It’s a familiar story for parents of tweens and teenagers. You don’t see them for hours, their mobile’s gone missing and all you can hear are strange shufflings and strangled cries from their bedroom. You know what’s happening. They know what’s happening. But everyone’s too embarrassed to say anything.

Then, one day it finally happens: you walk in and plume de ma tante, you catch them in the middle of making a video. Of course we’re talking about the latest social media sensation, TikTok.

TikTok, for those who aren’t the proud/perplexed owners of an aforementioned yoof, was launched in 2016 by Chinese firm Bytedance and is home to millions of 15-second video clips. Imagine the lovechild of Vine, Twitter and Instagram and you’ll get a fairly close idea of what it looks like. But can it be used for business? Oh you betcha…

Getting to know you

We advise treating a new social media platform like a house you’re thinking of buying – have a good nosy in every nook and cranny you can find. Then, once you’ve set up your profile you can start creating content, whether it’s the standard 15-second clip or stringing a bunch together for a 60-second video, and begin building your all-important audience. Don’t be shy now…

TikTok’s super user-friendly and while it might be dominated (at the moment) by hoodie-sporting Generation Zedders, even those who are a bit longer in the tooth can quickly get to grips with its clever tools that will have you creating smart, entertaining content in a jiffy (or giffy depending on how you pronounce it).

Hashtags aren’t just for Instagram

TikTok’s handy Discover page lists the current most popular hashtags, so piggybacking trends is as easy as terrifying a teen by asking them to do the washing up.

You can also use hashtags to attract audiences to your products or business. They’re a great way to invite other TikTok users to post videos of themselves lip-synching to a song that has strong links to your campaign


Ads you say?

There’s always a possibility that you’ll stumble across your teenager chucking out some shapes to the latest Britney Spears/One Direction/Bon Jovi hit (Ed’s note: gone old school, I see) while scrolling through TikTok, but you’ll also be pleased to hear the platform supports four kinds of ads.

Infeed native content will be familiar if you’ve used Snapchat or Instagram story ads. TikTok’s are full screen, skippable and should last between nine and 15 seconds. Brand takeovers do what they say on the tin: they let a brand create images, GIFs, and videos for the day, and links to landing pages or to hashtag challenges can also be embedded in the app.

Hashtag takeovers are similar but potentially more exciting, as you can offer an end goal or prize for anyone taking part and who doesn’t love a good giveaway? Finally, there are branded lenses: think Snapchat or Instagram filters that are good for a giggle.

Keep it casual

If Instagram is the Kim Kardashian of social media, all contoured cheekbones and cling-filmed hips to project an image of smoothed perfection, then TikTok is a bestubbled, beer-bellied bricklayer showing off an unhealthy inch of builder’s bum. Entertaining it very may well be, but polished it is NOT.

But that’s okay, particularly for business owners and here are three great reasons:

  1. TikTok can show customers a side of you or your business they rarely/never see
  2. You can use entertaining TikTok template videos, such as Yup/No to explode a myth or underscore a truth
  3. TikTok videos can be a practice ground for more sophisticated ads on other platforms – it’s a place where failing can actually be helpful

Don’t forget, you can share your TikTok content on other platforms, so a 15-second video that probably took very little effort to create, can earn you views, likes, shares and potential new customers across the rest of social media.

So there you have it. What your teenager gets up to in the privacy of their sock-and-pant filled pit could give you another, fun way to market your business. Just knock LOUDLY before you go in and ask for tips, okay..?

Want to know more about using TikTok for business? Come talk to us at 24 fingers. Bustin’ a move to Lady Gaga optional.