Have you ever wondered how you can incorporate TikTok into your social media strategy?
Drawing from his 20 years of experience in marketing and social media strategy (13 of those years with prestigious companies like Salesforce, Coca-Cola, and Chick-Fil-A) Jason discusses with the Omnicast team his findings and predictions when it comes to the mega-popular app, TikTok.
Formerly known as the lip-syncing app Musical.ly, TikTok gained momentum when The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon started encouraging viewers to take part in challenges using the TikTok app. The simplicity of the app and the fact that it encourages everyday users to creatively express and share their passions with everyone helped to propel TikTok into the ranks of other social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Now, with over 800 million users, the rising popularity of people creating act-out memes and short-form videos on TikTok has made it a platform that is impossible to ignore.
5 TikTok Statistics
- 800 Million Users Worldwide
(Influencer Marketing Hub)
- 41% are between the ages of 16-24
(Salman Aslam of Omnicore Agency)
- Adult usage has grown by 5.5 times in the past 18 months
(Maryam Moshin of Oberlo)
- Users spend an average of 52 minutes a day on the platform
- Demographics in the United States are 41.2% Male, 58.8% Female
In a powerful display of leveraging TikiTok, Chipotle was able to reach more than 95 million people during Super Bowl LIV with their “TikTok Timeout” challenge. Featuring Justin Bieber and several social media influencers, this campaign, under the #TikTokTimeout hashtag, challenged people to create their own ads set to Bieber’s latest hit, “Yummy.” Data shared by Chipotle showed how marketing on the TikTok platform was able to generate an astonishing amount of traffic (almost the size of the entire Superbowl audience!) to their restaurant chain.
Another brand that is absolutely killing it is @SteakUmm with their 90.6K followers and 1.1 Million likes. Nathan Allebach (CEO of personified frozen meat brands) social media manager and the voice of Steak-umm is using TikTok in a fun and relevant way to promote the brand wearing a frozen meat mask showcased in short videos set to music.
TikTok influencers are completely different from other platforms on social media like YouTube. YouTube uses larger formats such as 15-30 minute or longer videos, which you can’t do on TikTok, as content, similar to the defunct app Vine, is limited and can only be up to 60 seconds.
Rapper and singer/songwriter Lil Nas X was able to create a TikTok phenomenon when he uploaded his song Old Town Road to TikTok. What was simply just a song suddenly transformed into an overnight viral sensation and meme with countless TikTok users creating videos of themselves drinking “yee yee juice” and transforming into cowboys set to Old Town Road. Striking while the iron was hot, Doritos teamed up with Lil Nas X for the #coolranchdance challenge, which reached out to over 17.7 million people.
TikTok is fresh territory for brands in 2020 and many companies have realized that by using the platform to share niche content, the have been able to successfully target their desired audience (in this case, primarily younger, Gen Z mobile consumers) and defy all expectations across the board.
How To Use TikTok – 2020 Predictions
Download the app, create a profile, and look at TikTok videos to get a sense of techniques being used on the platform with how content moves swiping up.
- Build Awareness to Grow Impressions
- Customer Testimonial for Expanding Reach
- Highlight People of the Brand
- Behind the Scenes – How & What the Brand or Product Does
- Use Trending Hashtags such as #challenge for Engagement
- Share Tips & Tricks outside the Brand/Product
- Upload Video Content to TikTok
Tool of the Week – Email Newsletters
Tyler’s favorite email newsletter is Social Media Examiner Experts give guidance for social media strategy and best practices.
Susan’s goto email newsletter informs people of personal development in creating new habits and routines featured on Start Today from the Hollis Company.
Jason’s must-read email newsletter is Morning Brew which promotes the latest news from Wall Street to Silcon Valley
[Intro] This is the Omnicast Sales and Marketing Podcast for leaders that are ready to grow their businesses. With your hosts, Tyler Jacobson and Susan Barry.
