First, there was Vine. Then, there was Musica.ly. Now, TikTok has taken the internet by storm. With over 800 million active users and 2.3 billion downloads, this revolutionary app established its dominance within the world of social media after its world-wide release in 2018. With so many diverse users, there is an audience for anything on TikTok. It is no surprise that thousands of brands and organizations have created accounts on the app to enhance their marketing strategies.
The Digital Corps is no stranger to TikTok. Not only do employees chat about various TikToks they see on their feed, but the app has been used to help us bond with each other. Digital Corps students took to TikTok to test out their video-making abilities during Video Team Appreciation Week and used the app to show off their best-quarantined selves.
From sports teams and popular restaurants to news outlets and freelancers (and even small agencies like us), people everywhere are taking advantage of TikTok’s opportunity for creativity to market themselves or their organization.
The Washington Post was one of the first popular news outlets to add TikTok to their marketing strategy. With so much distaste for media in recent years, The Washington Post decided to use their account to show what working in a newsroom is actually like. They create funny behind-the-scenes videos that showcase journalists having fun while utilizing TikTok’s quirky effects and molding their content to align with the app’s ever-changing trends.
However, they make sure to sprinkle important news into their feed as well. After posting several fun videos, they mix in a one-minute news synopsis. With such a young audience using TikTok, news organizations can keep young people informed while also practicing creative video production.
Digital Corps students use TikTok to share stories with each other and help build the workplace community that we value so much.
When we work remotely and social distance in the office, it can be difficult to get the social interaction and sense of community that is a fundamental part of the Corps. We created a TikTok Takeover Challenge that gave people an outlet to interact and be creative in a way that’s separate from our projects. It also gave us a chanc
ge to connect and get to know one another.
Lexi Esterle, a Video Team Specialist, worked with the team that created this challenge.
“One of the reasons we did a TikTok challenge specifically was because that platform has exploded in recent months, and it’s something that the Corps utilized last semester with some of the team appreciation prompts that got really good reception,” Lexi explained. “Since the goal of these prompts is to make them fun and enjoyable, we thought TikTok really fit that bill.”
Lexi said that the prompt helps build the community at the Corps by providing a place where people can socialize without it taking away from the work that needs to be done.
Reclaiming a specific audience
According to a November 2019 release from Reuters, 60% of US TikTok users are aged between 16-24. With such a young demographic, TikTok has turned into a strategy for brands to reclaim younger audiences that have not been as invested in their product.
Hailey Russell, a Video Team Specialist at the Digital Corps, agrees that TikTok serves as an opportunity to connect with different audiences.
“TikTok would be a great way to communicate to consumers in a more relatable way,” she explains. “Maybe not by directly selling a product, but by improving [a brand’s] image and showing that they are keeping up with media trends.”
The NFL is a sports organization that has struggled to resonate with young people for a few years now. Fans ages 18 to 24 years old show the lowest interest among all demographics in football. To try and counteract this statistic, the NFL created a TikTok account in hopes to reach younger audiences and regain interest in the sport.
Their efforts appear to be working. With a little over 5 million followers and comments on their videos coming mostly from younger people, the NFL has made their mark on TikTok. Like the strategy of The Washington Post, the NFL pairs impressive catches and touchdowns with trending TikTok sounds, mics up popular players, and shares gameday highlights to get their followers excited about football.
Building a brand
TikTok is also a great place for freelancers to establish their brands and showcase their talents with the world. The #freelancer hashtag on TikTok has curated about 76.7 million views and the #diy hashtag has around 58. billion views, giving entrepreneurs a chance to get their foot in the door.
“I love seeing creative Tik Toks where someone is re-doing their house, making a knit sweater, or other creative hacks,” says Hailey.
Painters, developers, designers, and writers are just a few of the millions of freelancers on TikTok who share behind-the-scenes footage of how they go about their creative processes. With the ability to go viral over the smallest of things, one successful video from a freelancer could lead to plenty of new clients.
We drew inspiration from TikTok trends to introduce our new hires this fall. Each new hire was tasked to showcase something unique about them in 5 seconds or less. Paired with an easy transition and TikTok-themed music, Digital Corps employees were able to show the world our new hires in a fun, new way while simultaneously building our brand.
Freelancers are not the only people using TikTok to build their brands. Fashion companies, restaurants, and even zoos share content on the app to gain a larger audience. By starting challenges and sharing funny content, people are indirectly learning about brands through the process of watching their videos. TikTok is a great way to spread brand awareness quickly.
As TikTok continues to rise in popularity and shows no signs of stopping any time soon, it is never too late for organizations to take to the app and showcase themselves. With some creative thinking and a trend to follow, any brand can draw in new consumers in sixty seconds or less.