If you’ve been trying to figure out the secrets to virality on TikTok, you might have figured out that those who succeed on Instagram don’t necessarily get the same traction on TikTok.
This is the case because the way TikTok functions and the audiences in it are almost the direct opposite of Instagram. So if you’re thinking that you can mirror your Instagram contents or copy the same concept into a TikTok video to generate engagement, you’re going to have trouble with growing your TikTok account.
We gathered 3 general rules for posting on TikTok to show you how different these two platforms are.
1. Be Like Everybody Else
The idea TikTok has sold to its over 2 billion users is that everyone can be a video creator. That’s why the top creators on TikTok tend to be normal teenagers instead of celebrities or socialites--one of the reasons why TikTok and Instagram become the opposite of one another in terms of content.
Since everyone can be a creator, a creator on TikTok should be like everyone else. Although this sounds counterintuitive, brands need to understand that the future of social media we are looking at is creating less and less effort for users to join in. This culture on TikTok causes users to seek authenticity when looking for an account to follow. This means contents that are informal, spontaneous, and personal.
Not convinced? Research shows that 42% of Gen Z, the dominating users of TikTok, stated that social media affects their self-esteem. That is more than 25% of millennials. Creating contents that are relatable in substance and quality will appeal to that 42 % of users.
However, as a brand, planning your content is a necessity. So how do you plan authenticity then? Your effort in growing your TikTok should be invested in finding trends, listening to the audience and users in general, following who they follow, and inevitably, creating content that they would create. To do this you need to maximize your TikTok analytics use, taking advantage of profile and hashtags analytics to “listen” to what users are really talking about.
2. “Gen Z doesn’t mind being marketed to, as long as it’s quality content.” - Jacob Pace, CEO of Flighthouse
If TikTok users prefer authentic content, doesn’t that mean they won’t like content by brands? Not necessarily. In fact, there are plenty of brands like Chipotle, Fenty Beauty, and Guess that managed to grow a successful and lucrative TikTok presence without losing their brand image. However, you won’t be a successful brand on TikTok if you treat your account as an advertising channel.
When it comes to campaigns, brands tend to be very subtle. A majority, if not all, of the top brand campaigns on TikTok, did not mention their brands’ name on their challenges and posts. In fact, some do not show any logo or identification at all. Their contents focus primarily on how to engage the audience in their online activities, being dancing, lip-syncing, or flipping a takeout box’s lid. The brand will speak for itself.
As Tressie Lieberman from Chipotle said, “at the end of the day, people come to TikTok for engaging content, and brands can’t make the mistake of taking themselves too seriously.” Don’t worry about not gaining revenue from non-advertorial posts, TikTok users spending is astonishingly high.
3. Involve The Audience
According to Fanbytes, a popular TikTok influencer agency in the UK, one of the biggest mistake brands can make in advertising to Gen Z is to sell a product instead of an experience. Therefore in order to “sell” the experience to your TikTok audience, you have to think of how your followers and fans can participate.
Challenges and songs are one thing, but other brands such as the media brand Buzzfeed, are doing more by looking for Gen Z to cover the election. Gen Z is known to not be easily persuaded with marketing ploys, so one of the keys to connecting to this market is to earn their trust. By creating content that they can recreate, duet, or even by reposting their content, brands can build a community where they and their audience can feel like they are an equal part of something. There are many ways that the TikTok audiences are different from those on Instagram. Brands need to stay agile and adapt to the different characters of the two platforms.