This algorithm can help you win the hearts of millions while making millions while at it.

Don’t you sometimes love the story of the underdog? The story where the player who’s underestimated ends up skyrocketing their way into the spotlight and taking the crown, from seemingly nowhere? That is the story of TikTok.

Who would have thought that what used to be an app for mainly dancing videos and micro-celebrity skit makers would become a game changer in the online media space, redefining the power of social media, and keeping the top players on their toes?

That’s the story of TikTok.

Perhaps, the term ‘underdog’ is an exaggeration, but its exponential growth within the last few years is something that anyone who wants to remain relevant in the world of digital marketing should not overlook.

But why should your brand care about TikTok more in 2023? We’re here to give you five reasons to stop excluding that ‘dancing app’ from your content strategy so that the world doesn’t leave you behind—except if you want it to.

The Underdog’s Backstory

Back in 2014 when it was first created, TikTok used to be called, popular for its lip-syncing videos and dramatic transitions.

The app garnered some traction within a few years after its launch, before it was acquired by ByteDance, a Chinese media company that converted it into what we call TikTok today.

The platform’s growth continued before it exploded in 2020 when people were quarantined at home as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Currently one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, TikTok has about 1 billion active monthly users and was the most downloaded app in 2021. TikTok was clever enough to upgrade its app to contain the most used features on other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook’s Reels, YouTube Shorts, Pinterest Idea Pins, Snapchat Spotlight and more.

This means that whatever video-focused features other social media platforms can offer, TikTok is willing to match them. This makes them a favourite not only for Gen Zs but also for many millennials and baby boomers.

The Present and Future of Social Media

Users are spending a combined 197.8 million hours per day on TikTok. That’s over 10 times more than the 17.6 million hours Instagram users spend on Reels.

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, you have to be willing to think ahead and test new waters if you want to connect with your audience to climb to the top—and stay there.

And that’s exactly what Duolingo has succeeded at doing by creating a striking TikTok presence. The popular language learning app has grown its follower count and revenue, with its entertaining online persona and brilliant social media strategy.

With a following of over 5 million followers and over 100 million likes on all their videos combined, one thing is certain, Duolingo is doing something right. Can you guess what the ‘something’ is? Hint: It involves a dancing app.

Although the video-sharing (and recently photo-sharing) platform started as a home for bite-sized entertaining content, it has evolved into a powerhouse for long-form content, after its maximum video length was extended to 10 minutes.

You may be sold already, but we’ll still like to break down the reasons you need to join the TikTok club and pinpoint what’s in it for you.

So, here we go—5 reasons you should include TikTok in your marketing strategy.

1. TikTok is rewriting and rewiring pop culture

From determining songs that top the music charts, and selling out products overnight from single videos, to fueling social activism, TikTok is not your average social media platform.

It has been instrumental in sparking conversations, movements and trends that spill over to other social media platforms and even the real world.

BookTok is one of the many examples of this phenomenon. The huge community on TikTok where book lovers share content about their favourite (and disfavoured) titles is changing the publishing industry.

With over 90 billion views on its hashtag #BookTok, it’s driven a surge in book sales, particularly for the ones popular in the community, and paved a new way for authors to market their books.

It has also thrown certain genres of music (like Afrobeat) into the global limelight, changed the game for smaller artists who went viral and revived old songs from their slumber with its various trends.

TikTok is also becoming a major source of news, information and education for Gen Z audiences. There, they learn about events that may not be covered by traditional media and gather information on topics that weren’t covered in classrooms.

What’s in it for you?

You can:

· Tap into trends and conversations

· Immerse your brand into pop culture

· Steal the attention and affection of Gen Z and even older generations.

There are two sides to this: getting real-time insight and inspiration from TikTok on what kind of content you should create, and then driving top-of-mind awareness by sharing content that your audience loves.

You also get to stay ahead of the competition by repurposing content from your TikTok to other platforms. Not every content format may perform well on the other apps, but once you figure out the ones that do, your analytics will put a grin on your face.

2. TikTok’s personalised algorithm can help you hit the bull’s-eye

The For You Page (FYP) is exactly what the name says it is: a page of content curated just for you. With machine learning algorithms, TikTok can tailor users’ feeds to their unique interests and preferences through their interactions–watch time, likes, shares, favourites, and comments.

