How these 5 brands are using TikTok

Your kids are using it, your dogs have profiles on it, but you just don’t understand what TikTok is. If that sounds like you, I’ll tell you that you’re not alone.

TikTok started out as an app that kids loved and adults loved to hate. But are brands now making money from it?

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a Chinese social network that focuses on sharing short video clips to other users through a feed. You may know TikTok by its original name, It launched under that name in 2014, but was then bought by ByteDance and relaunched as TikTok in 2016. This relaunch moved the app from a lip syncing app, to a broad social media platform now used by millions.

The social media platform allows its users to easily take videos, add voice overs and filters, and publish all within a few minutes. TikTok videos can last anywhere from a few seconds, to upwards of a minute long, but 15 seconds is defined as the magic number.

Since the launch of TikTok, there have been discussions as to whether it can be used successfully for marketing purposes. After researching a few top brands on TikTok (and possibly getting distracted by cat videos), I discovered how these 5 brands are using TikTok and have given insight into why they may be succeeding (or not succeeding).

NBA (@nba)

The NBA have over 10.3 million followers on TikTok. They were early adopters of the app and have used it to their advantage ever since. When scrolling through their videos, you can see a mix of highlights from basketball games, to humorous videos of mascots, team members and fans dancing and completing challenges.

10.3 million seems like a lot, but the NBA haven’t created their following just by chance. They have at least seven full-time employees dedicated to creating content for TikTok. That’s more than many companies I have worked with have for all their social media accounts.

The trick that the NBA have used with their TikTok strategy is to remove the serious side of stats and games, and instead focus on the more personal side of the game. It allows the audience to see the players behind the scenes, making the athletes more relatable to you or me. When you watch their videos, you see the players personalities, and feel like you know them on a personal basis.

Of course, every time someone watches one of their videos, it is promoting the NBA, whether it be by watching a highlight of a game, or by hearing a players voice, it’ll great memories in the viewers head which in turn should transform into ticket sales and other forms of income.

Nickelodeon (@nickelodeon)

Nickelodeon has found a way to not only target its current, younger audience, but it has also managed to stay in touch with it’s older, adult audiences too. With over 6.7 million followers, I must say they’re doing something right.

Nickelodeon regularly post funny clips of their new shows, as well as nostalgic clips of older shows that keep those older followers happy. This is a great way to bring in followers, as it encourages sharing through other forms of social media, particularly with the nostalgic videos.

The third angle that Nickelodeon use to bring in followers is posting a behind the scenes look at its actors and offices. If you’re a regular follower of their account, you’ll see actors and employees completing well-known TikTok challenges and playing pranks.

Nickelodeon’s goal is to increase their audience. Whether it be the audience of new TV shows and films, or old, it doesn’t matter. Their money comes from views, purchases, and merchandise. When people watch the clips from any of their shows, they are more likely to choose that show next time they switch on the TV.

Red Bull (@redbull)

Red Bull have used TikTok in a slightly different way than many other brands on the app. Instead of posting regular original content, they rely on user generated content (UGC) to create their posts. Using the hashtag #GivesYouWings, Red Bull re-posts videos of people doing crazy/dangerous stunts. This works perfectly alongside their other marketing campaigns worldwide.

If you look really closely at the videos on their page, most of them have the Red Bull branding on them, either through product placement of the drink, or branded skateboards/clothing. This is what encourages sales of the drink and brings income for Red Bull.

UGC is often an overlooked form of marketing due to inconsistencies in content, but with 3.9 million followers, it must be working for them.

Gymshark (@gymshark)

As a retail company, most people would imagine that Gymshark’s social media tactics would focus more on selling. However, with TikTok, some brands have quickly realised that it’s about engagement and giving a voice to the brand, not pushing sales on customers.

Gymshark has a highly respectable 1.7 million followers on TikTok. Now, that’s not the highest, but for a retail brand, it’s pretty good. They attract their followers in a similar way that Red Bull does – re-posting content. And much like Red Bull, nearly all of the videos on their profile feature their products in some way, usually by the person wearing the Gymshark brand.

You’ll often find home workouts and challenges on their feed, which really encourages engagement. Home workouts are are particularly good feature for fitness companies, as viewers tend to save these videos for later, reminding them of the brand.

Apple Music (@applemusic)

Somehow I can never write a list of brands without mentioning Apple. This time, it’s not Apple’s physical products that are being discussed, it’s their software, Apple Music.

Normally I wouldn’t include any brand with less than a million followers on a list like this, but with 194,000 followers on TikTok, Apple music does things very differently to the above brands.

Apple Music uses TikTok to directly advertise their streaming service. They use music videos and interviews/promotional videos from artists to encourage their viewers to listen through the app.

