Jan 2020

What the Hell is TikTok? A Business’s Guide to Understanding the Newest Social Platform

Your Guide to Understanding the Newest App from the Experts of Social Media Marketing Pittsburgh

With more than 2 million different apps available on the app store, it can seem impossible to stay in touch with the latest news in mobile technology and social media. While staying up to date with the newest apps seems like it’s just for the kiddos, business owners and large companies must also pay attention to emerging trends, apps, and social platforms.

Since it’s now 2020, chances are that your business is already using some form of social media marketing, and you’ve taken the time to figure out which social media platforms are right for your business. Each social media platform has its own unique audience and features, which is why the leaders in social media marketing Pittsburgh are here to break down for you everything you need to know about the latest thing in digital marketing and mobile apps, TikTok. What is TikTok and why should businesses care? Responsival is here to break it down for you.

What is TikTok?

The Leaders in Social Media Marketing Pittsburgh Explain TikTok

tik tok
Image: variety

Of all social media platforms that are popular today, TikTok is perhaps the one that perplexes older generations most. TikTok was originally an app called ‘Musical.ly’ that was launched in 2014. In August of 2018, all Musical.ly accounts switched over to TikTok, which is when the app really began to boom. TikTok is essentially a video-sharing platform that emerges off the coattails of Vine (may she rest in peace) with users creating videos that combine music, special effects, stickers, text, and more.

The videos created on TikTok - referred to as ‘TikToks’ themselves - are often based in humor or emerging memes within the app itself guided by trending hashtags. These 15-60 second videos are shared in a simplistic feed format and are easy to share with friends and family and on other social media platforms. Most popular among Generation Z, TikTok is the first prominent social media platform to exist without reaching a primarily millennial audience -- a phenomenon that will be of interest to social media marketers and business owners alike as they look for new ways to expand their digital presence.

TikTok by the Numbers

What the Leaders in Social Media Marketing Pittsburgh Need You to Know

tiktok users
Image: productsup

The experts of social media marketing Pittsburgh know how important it is to understand the distinctions between social media platforms. While TikTok on the surface seems like a silly video app for teens, the numbers speak form themselves:

  • More than 500 million people use TikTok monthly. This is more users than both Twitter and LinkedIn and a surprising half of Facebook’s massive billion-user audience.
  • 26.5 million of these users are based in the United States. TikTok is booming notably in India with 43% of its users based in that country (a great new global fan base for anyone looking to expand their reach in a big way).
  • The primary age range of TikTok users is 14-23 years old (the Gen Z audience). While 66% of users are less than 30 years old, it’s obvious that these people are an emerging aspect of the consumer audience. Much like the pattern of Snapchat users, TikTok is expected to remain a key platform for this age group as they become a large portion of the consumer audience within the next 5-10 years.
  • 29% of monthly users open TikTok every day. These users typically spend around 52 minutes per day on the app, and users on average open the app 43 times per day -- almost three times as often as the average user opens Twitter.

TikTok, despite being the newest big thing in social media marketing, is putting up massive numbers for reach, engagement, and in-app usage. What’s especially interesting is how the app’s algorithm plays into its use. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, the algorithm doesn’t favor fame. If users make great content, their TikToks can reach a massive audience, making it a target for brands looking to get their foot in the door with this emerging consumer audience -- but we’ll touch on that a little more in just a moment.

Should Businesses Care About TikTok? The Experts of Social Media Marketing Pittsburgh Weigh In

Businesses Small and Large Take Advantage of this New Boom

who should use tiktok

Proving itself to be more than just a silly app for teens, TikTok has popped onto the radar of the leaders in social media marketing Pittsburgh. But what aspects of TikTok can brands learn from and utilize for their online presence? There are a few major takeaways.

Patterns in social media marketing exist. When a platform is new, it is considered less competitive: it’s easier to reach a higher percentage of the audience, ads are cheaper, and reach is high. This is because when platforms are young, it’s all about pleasing the masses. As businesses see that the platform is beginning to take off, they all jump in to get in on a piece of the action. From there, the algorithm changes and ads become more expensive. TikTok is still in this early stage and is relatively unsaturated with ads and businesses, making it the perfect time to begin using the platform for brand awareness and social marketing efforts. Large brands like Chipotle, Washington Post, Clean & Clear, and even the United Nations have begun to use TikTok to reach the unique audience it has to offer. 

Another major takeaway involves how TikTok creates a shift in the way we interact with video content on the web. Right now, more than 85% of videos on Facebook are consumed without sound. However, TikToks are heavily reliant on the use of sound and music to understand the humor or message behind them. This means TiKTok users may be more inclined to listen to sound on videos on other channels, meaning it’s again becoming an important aspect of video production on social media -- especially for brands looking to reach younger demographics.

Even knowing these things, it can be difficult to know how to use TikTok as a business or brand. Because the platform is not yet optimized for clicks and traffic, TikTok’s power primarily exists for brand awareness. If you’re not sure how your brand could benefit from TikTok, begin by downloading the app and exploring its features. Whether you plan on creating content yourself or want to use a TikTok influencer to help your brand thrive, the possibilities are endless when you make an effort to get your foot in the door early with this kind of platform.


Looking for a new way to reach your audience? Get in touch with the team at Responsival - the leaders in social media marketing Pittsburgh - today to begin making your mark.

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