Flow Communications

With more than a billion downloads to date, TikTok is the latest video-sharing app to become mainstream. This brief guide will take you through the basics of the platform and its content – ideal if you’re considering dipping a toe into the world of TikTok content creation.

The platform started off as a space for creating and sharing videos of people lip-synching to popular songs, but now users can also create and upload videos in which they sing, dance or just talk – and this content is usually related to a challenge or meme. TikTok encourages users to upload short videos, which are usually between 15 and 60 seconds long, similar to Instagram Stories.

On TikTok, you can also browse and interact with other users’ content without uploading any content of your own. In fact, you don’t even need to follow anyone on TikTok to start seeing content. The For You page acts as a home page, offering video content for you to scroll through as soon as you open the TikTok app; you can also access this page without a TikTok account if you use your browser to access it.

Because of the platform’s growth, the variety of content on TikTok has also increased immensely. Popular types of content on the platform include dance, beauty, fashion, crafts, comedy, food and more. Dancing is especially prevalent and trending on the app. For instance, the #InMyFeelingsChallenge was a dance challenge based on the Drake song and, although it started on Instagram, it gained great popularity on TikTok. Everyone from Will Smith to Drake himself eventually took part in the challenge.

Challenges like this are an integral part of TikTok, and at any given time you can view the top trending challenges on the app. Some more recent popular challenges include the lockdown favourite #DontRushChallenge, which showed off users’ transformative make-up skills; the Halloween-themed #BooChallenge; and the more creatively challenging #FreezeFrame challenge.

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TikTok is primarily targeted at a younger audience. (Image: Cottonbro from Pexels)

Although TikTok is primarily aimed at a younger audience – 13- to 24-year-olds are the main users of the app – the ever-expanding content shared on the app means that it is accessible to users of all ages. Celebrities, influencers, publishers and brands have all joined in.

The trend culture on TikTok means that the most creative and fast-thinking brands thrive on the platform. Original video concepts can work well, but the best-performing TikToks are usually spin-offs of an existing trend, or they create a trend for users to easily replicate.

Like most growing social media platforms, TikTok still allows users to reach a broad audience organically– this can help brands create awareness and engage their target audience effectively. Users and brands can easily share their TikTok content on other social media platforms too, resulting in TikTok content and trends often travelling further, to platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

For brands without a TikTok following, influencer partnerships and paid advertising support can help kick-start a significant presence on the platform. The key to paid advertising and influencer marketing is setting clear goals and objectives, as well as targeting a specific audience.

There is a range of paid advertising formats in TikTok, from Discovery page takeovers to in-feed sponsored video content. Influencer marketing techniques for video-based platforms apply to TikTok as well; if a product or brand suits an influencer’s audience, a TikTok influencer campaign can grow a brand’s reach and increase awareness immensely. In most cases when it comes to influencer marketing, it is advisable to leave the content creation to the TikTok influencers – they know what their followers enjoy and it’s their job to align with brands appropriately.

TikTok may have started out as a teen and tween space, but it has quickly expanded to suit all ages and all content. If you’re looking to turn your attention to TikTok as a brand or a user, just keep in mind that users are interested in originality and fun, rather than the quality of your videos. So have fun and don’t be afraid to tap into the trends!

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