Realness Reigns on TikTok

Realness Reigns on TikTok

April 7, 2021

–Renée Montpetit, social strategist, McKinney Brand Experience

Renée Montpetit, a social strategist on our Brand Experience team, writes about TiKTok and identifies three ways brands can utilize the platform to establish authentic connections with their fans. 

TikTok is no longer a challenger platform, it’s the platform to crack. Its scale and engagement put it among the most established social platforms — with more than 100 million users in the U.S. alone (mostly acquired in the last 12 months, mind you) who each consume more than a movie’s worth of content on a daily basis.

It’s no niche Gen Z phenomenon either; we see active communities for #MomsofTikTok and #ParentTikTok as just two examples of the platform’s broad appeal. And let’s not forget the debate over millennials’ side part and skinny jeans.

If it isn’t obvious yet, it should absolutely be a priority platform when evaluating your brand’s social presence. After attending TikTok’s #ForYou summit earlier this year, we put together some of our own guidelines for content on this platform.

Audience First

TikTok belongs, first and always, to its users. TikTokers come to the app for entertainment, not ads. Because organic discoverability — namely, the #ForYou page algorithm — is a huge driver of views, let your content be rooted in organic trends that feel true to how people use the app (sound on!) and the content they love. Brand videos go head-to-head with the latest dance trend, hit song, and food craze, so repurposing content from other platforms is the fastest way to kill the vibe. 

Using purposeful social listening and community engagement is the best way to create the right content and develop genuine connections. With so many different interests thriving on the platform, being in tune with the current conversation on relevant hashtags and keywords ensure you’ll tap into trends that are the right fit for your audience. TikTok is a unique community, so making sure fans feel seen and heard is the foundation for success.

No Bullshit

Realness wins. From the very inception of the app, its native production style earmarked TikTok as different. Where Instagram thrives on meticulously edited photos and filtered snapshots of life, TikTok is all about authenticity — from stream-of-consciousness monologues to outrageous face effects. 

TikTokers embrace imperfection and want to see the funny, creative, weird, and human side of brands. This means brands should embrace the experimentation required to succeed on the platform. Trying on different trends, effects, tools, and formats will give you the chance to learn what works for your community.

This is something we’ve leaned into with our Little Caesars TikTok presence. We adapted our approach to lean into the native production style so our videos feel tailored to the channel. Constantly testing new content trends and methods to see what our audience responds to helps us evolve and consistently strengthen our content.

Create to Co-Create

TikTok stands out in the social landscape because posting your video is just the beginning. Once your video is public, others have the chance to comment, remix sounds, duet the video, or stitch their own reaction. Because of this, brands have to be fluid with their content and keep an ear to the ground. Unlike other platforms, a lot of the action happens in the comments

This platform requires an entirely different approach because of these interactive features. Brands should plan for this and be ready to move at a moment’s notice, because TikTokers can tell which brands are slow to approve content.

These three principles will ensure your content feels native and fosters authentic connection with fans. To borrow the platform’s phrase, “Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks.”

Source: TikTok #ForYou Summit, Feb. 3, 2021