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Should your business harness the influence of TikTok?

OPINION: TikTok is a social media platform that really came into its own during the Covid pandemic and is continuing to experience a rapid rise in popularity, outstripping the growth of any social platform that came before it.

The latest statistics we could find estimate nearly 1.5 million New Zealanders are subscribed to the app, and that’s escalating at pace. 

While many large New Zealand brands such as Air New Zealand, New World and One NZ Warriors are putting major resource into their TikTok accounts, fewer small to medium enterprises (SMEs) – the vast majority of New Zealand businesses – are leaping onto the network.

If you are a business owners grappling with the fear of missing out (FOMO) and wondering if TikTok is worth your investment, here are three considerations to help you make the decision:

Is your audience there?

There are two ways to determine if your audience is on TikTok.  The first is to look at the user statistics.  While the social network is most popular with 18–34 year-olds, mature audiences are also getting caught in the TikTok vortex.  We would say if your main audience is aged 50 or younger, many of them can be reached effectively.

The second way to determine if your audience can be reached through TikTok is to research what your competition is doing.  If your competition, or even companies in adjacent industries, are successfully garnering views, saves, likes and shares then that’s a positive sign your business can benefit too.

Can you use TikTok to help achieve your reputation and relationship goals?

With any channel you use to communicate and connect to your audience, you need to ensure it’s right for your business. 

Before diving into TikTok, it is important to align the platform with your business objectives. What are your goals for building your reputation, increasing trust and positioning your brand in the market?  Ask yourself, is TikTok’s short-form video format one of the best channels to achieve these objectives?

Read more: New Zealand brands that ‘slay’ on TikTok

Do you have the resource required?

Developing any communications channel takes time.  Writing an e-newsletter or blog takes time.  Keeping your Facebook or LinkedIn page fresh takes time.  And TikTok also takes time.

But, over and above just time, doing TikTok well also takes some special skills.  The staff member taking charge of your TikTok channel needs a great visual eye and some basic video editing skills.

If you’ve answered yes to these three questions, then TikTok could be right for your business.  Here are a few tips to get started:

Jamie Batters & Heather Claycomb.

Have a solid content strategy: Think about your target audience, what information could educate, entertain, or inspire them? Plan a content strategy that aligns with your brand and this audience.

Consistency is key: Consistent video themes, filming styles, and regular posting are key to engaging your audience and attracting new followers. Think about how you can plan to ensure consistency on your account. One idea is to ‘batch’ create your videos once or twice a month or dedicate a certain amount of time in your diary each week to create.

Engagement: Take the time to engage with your audience by responding to comments and interacting with other users in your niche. The power is in your hands to build your community.

Hashtags: Utilise relevant hashtags to increase the discoverability of your content.

Tasteful trend utilisation: Of course, it needs to fit into your strategy, but tasteful trend utilisation is a great way to stay up to date with trending challenges and sounds while remaining true to your brand. If the shoe fits, go for it.

Whether you decide to add TikTok to your business communication toolkit or not, one thing is certain, TikTok’s influence should change the way your business communicates with its audiences. 

That’s because it has brought short-form video to the fore.  Audiences’ attention spans are shorter than ever and their patience for trolling through the written word is waning. 

We’ve already seen how the TikTok format has influenced the rise of Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Facebook Stories and Snapchat’s Spotlight. 

So, as you weigh up the big question, “To TikTok or not to TikTok?,” at the very least determine how you’ll start to incorporate more short-form video into your communications in the coming year.  If you get that right, if and when you are ready to jump into TikTok boots-and-all, you’ll be one step ahead.

Heather Claycomb founded HMC in May 2004 driven by her passion to tell a great story and support Waikato businesses in making a difference. Jamie Batters is HMC’s Digital PR Content Coordinator. She works alongside our Senior Account Managers to develop exciting content for a range of client platforms.

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