Now, I know I just said that Apple Music have over 194,000 followers on the platform (which looks great on paper), but for one of the top 10 companies in the world, you’d think that following would be higher. This could be that they have approached TikTok in the wrong way.

Users on TikTok don’t want to be advertised to, they want to be entertained. Showing promotional videos for songs and music videos may not be the way forward. Apple could look at promoting in so many other ways on the platform, such as through user videos from the latest iPhones, or letting their audience have a behind the scene look of Apple HQ.

But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Does my business need a blog?

It’s 2020, and if you have an account on social media at all, you’ll realise that every man and his dog (literally) has a blog somewhere online. Whether it be focused on fashion, beauty, pets or travel, these blogs are pretty hard to miss. Though these blogs may be for personal interests, there are many businesses that have also rightly jumped onto the trend.

A question I have been asked by a lot of business owners, small and large, is “but do we need a blog?”

Firstly, I’m sure most of you will already know, but for those that don’t – let me quickly go over what a blog actually is:

A blog is simply “a website that is regularly updated and usually written in an informal/conversational style.”

It’s a really vague description, but that’s because a blog can be whatever you’d like it to be. I’d normally recommend that a blog for a business gives practical information that your customers need – but that’s just my opinion.

Do you need a blog?

To answer this question, I need to ask you a few questions. Firstly, do you want to add value to your customers? Do you want to create engagement with your product/service offering? Do you want to encourage organic (not paid) traffic to your website?

If you answer yes to any of the above, then you may want to look into getting a blog.

To go into more detail, here are my top 5 reasons you should think about creating a business blog.

1. Increase visibility through SEO

One of my favourite things to talk about at the moment is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s incredibly important for businesses to rank high on search engines nowadays (and that isn’t about to change). One of the key factors search engines like Google look for is high-quality, relevant content that answers the questions asked. What better way to answer those questions than through an informative blog post?

Think about it, if you were to search “what’s the best cafe in Melbourne?” what do you find? Normally a few tripadviser pages, and then blog posts such as “30 Top Cafes in Melbourne You Will Love.” Blog posts are highly ranked on Google, so it’s always a good way to increase traffic.

A little fact of the day: Did you know that companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website?

2. Add value

It’s true, content adds value. Adding value helps differentiate your offering from your competition, if you both offer the same product, you need to bring your customers in through other means.

Did you know that 60% of consumers feel engaged/positive with a brand or company after reading custom content on their blog?

Blogs help create a voice that customers can trust and listen to. For example, if you run a business renting out campervans in Queensland, your customers may want to know where the best campervan parks are. While this doesn’t necessarily push a sale (I mean, the likelihood is that your customers are going to rent that campervan either way), but it will ensure that you get that sale over your competition. It may also encourage them to recommend you to their friends.

3. Validate expertise

Did you know blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information?

Your customers are becoming ever so knowledge hungry, they now want to know everything about the product/service they’re buying before buying it. However, they don’t want to be searching hours on the internet for that information. If your customers can find the information without leaving your website, this will prove your expertise in that field.

Your customers also want to trust you, they want to believe that you are the experts in your industry. A blog is the perfect way to prove that you have that expertise. Whether it be a “how-to guide” or a research based article, your customers will build up trust in your brand.

4. Encourage “word of mouth” promotion

I mentioned this briefly above, but blog posts can really help increase word of mouth promotion. Word of mouth promotion doesn’t have to be in the form of physical conversation though.

Blog posts are among the most shared form of online content, mainly through social media and other blogs. This is a virtual form of word of mouth marketing, and is the easiest/cheapest way to increase your reach and promote to new customers. A good-quality, relevant blog post could be shared hundreds of times, therefore reaching thousands of new potential customers.

5. Increase conversion

All of these points above should lead to an increase in conversion. Blogs should increase high-quality traffic to your site, whether it be through search engines or referrals. If your blogs are written correctly then they are likely to push your readers towards your product/service (without the reader even realising).

However, there is a method to increasing conversions through blogs, and a lot of bloggers don’t get this right. You need to build a relationship with your reader before pushing them to your products, they need to be able to trust you and your business. You first need to research what questions your customers are asking, and how can I help them? Always prioritise the customer, the sales will come later.

Having a blog is one of the best ways to increase quality traffic to your website. When done correctly, blogs will help build relationships with your customers, and hopefully will drive sales. If you’re looking to reach new audiences, build your brand and stand out from the competition – take inspiration from the reasons above and get started on a business blog.

However, 44% of marketers say producing quality blog content is their biggest challenge. So how can you combat that challenge? Blogs take time, they take practice, and it can be difficult to find your voice. Why not hire a content creator to write your blogs for you? Whether you already have an established blog, or you’re just starting out, content creators can be a huge asset to your business.