How to Get Started on TikTok 1

How to Get Started on TikTok

Everyone’s heard of Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest, but something new is always popping up. Oftentimes these newer players fade out of the limelight and are forgotten. That’s not what’s happening with Chinese-based TikTok, the social video app Gen-Z craze. What started out as a music app quickly became a powerful user-generated social experience through short videos. On TikTok anyone can be a creator and there are tons of influencers flocking the app. Major brands have already partnered with influencers to increase brand and product awareness. So far, companies have been testing the waters as they figure out TikTok. But what exactly is TikTok and how can your business benefit from it?


  1. What is TikTok?
  2. How Have Brands Marketed on TikTok
  3. How Can You Get Started?


What is TikTok?

Back in 2014, Chinese entrepreneurs Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang launched a lip-synching app called It was then acquired by ByteDance and merged with the company’s platform, TikTok. already had its own large following. When the merger occurred, all accounts were transferred over and from there arose the current iteration of the app. According to the data, TikTok has over 500 million users, making it more popular than both Twitter and Pinterest. It’s popular among teenagers and young adults between 16 and 24. Gen-Z makes up 60% of its user base. Most of the popular influencers on the app are young teens, but the user base is growing and diversifying. It is popular worldwide, and can help brands reach Chinese audiences.


At its simplest, TikTok is a social media app that focuses on video content creation. Each video can be up to 15 seconds long. What started out as lip-syncing has become a hub of amateur comedy skits. Other video content includes beauty and short food tutorials. TikTok has been most compared to Twitter’s late video app, Vine. However, what sets TikTok apart is its various tools, music and sound effects used to edit videos in-app. Prior to the inclusion of ads, TikTok was considered one of the few seamless social media experiences. The main focus is on the massive, engaged user base. Brands are only now experimenting. It’s not yet a viable sales channel, though the possibility is increasing as ByteDance tested TikTok shopping in China. According to reports, these brands measure their success through engagement and increase brand awareness.

Computer on top of a table with the word “brand”

 Workspace with open laptop and the word “brand” on it.


How Have Brands Marketed on TikTok?

There have been several brand collaborations with TikTok. Guess created a marketing campaign to promote its denim with influencers. The #InMyDenim campaign featured users showing off their Guess outfits. Uniqlo also partnered with TikTok and asked participating users to show off their Uniqlo style. Sony music is using TikTok to promote specific artists who have a “TikTok persona”, using the social media app to spread awareness. For an app that started out as music-based, it makes complete sense that content from big and small entertainers would prosper on the app.


Due to the lack of an advertising suite, brands have focused on influencers to promote their campaigns. TikTok is unique in that the most popular videos are sometimes bizarre. Much like its often compared Vine, TikTok has its own brand of weird humor. Meaning that in order to have authenticity, brands must let influencers do as they wish on their channel. Otherwise, it comes off as advertising, which is exactly the opposite of what TikTok is known for. Understanding that is exactly how your brand can resonate with Gen Z users.


How Can You Get Started?


Like any other social media site, in order to get noticed, your brand must have a presence. Building your presence is one of the most important things you can do on TikTok. Brands need to exist on TikTok by making their own channel. TikTok is focused solely on video making it one of the most accessible ways to increase brand awareness. With the right kind of content, your brand will be able to tell your story in a way that resonates with users. It also must be viral content. Creating viral videos is the only way to truly get noticed without a following. One of the things you can do to increase your following is to post challenges. It shouldn’t be too easy or too hard, and should definitely allow creativity. Challenges have been used successfully by Jimmy Fallon whose #tumbleweedchallenge had record engagement.


If you’re not sure about original content, your best bet is to focus on influencers. There are plenty of influencers with large followings on TikTok. Partner with them to build brand awareness. People are less likely to believe a brand than they are a regular person. These are personalities they trust to give their authentic opinion about products. That means, your brand is more likely to benefit from partnering with an influencer.


The biggest return your brand will get on TikTok is in brand awareness and engagement. If your original content is good enough, it may end up on compilation videos. These are shared on YouTube and other platforms making it so that you’ll see even more brand awareness. That engagement and loyalty garners more sales in the future.


Finally, there are also ads that brands can take advantage of. They aren’t nearly so widespread on the app just yet. They are still being tested. However, it is good to be ahead of the game considering early adopters will get the most reach.

How to Get Started on TikTok 2

Kids in a circle creating a star with their fingers

Let’s Get Started on TikTok


If your brand’s target audience is within the Gen-Z demographic, TikTok is the exact place you want to be. Your consumers may not know about you just yet, but with the right strategy, you can become the next viral sensation. TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media sites out there, and it’s the best way to connect with a younger audience. With upbeat, clear short videos you can show your brand story in a way that no else can. 18Brandz is more than happy to help build your strategy.

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