Updated: Dec 29, 2021
The Jumpsuit crew riffs on TikTok's emerging, expanding opportunities for brands — yes, even a brand like yours!
TikTok, TikTok – time for brands to embrace the newest viral video hub
If Twitter “is what’s happening,” TikTok is where trends start.
In fact, TikTok claims it: “Trends start here.” They’re not lying. Not even exaggerating. Not even a little bit.
This article is for brand leaders and marketers who are still on the fence. Is there really a place for our brand here?
Here’s the thing: TikTok is democratizing creativity.
We were blown away when Instagram democratized photography. But creativity? That’s a whole new level of genius.
With all of TikTok’s fun editing tools and the ease with which you can share and crosspost your neat little videos, TikTok’s possibilities are seriously endless. And fun. And the algorithm? There’s never been a platform with one like this. On TikTok, literally anyone can skyrocket from ordinary civilian to celebrity influencer in the time it takes for your Q4 marketing budget to get approved. (For some of you, even faster – am I right?)
TikTok has established a platform that is so widely accessible and so genuinely engaging (and frankly, so extremely addicting) that it’s bringing people together in ways that other social media platforms just aren’t.
TikTok is also democratizing content discovery.
TikTok doesn’t wait for you to generate a network of friends or a collection of stuff to follow. As soon as you sign up and sign on, the content barrage begins. It’s hard to put the phone down with so much “randomness” at your fingertips. But as algorithms do, TikTok quickly learns. It begins showing you more curated, specific content based on your engagement and interests.
TikTok doesn’t mess around. They’re like, “Cool, you’re here to be entertained. Here’s some content: go!” On your TikTok “For You” feed, you’re not seeing posts from your friends, family, or long-lost and forgotten coworkers. You’re watching videos made by strangers. And you’re here for it.
If you think it’s not for you, you’re wrong.
“Within an hour of using it, the dancing videos go away,” swears James Webb, Jumpsuit’s resident TikTok guru. “TikTok is just a variation of a lot of other social media trends that have proven to be relevant over the last decade. And TikTok has created a platform that has allowed them to thrive in the most unbelievable way.”
TikTok wants you to spend time on their platform.
So, they make it sleek and shiny and easy on the eyes. Its vertical videos nestle flawlessly into your smartphone screen, entertaining you just one at a time. They know its users will want to share stuff across platforms, so they make it simple. Imagine that. And they know you want to engage with the material you’re viewing, so they offer features like “Duet” and “Stitch” so you can actively collaborate and respond to videos.
If you’re trying to figure out influencer and user generated content strategies for your brand, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t leverage TikTok.
“But my brand’s too niche. Or not for Gen Z.”
TikTok couldn’t be more niche. And the organic, straight up scrappy nature of TikTok’s content is super effective. Why? Because it’s authentic. Like, actually.
But here’s the hard truth. Since TikTok puts creativity back into creators’ hands, you’re going to have to, too. That’s how it works.
Who could have anticipated that someone filming themself feeding chicken nuggets to a pug in their own bedroom would be so popular? The more you know. But think about it – fast food brands. Pet care brands. You spend so much time talking about “meeting the consumer where they’re at” – yet you’re not pulling the trigger on TikTok. Why is that?
There are no big budget ad campaigns or target audiences on TikTok. Using TikTok for brand growth is quite simple. You select a face for your brand. It doesn’t have to be a Kardashian. (It doesn’t even have to be a Jenner.) It just has to be someone charismatic and entertaining. Someone who will help get across your brand’s personality and messages to TikTok’s 1 billion monthly users.
If you’re actually producing interesting content, your brand’s videos will go far.
Because the opportunity is there for anyone to put out content on TikTok, anyone can and does. This is a curious position for a brand to be in. Your brand might already be a household name, but that holds no clout on TikTok. On TikTok, everyone’s a star. Or, at least everyone’s got star potential.
Your competition for eyeballs now? These kids dancing in their parent’s kitchens.
You can grow your brand organically on TikTok at no cost. Yes, they offer some paid ad options, but TikTok isn’t like Instagram or Facebook – at least, not yet. Your brand just starts churning out videos and the users watch them. No big, shiny commercial budgets. No on site filming or catered lunches or Covid restrictions. Just a cell phone, an app and some built-in, user-friendly editing tools.
Just try it.
Entrust a few members of your media team to start pumping out TikTok content. Give them permission to collaborate. Don’t aim for perfection, just get going and see what you learn.
Be okay with raw and largely unedited content. It may feel scary and uncomfortable at first, but on this platform, it’s what the people want. And, because what’s popular is evolving so quickly, you may need to throw a team into it full time if you want to actually understand trends and keep your brand culturally relevant. (Again, more words that brands give a lot of lip service to. This is your shot.)
Going forward, of course brands will still be selling things — but it will be at scale and by proxy.
TikTok has changed the game. And you can tell by who’s following suit. Perhaps you’ve noticed Instagram’s “Reels” or YouTube’s “Shorts”? These new(ish) features are other social media site’s attempts to rival TikTok. But they’re not even close.
The day is coming where TikTok makes in-app D2C sales incredibly easy. Picture this. You see a video. You notice the hat the influencer is wearing. Or the coffee she’s drinking. Click. It’s on its way to your house. And by the way, she just got a cut of that sale. TikTok will democratize ad revenue, too.
That’s our prediction anyway. The future is creator-first.