Caoilfhionn is an award-winning brand and social media strategist, with a background in travel and lifestyle journalism. Working with some of the world’s leading brands, including Etihad Airways, London Fashion Week, H&M and One & Only Resorts, Caoilfhionn is an expert in helping brands to connect with consumers through high quality, visual storytelling content and develop unique TikTok ideas.
In this piece she shares her experience with brands adding TikTok to their current strategy.
Getting started with TikTok
I first downloaded TikTok in early 2019 as I like to stay at the forefront of emerging social media trends, so I can relay this information to clients to produce amazing. TikTok ideas.
At first I saw little benefit to clients as the age range of the TikTok users wasn’t relevant to the luxury travel and lifestyle market I worked in. However, when I forgot about my clients and started using it for personal inspiration I was hooked. The content style is authentic and unpolished, vastly different to Instagram and it just seems like a more positive, personality-driven space. Everyone has a place to be seen and a voice to be heard on TikTok – brands need to see the benefit of this.
When I started introducing it to brands that I work with they didn’t regard it as being a ‘premium’ enough audience – the average age of a TikTok user before the lockdown was 16, so typically they aren’t high spenders. Cut to mid-March 2020 and everyone and their pets have Tik Tok. It’s a global phenomenon. It offered brands a palace to connect with consumers during one of the toughest global crises ever – brands who seized that opportunity are reaping the benefits now.
I encouraged the brands I work with to use Tik Tok because it is a human-driven app. You potentially have a 15-second window where your piece of content can be in the hands of your target consumer, ready to make an uninterrupted impression on them. Advertisers don’t get this type of opportunity anymore, particularly when targeting younger audiences.
Finally, I encouraged the brands I represent to get on Tik Tok to show them how to and give them the courage to pivot the brand strategy and identity. The world of social media was becoming stagnant and boring, and as a result, so was branded content – we needed something to spice us up!
Is Tiktok really for me?
The benefits to brands are plentiful, but the three I consider to be the most beneficial are the low production cost of content, high engagement levels, and the influencer marketing trends. Funnily enough, all three of these compliment each other perfectly.
With over 500M monthly users, TikTok engagement is second to none. Boosting posts? Forget about it. Even if you only have 10 followers on Tik Tok your content still has the opportunity to go viral within a matter of hours. The platform is content first, unliked Instagram and Facebook who have favoured advertising budgets over great content.
The kitchen sink, your driveway, inside your car, and your bedroom as just some of the most popular backdrops for TikTok content. No need for styling, high-grade camera equipment or mood boards, all you need is you, your niche, and 15 – 60 seconds. This presents a great opportunity for brands to strip back on production costs, but also to gain common ground with the target consumer. This is their chance to relate while keeping the polished ads for Tik Tok’s relatively cheap advertising platform.
Finally, the low production content style popular on Tik Tok makes Influencer Marketing exactly what advertisers have longed for it to be – authentic, real and relatable. Brands who fit neatly into the everyday lives of the consumer will succeed hugely on Tik Tok, as users go viral for simply showcasing – you guessed it – their everyday lives.
Valuable content over advertising
The majority of your marketing spend should be invested in creating content that connects with the values of your target consumer. If you don’t have this, your brand’s social advertising budget may as well be flushed down the loo!
Now that I’ve monitored the changing landscape of TikTok I have created new training courses, as well as having my usual bespoke training courses for brands hoping to succeed on social media.
Many social media training sessions focus too heavily on the technicalities of using social platforms, such as social advertising, hacks for increasing reach and how to use community management effectively.
These are all important factors, but I lead my sessions with focusing on the power of quality, engaging content and that is something that brands always comment on and praise! At the end of the day, I’m a consumer and what I connect with is engaging, relatable content – I swipe away from ads and hate receiving direct messages from brands.
The biggest misconceptions about TikTok are that TikTok a fad, and for teenagers who like to dance.
Honestly, I think TikTok would have remained a secondary social channel had it not been for lockdown. With people being cooped up at home, bored and looking for a creative release and connection with others around the world, Tik Tok stepped up!
It provided the perfect platform for everyone to get involved, have fun and be inspired by global peers. Instagram doesn’t offer users that opportunity because of it’s tough-to-crack algorithm, pay-to-play attitude! Tik Tok’s algorithm is exceptional and actually shows a user the content they want to see.
Not only that, but TikTok has democratised creativity and social media for younger and older generations alike. If brands just view it as a “dancing app” and don’t change their strategy to include Tik Tok content, they’re going to be very bitter in a few years time.
What the future holds for TikTok
Watching mega Instagram influencers cross-pollinate Instagram content to Tik Tok at the beginning of lockdown highlights that polished content doesn’t wash on this platform.
Finally, creativity is being democratised and soon brands will have to learn to adapt their tone of voice and visual style for the platform. Smart brands will use the app to study youth culture to ensure their brand strategy aligns with the values of these potential high-spending consumers!
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Caoilfhionn is an award winning brand and social media strategist, with a background in travel and lifestyle journalism. Working with some of the world’s leading brands, including Etihad Airways, London Fashion Week, H&M and One & Only Resorts, Caoilfhionn is an expert in helping brands to connect with consumers through high quality, visual storytelling content.