If you haven’t heard of TikTok, you are probably pretty safe from COVID-19, because you live in a cave. TikTok has quickly become the quarantine entertainment of choice, with over 115 million app installs in March 2020 alone. To comprehend just how many downloads that is, it’s up 98% since last March.

With over 800 million users, and 83% of all users posting videos, we know that users are engaging and not just viewing. The average amount of time spent on TikTok daily is nearly an hour, and we’re only at the beginning. When Facebook was in its infancy, its average daily time was similar in comparison.

We are all stuck at home and likely finding ourselves bored out of our freaking minds. TikTok provides users the ability to create short form videos, with hundreds of options for creating effects, imitating others’ videos and sounds, and of course viewing pleasures galore!

But isn’t it just teenagers dancing? UMM NO. The app is booming with every generation joining. We are seeing moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas recording everything from singing and dancing to telling funny anecdotes. In fact, toddlers and grandparents are gaining more sound duplicates than even hit songs from JLo and Shakira.

It’s fun. It’s creative. It’s addictive. And it’s growing LIKE CRAZY.

Now is the time to get on TikTok and start marketing your brand.

I get it, things are hectic right now and there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of nearly every business. But regardless if business is up, down, slow, stopped – or anywhere in between at the moment – you need to be marketing on TikTok NOW. In fact, this is not the time for you to let your brand go dark, it is the time to bring your brand into the spotlight however you can. When we come out of this pandemic, consumers will remember the brands that connected with them on an emotional level.

There is one sure fire way your brand can leverage TikTok to reach audiences and create brand awareness. And that is to create a unique hashtag challenge. You want to break a few rules (innocuously of course) and be a bit disruptive. Your hashtag strategy should be smart, savvy and really pique users’ interest. It must be unique, intriguing, curious and fascinating. Users should be excited to join in on the challenge and create their own content around your brand.

One great example of a successful brand campaigns through TikTok marketing is MAC Cosmetics. The global makeup brand launched their own hashtag ad campaign initiative called #YouOwnIt – and it’s been viewed over 2.7 billion times. The challenge was for users to showcase their own makeup creations and transformations. Extremely organic in nature, it motivated the brand’s audience to join in on the fun. Users from all over the world were engaging every day, and the interaction with the brand rose thousands of percent.

Trendjacking is also a popular way to increase your brand exposure on TikTok. When a hashtag, effect, sound, video or challenge is just starting to gain traction, get on it quick. Often times an original concept is outdone by a competitor, just look at Facebook and MySpace. Your idea, combined with an existing trend, could be worth more value that you could ever imagine.

Some important notes for marketing on TikTok.

Engage your audience with action-oriented challenges. Such as the ChipotleLidFlip challenge, where users were encouraged to video themselves flipping their burrito bowl lids back onto the bowl. This works to attract new customers in order to participate, as well as socially brand through viral marketing and brand exposure.

Don’t go overboard with branding or traditional advertising on your TikTok. What’s this mean? When you create a viral short form video challenge, leave out the logo or traditional banner. It feels too forced, as if the brand is being pushed on users. TikTok users want to feel as if they are joining in on something natural, organic and unique to their interest. Your campaign alone (if it is creative and unique) will get your brand the attention – and following – you desired.

Example of a TikTok duet. 

Work with influential creators. These are users who will help shape your audience and increase your trend’s interactivity. But make sure your influencers align with your brand. It isn’t always the users with the biggest following who will be right for promoting you. Remember, quality over quantity!

Ask, don’t tell. When launching a brand campaign on TikTok, you are literally asking people to be a part of your story. Don’t tell them their story! Let users be creative and add to your hashtag campaign in their own unique way. A user’s followers have followed them because of an appreciation of their own style. No script required!

Do not hesitate. Attention spans are shorter and shorter every day. Now is the time to join the TikTok marketing movement and get your brand noticed. Especially while everyone is cramped up at home with nothing else to do but stay connected over social apps. Many streaming providers don’t offer up a lot of commercial advertising, so take this crucial opportunity to stay top of mind to your customers.

Do you need help getting started, or need a TikTok marketing strategy? Need ideas for how to create and execute TikTok marketing campaigns? Drop me a note. I’m happy to help!

Follow Tylar + Company president on TikTok @tylarpaige. Beware, she has a juvenile sense of humor.