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It is an app that has been the center of global speculation, brought comfort to so many people, helped many find a place to be creative, helped many find a support system they've never had, and it has now taken the world by storm. Its newest venture? It's helping small businesses sell more products and help many go viral! Today, we are going to be talking about the future of TikTok and business!
Hello readers and welcome to the Creative Consulting blog! Some of you might be very new to our blog and our company due to the topic and content of this blog. For those who are regular readers, we do urge you to suspend any disbelief at the moment and give this blog a chance, you might be very surprised at what you might learn! Today we are going to be taking a step in a new direction for Creative Consulting and talking about one of the biggest app phenomenons, TikTok. Before you leave the page please know this app has evolved, almost overnight, from an app for dancing tweens to users of all ages (Yes, all ages! We've personally seen some amazing videos created by individuals in their late 70's and 80's!), on all topics from cute animals, to incredible how-to's, recipes, artists, performers, and teachers. Musicals have been produced because of these creatives, important information has gone viral in a matter of hours, and it has given its users a sense of community when it was needed most.
Thanks to the pandemic we were all at home, many unable to see their families or friends for months, some still unable to do so. Many creatives lost their platforms to perform, share their art, or tell their stories. TikTok changed all of that. Many downloaded the app for the very first time once quarantine went into effect for entertainment, but they found a place to connect, share what they know, and not feel so alone. While the app has spent its fair share in the hot seat thanks to the previous administration, it looks like it is here to say. Not only is it here to stay, but to help all kinds of businesses become relevant in this new day and age and help their sales improve. How? This is what we are going to be talking about today! What's the buzz? It's a short-form video platform by the name of TikTok, where users can upload 60-second videos of their creation. As of last August, the app had been downloaded over two billion times and has quickly become a staple for internet culture for almost every age group. While it has become a global phenomenon, its rise to glory in the US has been a much different story, receiving a lot of fire in 2020.
The app is owned by ByteDance, a huge Chinese tech company. What was brought into question by the US government and the previous administration was how much information the Chinese company was receiving about the US and its citizens through TikTok, and if this leak of data could be a threat to its protection. It also questioned how much access the Chinese government had to TikTok's user data and if ByteDance was doing an appropriate job of moderating its content. To help with this, TikTok brought in a little Disney Magic and hired Kevin Mayer, an American who was Disney steaming executive. However, due to the political environment and atmosphere that the last administration was pulling TikTok into, Mayer quickly resigned. The last administration demanded that it sell to an American company or it would be banned in the US. While it has now outlasted three deadlines of being sold, the first in September of 2020, the second in November of 2020, and a third that just passed on February 18th, the mega-corporation reports that it is continuing to work out the details. During the first few weeks of the current administration, it hasn't been touched on a lot yet. The future of the app is still very much up in the air. Despite everything and the potential ban the app could be facing, ByteDance doubled its profit to $35 billion last year, according to Bloomberg.com
Before it became such a phenomenon with so much drama attached to it in the US, TikTok had its very own Cinderella story. The app first began as Musical.ly which launched in Shanghai in 2014 and had a strong following in the US. ByteDance followed in 2016 with a very similar app in China called Douyin. The app became so popular that ByteDance knew they could go somewhere with it. They rebranded Douyin to TikTok, bought Musical.ly in 2018, and TikTok was officially born. The question still lingers, how could an app designed for fun and entertainment help your business? Is this really becoming a reality?
According to HootSuite, TikTok had 800 million active users as of October 2019 and was predicted to continue with strong growth spurts. HootSuite went on to report that the app on average is opened 8 times a day by its users. With that many eyes on an app, why wouldn't you want to use that to your advantage? Just like any other social media platform, it can be an excellent source of free marketing, that if stuck to properly can help increase your sales. You don't have to make ridiculous videos or anything out of your comfort zone, you just need to make a 60-second video full of interesting marketing that is on-brand for your company. Many companies, Forbes says, are ignoring the app thinking it's just a fad or just for children. With that being said, we might have to remind you that Facebook and Instagram were also considered fads once, and look at them now! They're almost imperative to a company's success! Quite honestly, we might be standing at the doorway of a very important and untapped market. This is an opportunity to introduce your company to a younger generation, one who could introduce your products to their parents or want them for themselves. TikTok could also see the trend that Instagram and Facebook did, that as time went on more and more adults joined. Don't forget that this is a global app, and it could widen your market beyond what you could imagine. Your products could go global!
We've talked about this before in our previous blogs, but tools like Instagram and Facebook videos, Instagram TV, reels, and going live have become such a popular tool for getting your customer's attention and introducing yourselves to them in a fun and personable way. According to wyzowl.com the amount of time consumers spend watching videos online has gone up 52% from 2018 and is going to keep growing. TikTok is another platform to help you show off these videos you're already making for Facebook and Instagram, you don't even need to make different content, you can be consistent across all of your platforms. This can help you reach many different audiences with just one video across multiple platforms.
TikTok is a powerful tool to use for generating brand awareness and to help with your engagement. The videos you are creating cost nothing to make, but thanks to its algorithms you can see results almost right away when you do post. However, you can't just slap a video together to magically get the results you want and need. Just like Instagram and Facebook, you'll need to create something attention-grabbing, fun, to the point, uses all aspects of the app (Adding music and text), and you need to pay attention to what's trending to find this success. You can also take advantage of TikTok's ad platform on top of making your own videos to help spread awareness. This awareness can increase traffic to your website, other social media pages, and even drive up sales, especially if you can create a buzz on the app with other users talking about your products. This idea is very similar to the partnerships and influencer phenomenon that Instagram has been seeing over the years. Instead of a picture or story, TikTok gets its users talking about products, literally! It's very important to remember that you need to create content that's not just commercials or forcing sales down your audience's throat. You need to connect and communicate with your audience and have fun with them, just as you do with every platform of social media. TikTok has, as of last year, officially launched TikTok for Business with the specific goal of helping businesses grow and expand on its platform!
TikTok's goal with this new step is to "empower small and mid-sized businesses to tap into the power of TikTok for Business to grow their brand" according to the app. They are very aware of the power their app has generated and the marketing options available, and want small businesses to take part in that! TikTok wants its users to reach new audiences, optimize all the hard work users put into their marketing campaigns, and they have designed an easy platform for anyone to be able to enjoy this! While Facebook and Instagram have consistently grown in power for helping small businesses, many small business owners might agree that both platforms with their constant upgrades and changes make it hard and frustrating for its users to continue being successful on their platforms. We also might go as far as to say that TikTok wants to give small businesses the opportunity to use their platform along with all the tools they need to be successful, all while supporting them in every way they can. You will still need to spend money on their ads, they are still a business, but using ads on TikTok could offer more views and clicks than their social media peers due to the sheer volume of users. While the future of TikTok is still up in the air for the US, if it does stick around, it might change the face of marketing, just like Facebook and Instagram once did!
What do you think about TikTok? Have you started using it for your small business or are you still just scrolling through looking for cute animals and recipes? We do encourage you to do your own research about the app and do a little experimenting yourself. While it might not be for everyone, there is something for everyone on the app! We are very excited to see where the app will take the world of marketing and what might happen next. Keep your eyes peeled, we have a feeling this isn't the last you'll hear about TikTok! Until next time, stay safe and caffeinated Summerville!
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