Apr 22


By Hannah Keating

We’ve all been spending a lot of time at home lately and trying to find any kind of outlet or hobby to cure the boredom. Cooking has never really been my thing (in fact, iso-life has me cooking less thanks to a husband that is now home more than ever) so, I needed something else to pass the time – and that thing is TikTok.

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Now is the time to learn all those #TikTok dances. 💃🎥: @haileybieber 🎶: @theestallion Savage #thebiebers

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In my defence, TikTok is one of the fastest growing apps we’ve seen in recent times, with an estimated 500 million people using the app. The app’s sole focus is video, with users creating short 15 second clips, mostly featuring music, so you could almost describe the app as a ‘social network for amateur music videos’. 

So, because I have spent the past month telling everyone who dares to question me that I use TikTok for ‘research purposes’, I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is and pull together a few ideas on how TikTok can be included in a brand’s overarching social strategy.


First things first, know your audience. TikTok users are kids, teenagers and young adults, so brands need to naturally appeal to this demographic. No point pushing high end skincare to an audience that want to see the Herbert Twins wearing vintage sweaters from Nasty Gal whilst doing the #savagechallenge.


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@jlo & @arod have flipped that switch and we’re HERE for it 😂👏 via @boohoo

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TikTok forces users to be creative to capture attention. If audiences want polished, stylised content then they will head over to Instagram. Here people are looking to be entertained. They want people lip syncing to the audio of Scott Morrison’s take down of Andrew or executing some impossibly fast dance sequence (does anyone have any tips on how to learn Renegade in under four hours?). Your strategy needs to understand how TikTok works and adapt to it – not the other way around.



It is important to note that concepts/videos/hashtags go viral on TikTok in a way that isn’t replicated on other social platforms. Successful TikTok campaigns have users (not just your chosen influencer) taking your idea and running with it. Therefore, brands need to understand that you will not always be able to control the message. Best to keep concepts light, in order to avoid any distorted messaging or backlash.

A great example of a light-hearted yet effective campaign was MAC’s #ownit challenge which inspired users to copy a handful of paid influencers and express their individuality through video. This resulted in over 1.5 billion (yes, billion!) views in six days and over 700 pieces of user-generated content for the brand.



Ultimately, as a PR girl I welcome the use of TikTok with open arms. It steers away from the so-called ‘highlight reel’ on Instagram and allows influencers to really express their personality or show off a skill. It brings the creativity back into influencer campaigns and, when used as part of a well-rounded social strategy (love you TikTok but I don’t think you can stand on your own just yet), it has the ability to drive brand messaging in a fun and interactive way, ultimately allowing users to get involved which creates engagement far beyond a like or comment.

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