If you spend any amount of time on social media or have someone in your household under the age of 18, you’ve likely heard of the Internet’s latest sensation – TikTok. No, it’s not just the sound of your old wall clock. TikTok is an app designed to showcase quick, snappy video content set to music of the video creator’s choosing. Think fun, homemade music videos in 15-second increments. 

So how did TikTok rise to fame? And would your personal brand or business benefit from joining the platform? That all depends on what your goals are, and who exactly you want to target. 

Getting To Know TikTok

For those who regularly check out what’s new and trending in the app market, you may have heard of a platform called Musical.ly, which launched in 2014. This was the first incarnation of TikTok before it merged with a competing company called ByteDance. The platform first rose to fame overseas, and recently gained popularity in the U.S.  

If you’ve spent time on previous video-based apps such as Snapchat and the now defunct app Vine, there will definitely be a feeling of familiarity to the TikTok platform. But users will find much more on TikTok than low quality lip sync videos of popular songs and short messages to friends. Creators have also used the platform to create unique dances, comedy routines, and now short, daily shows from some of the country’s biggest brands.  

TikTok videos are vertical and limited to 15 seconds. However, users can string 15-second clips together for a total length of 60 seconds, and upload videos from outside the app. Videos can be customized with filters, effects, and hashtags, and users are able to follow friends or discover new, popular content from the apps’ home screen. 

As with most other social networks, a handful of influential TikTokers have skyrocketed to fame. These users are referred to as “Musers” within the app. Some of the biggest Musers are the creators of popular TikTok “challenges” which center around a specific song or dance. Viewers are then encouraged to create and share their own versions of the Muser’s original video. 

Should TikTok be a part of your personal strategy?

So should you sign up and add TikTok to your marketing efforts? Here are 3 important questions to help you decide.

1. Who do you want to serve? 

TikTok’s demographic is widely Gen-Z users, ages 16-24 with females, currently outnumbering males on the platform. If you specifically want to serve a younger audience or you have an entertainment-based business, TikTok could be an excellent place to build familiarity and trust. However, older audiences may be better served with a focus on Facebook, Instagram, and other networks.

2. Do you have creative ideas for video content?

Not only has TikTok provided a new advertising venue for music creators, but it’s also become a great place for brand partnerships and collaborations. Between its influencer marketing potential, its paid ads program, and brand sponsorships, there are exciting possibilities for those willing to create content to fit TikTok’s format. Ads on the platform are costly, but might become more approachable as the platform develops. If you are specifically interested in reaching a younger audience, this may be a great platform to consider. 

3. Will you stay consistent on the platform?

When it comes to your branding, one of the worst things you can do is trying to be everywhere at once. The most strategic way to reach your goals and grow your business is to lean in on a few specific platforms and show up in a big way. So if you’ve decided TikTok is for you, you’ll need to consistently create new content and engage with others on the platform. 

As with all things social media, it’s hard to say how long TikTok will stick around and remain popular. However, the massive impact it’s had on young Internet users in such a short period should be proof that companies and brands shouldn’t rule it out just yet.

What about you? Have you checked out TikTok yet? What are some brands, organizations, or individuals that you’ve seen use the platform well? We want to hear from you!