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Let’s Tik Talk: Using TikTok for your Brand Humanization

Last week on our six part Humanizing Your Brand Webinar Series, Senior Social Media Strategist, Meara McNitt, presented on using TikTok for brand humanization. Meara has been doing digital marketing for 4+ years and currently oversees more than 25 social media channels. She jumped on the TikTok trend in January of 2019, but didn’t become a creator until December of 2020. Meara now has over 10,000 followers and uses her account to talk about the different books she’s reading. Watch Meara’s full presentation here.

What is TikTok?  

Contrary to popular belief, TikTok is more than just dancing. This video-sharing social media platform is full of news, recipes, healthcare, books, dog training, behind-the-scenes videos, fashion tips, explanations of life’s weird questions, and more. It’s different from any other platform and reaches more audiences than most would originally think. According to TikTok, their US audience is made up of 80 million monthly users. 

  • 60% are female, 40% are male
  • 60% are between the ages of 16-24
  • 26% are between the ages 25-44
  • 7.1% are over the age of 50

The statistics say that a little over 5 million users are over the age of 50, but that doesn’t include the users watching on accounts registered to other people, such as parents watching on their kids’ accounts. In January 2021, TikTok brought in 22.2 million mobile unique visitors over the age of 18. 

Terms To Know

  • “For You” Page: This is the screen that the app opens to. It is full of curated videos to scroll through. The “For You” Page is the equivalent of a Facebook Timeline or Instagram Feed. 
  • Stitch: A feature that allows users to attach part of someone else’s video to their own before recording.
  • Duet: A feature that allows users to position their video beside someone else’s as a way to interact.
  • Mutual: When two accounts follow each other

Understanding Memes & Trends

TikTok memes come in the form of audio memes. This means that the original sound used on a video plays and afterwards, people will use that same sound on a different video. This is how memes originate, but there are many layers to TikTok. A meme may originate with audio, but a meme can evolve into something where users may need prior knowledge to understand the TikTok. While this may sound difficult to keep up with, TikTok actually makes it simple. The best places to find memes are by scrolling the For You Page (best done on a frequently used account), following accounts that are dedicated to keeping up with trends, and looking at popular hashtags and sounds on TikTok’s Discover page. 

The most important things to remember when creating Meme TikToks are: Don’t join too late in the game, don’t copy an idea from a creator, and find a way to keep the meme’s integrity while applying it to your business. 

Incorrect Assumptions

 I have to have a high quality video. 

  • The Truth: Underproduced videos perform the best on TikTok.

TikTok users love authenticity, unlike Instagram, which has become more about curation and perfection. All you really need is a phone with a good camera + decent lighting. If you want to take your videos to the next level, you can get a tripod and a ring light. 

  • Meara gave an example using her personal TikTok, where a well-produced video with proper lighting, angles, and a backdrop received 1K views vs. a TikTok of her actually crying over a book she read received 155K views.

I won’t be able to find my audience.

  • The Truth: The TikTok algorithm will do that part for you. 

TikTok is smart and will find your audience based on: your location, the hashtags you use, the text used in your video, the content you engage with, and the people who engage with your content.

  • The more you post, the more obvious your audience will become to the algorithm, and the more people will find you. Meara recommended accounts looking to grow should be posting about 2-3 times per day.
  • As the TikTok algorithm figures out what you like, you begin to see trends, which are referred to as [word]tok or [word]tiktok. Here are some examples of niches:
    • BookTok: 6.5B views
    • DogTok: 61.2M views
    • SwifTok: 405.3M views (Taylor Swift related videos)
    • PrisonTok: 842.2M views
    • PlantTok: 519.9M views
    • LawyerTikTok: 339.2M views

I should focus on ads.

  • The Truth: Tiktok’s own tagline is “Don’t make ads — make TikToks.”

Ads that look like TikToks blend in with the For You Page and tend to perform the best.

  • It’s okay to run ads, but the magic comes in the content produced. Ad agencies are running influencer campaigns first, then running those influencer campaigns as ads and using them to influence their ads.

I have nothing to say.

  • The Truth: Yes, you do — this is where you make your brand human. 

The fact that your business exists means that you have something to say. Here are some questions to ask yourself when thinking about what content you want to create:

  • What is your expert knowledge in?
  • What are some questions you commonly receive?
  • What is your mission, your vision, and your values? 
  • How can you make that digestible into 1 minute bites?

Who should be running your TikTok?

In simple terms, a human. TikTok is a very person-heavy platform. Someone is not only going to have to make videos for your brand, but they’re likely going to be in them as well. That means two things:

  1. It should be someone who knows and spends time on TikTok.
  2. It should be someone you’re comfortable with being the face of your brand.

Engagement with your audience is very important on TikTok. The For You Page runs on engagement cycles based on which content you engage with out of every 8 videos. Even a high or low amount of followers does not mean a high or low amount of views on a video. One video can perform incredibly, while your next couple may only be a fraction of the views. This encourages users to continue to create content in search of that high performance again. 

The best ways to “guarantee” higher engagement on videos is by making sure to engage and truly lean in to your audience. Users want to feel valued and heard by creators. It builds a sense of community. 

Meara personally experienced this with an author on TikTok after one of her book reviews performed very well. The author learned that Meara enjoyed one of her books and dueted her video, then sent her a personalized package with several more of her books for Meara to read! Meara’s audienced loved the authenticity of the author and the realness of Meara’s review; it resulted in more book sales for the author! 

Analytics

TikTok is a top-of-the-funnel platform. There are analytics set up for business profiles, but it mainly tells you about your audience and viewers. TikTok is meant to build awareness for your brand and allow users to understand what your brand is really about. That’s why it’s important to make your brand human. If you want stronger analytics, many users set up Linktrees, a set of links built onto a single page that users can access from your profile bio. Linktrees can be paired with URL builders and Google Analytics in order to track further into the funnel. 

TikTok is a platform with the potential to reach audiences that your company may not have been able to reach in the past. Following Meara’s tips can help really get your company’s TikTok off the ground and humanize your brand.

Need help or have questions about TikTok for your business? Reach out to us today!

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