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How Brands Can Use Tiktok In A Credible Way

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, (which during this pandemic does sound quite appealing) then you’ve heard by now of the social media app, Tiktok.

If you work in advertising like me, you may have already realised that as a brand, this platform isn’t working for you. This article explains in three simple reasons why you’re terrified of Tiktok and how to master it.

Your content can’t be selfish

On all other advertising formats, you’ve been selfish. Your brand has shouted to the masses about how great your product is. Sometimes you masked it with clever puns or meaningful messages, but the underlying motivation was the same – buy our stuff. Whether you’re making Tiktok adverts or organic content for a brand profile, this brash approach is dead in the Tiktok world.

Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Tiktok users don’t use the app with the baseline acceptance they’re going to be advertised to. Fundamentally, this comes from the fact that your consumers are no longer passive. They’re active creators. This shifts meaningless scrolling to meaningful entertainment. Beautified facts into compelling storytelling.

In plain English – they don’t care about your advert because their psychology is different to other platforms. They don’t feel like they have to care anymore.

The solution? Stop making shit content. I’m dead serious. Stop making adverts and start entertaining them. Put your products to the bottom of the metaphoric pile. Create something worth watching or don’t bother at all.

Your ads won’t work

As someone that works in marketing, I’m more tolerant than the average consumer to an advert – yet even I fall pray to the endless scrolling of funny videos on Tiktok and refuse to watch the brand ads. Even whilst doing research for this article – I still forgot to look at the ads! Do you see where I’m going with this?

Buying ad space and putting an advert into it doesn’t promise you engagement. Smart brands won’t bother. Instead, step out of your comfort zone and find creative solutions. Create a new sound on Tiktok that has the ingredients to go viral that names your brand within it. Create a trending challenge. that will plug you for free – #YourBrandNameChallenge.

Tiktok users are too intelligent, tech savvy and have ruthless expectations. Start respecting that and match their creativity and authenticity instead of being stubborn and sticking to what feels familiar.

Aspirational Isn’t Inspirational

Unlike Instagram, Tiktok has paved a way for a new type of ‘influencer’. Instead of gross displays of wealth and the ‘aspirational’, we’re seeing real people step into the limelight. From waste removal men, to doctors, psychologists, teachers, artists and sex therapists – there’s space for everyone on this app. No filters or makeup is needed to create something truly inspiring or entertaining.

For brands, this means we need to stop caring about who has the most reach and looks the right way. It’s about the quality of the audience they’re building.

One of my favourite Tiktok accounts is @orlaphipps – where she shares amazing content of her caring for her elderly Grandma with dementia. Whilst her following isn’t huge, she’s set her Grandma up an Amazon wish list, and so many Tiktok watchers have bought her Grandma amazing presents. For me, this is proof of true, human engagement – the greatest metric of all.

Bear this in mind when you’re looking to use talent partnerships on the platform. Do you really want to keep investing in huge profiles? Or can you connect with your audience in a far more authentically human way through partnering with genuine members of your community?

However you feel about Tiktok, I truly believe it can be a successful platform for brands with a little bit of extra effort and creativity. If you work for a brand that’s cracked success on Tiktok – get in touch! I’d love to hear from you.

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When we’re not creating campaigns for brands like The North Face and Dickies, we like to ponder about this peculiar industry of advertising, and look for the ‘good’ in ideas and great people.

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Livvy Moore

Livvy Moore

Co-Founder at MILK | Head of Creative & Production at This Here

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