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The New Frontier: How Businesses are Succeeding with TikTok

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

The social media platform TikTok continues to make waves in the digital marketing industry. Available in over 150 countries, the platform is a great place to expand upon your marketing strategy, especially if your target market encompasses those between the ages of 13 and 30. Statistics posted by Wallaroo Media indicate that the app has been downloaded over 2 billion times worldwide, and has 800 million monthly active users; 60 million of those monthly users come directly from the United States. Based directly on TikTok statistics, of those 60 million users in the United States:

  • 60% are female and 40% are male

  • 60% are between the ages of 16-24

  • 26% are between the ages of 25-44

  • 80% are between the ages of 16-34

Though TikTok is primarily directed towards a younger demographic, all social media platforms eventually age, so it is best to establish a presence early. Some businesses are way ahead of the curve, dominating with interactive challenges and the help of social media influencers. Here are some businesses that can give insight into different ways to approach a TikTok marketing strategy. Individual strategies and pricing is discussed in our other blog post

One business that has recently started to shine on TikTok is the National Football League (NFL). An article written by Robert Williams and posted on Mobile Marketer explained that the NFL had been developing promotional efforts in light of the recent NFL Draft of college players last week. Due to the global pandemic, the league was not able to conduct a large live gathering as in years past for the NFL Draft. Williams pointed out that “draft day has become a major promotional event for the league, with sponsors running social media campaigns and airing ads that benefit from the NFL’s ability to generate extensive publicity.” The league decided to use social media platforms to connect with their fans while broadcasting the draft picks on specific television channels. 

The NFL incorporated a hashtag challenge, a casting of their virtual fundraiser for COVID-19 relief, and new in-app effects. Utilizing a hashtag challenge, TikTok users were asked to videotape their career goals using the hashtag #GoingPro. This challenge had more than 580 million views by Friday morning, with the draft beginning Thursday night. NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, even participated in a dance challenge. TikTok also added a visual filter that allowed users to create their own virtual player cards with key statistics. The NFL partnered with TikTok to post a live stream of the NFL’s “Draft-a-Thon Live,” a fundraiser for COVID-19 relief. The #GoingPro hashtag directed users to the league’s website, inclining many to donate. 

The National Basketball Association, or NBA, has also developed a strong presence on TikTok since the earlier days of the app. The NBA profile has over 5.5 million followers on the app, one of the largest of any brand, according to another Wallaroo Media article. The NBA has consistently put out content, but have kept it light and funny, which has played out to be a huge strength for the brand on this platform. The article comments that NBA highlights are primary on Instagram, NBA news is primary on Twitter, but NBA comedy can be found on TikTok. Even USA Today mentioned that the NBA players on the platform are keeping everyone entertained during a time where live sports have been put on hold. 

Another promising business to learn from on TikTok is Elf Cosmetics. Inspired by Kash Doll’s 2018 song “Ice Me Out”, the company created a song specifically for a TikTok campaign, called “Eyes Lips Face” as per the brand's acronym. This song is believed to be the first original song developed for a TikTok campaign. With the help of some TikTok influencers, Elf Cosmetics used the song along with the hashtag #eyeslipsface to encourage users to post pictures of them dancing with their best makeup looks for a chance to win $250 of cosmetic and skincare products from the brand. The hashtag has since accumulated 5.1 billion views and over 3.8 billion posts. The giveaway challenge can be viewed here

Other brands such as Chipotle, Guess, and The Washington Post have been utilizing TikTok in order to better connect with their audiences. As the platform continues to grow, it is recommended to brainstorm about how your brand can benefit from TikTok. Campaign strategies include Brand Takeover Ads, Hashtag Challenges, Advertising Campaigns, and Influencers.

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