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What is TikTok: and how will it help boost your business?

There's a (relatively) new social media kid in town – and she goes by the name of TikTok. But what exactly is it all about – and how can it help boost your business? We asked Digital and Social Media Consultant Al Berry for their insider advice…

What is TikTok: and how will it help boost your business?: Image 1 What is TikTok in laymen’s terms and how does it differ from the social media we’re currently used to?
"TikTok is a sandbox of creativity. One hundred per cent video-based, its giving its users a suite of tools filters and a massive music library to create fun, short, engaging clips. Think of it as bite-sized Youtube. It’s a discovery machine and central to TikTok’s instant success is its algorithm. It uses artificial intelligence to make personalised recommendations for viewers. The video feed plays as soon as you open it and is then automatically feeds curated clips, sucking you in!"

Instagram is still an enormous platform for interaction on images and videos, so why would a business switch apps to post on TikTok when they can be lazy and post it to their Instagram stories?
"If you’re posting the same content on TikTok as you are on Instagram stories then you are getting it wrong and don’t expect much engagement. The most prolific content on TikTok is often thematic with trends emerging and encouraging repeat behaviour. Look at the #privateschool trend and it will give you clues to what is successful and why this now has over 500m impressions. We are also seeing new TikTok influencers emerge, who are a good starting point if you want to generate content. TikTok is in its infancy and whilst it’s in this embryonic stage is being built by its community, not by businesses. With that in mind when you create content, don’t turn up to the party wearing an evening dress, if everyone else is in T-shirts and Kaftans."

Why is now a good time to get involved with TikTok – what are the advantages from a business point of view for joining?
"The early adopters of any platforms often reap the rewards further down the line. Don’t approach this as a short term tactic, think about your whole content strategy and how TikTok could complement it. As I said before the platform is still in its early stages and likewise the influencers and stars of tomorrow are just starting to find their audience. Get in early and work with these individuals now; build a relationship as they grow, and so will your exposure with them. The same is true from a media perspective. With Facebook’s CPCs almost doubling in certain industries, Tiktok is still relatively cheap. That is only going to continue to increase so if you need to keep a handle on you CPAs, TikTok might be an option."

What kind of content should you be aiming to post if you are a retailer or designer?
Spend time on the platform. See what is working. Look at what is generating the most engagement. Get close to the numbers. TikTok’s content is very easy to navigate using the hashtag search function. Track the hashtags that most apply to your industry or the ones that might not be as obvious as #wedding or #accessory but have relevance – #specialday (for example). If I were a wedding dress designer then the obvious no-brainer for me would be emulating the Bibidi Babidi boo craze and having a prospective bride to be transformed into their gown in the click of the finger."

Does signing up to TikTok for your business have any disadvantages at all?
"It’s still quite a young platform. Expect to see more options come online for brands and advertisers in 2020, such as shoppable ads and direct linking to product pages form within the videos. Be clear on your marketing and communication objectives before embarking and make sure you are prepared to take an iterate approach. Test and learn what works before spending big and ensure you have clear KPIs in place. Don’t take yourself too seriously...for now, TikTok is a rare corner of the internet that still feels like an escape, somewhere to go which can raise a smile, that celebrates the individualism."

For more help from Al you can connect with him on Linkedin.