TikTok has proven to be more than just hype. More and more companies are finding their way to this social medium.
The figures from the end of August say it all: the Netherlands now has some 4.5 million users on TikTok. In May, this was still 3.5. The largest group has long since ceased to consist of young people (28 per cent teenagers between 13 and 17), but the 18 to 25 age category is in the lead with 35 per cent. 22 per cent of users are 25 to 34 years old. The app is used about eight times a day on average, with a total of 61 minutes.
Despite these still rising figures, there are still relatively few brands and companies that open a TikTok account, Joey Scheufler has noticed. As Digital Strategy Manager at Prappers Media Group, he advises various brands and influencers on an appropriate TikTok strategy. The growth we are currently experiencing with TikTok is something you don't see very often on social media. It is a fun app that is a lot easier and more accessible than Snapchat. You can see that just by looking at the growing number of adults who are now finding their way there, unlike Snapchat."
Not just for young people
However, Scheufler notes that too many companies and brands still think that it is an app that is primarily of interest to young people. People also often think that if you are active on TikTok, you have to participate in challenges and dances. At the same time, it is much more than that. And most brands that attempt in this area quickly look amateurish. Especially if it doesn't fit your brand at all. So either does it very professionally and throw a big budget at it or don't do it at all."
For You page
What else is good to know when you start with TikTok? Scheufler: "On TikTok, you don't search by person or brand. The algorithm works so that, as a user, you 'accidentally' see the films pass by. All films that match the user's viewing and liking behaviour are shown on the For You/For You page. So it's most important that, as a brand, you create content that you know will appeal to your target group."
Brands such as Ajax, Bol.com and Duinrell are already active. They have understood the concept, Scheufler believes. Duinrell, for instance, has employed influencers who make films in the park and post them on their channel. Because of these influencers, the amusement park immediately has a large reach and is seen by their target group. The impact of these videos on the channels of the influencers is only temporary." That's why Duinrell also places this and its own content on their TikTok channel, Scheufler further explains. The difference in impact is mainly that you also get followers who follow your brand on your own channel. Combining the two, i.e. posting both via the channels of the influencers and the influencer content on your own TikTok page, works best. You see that a lot in America, and it really proves to be a golden combination.
A beginner's mistake that many brands make is to repost content from other channels such as Instagram and YouTube on TikTok, says Scheufler. In addition to seeing which content suits your brand, you also have to make sure that the content is a match for the platform. Cutting a piece from a YouTube video and posting it does not work. I see this happen at 3FM, for example. So bad! And that for a youth brand. It is also very poorly viewed, which says it all.
MNM and SLAM!
According to Scheufler, Belgian radio station MNM offers an example of how things should be done. They create content specifically for TikTok, invite TikTokkers and artists and let them do all sorts of things. Also, dances and challenges, but that is logical. That also suits radio and the target group." In the Netherlands, SLAM is also doing well. This is because of Bram Krikke, who also likes it himself and knows exactly how it works." And that is an indispensable ingredient for a successful TikTok strategy: Someone within the company who not only knows how it works but who also makes it their own and is enthusiastic about it," continues Scheufler. That person has to like it and be totally into it. Only then does it come across to the followers and, as a brand, you create a fan base faster."
Posting something just once doesn't work, Hilgers knows. There has to be a strategy behind it. That's why we decided to post videos online every two weeks that tie in with current affairs and challenges that also fit in with our brand. Like the crocodile challenge where we achieved 86,4000 views with one video." An important rule: in all videos, the team wears MyJewellery jewellery and clothing, Hilgers points out. That way, we create visibility for the collection.
Hilgers mentioned earlier: the secret of her success is also characterised by the involvement of the target group with the brand. This is also reflected in their TikTok channel. We regularly post polls here, for example, to ask which outfits are favourite. We also receive many enthusiastic reactions to TikTok. Comments from girls who want to let us know that they have recently been in one of our boutiques and have succeeded in buying a pair of earrings. Nice to see."
Hilgers has also noticed that transferring content from one social medium to another has not caught on. "In the beginning, we also experimented with converting videos for Instagram to TikTok. This didn't work very well, simply because it didn't catch on as well. TikTok content must be truly tailor-made. So if you start a TikTok account as a brand, it is better not to think too easily. Just copy-pasting something does not work.
The fact that your staff can be worth their weight in gold on TikTok also became clear to the McDonald's branch in Doetinchem says, Scheufler. The videos made by the staff on their account were super popular, quickly reaching millions of views and three million followers. It even got so out of hand that many followers came to the branch every day, and there were queues at the door to take photos with the staff."
Scheufler noticed that the account only disappeared overnight. "So I decided to contact the manager, who told me that they had to close the account for privacy reasons." At Albert Heijn, you also see this popularity among staff on TikTok a lot, Scheufler continues. Not on the brand account, but the accounts of the shelf stockers and cashiers themselves. So you see that the key to success again lies with the people who like it."
As a brand, should you let this happen, or is it wise to intervene, as McDonald's did? Scheufler: That is indeed the tricky thing for this kind of company: how do you safeguard your brand guidelines? If you ask your staff to make something for your brand channel, it is often too contrived from above, and the authenticity is lost. In my opinion, it is best to let your own channels exist. See them as your influencers. Banning does not make much sense, Scheufler believes. Just issue guidelines: no customers in the picture, only staff. Then you can only benefit as a brand." It would also be nice to go a step further, Scheufler continues. Let them come back as a cameo in a TV commercial, for example. It's funny for the viewers who have TikTok, and it doesn't matter if the rest don't know them."
Besides all the funny content, serious and substantive content also works well on TikTok. Scheufler: "You see a lot of educational content. From entrepreneurs who share marketing tips to tilers who give handy tips in a one-minute video. Cooking videos are also viral. That alone shows that TikTok is not only interesting for children and young people.
Viral without followers
The nice thing about TikTok is that you can go viral immediately if your video appeals to a lot of people, regardless of how many followers you have, Drayer says. I only had three followers when I posted a video in which I introduced myself. A fifteen-second video with some highlights from my life. Prejudices that I had to deal with as a teenage mother, people who had not expected that I would ever study or start a successful business of my own. After an hour, I already had 250,000 views, and the first e-mails from potential customers came in. So now this video has been viewed more than a million times."
The ideal customer
Another video that brings success to Drayer is about finding 'the ideal customer'. In my view, this is not the most exciting content, but it appears to be exactly what my target group is waiting for when I look at the reactions and emails for introductory meetings that it has generated."
Surprise your followers
For Drayer, the personal branding bit is paying off. So she recommends the following: Show a page that reflects who you are as a company or brand. Don't just show products, but look at what themes are related to them. Also important, according to Drayer: "Don't forget to respond to the comments, that way you'll create a fanbase sooner. And think creatively in image and sound. That is how you distinguish yourself as a brand. At the very least, choose matching music and vary the camera angles. So make sure you have good video material that looks good. After all, it remains a platform for short videos. And don't forget the humour. Films with a wink are always popular. But don't focus on the same emotion in every video: variety works. Surprise your followers.
Or, as Scheufler explains it: "Basically, anything that you can explain well and entertainingly on video works. Just filmed quickly and not boring. It doesn't even have to be polished, as long as it's authentic." It doesn't have to be that complicated, Scheufler believes. I really don't understand why brands are not using TikTok en masse. It is a perfect social medium for everyone who wants to reach many people cheaply. The funny thing is that I don't only notice the positive impact on my clients. It even goes so far that I am now recognised at the Albert Heijn by other TikTokkers as 'that guy who is always talking about Google'." It makes grocery shopping a lot more fun...