blog, or maybe you noticed because you’re one of 98% of users who use Facebook on mobile, Facebook is changing. They’re essentially trying to be more like TikTok, adopting an algorithm that is very similar to theirs, which is what makes that app the fastest growing social media platform ever. Because Facebook is putting more emphasis on reels, the site’s version of TikTok, is it time for your business to be on TikTok? Chances are, the answer is “not yet,” but let's dive in and talk about why!

First, let me give you some fun facts and demographics:

  • TikTok is currently the fastest-growing social media network ever.
  • The app was downloaded 656 million times in 2021
  • 138 million users in the US are active daily
  • 43% of users are between the ages of 18 and 24
  • 32% of users are between the ages of 25 and 34
  • 90% of users visit the app more than once per day
  • Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app.
  • TikTok’s average engagement rate is 17.99% (compared to 0.31% on Facebook and 0.75% on Instagram)

TikTok is an app that was created for younger audiences. The app allows users to create short-form videos and use music from their expansive music library (creators can contribute to the library too!). People use TikTok to create videos about anything like relationships, pets, mental health, silly dances, and even activism. TikTok has made it extremely simple to be creative and potentially reach a niche audience that may otherwise be difficult to connect with. TikTok also has a stellar algorithm that uses an AI to give users recommendations on which videos to watch based on content they’ve already consumed. As easy as it is to create content on TikTok, it’s even easier to discover new content in an instant, no liking or following necessary.

Why should we care, as business owners? It seems like a great place for entertainment, but do businesses have any, well, business being there? A lot of people actually don’t think so. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, traditional marketing techniques just don’t work on Generation Z, who make up the majority of TikTok’s users. “‘They don’t want to ‘buy’ from a brand… Instead, they want to partner with their brands. They want a relationship; they want honesty.” This is in part why there are so many successful “influencers” and content creators out there; For Gen Z, relationships sell, not ads. When we look at TikTok with this lens, it’s important to realize this is not the platform for easy ROI. Gen Z needs the long-term, relationship-building sell. As someone who’s part of this generation myself (barely), I can attest to this. Young people hate being sold to.

But should your business be trying to sell to young people?

No, really! Is your target audience Gen Z? These are people between the ages of 9 and 24. To be perfectly blunt - they don’t really have money yet. They’re focusing purely on going to school or work. So chances are, you don’t need to be selling to them… yet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea to be looking at the platform and creating a strategy for the future, because eventually those people are going to get older and think about something other than school. And yes, there are also some young millennials on the platform. So it could be worth it to try to sell to them.

How do you break into the world of TikTok? I can go on and on about what the platform is, what it’s about, and what it does, but the best way to truly understand it is to use it. Just like any social media platform, in order to sell to the user you have to know how they’re using it. So create an account! I suggest creating a personal one at first. The business account can come later. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, take some time to understand why people love tikTok. You’ll be the most successful if you do the following:

  1. Start with the For You Page (or FYP). This is where the famous algorithm lives. This is also the only place you’ll see ads on the app, though they’re created as if they’re regular TikTok videos so you may not even notice them.
  2. If you like the video you’re watching, stay until the end. I promise it won’t be long! Most videos only last about 60 seconds. Even just watching an entire video lets the algorithm know you enjoy that content.
  3. If you really enjoy the content, engage with it! Leave a comment or a like. Follow the account by tapping the little plus button under their profile. Any interaction at all lets the algorithm know you want to see more.
  4. Keep doing 2 and 3 for as long as you’re able. The more you tell the algorithm about you, the better!
  5. Eventually, you’re going to see curated content in your Following feed. This will only get better the more you interact with anything on the app. Some users choose to stay in the Following page (that’s where I stay) while others exclusively use the FYP. 

Once you’ve spent some time on the app, you’ll have a better idea of what it’s all about!

I think I’ve made it fairly clear that Flourish believes most businesses don’t need to be on TikTok right now. But let’s connect this back to the “Metaverse” for a moment: Facebook is now prioritizing Stories and Reels over normal posts. Reels are TikToks. It’s as simple as that. They’re often even the same videos TikTok creators have just reposted to multiple platforms. It’s the same short-form video content and creator tools, used again in the Metaverse. When creating content in Facebook or Instagram, the tools are slightly more limited, in that there are no filters or effects you can add to the video. You also can’t reply to someone’s video with a video of your own. But at its core, Reels are TikToks. And most Facebook and Instagram users aren’t Gen Z, so maybe Reels could be a good option for your marketing plan. Click here to reach out to us if you need a strategy session!

If you’d like a Quick-Start Guide to TikTok, click this link and we’ll send you ours for free.

Some people love TikTok. Some people hate it. Some people hate that they love it. I, for one, recognize that it is a time suck, but it genuinely is a great social media platform. It may not be fully ready for businesses yet, but it is pretty great outside of marketing. While it isn’t the place you should be making hard sells, it is a great place to build brand awareness and to create content users will enjoy. If they happen to check out your website as a result of you dancing around your office, great! And it’s important to remember: just because your audience isn’t on TikTok doesn’t mean they won’t be soon.

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