It’s Back to School time, and our CEO newsletter makes its return from the summer break! In this latest issue, eBusiness Institute Founder Luigi Matrone reveals why business leaders need to get into a truly youthful mindset to engage with young audiences through TikTok that other marketing channels simply can’t reach.
I recently wrote an article entitled TikTok – it’s time brands got involved about the TikTok phenomenon and its vast potential as a marketing tool for eCommerce businesses.
I want to expand on that, chiefly to re-emphasise the point about the possibilities that exist around TikTok as a powerful influencing channel, but also because I’m slightly surprised that big western brands and agencies haven’t cottoned on to it quicker.
Big brands seriously need to embrace the fun of TikTok
Sure, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Lays and the Superbowl have all dabbled in TikTok a little.
SportsManias hooked up with Tik Tok for the introduction of NFL-themed Augmented Reality (AR) animated stickers in time for the Super Bowl – Source: TechCrunch
But many of the big brands that you’d expect to have launched incredible campaigns on the hottest new community app have been a bit slow to the party.
Why is that, considering that TikTok is the fastest-growing app out there in terms of downloads (800m international users; top of the list of App Store downloads, and 4th behind Facebook in terms of overall downloads) and its huge popularity among young people?
Organisations must keep learning – especially about new audiences
It’s vitally important that businesses operating in eCommerce and digital spaces are constantly evolving, keeping up with new trends, and learning new things about their audiences.
Or even learning about entirely new audiences, such as the 10-25 year-olds using TikTok, as opposed to the 25-35 year-olds using well-established platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter et al that have been the focus of so much attention for the past decade.
How do you market to teens and kids online?
Big brands and agencies may not have jumped straight into TikTok because there seems to be some hesitancy around how to market to teens and kids.
Does your organisation really understand how teenagers behave online? – Source: Pinterest
Organisations need to think about whether they know enough about these young audiences. About how they behave and what motivates them online – especially in relation to this hot new platform.
Do you have appropriate data on them? Do you have personas? Do you know enough about how TikTok works? Is there enough experience and expertise in your business for you to form a great TikTok strategy that will drive not only traffic to your eCommerce platform, but potential sales.
Or will you need to go outside your organisation for that expertise?
Teens will be even more important as consumers in five years – will you be ready?
The teens and kids of today are the 20+ year-old consumers of tomorrow. A generation so ‘digitally native’ that the term is almost an anachronism when applied to them.
They’re spending their formative years in a digital and media environment so entirely different from any we’ve seen previously that it can be hard for adults to relate.
Their content consumption habits and behaviours are a world away from those we’ve been used to in the traditional media landscape of TV, magazines, email and even the now-established social platforms (Facebook has been around longer than some of these young consumers have been alive!).
Older generations may initially be baffled by the idea of watching other people playing video games online – but any business that wants to engage with them will need to get to grips with why up to 140 million people are using the Twitch livestreaming gaming platform each month.
The Ryan ToysReview channel has 21m subscribers – Source: YouTube
How do new channels like Ryan ToysReview influence sales of toys? And how are social platforms – like TikTok, for instance – reshaping how brands connect with new generations of consumers?
All-encompassing Chinese social platforms like WeChat – with their multifarious, seamless in-app purchasing options and thrilling immersive brand experiences – are completely changing the way we should be thinking about consumer experiences and behaviours.
WeChat is changing the way people shop online – Source: Tech in Asia
If businesses don’t prepare and get themselves ready for this new, youth-led consumer world, they will fail and be left behind.
But, to be prepared, many need to undergo a Digital Transformation that will bring them new business processes, culture, and customer experiences that meet changing business and market requirements.
Kids and teens can influence spending
If brands can get the balance right and really harness the power of TikTok, then they will have huge opportunities to reach audiences that other channels just can’t reach – namely, school-aged children that can influence their parents to spend money.
For instance, it’s Back to School time, so what an amazing opportunity to promote products that children may need for school, such as cool new rucksacks, tablets, healthy snacks, books, the latest stationery or sports gear.
In conclusion – be bold in your TikTok strategy
TikTok is now said to be ramping up its advertising strategy, and brands are eagerly anticipating new options to get their teeth into. What those options are remains to be seen.
But I don’t think brands should waste any more time waiting for TikTok to reveal its new advertising options. There are already some really good options available to advertisers in the form of branded filters, hashtag campaigns and more.
TikTok already has some great advertising options – Source: TikTok
Brands should take the leap of faith and start to really embrace and be creative with the existing opportunities. Mountain Dew, for instance, generated an amazing 1.8 billion TikTok videos with its #DewFlipChallenge.
It is going to take a bold approach, though.
Social platforms like TikTok – and indeed the likes of Instagram or Facebook – don’t work for brands if an organisation isn’t joined-up in its thinking and strategy.
Brands need to go all-in on TikTok (and other emerging apps or communities) while it’s in the ascendancy and the opportunities to make a viral impact are very real.
Now is the time to be playing in this space, and developing a true understanding of TikTok users’ motivations for using the app, and their behaviours when they’re on there.
If CEOs and senior marketers can get their TikTok strategies and approaches right, they could really reap some massive rewards from an adolescent community that is becoming ever-more powerful when it comes to the future of online spending.
This article was created and written by Luigi Matrone – CEO & Founder of the eBusiness Institute.
At the eBusiness Institute, we have extensive experience of working with numerous brands on their digital transformation. We understand the importance of an optimised consumer experience to drive your brand’s sales online and offline. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.