TikTok and PR – A Match Made in Heaven

When it comes to social media you’re spoilt for choice, and it seems that a new platform emerges every year. However, not every platform is relevant for every business. Rather than trying to do everything, it’s better to pick the platforms most suited to your target audience and ensure it aligns with your marketing objectives.  

Despite only launching in 2016, TikTok has taken social media by storm. The app was originally used by young people to take part in dance challenges. However, it’s since expanded to cover a variety of content which appeals to a wider audience. It even offers in-app shopping. TikTok is therefore a platform to consider if you are looking to directly connect your business with your audience.  

What is TikTok? 

TikTok was once known for 15-second dance routines and filter trends. It was largely disregarded by professionals as it presented a childish and playful vibe, a lot like Snapchat; it was somewhere to share funny, light-hearted videos and have fun. 

However, it is now widely used by businesses to promote their products and services. It has rapidly become the place to share short-form 15-second-long videos, which are usually created to music and/or sound effects. The main goal is to create typically light-hearted content which encourages users to keep scrolling through your content.  

There have been more than 1.65 billion downloads of the app, making it the seventh largest social network in the world behind Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WeChat. 

And it’s no wonder it’s so popular: video content has proved important for social media marketers, 93% of whom say it’s vital to their campaigns. Similarly, 54% of content marketers say video is most valuable for social goals, closely followed by images at 53%, and text-based posts at 30% (SproutSocial, 2022). 

TikTok Audience

TikTok is still most popular with younger generations, but only slightly. There are 14.8 million TikTok users in the UK, and this is expected to rise to 15.9 million in 2023, and 16.8 million in 2024 (Statista, 2022). 

Many people mistakenly think TikTok is only relevant for brands looking to target Gen Z or B2C products rather than services, but they would be wrong! People aged 20 to 29 make up 22.4% of users, 30 to 39 21.7% of users, 40 to 49 20.3% of users, and 50 and over 51% of users (Social Shepherd, 2022). 

TikTok for Business 

TikTok can help many companies establish a strong brand presence on the platform. The app is great for driving brand awareness for both B2B and B2C businesses, whether its taking part in TikTok challenges, sharing tips and advice, taking a peek behind the scenes at your company, or recruiting influencers to make your product go viral. 

Every day there’s a new challenge to take part in, leaving brands a steady supply of new ways to get their name out there and connect with their audience. Not all challenges will suit your brand or benefit you massively but trying your best to get as involved as you can is the right way to go.  

TikTok is an obvious platform for consumer-led brands, especially B2C brands selling products, like fashion or makeup, suited to a younger audience. B2C businesses are sharing videos that feature products being used in a fun, creative way or utilising conversion campaigns to drive sales. Alternatively, B2B branding tends to have a more formal approach to its content; however, TikTok isn’t a formal app, so companies are utilising the power of TikTok to showcase their human side. Regardless of whether you are a B2C or B2B business, providing products or services, your ultimate goal is to use TikTok to entertain and help build a community.  

According to a Semrush Study, the humour genre is responsible for 36.5% of popular videos across the platform. 

You don’t have to change your brand identity to create a ‘fun side’ to your brand. See what everyone else is up to on the app and find a way for you to join in while staying true to your marketing strategies.  

A great way to generate an audience would be by showing how your product works. How can you demonstrate your product in a fun and different way? Or even showcase your company culture. Does your team get together for regular team outings or charitable challenges? You have three seconds to get someone’s attention on TikTok until they scroll to the next video, so be interesting, be creative, and be authentic.  

Brands taking TikTok by storm

Thousands of companies use TikTok as one of their main social media platforms, especially considering video is the most popular and effective media choice to advertise and connect with audiences. Aside from TikTok itself with a following of 66 million, the next big brand is Netflix, with 29 million followers.  

Netflix is already a globally popular company, but it uses TikTok extremely well to share trailers and sneak peeks of shows and films that they are releasing or have just released. It also shares popular clips for entertainment purposes.  

While consistently reaching at least 30,000 views on every video, its follower count is constantly increasing. Granted, it’s an easy platform for Netflix to use as it already has a lot of video content to upload directly onto the app. Nevertheless, it’s the best performing entertainment brand on TikTok.  

Starbucks, on the other hand, has to create video content specifically to upload onto TikTok. It doesn’t have a bank of resources to rely on, so it recruits people to create engaging posts for them, ranging from in-house experts to celebrities and influencers. They use trends to keep their following up and audience engaged, and it is proving to be an amazingly effective strategy considering they have a following of 1.9 million. 

Starbucks used TikTok for its successful ‘new drinks’ campaign. It recruited TikTok creators to spread the word of its new drinks ‘inspired by TikTok’. This worked brilliantly to encourage people to make their own videos showing that they had tried the Starbucks drinks, thereby spreading the word for it – very clever and highly effective!  

Ryanair, the Irish ultra-low-cost carrier, rose to TikTok fame after posting its first video in May 2020. Almost two years later, the airline has gained a following of over 1.9 million people and has 23.2 million likes across 152 videos. Also, the Ryanair hashtag has over 1.8 billion views! 

Its content is mainly ‘making the planes talk’. Ryanair uses a TikTok filter to edit a member of staff’s eyes and mouth onto the front of a plane, and they proceed to lip sync to a viral audio, of course relating it to ‘flying life’. Its content focuses on being entertaining to its audience; keeping up to date with trends and making relatable content has proved most successful for Ryanair.  

How can PR & marketing professionals use a short-form video app to their advantage?

At Shooting Star, we had considered starting an account for a while, but we weren’t sure if our business was relevant for a platform with such a young target audience. But, after appointing a new marketing intern and doing a bit of research, we realised it was about time we used it to our advantage.  

Creating content for multiple platforms including TikTok not only highlights the variety of skills within our marketing team, but also offers the perfect opportunity to strengthen our employer branding and target potential future employees. It’s a win-win! 

By taking part in challenges and trends that are relevant to your industry, people will begin to form a personal connection with you, which is a crucial part of selling your products and services. Promoting a positive company culture as well as the employee benefits on offer will also work wonders for your recruitment. 

People use TikTok to be entertained, so, if you make your content eye-catching and worth their time, you can’t fail.  

It makes sense to use social media platforms that you know your current clients and target audience are using. Be open to the idea of trying something new. You never know – it could help build relationships with potential clients you never expected!  

What type of videos would you expect to see?

The TikTok audience tends to enjoy reaction videos, challenges, lip syncs, and vlog-style videos all geared toward entertainment.  

Of course, there are more to explore but here are our top tips for content to get your business started on TikTok: 

Trends – if you can find an appropriate way to recreate trends at work, then you should do it. You probably shouldn’t bother with any gymnastics or car stunts, but a dance routine or a lip sync here and there, if appropriate, could be perfect! 

A day in the life – show people what you get up to. What does your role involve? Who do you work with? How many cups of tea do you make? What do you do during your breaks? Make it interesting, and most importantly be truthful, without divulging sensitive information.  

Behind the scenes – take a tour of your warehouse, demonstrate your photoshoot set-ups, join the team on after-work drinks or team building exercises – the opportunities are endless! Showcase your company as a wonderful place to work.  

Awareness Days – these are a source of endless content! If you’re struggling to think of good ideas, find out if there’s an awareness day or charity event you can participate in. World’s biggest coffee morning in aid of Macmillan? Who’s doing the morning drinks round…?  

It can take time to grow an audience, but practice makes perfect, and quality content will always get noticed… eventually!  

Check us out on TikTok – @weareshootingstaruk