Tik Tok: is it worth adding to your social media arsenal?

By Dean Blake | 30 Mar 2020 View comments

TikTok is an interesting phenomenon. On the surface it’s another short-form video social media platform, existing in the same space Vine once did and Vine-successor Peach does. It also caters to the same, largely younger, audience.

At the same time, it seems to have earned a much, much larger user base than either of its competitors did. Peach currently sits at 100,000 downloads on the Google Play store, while TikTok sits at more than 500 million.

On Apple’s App Store, TikTok is the number one downloaded app in the entertainment segment, while Peach’s position is not listed publicly. It’s not a surprise, as it was listed as the most downloaded app of Q1 2019, recording more than 33 million downloads during that period, according to Hootsuite’s 2020 Social Media Trends report.

According to the report, the new social media platform sees around 800 million monthly active users (not far off Instagram’s one billion), who consume an average of 46 minutes of video a day. At an average video length of 15 seconds, that’s 184 videos.

However, with a primarily generation Z user base, retailers looking to market themselves to this demographic should know what they are getting into.

“TikTok can be a great place to find new customers if that is where your ideal customers are spending time,” author of Sell Like Crazy and founder of digital agency King Kong Sabri Suby told Inside Retail.

“But the principle of good marketing remains the same, whatever the channel. If you can fully understand a potential customer’s psyche and drill down into what drives them, it’s possible to create incredible returns on investment.”

While TikTok is still largely untapped in terms of the retail market, much like other ‘new’ social media platforms, its consumer base is smart and tight-knit. Simply generating the same content used for a seperate audience is likely to backfire.

“As feeds reach saturation point, average content will no longer fly. People know their value as a customer, so unless you are providing them at least that same value in return, they will simply scroll on past,” Suby said.

“The same is true of TikTok. Unless marketers can learn how to create content that’s as good as, if not better than, regular users, then they don’t stand a chance.”

Tik Tok: is it worth it?

So, is it worth up for yet another social media platform?

According to Hootsuite, if a brand isn’t suited, it’s better off investing its time and energy elsewhere. But for retailers with a funny and playful tone, it could be worth keeping an eye on the platform.

According to the report, “If TikTok evolves beyond formulaic, meme-based content and attracts a broader user base, you may want to get in on the action. For now, monitor trends that bubble up on TikTok and adapt the ideas that make sense for your brand into other social content.”

The report also recommends brands trying out other short-form video formats that might be better aligned with its messaging – Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, to name a few.

However, smaller platforms can punch above their weight, according to Gartner research, which found that retailers with large shares of social traffic to their sites tend to see as much inbound traffic from smaller platforms than large ones.

This article first appeared on Inside Retail, a sibling website to Inside Franchise Business