What is TikTok and why should PRs care about it? Who knew 30 second videos could captivate a staggering 1 billion users? It’s safe to say TikTok has taken the whole world by storm. But, as PR professionals, why should we care about it so much?
Our PR pros have teamed up to give you five top reasons why you never need to feel guilty about being obsessed with TikTok!
1. Huge Global Reach
TikTok has 1 billion active users (from September 2021) and has been downloaded 3 billion times, which is nearly half of the world’s population! With a little help from the global pandemic, when everyone stayed at home with a lot more free time to spend on their phones, TikTok grew massively with crazy lockdown trends like “bored in the house”, “whipped coffee” and the “Say So” dance appealing to a wide demographic of users.
However, like many, we believed TikTok would eventually die out like other apps such as Vine and Musical.ly but even with the lockdown restrictions easing around the world a lot of us still find ourselves opening the TikTok app daily… ok, maybe hourly.
2. Authenticity Is Unrivalled
TikTok has been brilliantly labelled as the “fun” app where everyone goes and lets their hair down. It is not as uniform as Instagram or as political as Twitter. From dances to recommendations and recipe inspiration, TikTok has it all and the content is completely user-generated throughout. 40% of 18-24-year-olds, when looking for a place to go or eat, turn to TikTok over Google, as you know you’re going to get an honest opinion on the matter.
The app has also given brands the chance to really show their personality through videos and by jumping on the latest trends. One that has stood out, in particular, is Ryanair. There is only so much marketing around cheap flights you can do, but Ryanair shows that they get the hype around TikTok. With eyes and lips talking through a 737 plane using trending sounds and cultural referencing Ryanair are bringing in 1 billion views on their hashtag.
3. Unique Algorithms
TikTok, unlike any other social media app, doesn’t promote accounts with a high following (although you can still follow your favourites), it instead uses an algorithm to show individual users what they want to see. This is a unique but clever way to do things as it is not only beneficial for the user as you are seeing relevant personalised content but it’s also great for content creators as their creations are being shown to anyone and everyone. The algorithms makes it easier for content creators to grow their platform.
It also is beneficial for brands as TikTok campaigns will more easily reach the brand’s target demographic as the content will go straight to the users’ “for you page”. This increases not only the popularity of the campaign, but also the end goal as the right people will have seen it and therefore are more likely to invest in the brand.
4. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a huge part of many social media platforms but the sheer volume of new creators TikTok has produced is mind-blowing. Not only have many new faces emerged from TikTok but the growth of their popularity during such a small time frame is unrivalled by any other app. TikTokers such as Charlie D’Amelio have risen to fame in the past few years, with the influencer recently collaborating with Morphe. She even had a coffee named after her at Dunkin’ Donuts! With a follow count of 144 million and 11 billion likes across all of her videos, it is clear to see the vast amount of people she has in her reach and therefore the influence she has over a brand’s potential target demographic.
It’s not just the most followed TikTokers who are influential on the app – even smaller accounts are getting a lot of reach from popular sounds or topics and can become a big influence on what people are doing or buying. This has even created a trend within itself: “things TikTok has made me buy” – something that comes up on my own FYP way too often!
5. Campaign Launches
Campaign launches are of huge importance to PR professionals. In order to create a buzz around the campaign, many PR teams have been turning to TikTok. Big companies like Coca-Cola and Always have used TikTok’s branded hashtags in order to make a splash across the whole platform when launching a campaign. Done well, these hashtags then spread across the channel which results in plenty of user-generated content. After all, users want their videos to gain a large amount of views and using a popular hashtag will help trending content to amplify the video and increase exposure. This is an exceptionally effective way for brands to boost their campaign as user-generated content is essentially the driving force behind the campaign reaching a lot of different audiences. As well as this, campaigns through TikTok videos themselves have enjoyed enhanced visibility with the rise of phone-first videos showcasing a brand’s authenticity.
Has the PR and Marketing World Caught on to TikTok?
There I have explained just five ways in which PR pros should be using TikTok as a tool for their work, however there are many more too! The average TikTok user opens the app 9 times per day and the wide demographic ranges from teenagers to older generations. 25% of users are 10-19 years old but yet 20.3% of users are between 40-49 years old. It would be silly for the PR world to ignore such numbers especially when the potential reach for ads on the app is 884.9 million!
It has been a slow burner for some to get used to, but are marketing and PR professionals finally coming round to understanding the power of TikTok? We asked the Flaunt Digital team their thoughts on the app and whether or not they use it in their day to day work, with some surprising (and not so surprising) results:
- Do you think TikTok is a tool which PRs could utilise more? 100% agree that TikTok is a tool which PRs could utilise more.
- Do you use TikTok as a tool in your work? 18.75% use TikTok as a tool in their work, whereas 81.25% don’t use it.
As a team on a whole the majority do not use TikTok in their work. With many different departments within the Flaunt team maybe they are saving the app for their free time instead? However, as the results show, we’re all in agreement that TikTok is a tool that PRs could be using, as it is a great place to spot trends and boost campaigns.