[Tyler] This is the Omnicast Sales and Marketing Podcast for leaders that are ready to grow their businesses. I’m Tyler Jacobson of Omnifonic Digital Marketing in Denver, Colorado. And my least favorite cookies are Snicker Doodles.
[Susan] And I’m Susan Barry, Hive Marketing, where we help hotels improve top line revenue. Here in Atlanta, Georgia, and my least favorite cookies are sunshine biscuits.
Do you guys remember those? Those weird black cookies that are made out of smushed up raisins are so gross.
[Tyler] I’ve never heard of that before, ever.
[Susan] Well, consider yourself lucky because you would have a new least favorite cookie. Joining us today is my friend Jason Dominy from The Krystal Company. For those of you not in the south, Krystal is a fast food chain that was founded 87 years ago and is famous for their iconic square burgers. Jason, since we’ve known each other for a long time, I’m going to ask you to introduce yourself.
[Jason] Okay. My name is Jason Dominy. Obviously, I’ve been in marketing now for close to 20 years and the past 13 years of that have been specifically on the social media side, both on the brand side and the agency side. So I’ve managed social for brands like Salesforce and Coca-Cola and Chick fil A. And then I’ve also been on the brand side, which is where I find myself now, managing social for the fast food chain, Krystal. I am on the board for Social Media Club Atlanta. I’m active in the other marketing groups in the city, and I love helping people sort of figure out the right strategies for using social media to grow their businesses.
[Susan] Well, I appreciate that so much. And I follow all everything that you post very closely. And one of the things that I’ve seen you posting a lot more about lately is TikTok . So that’s why we wanted to have you on the show today, because we, Tyler and I are both very curious about TikTok and interested in getting some insights from an expert. Can you describe TikTok for those folks who may not be familiar with what it is?
[Jason] So TikTok is the app formerly known as Musical.ly , which was basically an app whereby folks would lip sync to songs. That’s really sort of how it got started. People would play the songs and lip sync it in different sort of environments and atmospheres. And that was sort of how that app got started. And then it was morphed into a TikTok , which has sort of become Vine 2.0 for for some people, it’s 15 second or 60 second small snippet videos. And so it’s super easily digestible, consumable content. It’s funny because the average user on the app spends about 52 minutes a day on the platform. So what I mean, it’s easily digestible. I mean, it’s really easy for people to just flip through. And next thing you know, an hour’s gone by.
[Susan] I first heard about it from my niece, who is 13/14 years old. Is TikTok really just for middle school or high school age folks? Is it weird for middle aged marketers like us to be interested in learning more about TikTok?
[Jason] So it’s very fascinating. And this is what I find fascinating. That was my idea of it. It was sort of like Snapchat, right. But the more time that I’ve spent on the platform, the more I saw older folks. I mean, I would I mean, older folks. I mean, you know, anyone over 40, for instance, on the platform. And they were not only on the platform in an awkward way. They weren’t on it in an awkward way, but they were in it in a very easily relevant way, sort of doing their own thing, sort of making their own way. So I know that 41% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24. But I also know that the fastest growing segment of TikTok is adults. So over the past 18 months, the number of adults has grown by five and a half times. And that tells me that a lot of people are sort of more once they figure out how to use the app, are really sort of seeing it as a way to, you know, to engage with each other, to have fun. I’ve seen a lot of really inspirational stuff. So, some of the ones that I follow are folks with disabilities. I know it sounds kind of odd, but these folks go on there and they get encouraged every day. It’s a very unique place to find this social element to it. There’s an older gentleman that I follow that’s I think he’s probably 80. And he just gives you life lessons of things that he’s learned over the course of his life. And so while it may be perceived as a younger platform, it’s definitely morphing into something that’s far greater. And when I look at my, one of the tools that they use for you, that’s really one of the best tools that they have is the For You Tab, which is just sort of giving you things that they recommend for you and sort of a discovery thing. Again, I find so many different types of people, so many age groups, so many people using the app in different ways. So there still are people that are using it in the Musical.ly way, which is basically just lip syncing to songs. But because of the hashtag element, you’re starting to see lots of people join on with these hashtag challenges. So one of the primary components of TikTok is what’s called a hashtag challenge. And you can search for hashtags and hashtag challenges and you can sort of jump on there and sort of give it your spin. And so one that was very recent was for the brand Doritos and it was the Doritos challenge. Lots of brands, Chipotle has been doing it. Lots of brands have been getting on there and trying to figure out ways to engage with users around these hashtag challenges. And because of that, like I said, you’re seeing a wider variety of ages that are on the platform using it regularly.
