Ever since Facebook first made its debut, it has been one of the leading social media platforms around the world. Over time, platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have also made a significant impact on the social media scene, with varying degrees of success.

However, with the advent of the app TikTok, there is speculation that it these social media monopolies may soon have to share the market. A cousin to Vine, TikTok allows users to download and view short video clips featuring comedy, dance routines, amazing talents, and other amusing content. According to an article from Forbes:

One of the most popular apps of 2018, surpassing the 1 billion download mark worldwide, TikTok continues to make waves as the most downloaded app on Google Play, and the second most downloaded app on the App Store, in the United States in Q1 2019. It has more than 500 million users in 150 countries and follows the same principle as Musical.ly: cultivate a community of engaged users who connect with each other and express their creativity using the platform’s tools. These include sounds and song snippets, filters and augmented reality effects. But unlike its predecessor, it is not only music-oriented. TikTok is much broader in scope, housing a variety of niche communities from dance, beauty and sports to food, fashion and comedy.

TikTok offers new horizons in influencer marketing, but with short videos and little time for advertising content, more creativity may be required to effectively utilize the potential of its reach. To fully take advantage of the opportunities offered by TikTok, marketers should focus on the preferences of TikTok’s main demographic: Gen Z.

The app is a favorite of young people who are no longer attracted to the “big players” of social media and seek spaces more in line with their interests and expectations to freely express themselves. In less than 10 years, Gen Z will be as or more important than today’s millennials because they will have spent their entire lives online. This also implies that new, forward-thinking strategies are needed in order to reach them.

Although influencer marketing is not yet a common practice on TikTok, many brands have realized its potential and have already dipped their toes in testing it as a new marketing channel. Guess launched the first-ever U.S. brand collaboration with TikTok with its #InMyDenim campaign, where it partnered with influencers to promote its denim. Other brands like Coca-Cola, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures and Google have already worked with popular TikTok users to raise brand awareness.

So what does this mean for the average marketer? The answer depends on your intended audience. TikTok may be a promising frontier for marketing opportunities, but currently, its audience is almost exclusively comprised of Gen-Z users. Thus, until TikTok gains more widespread popularity amongst other generations, it may only be useful to your company if the Gen-Z demographic is a significant population you hope to reach. (Gen Z includes mid-teens and young adults). If that is the case, it is best to build a community around your brand by collaborating with TikTok influencers and creating relationships with brand supporters. Ismael El Qudsi at Forbes suggests:

  • Launch challenges and contests using a unique and personalized hashtag to generate a wave of user-generated content about your brand and to boost engagement. Perhaps you can do something revolving around your latest product launch or to announce a limited-time offer.Challenges, in general, work very well on the app.
  • Partner with TikTok influencers directly, similar to how it’s done in other social media platforms, to feature your product or service in their videos.

Of course, marketers should keep in mind that the app is relatively new, and that it may not last as long as contemporaries such as Facebook or Twitter. However, as we’ve said in previous articles, a successful marketer should never be afraid to leverage new outlets to grown their brand!