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You can’t ignore TikTok forever.

TikTok has been emerging as the hottest social media platform for some time now. In fact, it was the most downloaded app of 2021 around the world (source: Shopify), with an estimated 8.2million Australian users. With experts believing its usage will continue to increase in 2022, by as much as 40% (source: Browser Media), it’s hard for marketers and businesses to ignore this platform.

Its short form videos are primarily focussed on light, entertaining content, from dancing, vlogger vignettes and the odd prank or two. Much of this content has been, and continues to be, geared towards a much younger demographic. Pigeonholing TikTok as an app for kids. I believe the early adoption by teenagers and young adults has prevented businesses from taking this platform seriously. However, it may be time for a rethink.

Around 47.4% of global TikTok users are younger than 30 years old. That means 52.3% of its 1 billion user base is older than 30. When we look more closely at Australia, we can see that 57.3% of TikTok’s users are aged between 25 and 34 years of age (source: Fiber). A growing number of users are 35 and over.

All this points towards TikTok gaining a larger share of the important 25- to 54-year-old demographic.

When we look at usage, TikTok outperforms its competitors by a mile, with its users averaging 38 minutes per day (Source: Oberlo). Compare this to Facebook (31 minutes), Instagram (29 minutes) and Twitter (35 mins), and you will see that there is a clear winner when it comes to engagement. The Social Insider, estimated that the engagement rates for TikTok are as high as 5.96%, with all its competitors below 1%.

History repeating itself

Rewind back to 2006 and 2007, Facebook had just opened up its platform to anyone over the age of 13, meaning anyone, not just students, could create an account. During the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, Facebook surpassed MySpace (“Hi Tom!”) as the most visited social media website.

I remember having conversations with marketing managers about the platform, how it could be used and the potential to create a company page. It felt like most managers or business owners were apprehensive. Scared of posting the wrong thing, or getting a bad comment, or worse, nothing at all.

The thing is, businesses and marketers were not familiar or comfortable with creating content that had a life span of 5 hours. Their whole professional career had focussed on crafting campaigns carefully with almost clinical precision, with no dialogue or feedback loop from the audience. Instead, their communication and campaigns were a one-way street, broadcast to the masses.

Now, Facebook would change all that. They had to be quick, engaging and accept and expect feedback from their followers.

Fast forward to 2022 and there’s no stopping businesses. Every other post is a business trying to sell something and I bet you wouldn’t be able to drive very far without seeing the Facebook logo splashed on a branded vehicle.

Whilst I doubt TikTok will ever reach that level of familiarity with business owners, it feels like history is repeating itself. Instead, I would encourage businesses, particularly those wishing to engage with consumers aged between 18 and 40 years old, to seriously consider this platform.

My theory is that as parents, aunties and uncles, and eventually grandparents adopt a social media platform, it loses its appeal to those at the younger end of the scale. No one wants Aunty Bev gate crashing the party. I personally believe that is what has happened with Facebook. Young adults first ventured to the visual mecca of Instagram, and are now turning to TikTok.

You don’t have to twerk to make it work

First of all, let’s take a moment to appreciate that heading! Ok back to business…

There’s no hiding from the fact that most of our TikTok ‘For You Page’ will highlight the latest dance fad or trending sound. I’m sure we won’t be able to escape from that, but increasingly businesses big and small are making the platform work for them.

With bands and artists realising (or being forced to by their record labels) that the platform is crucial in generating streams, they are perhaps the early adopters of monetising the platform. However, we have seen first-hand how content that takes off, can have a major impact in online sales.

In 2020 TikTok launched its advertising platform for business, then in 2021, they announced a partnership with Shopify allowing ecommerce stores to integrate with the social media platform. What this has done is open the door to many new opportunities to reach engaged audiences.

Aussie giants such as Telstra and Kmart have run a series of hugely popular campaigns, but it’s small businesses, that are really making it work hard for them. Sustainable swimwear brand @swimbyelly, bogan candy makers @stickyaustralia and Cairns’ tradie clothing brand @cashieclothing all focus on this platform to support sales.

What do they have in common? They are all targeting a very lucrative, open-minded audience in their 20’s and 30’s. This generation has grown up with online shopping, and are more likely to trust tech or online only brands (source: Business Insider). Especially if they share common values… and that’s where small business can make an impact.

If you want to find out more about TikTok can support your business without diluting your brand, contact us or book a free 30-minute consultation.

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