[Tyler] OK. So when you say that 41 percent are 16 to 24 and you don’t have to have this information or if you don’t have it. Does your gut tell you that if you start incorporating 13 to 16, that pushes you over that 50 percent mark? Like, is it a very young platform at the end of the day? For 2020?
[Jason] For 2020, no. I definitely see adults because the adults are the fastest growing segment on the platform. I can definitely see adults as being the fastest growing platform. Hey, keep in mind, too, that as soon as you know this does happen with social media platforms. When younger folks embrace a social media platform and it starts to be sort of inundated or overrun by the older folks, that pushes the younger folks to other platforms. That’s just a natural progression. The younger folks don’t want to be where the older folks are. That’s why if you think about it a lot more of that younger segment or are less likely to be using Facebook on a regular basis rather than WhatsApp or Snapchat or TikTok or these other things. Why? It’s because their mom is on there and their grandma is on there. And so I think what you’ll see is more sort of a balancing out, an evening out between the demographics. As more older folks come, you know, you’ll see more younger folks go to other places. And in my opinion, in 2020, you’ll see it balance out in terms of demographics. Because keep in mind, Vine, the app is very similar to Vine and Vine had had a very equal distribution of demographics as well.
[Tyler] So can brands at this point expect big audiences on TikTok or is there another objective entirely?
[Jason] You know, they can. Right now, it’s a really fresh territory. A lot of brands like ours are figuring out what that looks like for us. And a lot of brands have already seen some real good success from that. I gave the example of Chipotle being one of those. Chipotle is doing a really good job of engaging influencers and getting people to kind of pop on there. They recently partnered with one of the biggest TikTok stars, Zach King, who produce, I think, a couple of different videos for them. And they’re using it in a really good, relevant way that fits with the platform. That’s the thing is that brands have to figure out how to actually, how to fit in a relevant way into the TikTok timeline. And so I think you’re seeing a lot more brands that are taking their time to make sure that they do it right when they do come onto the platform. But right now, it’s still very early.
I think there’s a lot of potential for brands, another brand that is just absolutely killing it on TikTok in my opinion is Steak-Umm. So, Steak-Umm, sliced meat.That’s what they do, right? Frozen sliced meat. Doesn’t really seem sexy, but Steak-Umm is absolutely crushing it on TikTok. And they’re doing it in a way that’s fun, relevant in the timeline. So when you’re swiping up, it looks natural in the timeline. And the person who does is behind that, Nathan Allebach. He is actually in some of the TikTok’s himself. He makes it really fun and I recommend that folks follow that to see what a brand should look like on TikTok and how they can join in the conversation. But I mean, you’re seeing really big numbers on Chipotle’s Page and Steak-Umm’s Page.
I know that when I post this, we have about seven or eight TikTok on our page now. Again, I started slow to kind of get the feel for what it looked like and felt like for our brand on there because we’re 87 year old brand. We’re not a young, hip brand like Warby Parker, for instance.
But I wanted to sort of make sure that whatever I was posting on our TikTok would fit in the timeline as I scrolled up and down. And so you can kind of see that for us. You know, it’s behind the scenes content. It’s fun content with our food. And that’s sort of what Steak-Umms is doing
[Tyler] OK. So there was a lot to digest there. And I want to pick apart some of it as we go here. But my most immediate question was about those influencers. And do you find that the people who are succeeding on YouTube are having crossover success on TikTok? Or is it a completely new crop of stars on TikTok that haven’t really existed before?
