TikTok has the potential to grow your audience quickly, opening virtual doors to a new breed of loyal followers and patients.
TikTok was presented to the world in 2018 when Chinese company ByteDance acquired an app called Musical.ly and improved and renamed it. Since then, it has surpassed 2 billion downloads to become one of the most popular apps in the world.
There are currently over 800 million active monthly users worldwide and an average daily view time of 52 minutes, making TikTok more popular than better known sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.
TikTok has over 1.6 million regular users in Australia, and although it initially tended to be most popular with 13-17 year olds, the percentage of adult users has increased five fold in the past year and continues to grow exponentially as you read this! What is TikTok? TikTok calls itself the “destination for short-form mobile videos” and is a video sharing platform in the same way that Instagram started as a photo sharing app.
It’s like a bite-size version of YouTube, with videos ranging between five and 60 seconds in length. Creators have access to an assortment of filters and effects, as well as a massive music library.
Like every viable social network, TikTok has a host of stars and meme creators who cash in on views, likes, comments and shares. There are more than 35 TikTok influencers who count their followers in the tens of millions, most of whom are not mainstream celebrities, But the key to TikTok’s success is its algorithm, which uses artificial intelligence to make personalised recommendations for viewers. The video feed plays the minute the app opens, instantly sucking viewers in. Users can follow their favourite creators, but they don’t have to for the feed to be filled automatically with curated clips that they will invariably love. Think ‘Explore’ on Facebook.
TikTok makes content discovery central to its experience and this is what allows videos to go viral so fast.
What Content Performs Well on TikTok?
Unlike other social networks, TikTok has a huge trend culture. This means that although original, creative video concepts can work well, the best performing TikToks are often ones that are easy to replicate by the masses, or are a spin-off of an existing trend.
For example, TikTok’s dance trends are now an integral part of popular culture — and for music artists, securing a viral trend on the platform can be enough to send their track downloads soaring.
But TikTok trends aren’t just limited to dance routines. There are viral trends for almost everything: animals, lip syncs, fashion and beauty transitions, fitness workouts and tips, comedy moments, camera hacks and challenges. Often, the most basic and fun concepts are the most successful on TikTok. Cats jumping over walls of toilet rolls, lip sync impersonations and people throwing miscellaneous objects into a cup are all simple but hugely popular trends.
If you’re not sure where to start on TikTok, check out TikTok’s Discovery Page for inspiration. Here you’ll find all the Trending hashtags based on your geographical location, as well as a breakdown of popular videos by category.
How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?
Before we look at how the TikTok algorithm works, note that TikTok is notorious for keeping their ‘For You’ page algorithm a secret.
The total TikTok exposure of a video seems to be based on the performance of each individual video, rather than your profile as a whole. So your videos can still get millions of views, even if you have hardly any followers – something that is infinitely more difficult on Instagram or Facebook.
When your video is published, it is served to a small number of TikTok users in between popular videos on their ‘For You’ page. Which is why when you’re scrolling through your ‘For You’ page, you’ll often see a video that has few likes. If your video is received well by the users who initially receive it, the chances are it will get delivered to a larger pool of users, and then to even more.
So even if you only have a handful of followers on TikTok, your video can still go viral.
What is a hashtag challenge?
Just like Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are an essential part of TikTok. But here, hashtags are used for challenges.
The creator launching a challenge needs to make a video and select a song to accompany the material. Then they will challenge the users to produce their own version with the hashtag.
So to launch a successful challenge you need to:
- Do your research – Look at the successful hashtag challenges in the past that went viral and apply the principles to what you’re trying to achieve.
- Create a share-worthy hashtag – The common element between successful social media challenges is that they have a specific hashtag for participants to use and share.
- Keep the focus on you – While the hashtag for your challenge needs to be relevant, the challenge itself should be focussed on your clinic or treatments/services that your wish to promote.
- Make it memorable – Successful social media challenges of the past such as The Ice Bucket Challenge, Ten Year Challenge, and Mannequin Challenge have a memorable task that easily comes to mind.
- Select the right audio – Most successful hashtag challenges have distinctive audio that is relevant to your challenge and also engaging for your audience.
- Lay down clear rules – You need to lay down the rules of exactly what the challenge is and how to participate. Do you want people to perform a certain task? Can they give it their own creative twist? This sbould remain constant in all the challenge videos.
Collaborate with Influencers
Although TikTok influencer marketing isn’t huge yet, it’s one of the most effective forms of marketing when you’re using the platform.
Working with these stars to advertise your clinic could help you immensely, especially if you’re targeting younger patients.
TikTok influencer ads work best when the TikTok talent you’ve selected is given creative freedom, the partnership is authentic, and the content discloses the sponsorship. As the platform grows more sophisticated, the tracking capabilities allow sponsors to have more direct insights into the performance of TikTok influencer marketing campaigns.
One of TikTok’s major advantages is the ability to advertise content uniquely with the goal of gaining new audience.
Businesses are entering the TikTok market mainly because it’s uncluttered and there’s a lot of ways to advertise.
Aside from hashtag challenges, TikTok offers four additional brand ad solutions: • Brand takeover – A full-screen ad that appears instantly when a user opens the app. It’s either a threesecond image or a three to fivesecond GIF.
- Branded effects – With these, creators can interact with your brand and use your special filter.
- It can be incorporated with the hashtag challenge.
- In-Feed ads – These are ads that are integrated into the users’ “For You” feed or placed at the bottom of organic videos.
- TopView – A new video format that presents your ads when the app opens. It’s like Brand Takeover but content such as In-Feed video can be used.
So if your clinic is thinking about using TikTok, now is the time to get on board, review the platform, be inspired by current users and start experimenting. If your patients are older, it may not yet be a good fit, but the same could have been said for Facebook 10 years ago. With some creative posts, you have a great chance to grow your audience quickly and easily, giving you a strong presence once potential new patients inevitably come on board. AMP
The Sydney Morning Herald reported at the beginning of August that the Australian federal government won’t be banning the TikTok app after security agencies found it doesn’t raise serious concerns over national security.
According to the SMH, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison said there was ‘nothing at this point that would suggest to us that security interests have been compromised or Australian citizens have been compromised because of what’s happening with those applications’. However, he did mention that there is still a risk that personal data could be sent to China and warned Australians ‘to be very aware’.
At the same time in the USA, President Trump issued executive orders that he would ban two apps, TikTok and WeChat, from operating in the USA if they were not sold by their respective Chinese parent companies by September 15. In response, both Microsoft and Twitter have reportedly been in talks to acquire and administer TikTok for use in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is unprecedented that a social media app has ever been split up along regional lines or whether that’s even possible. From the evidence of the Australian investigation, it could appear that the orders may be another weapon in an expanding war on China’s tech sector.