Originally posted on forbes.
TikTok is a social media sensation that marketers can no longer ignore. While the platform is most popular among millennials and Generation Z demographics, it’s becoming the sought-after content destination for influencers, celebrities and even politicians.
TikTok boasts over 2 billion downloads from the Apple and Google app stores and has approximately 10.25 million daily active users worldwide. It is also one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the U.S.
For those who want to further explore this buzzy app for business, remember that you’ll be creating video-based content with a different mindset than on Instagram or Facebook. TikTok doesn’t rely on high-resolution images or polished content. Users look for originality, creativity, fun and humor.
Once you familiarize yourself with TikTok and get comfortable with its video features, use the hottest app of the year to your advantage. It offers a few options as far as paid ads, but if you’re not implementing hashtag challenges, you’re missing out on one of the best ways TikTok can boost your brand awareness.
What is a hashtag challenge?
This unique-to-TikTok content is one of the best ways to increase your engagement and familiarize your brand with this community of users. In a hashtag challenge, users are invited to create their own content around your specific campaign. One example includes an apparel company creating a challenge around users showing how they’re wearing the brand’s denim looks. Many popular challenges utilize song or dance.
How can hashtag challenges help your brand?
TikTok boasts a huge community of content creators. When users decide to participate in a challenge, they will create their own original content and encourage others to do the same. If you’re a small business owner dreaming of your brand going viral, this is your chance. Aside from having the ability to create profound engagement, here are some added benefits:
• You can curate an abundance of user-generated content.
• You can collaborate and grow your influencer marketing profile with TikTok influencers. You’ll elevate your brand awareness as influencers known to the community encourage users to participate in your hashtag challenges.
• You can utilize this additional platform to grow your social media presence, especially with younger generations. You also have the potential to generate more traffic and leads with a new audience.
How can you set your brand up for hashtag challenge success?
Hashtag challenges are generally easy for users to participate in, but they take careful thought and planning on the part of the brand. While your challenge will receive creative and original content, it needs to have clear purpose to determine ROI.
Do your research. What types of challenges are other brands within your industry promoting? Also, be familiar with your audience, and be certain that your challenge fits your demographic. Here are some other guidelines to keep in mind:
• Create a definitive goal for your challenge. For example, are you looking to create general brand awareness or to promote a new product or service?
• Establish clear and easy-to-follow rules. Users love a creative challenge, but it needs to be one they can perform quickly and easily.
• Put some thought into how you promote the challenge. It should feel more authentic than staged. This is an opportune moment to shine with influencer collaboration.
• Looking to take your brand’s authenticity even further? Show your own company/employees participating in the challenge.
Boost your presence with paid ad options.
Like other social media platforms, TikTok offers paid ads for brands to boost their presence. Paying to sponsor your hashtag challenge puts your message out there on the “Discovery” page. Users can simply click on your ad to be taken to your challenge. You can also select the e-commerce feature Hashtag Challenge Plus, which directs users to shop on your website.
Other ad options include brand takeovers, where your brand video takes over the screen before the user sees any other content, and in-feed videos, where your ad appears on TikTok’s news feed, the “For You” page. Your ad can also appear as part of influencer-sponsored content.
In terms of unique ad options that other platforms don’t cover, TikTok’s AR ad format offers branded lenses, stickers and other content for TikTok users to incorporate into their videos.
What’s the bottom line?
TikTok is proving to be beyond a Gen Z fad. Even if your business isn’t ready to invest in paid ads and the time to create content, it’s still wise to keep this platform on your radar and understand how it works. For brands that are seeing the most success with video-savvy content, it might just be the app for you to join and spread your wings beyond live video feeds and interactive Instagram stories.