[Jason] It’s a completely different crop of people. I’ll give you the example of Lil Nas X who had this song Old Town Road. He got his start basically on TikTok. Right. And has now blown up. I mean, they had like the biggest song of the year, last year. It is a completely different crop of folks. And I can understand that the folks that are on YouTube that are really good on YouTube, they’re on that platform because it’s a larger format, kinda, for the media. So, yeah, they’re making 15-30 minute an hour long videos, which you can’t do on TikTok . You have to do it within 15 seconds or 60 seconds. And I find that most of the creativity that I’m seeing are from people that I’ve never heard of before. And most of the influences that are on there are people that I wasn’t familiar with either.
[Susan] That’s a, kind of a good segway. So when we were talking about brands and TikTok specific influencers, the question that sort of pops into my head is about video quality or quality control. I am used to working with brands who have a very tight stranglehold on their identity and the quality of the media that they put out, et cetera, et cetera. And it almost feels to me like the most engaging and authentic TikToks are lower quality. Somebody in their living room doing something funny. What are your thoughts around sort of how to balance that?
[Jason] Honestly, I’m thinking of brands like IHG, for instance, who, you know, they have some of the higher end hotels and some of these, Marriott are some of these higher end hotel chains. Obviously, image is really important to them and especially around luxury. I don’t think that TikTok is probably the best place for them because, again, it is super organic and it’s better when it’s organic. I feel like those folks would be better on Instagram where they can post a lot more kind of, you know, images that sort of match their personality. And that’s the other thing, too, is that whatever you’re doing, whatever social media platform, it should match your personality and you should match your personality up with the platform. So I think that the best TikToks you see are very organic. And if you look at the Steak-Umm and I keep using that example because it’s absolutely brilliant, this Steak-Umm TikToks are very organic. They’re very raw. They’re shot with cameras. Although you can upload videos. You can upload videos into TikTok now, which is sort it was a game changer. So you can create the videos outside of that and then upload them into TikTok.
[Susan] You mean instead of shooting it on your phone?
[Jason] instead of shooting it on your phone.
[Jason] The only thing that works differently is when you shoot it on your phone and you’re using a song in the background, it stops whenever you stop recording and then it picks back up whenever you start back. So, for instance, one of the most popular TikTok is the the Bippity Boppity Boo TikTok, as I call it. Which is where usually women, gals, girls will be standing in front of a mirror not made up in a bathrobe with. Their hair in a towel. And they’ll do this thing where they go Bippity Boppity Boo, which I think is from Cinderella. And then whenever they come back, they go “Bippity Boppity Boo” they stop and they come back and they’re fully made up. And they’re, you know, they look amazing. Well, the music stops when they stop. And then it picks back up when they pick back up. You’d have to upload your music in the background into the video that you upload rather than using the music that comes with the app. So there’s some, there’s some nuance things that are related to that. But at the end of the day, Organic type content like that will always perform better because again, it seems more real. Doesn’t matter what brand you are. And a lot of, like I said, the Chipotles stuff, the behind the scene stuff, it’s very raw and very unpolished, but it’s real.
[Tyler] So when you say organic, I understand what you mean about being natural in the feed. But are you also, do you also have paid options in there that you’re leveraging?
[Jason] You do have paid options. They’ve just recently started sort of unveiling what that will look like on the platform. And you’re starting to see some paid ads in the timeline. It’s not a lot right now, which is which I’m thankful for. It’s sort of, they’re taking a more slowly, more calculated route similar to what Snapchat did and what Instagram did. So right now, your timeline isn’t isn’t full of ads, but they are creating these methods for paid ads as we speak. And so you’ll start to see more of that. But even then, that content will need to look organic and it will need to feel organic, because if it feels, looks like an ad and it doesn’t matter what platform it is, they’re going to scroll on past it.
