An introduction to TikTok
Updated: Oct 13
By PR Associate, Sophie Bidesi
TikTok is the fastest growing social media app on the market - with more than 689 million users in 155 countries across the world. Used for creating short-form video content, the app is fast-paced, engaging and highly curated (and addictive!).
TikTok initially launched in 2016, but became more popular in 2018 when the app Musical.ly was taken over by the Chinese company ByteDance - which resulted in all of Musical.ly’s users and content being transferred over to TikTok. It was in 2020 that TikTok’s growth as a platform accelerated when social media usage significantly increased globally as a result of the pandemic.
Although TikTok is a relatively new platform, it is currently ranked the seventh most popular social media app.
TikTok users spend a significant amount of time on the app with the average being 52 minutes per session. About 90 per cent of users visit the app multiple times throughout the day.
The dominate age demographic falls between 10 – 29 year olds, which can be classified as a largely Gen Z audience. In Australia, eight per cent of the population uses TikTok which equates to an audience of more than 1.7 million people.
The success of TikTok as a platform can be attributed to a number of unique app features. It is extremely user friendly and simple to use, making it a highly addictive platform with new content constantly being shared and created by users across the world. A crucial part of TikTok’s success is its advanced algorithm, which continuously updates user’s feeds to match their current interests – based on content they are engaging with.
There are little to no barriers on the app which enables users to view content from anywhere in the world, and also makes celebrities more accessible and presents normal people with an opportunity to become famous on the app. This is a key factor in TikTok’s popularity, as it moves away from the traditional ‘celebrity’ and influencer culture, and presents an opportunity for everyday people to be recognised for what they do – whether it be creating entertaining videos, or showcasing their talent in a chosen field.
Trends are a crucial part of TikTok - whether it be creating or following trends. There are hundreds of trends in different categories within the app at any given moment, as well as trends within trends. Trends can be global or niche, and can be created through the video content, audio used or editing style.
TikTok trends often create a ripple effect on other industries – for example, popular songs on the app will start getting played on the radio due to increased Spotify/Apple Music streaming, or celebrities that are glamourised on the app will make a career comeback and grow in popularity on other social media platforms (think: Tom Felton’s comeback after Harry Potter took over TikTok last year).
With this in mind, how can businesses ensure that their content lands on TikTok?
1. Understand your audience and tailor content accordingly 60 per cent of TikTok’s users fall within the Gen Z age bracket, so it’s crucial that your content is inclusive and relevant to this audience. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider other age groups when creating content, but it is important that you target the predominate age demographic. Keep up with trends, ensure that your content is culturally relevant and don’t try to ‘sell’ on the platform – users appreciate content that is more real, authentic and personal.
2. Aim to educate or solve a problem Content that provides insight, tips or advice tends to perform well on TikTok. Users are looking for ways to save money, time and energy, or learn more about a particular industry, so if you can factor this into your content, you’ll be sure to capture their attention.
3. Create visually engaging content TikTok is a video-sharing app, with a huge selection of filters and effects to choose from. The key to good content is capturing and retaining your audience’s attention for the entirety of your video. Content creators on the app use interesting effects and video edits to draw in their audience – so content that isn’t visually captivating won’t perform as well. Take the time to capture quality content, and edit your videos in an engaging way.
4. Be niche There are millions of users across the globe on TikTok, and thousands of ever-changing trends. The more niche you are, the more likely you are to break through to a particular audience that is interested in your brand and wanting to interact with you content. Being specific about what you will post will help you achieve cut-through and allow you to reach your target audience.
5. Be consistent Like all social media channels, consistency is key on TikTok. It is recommended to post frequently on the app, but you also need to ensure that you set a posting schedule that is realistic for you. Whether it’s posting every day, or five to six times per week, choose an option that works for you and stick to it to see the best results on this channel.