As TikTok continues to grow with nearly 800 million lifetime installs, many marketers worry that if they haven’t already created a marketing strategy, they’ll be left behind, but marketers should resist the urge to panic and access whether it makes sense to get involved in the first place.

If a young, global and culture-driven audience is a priority, then it’s time to invest in TikTok. However, if brand safety is important or content creation isn’t feasible, consider letting others take the risk first and learn from their mistakes, then dive in. We wanted to hear what Daniel Schotland, COO of Linqia, thinks about the risks and rewards that come with TikTok.

TikTok has quickly gained traction but what steps can brands take in working out if it is the right platform for them?

TikTok is an amazing channel to reach the younger demographic. It’s a different social experience from other platforms due to the content having a predominantly humorous and playful attitude, with an emphasis on authenticity and music.When deciding whether to use TikTok, there are two important questions to ask: the first being if you as a brand are open to a funny and playful message and the second being if you are comfortable relinquishing creative control to the influencers? The content on TikTok has a very raw, original look and feel. There is limited to no high production video shoots or quality voice over. If your content is too prescriptive it can feel out of place and not generate the views and engagement you’re looking for. However, if you answered yes to both of those key questions the pay-off can be huge, as popular videos obtain significant virality on the platform. TikTok can drive significant buzz but the content and target audience has to be right for the platform. We’ve had some interesting conversations with brands to figure out the right content for the TikTok audience. What we discovered is that, given the authenticity of the platform, it’s best not to start with a concept, but instead partner with the influencers to drive the creative direction. TikTok has a unique voice and it’s important to work with the people who have already become an influencer on that platform to make sure the content maps to other high performing content on the platform. Since music is such a big part of the TikTok experience, it is important to make sure you’re selecting the right music and securing the rights. To help organic content gain visibility, it’s important to also leverage paid media. TikTok paid media features such as branded lenses, hashtag challenges, and takeovers ensure a wide audience views the content. 

In-app purchases on TikTok increased by 275% between 2017 and 2018 as it increasingly becomes the new “go-to” platform for influencer marketing. This presents great new opportunities for brands – what possible rewards can brands reap if their strategy works?

TikTok is a highly effective platform across the funnel, from top-funnel awareness to bottom-funnel conversion. The viral, shareable nature of the content on TikTok, especially content that hits the main feed, enables brands to quickly and cost-effectively scale awareness for a new brand or product. Beyond organic campaigns, brands can also amplify the top-performing content on paid channels to ensure the right audiences are viewing and interacting.The young audience on TikTok also has significant buying power and is used to purchasing products from influencer recommendations. They are digital natives that have grown up shopping on social networks, which makes the platform an ideal mechanism for driving in-app purchases. 

This hasn’t yet seriously affected user growth but could impact brands considering the platform. What would you say to brands that are hesitant to utilise the platform?

We trust the U.S. government to take the necessary actions across all social media platforms. We don’t think the government’s investigation should hold back investment in TikTok now. We are watching it closely and will advise clients appropriately based on what developments happen.

How can you ensure brand safety as much as possible on the platform?

We work with TikTok the same way we do any other platform to ensure brand safety. We establish a creative brief at the beginning of the program that is then shared with the influencers. Influencers create content, which goes through content approval with both Linqia’s internal team and the brand. 

What are your thoughts on TikTok? Have you developed a strategy yet? Let us know in the comments below.

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