[Tyler] So is authenticity important on TikTok? Because I’ve seen things that are clearly staged. I’ve seen people doing comedy bits on there. What’s your take on it?
[Jason] I mean, authenticity is always number one. Keep in mind, like, why do you go to social media? And this is not just so TikTok. This is just social media. On the whole.
You go to you go to social media as a break or prete a reprieve from whatever it is that you’re dealing with in your day. And you want the stuff that’s real, whether it’s your cousin’s birthday, your friend’s birth of their kid, your friend’s wedding. You go there for real stuff and authentic stuff. And it doesn’t matter what platform that is. So, again, I think that there are places for that content, the more various staged content, which is probably like Instagram. But then there’s a place like TikTok, that’s just again, it’s meant to be fun and sort of bouncy and, you know, authentic to that. And even the comedians that I’ve seen that are on there are doing really fun things that are spontaneous and relevant in the timeline.
[Tyler] And so is there a mechanism by which brands can verify themselves and make sure that they’re found and people can make sure that they’re following a brand’s profile?
[Jason] So yes and no. There is a verified check. There is a check mark verified that TikTok has created. I will tell you, it’s really hard to get right now. They don’t have a really good system for it. And even on TikTok page, they don’t tell you exactly how to get verified. The sort of idea that most people have around getting verified is that, a: you have a lot of followers, you have a lot of posts and then you have a lot of engagement and that’s how you get verified. And therefore, a new brand. Like, for instance, ours. No, although we are a eighty seven year old brand with 300 stores all over the southeast. We can’t get verified until we build that audience up into a large audience.
[Jason] Twitter is the same way. So Twitter’s verification process is very similar. You really have to have a large audience. You have to be somebody that’s easily recognizable as a brand celebrity, whatever, before you get verified in and TikTok is the same way.
[Tyler] Got it.
[Susan] So we talked a little bit about how, for example, a luxury hotel brand would not be a great fit for this channel. Can you tell us about, you know, a lot of the folks that Tyler and I work with and that listen to the Omnicast are small or new businesses who are trying to grow. Do you have any thoughts around how those folks could use TikTok or if they should?
[Jason] Yeah. Absolutely. Go ahead. I’m sorry.
[Susan] I was just gonna say, I guess what I mean is, is it mostly an awareness platform from a marketing perspective? Is it building brand equity or kind of what are your thoughts around that?
[Jason] I think it’s I think it’s both, I think is building brand equity and awareness. You know, as we move into a different social media area and we’ve been in we’ve been in quite a few social media areas. I’ve been in every single one of them. So we’re in. So it started out we were in sort of a reach. We were in a reach impression’s era. And then we moved into an engagement era. And then from the engagement area, we moved back into an impressions reach era. And what I mean by that is right now, the way that people are consuming content on a regular basis is very much like tick, tock, flip, flip, flip, flip. They’re not really taking a lot of action on those things. And so impressions and reach right now in social media to me is king. So awareness is incredibly important. And having your brand in front of these folks is incredibly important. So what are some things that I think small businesses could do on TikTok to kind of increase awareness? One of the easiest things is testimonials from their customers. It would be really cool if they had testimonials from their customers explaining and sharing why their service or whatever it is that they do has been beneficial to them. And then also just sort of highlighting their people. And then that’s that’s across platforms. So highlight their people. Kind of kind of give you a behind the scenes look at how they do what they do. There are ways that small businesses can use that. The idea is, how can you use TikTok to tell the story of your business or your product? And so, you know, you can do that in a very organic way on TikTok and you can show it in a very simple way to.
