TikTok Marketing & Generation Z: A Beginners Guide

Among the many different apps and social media platforms available today, TikTok has made a name for itself by adopting the best bits and pieces of other platforms and combining them into one unique platform. Because of that, the app has made such a quick rise to the top and is one of the most popular platforms on the social media scene.

As for what it is exactly? TikTok is a social media video platform for creating short snippets and edited cuts of virtually anything one can think of. This structure has allowed for the creation of comedic short clips, lip-sync videos and other similar forms of content, keeping it a popular app whose fame continues to rise. If you’re surprised you haven’t heard of the app, you’re definitely not alone. TikTok’s largest userbase is made up of “Generation Z”, upwards of hundreds of millions of people to be exact.

For those of you who may need some quick cliff notes, Generation Z is the demographic cohort that came after Millenials. Believe it or not, Millenials are actually between 25 & 39 years old – while Generation Z (the next generation of consumers) is currently between 4 & 24 years old. The average Gen Zers would have received their first mobile phone around the age of 10, and have likely never experienced a world without quick and immediate internet access.

When it comes to social media, Gen Zers will typically refer to Facebook as something “for old people,” while gravitating more towards a platform like TikTok. In fact, some research indicates that 41% of active TikTok users are from 16 to 24. Since Gen Zers are the next group of consumers (with some of them already in their mid-20s), it’s absolutely crucial that marketers know how to reach them in their most natural habitat.

With that being said, just like any other marketing approach, TikTok digital marketing methods are more technical than simply posting funny videos. At the very least, marketing on this platform requires in-depth audience knowledge and outside the box thinking. Before you get started with learning how to market your brand on TikTok, we recommend you get familiar with the app itself if you’ve never used it. HubSpot has a very nice guide on How to Use TikTok, and it’s a great place to start to get familiar with the platform.

If you’ve heard of TikTok, but aren’t sure how to leverage the platform for marketing your product, brand or business, you’re in the right place. Below we’ve put together a quick guide of all the things you need to consider before or during your leap into marketing on TikTok:

Do Thorough Market Research

Before doing anything else, you have to understand how your primary demographic interacts and reacts to advertising on social media. This serves the purpose of helping you market more directly to not waste any content or effort on the platform. For example, if you’re a financial investment firm whose main demographic is in their 50s, it’s likely that TikTok is not a viable platform for marketing. One very simple way of doing market research with the goal of figuring out the best platform for your specific industry is to find other competitors and brands within your niche and examine how they conduct their social media marketing. Be sure to yell out “Yahtzee!” if you’re 100% certain that your main demographic consists of Generation Zers but none of your competitors currently market on the platform – that gives you a competitive edge.

Understand The Four TikTok Biddable Strategies

Once you decide whether or not TikTok fits within your digital marketing arsenal, decide whether or not you want to invest marketing dollars into the platform. Paid advertising on this platform comes down to four main ad-types: brand takeover advertising, in-feed native videos, hashtag challenges, and 2D-lens filter content. If you’re familiar with advertising on Snapchat, these concepts should be somewhat familiar to you. TikTok recently released a self-serve, or self-managed, advertising platform which is currently in beta in the United States.

If you don’t have an advertising budget yet, or at least one that’s not very big, that’s okay too. TikTok is completely free for you to create a standard account and start producing content. Taking the grass-roots approach might be a bit of an uphill battle, but if your content marketing strategy is solid, you could still see some great results.

Create User-Engaging Experiences

If you use content that is within the four types of advertising strategies, it’s likely that the pacing and delivery of your content will be unintentionally similar to what other advertisers are doing. However, therein lies a problem – standing out in such a crowded and, let’s face it, “loud” environment. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that your content is as engaging as it is snappy. You have just a few seconds to grab a user’s attention before they swipe through to the next video. You need to ensure that your video grabs a user’s attention from the beginning, and engages them throughout the length of your video. Making sure that your audience feels like they are in control of the content is one strategy to ensure they feel engaged. In the long run, this will allow your marketing to feel more “natural.”

Partner With Influencers

If you’re familiar with Influencer Marketing, you’ve already got your head in the game when it comes to TikTok. The popularity of TikTok has opened the door to a new generation of influencers primed to appeal to a Generation Z audience. Partnering with an influencer who’s following consists of users in your primary demographic will help boost your digital marketing efforts to an engaged audience.

Be Consistent With Your Content Production

Similar to Millenials, Gen Zers are known for having a short attention span. In many cases, they jump off of a trend faster than you can market to them. That said, a way around this issue is to be consistent with your content production. A steady stream of engaging content will keep them coming back for more. While some content creators might see the 60-second time limit as an obstacle, you can use it for your advantage specifically for this reason. Creating a series of videos that all interconnect with each other is a great way to get users coming back for more. As a result, you’re able to market to GenZers more often without coming off as pushy.

Stay On-Trend

Often on TikTok, one type of “theme” or video challenge will go viral. For example, the #gitupchallenge was extremely popular on TikTok feeds this past summer. The “challenge” was simple – film yourself (or your friend) dancing to “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown, following the dance moves described in the song. Keeping up with these types of trends, or better yet, identifying them before they explode, is key. Assimilating them into your TikTok content strategy is almost guaranteed to get you some impressions, likes, and follows.

At the same time, however, one of the biggest mistakes many marketers make on this platform is leaving trends too soon. Believe it or not, as of October 2019, users are STILL doing the #gitupchallenge. So while it may be tempting to attempt to start your own trend or challenge, putting effort into a sure-thing optimizes your time and energy.

Don’t Be Afraid to Create Your Own Trends & Challenges

It’s hard to say what “TikTok best practices” are because unlike the biggest social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), TikTok has only been around the fraction of the time. So with that in mind, experimenting with your TikTok content can help you not only find your voice as a brand on TikTok but perhaps assist you in stumbling over the next big viral trend. If you have an idea that’s authentic to your brand – try it out.

Set the Right Expectations

Like with any new marketing or digital marketing initiative, it’s important that you set the right expectations for yourself and your brand. If your goal is to directly sell products or generate leads, you’ll likely be disappointed by the results from TikTok. Much better suited for spreading brand awareness, TikTok will help you build trust with a new audience and engage with them where they spend the most time. Yes, it’s a bit of a long-game – but building trust with an engaged audience is just as important as immediate ROI.

Lean into the Future of Social Media

After reading this, you may think TikTok isn’t right for your digital marketing strategy, and that very well may be true. At a minimum, however, we recommend that you check out the app if you haven’t already. Like it or not, as Generation Z grows up and becomes adults, social media of this nature is likely what the future holds for us all. Understanding how this content-type is distributed and consumed will put you far ahead of the marketing curve, even if TikTok isn’t for you.

If you’re ready to take on TikTok, but aren’t sure where to start, Newbird wants to help! While we’re a full-service team of marketers, designers, and developers – one of the things we’re most passionate is about emerging technologies. We’d love to help you with getting started with TikTok. Contact us today!

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