2020 was the year of TikTok and it’s coming out in large numbers: About 800 million users on average per month, 1.65 billion downloads and one billion views per day (!) So how come you’re still not using it? We’re here to explain
It’s about time you met Tiktok – the leading social network made for (very) short mobile videos – a worthy opponent of Facebook and Instagram. The popular Chinese app has been around since 2016, and has continued to take over the world since its 2018 merge with the app Music.ly. Tiktok slowly worked its way into the Israeli market as well, and hit its crescendo the same time global download records broke and accelerated due to covid-19 quarantine boredom. The app’s intuitive interface, its wide potential distribution and virality are what makes Tiktok a user-friendly platform also for advertisers. But before we go on, we recommend downloading the app to your mobile, and starting to discover it for yourself.
Done? great, let’s get to work.
Let’s start with the basics
There are a few basic terms you need to know before starting to use TikTok. These terms will help you better understand how people perceive it and grasp its potential:
The “For You” page
Welcome to your main feed (aka: your homepage); this is the place every content creator wants to be, and also where sponsored ads appear (sponsored ads on Tiktok? Yes!). This page shows the most popular videos according to your personal taste. How does it know your taste? Well, the algorithm keeps track of how long you viewed a video, which videos you liked, and which ones you chose to skip. Ads, on the other hand, appear regardless of preference or taste.
In fact, you can watch videos even without creating an account. In this case you won’t be able to actively take part in anything (you can’t like a video for example), but it’s still a great way to get a sense of the app and discover all its major (and minor) trends.
Beyond the For You page (and right next to it) there’s also the Following page, where you can watch videos from accounts you are following.
This feature allows you to team up with another TikTok account by sharing the screen with its video: The new video will appear to the left of the original, and would usually use the same music. The best Duets are those that perfectly correspond with one another, like this one:
Another core feature is the React, which allows you to record yourself reacting to someone else’s video, adding your own narration of course, eventually mashing them up into a new one.
What can we possibly say that hasn’t already been said about Tiktok’s challenges? Thanks to the app’s wide spread and ability to reach so many people, TikTok trends rapidly become viral. For example, if you look up the Wipe It Down Challenge on Google Trends, you’ll learn that since the beginning of May (as of this writing) its searches have multiplied several times, and about 2.6 billion people participated in it.
Challenges are varied – some focus on cool editing (e.g. the Wipe It Down Challenge), some focus on choreography (like this one here), and some use a specific sound or text (like this one). Starting a challenge could make your video go viral, as long as it’s well-made and finely-presented to the audience.
This is a name every Tiktok user knows. D’Amelio is a young American dancer who started posting content in late 2019, and has recently reached 100 million followers all over the world. Collaborating with some well-known brands such as Morphe and Hollister Co., the 16 year old influencer has even taken part in collaboration with UNICEF in a campaign against cyberbullying. Her sister, Dixie D’Amelio, has also gained popularity on the platform, and their entire family takes active part in many of both the sisters’ videos. This is a wonderful example of how content creators can grow organically and become social media personas, gaining a huge amount of followers and millions of likes per video.
How does the algorithm work with organic (non-sponsored) videos?
Like most social networks, Tiktok is trying to keep its secret algorithm to itself. However, there is a fair indication as to what makes a video go viral; When content is uploaded to Tiktok, it’s soon displayed on the For You page in order to see how people react to it.
At that point one of two things could happen:
If, for instance, 100 people were exposed to a video, and didn’t respond to or like it but just kept on browsing, the algorithm would probably not show it to any more people.
But if out of these 100 people, 20 people liked your video and it even got a few responses – the algorithm will continue to feature it on the For You page, as long as it keeps trending.
Keep in mind that people who follow you may also run into your videos on the Following page.
Are you too old for TikTok?
Although it has a reputation for being mostly popular among teens and tweens, the app has evolved and successfully managed to reach different age groups since its launch in 2018. Whatever you’re looking for – You’ll find it on TikTok: from awesome seniors having the time of their lives, through cute babies that will make your hearts melt, to adorable ferrets. The same way Facebook started, as a social network made for academics, Tiktok is rapidly reaching all parts of the population, taking over our lives.
True, the majority of users are relatively young (about 40% are between the ages of 16 and 24), But Tiktok includes people of every age and gender.
Are TikTok videos any different from Instagram stories?
Many people, at first, mistakenly think that TikTok videos are basically a paraphrase of Instagram stories, but let me assure you – it’s a whole other world. While Instagram stories are significantly shorter and usually don’t convey any real message, Tiktok is a great platform to tell a story and make a genuine statement, just as much as it is for dancing to the new Cardi B song. Many of the app’s most popular contents communicate real ideas, either funny or serious ones, or sometimes simply heartwarming. So if you’re thinking of posting the story from the last wedding you attended on Tiktok, you might want to think again.
How important is the audio and how relevant are the hashtags?
The music we use in a video is super important, and there are two main options:
The first is to use existing music from the TikTok Sounds Library, giving it your own interpretation. Listening to a familiar song will often make people keep watching since it’s somewhat “easier” than processing brand new information.
On the other hand, creating your own audio (whether it’s a song written for a new campaign or a recording of a funny or interesting conversation) can get others to use it, which can increase exposure and even make it go viral.
Here’s a good example of audio used on TikTok that became popular among users everywhere (even Charlie used it!), and another existing song that got noticed on the platform (Google trends show an increase in search traffic since January, the same time it got to the app).
Hashtags also have a great effect over your potential exposure. We can always create our own hashtags and see whether people are using them, or use popular ones to reach more potential viewers.
Here’s another example of audio that went viral
TikTok Sounds Library
We have already established that Tiktok is a platform that has lots of potential. All it takes is understanding how it works and finding your niche. Strong presence can boost your profile, and if you’re a business owner, it becomes even more relevant – we can help you promote it on the platform. And if you still don’t feel like it’s the right time for you – no worries, you can always keep browsing for new content even without an account.
See you on the For You Page!