[Susan] Awesome. Any other tips or best practices that you want to make sure at least Tyler and I take away, because, you know, at the end of this, I’m going to challenge Tyler to a TikTok battle
[Jason] Yeah. Yes. So one of the biggest things I would recommend folks do, and this is something that I did myself, is download the app, create a profile and just spend an hour or more looking at TikTok videos, because that’s the only way that you’re really going to get a feel for it and understand how the how that platform works. After I did it my first time, I realized a lot of things and I took a lot of notes. So I wrote a lot of notes about popular songs that people were doing, popular techniques that people were using. And then I would basically research how to do those things outside of that. And the other thing that you see that you kind of learn is, again, how do you create, this is so important. How do you create content that fits into the way that that app works? Because the way that that app works is, you swipe up vs. scrolling down. You actually swipe up. And so as you swipe up, what does your content look like in that fluid motion? Right. So you can only figure that out if you can spend a lot of time on the app. And I think that you’ll find that it’s so I’m seeing a lot of different ways that people are using the platform to, which makes it really kind of unique for brands to hop on there, too, because one of the coolest ways that a brand can use the platform is by sharing tips and tricks about things that are outside of even their product. So, for instance, when I manage social media for Dasani water for Coca-Cola, one of the things that we did a lot of was arts and crafts around the bottles that you had. So it was sort of repurposing those bottles to make planters and lots of things like that. So tips and tricks around your product or even things that are just relevant to your audience, providing value to your audience are ways that a brand could use TikTok as well.
[Susan] Awesome. Okay.
[Tyler] So, Jason, you know, before we even get into that. Jason, how can people you?
[Jason] They can follow me personally at @JasonDominy on Twitter and Instagram and then and then our TikTok , which you can kind of see what we’ve already started with for Krystal, @KrystalTime.
[Tyler] Cool. Thank you.
[Jason] Thank you.
[Susan] Thank you. I cannot wait to go check out what you’ve done on TikTok because coming soon will be my first TikTok. And so I’m also going to challenge Tyler to do his first TikTok as a result of this episode. And then we can see who gets the most likes and that will be the winner of the challenge
[Tyler] OK. OK.
[Jason] It’s going to be good.
[Susan] Yes. Yes. So before we wrap up, we like to end our show with a favorite tool, tip or idea for the audience. And this week we’re talking about what our favorite e-mail newsletters are. So, Tyler, what is your favorite email newsletter?
[Tyler] My favorite email newsletter, currently is Social Media Examiner. I think it comes out every weekday and it’s experts giving guidance and social media strategy and best practices. And I do this stuff for a living. And even I learned something almost every week from it. So I highly recommend going and subscribing to that one. Socialmediaexaminer.com What about you, Susan?
[Susan] Well, I subscribe to a lot of hotel industry specific newsletters that were probably put most of the folks listening to sleep. So the one that is more general interest is, Start Today from the Hollis Company. It focuses on personal development, tips, tricks, thought experiments, resources, articles to read for doing a better job of achieving your goals. So Start Today from the Hollis Company. Jason, do you have a favorite e-mail newsletter you want to share?
[Jason] I do, actually. I get the the Morning Brew, and it’s a great sort of summation of what’s going on in business and marketing and other things that I get every morning in my e-mail box.
[Susan] Oh, awesome. I will have to check it out. So we normally have a bonus for each episode that you can find free when you visit us at Omnicast podcast.com. This time in the show notes, I’m hoping I can convince Tyler that we will share our TikTok Video challenge and see what happens.
[Tyler] Let me see. So, Jason, can you embed or link to a specific TikTok?
[Jason] Yes you can!
[Tyler] OK. All right. Cool. I guess it’s on!
[Susan] Maybe Jason can be our our judge or our tie-breaker?
[Jason] Yes, I’d love to do that.
[Tyler] All right. Cool. Thanks for listening to this episode. Make sure you subscribe and thanks to Jason Dominy of Krystal. We’ll see you next time.
[Susan] Thanks so much, Jason.
[Jason] You’re welcome. Thank you.
[Outro] Thank you for listening to the Omnicast Sales and Marketing Podcast. Be sure to subscribe rate and review on your favorite podcast platform. Find show notes, leave comments or connect with Tyler and Susan at Omnicast podcast.com.