Do you remember 2020? It seems like yesterday and forever ago, all at the same time. If you were anything like me, you were searching for an escape from the uncertainty of life in the pandemic lockdown. My family would host game night via the app Houseparty — picture charades but with video chat. We also had a never-ending group text where we would send videos back and forth all day long in hopes of distracting us from our pandemic anxiety. Most of these videos came from a new app called TikTok.
Fast forward to February 2023 and that “new app” has taken the marketing world by storm. TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform. The average TikTok user opens the app 19 times per day, spends 52 minutes on the platform daily, six hours a week, or 29 hours a month — a ridiculously long time.
As of October 2022, the total number of app installations on user devices is more than 3 billion, with TikTok brand estimating 1 billion of these being active users per month. People’s attention spans have decreased due to the amount of content fed to us in the digital space. Short-form content, such as 15-second videos or six-second ads, are more likely to capture and hold attention. The app, once known for teen dance challenges, has quickly matured and become a powerful marketing tool.
With a large and growing user base, particularly among younger generations, businesses that are active on the app can reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness. TikTok is quickly becoming the preferred search engine for Gen Z, surpassing even Google. Looking for the best local grocery store in the area, you’ll find that on TikTok. What to make for dinner? That too. Our most popular video right now is a recipe using ingredients from Trader Joe’s with more than 130,000 views.
Noticing the rise in the app’s popularity, I decided to dig deeper to find out what makes this TikTok algorithm tick. I used my then 8-year-old son, who is pursuing his dream of becoming a professional athlete, as my subject. As his mom, I of course had a huge library of videos ready to go. I had a strategy of posting every day for 30 days, using trending sounds, popular challenges and applying them to his niche.
I documented the highs and lows of his journey. My goal was to reach 10,000 followers so he could qualify for the coveted creator fund. Each day, I would review past videos and study the ones that resonated with viewers. It was surprising what did well: videos with quick transitions, his progression over the years, my husband’s helpful tips for my son’s equipment, and the bond my son and husband had. In lfewer than 20 days, he amassed 10,000 followers. I recycled a post showing his progression over the years starting at 2 years old to the current day, thanking the 10,000 followers. The next morning, I woke up to a notification that the video had gone viral, with 20 million views and counting. The video ended up with over 40 million views and he grew his following to over 600,000 followers from that video. He received brand deals and even starred in a Lego commercial because of that viral video.
I’ve always been passionate about fruits and vegetables and am excited I now get to use my TikTok skills to let the produce industry shine bright on the Healthy Family Project TikTok.
Here’s a simple strategy I use:
- Know your target audience.
- Be real and true to your brand. Be useful.
- Track your video success.
- Utilize popular sounds and challenges.
- Use hashtags.
- Answer questions and comments.
- Be consistent.
Right now, TikTok has set itself apart from other social media platforms because it values authenticity. Don’t let the dance challenges fool you, TikTok is more than just a trend, it’s a valuable platform for businesses to connect with customers and grow their brand.
By: Andrea Wiggins, marketing coordinator for Healthy Family Project