The rise of TikTok: Why is it good for businesses?
Created in 2016, TikTok is one of the fastest growing and most influential social media apps in the world today. It overtook Google as the most popular website in 2021, and has even beaten Facebook to become the most downloaded app worldwide.
In Thailand, 63.6% of all adults have downloaded TikTok, and a great number of these are active daily users. For businesses looking to connect online with consumers, TikTok’s impact is impossible to ignore. Indeed, many companies are starting to develop platform-specific content on TikTok, in hopes of reaching its wide and active audience.
This article will explore the benefits TikTok brings for companies that want to grow their businesses in Thailand and abroad.
With over 1 billion active monthly users worldwide, TikTok has become a key part of many companies’ digital media marketing efforts. The success of this platform is partially due to its format being a perfect fit for educational “How-to” videos, including tutorials to build brand/product awareness.
The cosmetics industry has unsurprisingly leveraged this ability as a way to provide quick content to a wide user base. By following this template, brands such as The Ordinary, L’Oreal, CeraVe, and many others have become immensely popular on the app.
It is important to note that TikTok users skew towards younger demographics, and that 57% of its users worldwide are female. Any company hoping to reach this key target demographic would be well advised to integrate TikTok content into their online portfolio.
Still, with TikTok boasting such a large user base, audiences are readily available for virtually any kind of content. Sport and athletics-based brands have used the app’s short-video format to post unique content, including advertisements. The NBA, NFL, and ESPN are among the most popular TikTok channels available, achieving great success by creating unique and high quality content directly for the platform.
International brands such as Coca-Cola, Netflix, Bumble, and Crocs are also using TikTok to reach vast audiences – a shrewd decision as TikTok now leads all social media platforms in consumer in-app spending, with $2.3 billion spent in 2021 alone.
Thai brands and international companies doing business in Thailand are also entering TikTok in a big way. Notably, Lay’s Thailand has shown how effective TikTok marketing can be when done well. Their #LetsDanceWithLays challenge partnered up with Thai singer Palitchoke Ayanaputra, known popularly as Peck, to create a fun and exciting dance competition for regular users to participate in.
This campaign illustrates how TikTok can be used simply and effectively to drive consumer interest and engagement. Lay’s chose a local celebrity and then leveraged his popularity by linking his appeal and fan base with their own. This type of organic localization is more likely to generate positive feelings among consumers – as well as genuine brand interaction.
The clever design of this campaign made many important Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) eager to contribute their own talents, thereby bringing their own fan bases into the competition at no extra cost to Lay’s.
The results speak for themselves: The campaign generated 80.6 millions views for Lay’s Thailand, and 109,900 video submissions (mostly by ordinary TikTok users). This simple dance competition was one of the most successful Thai F&B campaigns in 2021 – and most of the content was created by users, not Lay’s.
In addition to the user-centered content it encouraged, this campaign succeeded because it reflected the key attributes of TikTok’s platform: Lighthearted fun through short, humorous videos.
Unlike traditional media, TikTok marketing is largely based on challenges, collective content development, and user-generated media. Celebrities, KOLs and average users can interact in a more “casual” way through these events and campaigns, leading to significantly better engagement and more consumer goodwill.
This personalized approach helps the end-user develop an emotional connection to the brands they see online. This connection positively motivates users to develop content on behalf of brands through campaigns such as Hashtag Challenges, where users are invited to develop unique ideas or repurpose existing content published by other creators. Businesses benefit from this approach by launching marketing campaigns quickly and at a low cost.
A new tool for business
TikTok may have begun as little more than a simple app for young users to post short videos and show off their dance moves, but it has since become central to modern marketing and customer outreach, and it is expected to become the world’s third largest social network in 2022.
The positive and upbeat nature of the platform has helped TikTok audiences become ready and eager to engage. Significantly, TikTok has the highest rate of user engagement on social media, with an average user session of 10.85 minutes. Users on Pinterest, the second most engaging social media app, spend less than half as much time online per session.
The mindset of TikTok users is to watch entertaining videos, look for new challenges, and create fun videos themselves. In general, users are very willing to interact with online brands by creating their own content in response to well-crafted campaigns. For businesses that do it right, there’s even a possibility of going viral.
TikTok’s short-video format, combined with its positive spirit and culture of interaction make the platform ideal for big organizations and early startups alike – and its influence on digital marketing is certain to grow moving forward. Companies in all sectors should consider establishing an active presence on the app, to make the most of its brand-building potential.