TikTok is the mobile app currently taking the world by storm! Previously known as Musical.ly, it was used mainly for lip syncing and duet videos. Although it still has a highly musical influence, Tiktok videos now range from comedy, challenges, tips, talent and of course dancing!

Anyone with the app can create and upload a video, TikTok also offers a variety of effects, songs and sounds you can add to make your content viewer ready. It kind of works like Instagram in the way that you follow accounts whose videos you want to see. However, when you first log in, rather than being greeted by videos uploaded by the people you follow, you’re instead directed to the “for you page”. The “for you” page is a bunch of recommended videos created by anyone on the app. This makes TikTok the easiest platform to go viral on, as your content is constantly being promoted within the app to many users.

The thing I’ve loved most about TikTok is that unlike Instagram, the majority of creators are every day, relatable people, just sharing their talents or experiences. Unlike Instagram, where every second post is an influencer trying to sell you hair vitamins or skinny tea, majority of the people on TikTok seem authentic and approachable. This makes you feel much closer to the creators and leaves you genuinely invested in their content.

I’ve honestly been so inspired by the things I’ve found on TikTok, specifically user @rohitroygre who gives daily updates on his journey to stop drinking fizzy drink. Rohit is on day 63 – which is a huge deal and thanks to his encouraging videos, I’ve made it a whole month and a half! He said he had been struggling to give it up even though his doctor advised him to do so immediately. Rohit turned to TikTok and has received an overwhelming amount of support with 155 thousand followers and millions of views. His daily updates have really motivated me to ditch the dirty juice myself.

So how does one use TikTok to promote their brand?

With 800 million users per day, utilising TikTok to promote your brand might seem like a no-brainer, but there are a few important things you might need to consider…

First and foremost, TikTok has a uniquely young demographic. Gen Z, young people aged between 16-24 make up 41% of users globally and 66% of users are under 30. This is most likely because from the beginning, the designers of the application chose under 18’s as their target audience. TikTok is a really great way for the young people of the world to express their creativity in a multitude of ways. Some of my favorite videos to watch on TikTok involve story times, as well as fashion and dance challenges but you can pretty much find anything related to one of your hobbies within the app.

There are a few ways businesses can use TikTok to advertise. One way is creating a 9 to 15-second-long paid ad that plays between user content. The price for this is approximately 10c per impression, however, you must pay for a minimum of 600 impressions. Though this still only translates to $60 spend per 600 users, it’s important to note that unlike other platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, users can skip paid advertising. Speaking personally, I skip every ad I see – so it’s therfore difficult to guarantee engagement with paid advertising.

Another avenue for advertising is to develop influencer created content; this works similarly to Instagram sponsorships. You find someone with a large following and a high engagement rate who fits the theme of your brand and have them generate content for you. Some influencers may do this in exchange for free products and others can charge big bucks, it all depends on what you’re offering and who you’re working with.

There are other ways you can use TikTok for business such as hashtag challenges like Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile in honour of Mother’s Day, this one was simply about doing anything to make your mum or mother-figure smile, maybe by delivering her breakfast in bed or giving her a gift whilst recording it and uploading to TikTok with the hashtag #MakeMomSmile. Hashtag challenges can easily go viral but not all of them do, it’s important you do your research and ensure you make your challenge simple and inclusive for all.

Is TikTok Safe?

Currently, TikTok is facing global backlash due to privacy concerns and its ties with China. The app has already been banned in India, with countries such as the US (Trump’s famously not a fan) and Australia deciding whether to follow suit. Like most of the apps on your phone, TikTok collects a massive amount of your data and personal information. Andrew Hastie Federal MP and chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, fears that TikTok could be sharing that private information with authorities in Beijing. Everyone has their own stance on this and many politicians still have accounts, including Victoria’s own premier Dan Andrews. Although this fear of data mining its users has turned may off the app.

Could TikTok be an effective way to market your business?

Obviously if you’re a youth-orientated brand, big or small, TikTok could truly be an effective advertising platform for you. However, if you’re a small tech company, a business consultant or you’re in another industry that doesn’t spark excitement in the youngsters of the world, I don’t think TikTok is your most cost-effective advertising solution. This is just my personal opinion so do with it what you will, but as a 24-year-old weekly avid user of the app I can say that I never open TikTok, see an ad, watch the whole thing through and check out the brand, I immediately swipe away to the content I came looking for.

I’m not saying don’t do it, I just think it’s worth doing a lot of research, maybe even sign up and check out the world of TikTok yourself, but beware – it’s extremely addictive!