Have you heard of TikTok? We talk a lot about social media and how you can use it to advance your brand and grow your business. When we talk about it, we’re usually talking about the big apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and now LinkedIn.

But there’s a new app that’s growing in the market and it’s starting to creep up the ladder to the top of the social media food chain.


What is TikTok?

TikTok is short videos usually put to music. Think Vine, though a lot more successful.

Probably the best description comes from Tech Crunch, which calls it, “…the Instagram for the mobile video age.”


How big is TikTok?

It is massive and it’s still growing. According to CNN Business, as of March 2019, TikTok was the most downloaded app in Apple’s App Store for five quarters running.

The app hit 1 billion downloads in February of this year and nearly 100 million of those downloads were right here in the U.S.


Can it be used for marketing?

The short answer is yes. But it’s going to be tough.

TikTok is almost entirely centered around the concept of going viral. That means you have to figure out not just what your potential customer is going to like, but what that customer is going to be obsessed over.

Even the best marketers can’t do that regularly. But you should still try.


How do I use it for marketing?

The brilliance of an app like TikTok is it’s a very quick cycle. People will remember a marketing success for days, they’ll remember a marketing fail for just a few minutes.

Because TikTok is a relatively new social media app, there are no tried and true methods for marketing success, but there are marketing success stories.


How Chipotle used TikTok successfully…twice.

That’s right, twice. Two times this year the burrito company figured out how to turn a TikTok post into a massive marketing campaign.


Success 1- #GuacDance

July 31 was National Avocado Day, so Chipotle challenged its TikTok followers to celebrate the avocado with the #GuacDance. TikTok users were invited to do a dance dedicated to the avocado and the response was huge.

Chipotle says it received 250,000 video submissions and nearly 430 million video starts during the six-day campaign. What resulted was the biggest guac day in Chipotle’s history. It served up more than 802,000 sides of guacamole.


Success 2- Know Your audience.

Chipotle’s true success came in understanding the TikTok audience. People turn to TikTok for a quick laugh, lightheartedness, and silliness. Any brand that tries to market on there shouldn’t take itself too seriously.

#GuacDance is the perfect fit because it’s all about being silly. Chipotle knew and understood this. Then it added in a contest to boot and a viral hit was born.


The San Diego Zoo has content built for TikTok.

While Chipotle created content to get people involved, the San Diego Zoo looked around and saw tons of content at its fingertips.

Cute animal videos are built for an app like this. What’s better than watching a penguin waddle to Walk This Way by Run DMC or a lion feeding with The Circle of Life by Elton John playing in the background?

The San Diego Zoo took what it had and it fit it into the TikTok platform seamlessly.


How to think about marketing on TikTok.

As I said before, there is no tried and true method for marketing with TikTok, but there are a few ways that you can start your marketing campaign on this new platform.

Think about where your brand message and TikTok converge. Are there short, fun videos that you can make that will convey your product message? Are there ways to get other TikTok users involved? Is there a way to team up with other users in what’s called a duet?

When it comes to marketing with it, don’t think of it as trying to sell something, think about it as trying to sell your brand. This is not about making a sale, this is about brand recognition. The more brand recognition you have on a platform like this, the more likely you are to make a sale down the road.

For some more great advice, on growing your following on a platform like Instagram, check out this previous post


Written by Erika Towne