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Marketers Tickled by TikTok

The last few years may have been doing it for the ‘gram, but 2020 is poised to be the year of the ‘Tok. As the GenZ-friendly platform continues to expand, brands that were saying “Tik who?” just months ago are going full “How do you do?” on the social media sensation. When the #homedepot hashtag gets 62 million unpaid views, marketers take notice.

How did we get here? In less than three years, the TikTok app has more than 500 million mostly under-30 users and currently owns the number two spots on Android (top free app) and iOS (top entertainment app). Engaging this massive audience are millions of creators, each hoping for their 15 to 60 seconds of fame.

Brands seeking to slide into the DMs of this desirable demographic are finding that their Insta/Twitter/FB/LinkedIn ways need a refresh. Here are a few TikTok takeaways.

Tip 1 – Keep It Real, Not Kardashian

Unlike Instagram, TikTok is short on gloss and long on authenticity. Think more micro-influencer, less megastar. Gen Z is nothing if not distrustful of advertising, but will support companies they feel reflect their own values in an honest fashion.

Tip 2 – Make Some Music

TikTok was originally called musical.ly and aimed mostly at creators of digital karaoke — a filter-heavy, feature-rich platform for lip-syncing, dancing, singing and comedy. Cosmetics giant ELF was the first to have a 15-second anti-jingle created for it. Fans jumped in making two million videos, (including these unpaid gems from Ellen and the the Chicago Bulls mascot) netting three billion views, and “Eyes Lips Face” is now a real actual song. (Seriously. You can stream it on Spotify.) The brooklyn-based agency, Movers + Shakers, created #eyeslipsface and has just launched a division of the brand agency specifically for TikTok.

Tip 3 – Flip That Lid

For brands that want #nuthinbutviral, creative hashtag challenges can pay off in a big way. Just ask Chipotle, which asked users to flip the foil lids on top of their entree bowls. This is exactly as dumb as it sounds AND generated an insane amount of buzz. (Even YouTube star David Dobrik got in on the action.) Since then, Chipotle’s all ‘Tok, all the time.

Creating hashtag challenges that become cultural moments is an art. The lip balm barons at EOS are banking on the #AwesomeKiss hashtag this holiday season, pairing with 20 popular TikTok creators who’ll smooch it up after applying EOS lip balm.

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Russ Henneberry is Founder of theCLIKK, an email first publication about digital business. He is an entrepreneur, speaker and author of Digital Marketing for Dummies. Russ has certified thousands of marketing professionals and business owners in disciplines including content marketing, search marketing and social media marketing.


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