Think of the selective exposure theory, but automated by artificial intelligence (AI). This psychographic predictive algorithm can keep users’ eyes glued to their screens and enhance the experience for both creators and users.

What’s in it for you?

The beauty of it all is that with the right structure and strategy, AI feeds your content to the bull’s eye – the perfect customer.

Even without a large following on TikTok, with the right content, you can still gain thousands to millions of views from your ideal audience without paid ads.

Once you have a good idea of how the algorithm works, you can start making it work in your favour and hit those milestones. You get to reach your target audience and they get to be entertained or educated by you. It’s a win-win situation.

3. TikTok’s raw and authentic vibe is perfect for storytelling

Be it literal story times or user-generated content (UGC) style videos, good storytelling on TikTok is one sure way to stand out as a brand. The algorithm favours unfiltered, authentic content that’s able to resonate with the audience as it drives user engagement.

One unique element that sets TikTok apart from the competition is the way its creators can break the fourth wall by sharing relatable content.

The casual nature of the app makes it very interactive and also easy to humanise your brand. Moreover, Influencer Marketing and UGC are big with the relaxed and spontaneous approach taken by creators. This in turn makes the content feel more genuine and less salesy, thereby increasing conversion rates.

What’s in it for you?

Captivating and converting your target audience is on your to-do list. And if it isn’t, then it should be.

Amplifying your brand’s story with TikTok’s highly-engaging content format is a recipe for marketing success. So, whether you focus on flaunting your brand’s

personality by jumping on trends and joining conversations, or you collaborate with influencers and creators to give your brand a human touch, you’ll be setting yourself up to win.

4. TikTok is a goldmine for building a loyal community

What’s better than converting a follower to a customer? Converting them to an advocate!

We’ve seen customers become armies of promoters, raving about their favourite brands or products in videos, photos, and comment sections.

Some brands have been able to use TikTok to boost brand affinity, and you can be one of them!

The comment section on TikTok is a micro-blogging platform on its own; with inside jokes, pop culture references, debates, and discussions. Top comments on viral videos may gain up to hundreds of thousands of likes.

Viewers may share personal experiences, witty statements, or opinions.

They can also reply to comments with their videos.

Features like Stitch and Duet make it possible for creators to respond to videos, be it theirs or other creators. This makes it easier to start and join conversations, like commenting, but in the form of videos. The informal nature of the app also encourages creators to not just participate in pop culture, but express their opinions and emotions through their content.


What’s in it for you?

By immersing your brand in pop culture and tailoring your content to your audience’s taste with powerful storytelling, you can create and nurture strong connections with your TikTok audience. It’s a great platform for social listening, where you can easily figure out what the people like and want, without having to carry out complex surveys.

You can get valuable consumer insight by studying trends and patterns and receiving feedback in comments, Duets and Stitches. With all that data and information, you can readily address customers’ pain points in your content. And you have a couple of options to drive home your message.

Strategically utilising the interactive elements on TikTok in your content within your niche can help you build strong brand affinity.


5. TikTok is giving Google a run for its money with its search feature

“I don’t Google anymore, I TikTok.” This phrase reflects a shift in how people, particularly Gen Z, are gathering information online.

As TikTok became more than just a social and entertainment app for many users, the search feature became much more popular.

Users discovered just how useful TikTok search results were in comparison to Google’s, and a match was made. The bespoke nature of the TikTok algorithm aligns results with users’ interests and personalities.

In response to this, Google has started displaying more community-based content in its search results like Reddit and Quora forums and video content from YouTube Shorts, and even TikTok.

What’s in it for you?

It’s three words: establishing thought leadership.

You want your target customers to know, like and trust you. What better way to do that than by positioning yourself as the answer to their problems and popping up in their search results?

By taking advantage of TikTok SEO, you can get discovered by your perfect customer, grab their attention and start earning their trust with your expertise and solutions.

You also have a better chance of ranking higher as the TikTok algorithm is not as competitive as Google’s.

Whose content do you want to show up when a potential customer types your niche-specific words into the TikTok search bar? Your content? Or your competitors’?

Would you like more industry-related insights? Do check out our other articles to stay ahead in your industry with digital marketing.

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