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How brands can enter TikTok with brand channels


TikTok was already the fastest-growing platform in history, but during quarantine, it’s gone to the next level. With so many stuck at home and nowhere to go, the platform has become an international pastime, with more than 100 million downloads in the month of March alone. This growth is driven mostly by 25-45-year-olds, as well as increasing numbers of consumers in older demographics.

To keep up with consumer behavior, brands have been rushing to understand TikTok. They’re often feeling nervous – recognizing, rightly, that the rules of the road are new and very different from places like Instagram.

By 2021 it’s not going to be a question of whether your brand has a TikTok channel, but how successful it is. The best brands are starting to figure that out now, and rapidly growing a following.

To get you on the path to a successful TikTok brand channel, here are three keys to keep in mind:

Content standards: TikTok is not Instagram or YouTube, and it demands an entirely different set of creative “best practices.” This includes vertical video – square or widescreen shots are automatically discredited for not understanding the culture – and content that is 15 seconds or less. This is also the platform for unpolished content (leave those gorgeous 4K videos for IG, videos that perform the best on TikTok are shot on iPhones). And don’t forget that adding a soundtrack – using relevant music (trending sounds and songs, for example) will boost viewership and engagement.

Frequency: While you can dabble with a few posts, brands that are serious about TikTok are posting new content daily. Yes, this is a high bar, but the good news is that this content is much more lightweight than what you’re used to producing for YouTube or Instagram. Frequency is essential because of the nature of TikTok’s algorithm. It’s much more extreme than other platforms’. Most posts don’t get a lot of traction, but the occasional post will blow up. TikTok influencers know this; they post upwards of five times a day. Even with the best content, you have to keep spinning the wheel.

Participate in Trends: Every week, new trends blaze through TikTok – music, skits, jokes, dances. Joining these trends is an easy way to accelerate the success of your brand channel. The value here is twofold. First, TikTok’s algorithm boosts the exposure of videos participating in what’s trending, giving you a boost in viewership. And second, your brand benefits from the “cool” factor of the trend. Launching a TikTok presence could be intimidating for a brand, it just takes time and practice. Check out some brand channels I love: @elfyeah (e.l.f. Cosmetics), @washingtonpost, and @kungfutea.

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