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Business in the “wild wild East” of Social Media – aka what is TikTok?

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TikTok, the virtual playground of young people, is gaining more and more popularity. A new member of the elite team of social media apps poses a real challenge to Instagram, recently hitting a pretty nice user base. The fact that Instagram is introducing TikTok features also proves its competitiveness.

The “wild wild east” of Social Media

TikTok was created in China in 2018 after a merger of Douyin, released in 2016 and Musical.ly, acquired in 2017. The company behind it, ByteDance, with a worth of $75 billion is now the world’s most valuable startup. The app which can be downloaded for iOS, as well as Android, is a mix between Snapchat, Spotify, Vine, and Twitch. People use several names for it, but for me, the most representative term is the “wild wild east” of social media.

Curiosities, magic numbers, and stats

  • It’s currently available in 155 countries, reaching 800 million monthly active users in October 2019.
  • In China, TikTok continues to be known as Douyin, with 500 million Chinese users.
  • Demographically, 50% of users are younger than 34, 26% are between 18 and 24, and female users are 60%.
  • 90% of users open the app multiple times a day.
  • The average time spent on TikTok is 52 minutes per day, while 58 minutes are spent on Facebook, 53 minutes on Instagram, and 49.5 on Snapchat.
  • Most content is based on 15 seconds videos or even less, but video clips can be up to 60 seconds long.
  • The value of a virtual gift ranges from $0.5 to $50 and can be redeemed for real money,  being given to those with the most interesting content.
  • The description and hashtags have to fit in the given 140 characters.
  • By setting up your pro account, you will know in 7 days how many followers you gained from your video views.

TikTok is the number one social network for almost all young people, and more and more influencers are joining in order to communicate with their fans. Young people are more likely to remember their favorite TikTok users than famous actors, so it’s important (as Gary Vaynerchuk emphasizes in many of his speeches) to be present as soon as possible so that young people can get to know us. TikTok is an ideal marketing channel for reaching the Z-generation.

social media ranking 2020

Source: Hootsuite/We Are Social

Now, here’s some useful information on why TikTok is important and how to use it in our business.

Teen playground as a target

Users make short videos using a song (lip-sync) or any audio material. They can apply effects and filters to the video. The algorithm is pretty secretive, but what we definitely know is that it has the advantage of being able to reach a large audience with extreme speed, merging entertainment with information. An example is Mike Sherrard, who had hundreds of views on Youtube, a few thousand on Instagram and 140,000 on TikTok at the same time, using the same content.

Involvement of influencers

One of the most effective ways of marketing is through influencers. But first, the brand owner needs to convince the influencer to promote the brand through short videos and hashtag challenges. The help is mutual, as it maintains and keeps the influencer market afloat.

Pollination phenomenon

TikTok can be linked to other social media platforms like Instagram or Youtube, so you can seamlessly attract traffic. People will naturally click on your other platforms through TikTok. The phenomenon (brand promotion) most closely resembles the bee pollination technique. Once you have created the video in the app, it can be saved to your phone (e.g. in GIF format) or shared through your Instagram story. You can easily mix and match platforms. Not so long ago, other platforms were also good for reaching a large audience, but by now they have climaxed and have become saturated.

Finding your niche

There are many niches in the app for the beauty industry, travel, art, fitness, and other fields. The trick is to find out how your own niche works on TikTok.

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Testing platform

TikTok has a low-stress factor. If we were to share content in our Instagram story or in our feed, but we were worried about how our audience would react to it, TikTok can be a good testing platform. We can find out people’s opinions without any consequences. A good way to become more visible in our field of business.

Comfortable environment based on artlessness

It’s not about perfection and beauty as we see it on Instagram. We don’t have to show our best side, only the positive things in our life. Let’s be real, let’s act naturally, let’s show the world our true face. Have fun and entertain the audience.

Unlimited creativity and entertainment

TikTok doesn’t focus on top quality, professionalism, but rather on a more open platform that handles formal frameworks in a more flexible way. In order to be successful in producing original content, we need to address our target audience in a more relaxed and funny way. Favorite content can be a funny moment behind the scenes or a humorous product launch.

Brand takeovers

This means that for a while, one brand or influencer can manage another brand’s account to share content, thereby broadening the target audience.


We can also use hashtags to promote our content. Includes video interactions, clicks, banner views.

Hashtag Challenges

In order to promote your brand, you need to come up with an idea and hashtag that will attract interest from the audience. The biggest benefit of the challenge is that the video you create is then shared by the users, adding their own ideas to the mix. A good example of a challenge created by a company is McDonalds’ #bigmactiktok.


One of TikTok’s promising projects is to create custom filters that users can apply to their own videos.

Audience engagement

The key to success is to motivate, activate and engage your audience to create their own content. Challenges are a tactic that can engage your followers and promote your brand name. For example, the Chinese restaurant Haidilao encouraged the users through TikTok, to create their own menu and then, once the restaurant had prepared it for them, make a video of the food and upload it to their account. 15,000 users took advantage of the opportunity, of which 2,000 uploaded their vids, and the whole challenge reached 50 million views.

If you’d like to become an early adopter, increase the success of your brand, or maybe this article aroused your interest, feel free to download the app, then experiment and play with it!


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Social Media Trends for 2020

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