TikTok has now more Monthly Active Users than Twitter or Pinterest and is becoming increasingly popular for businesses as well. I have started posting consistently about half a year ago and have already seen crazy numbers: 300k+ views on videos, 1k followers in a single day and more. In this blog post, I want to share my experience so far and help you decide whether it's time to join as well. Before we get into this, here's my TikTok account as a reference.
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A common misconception that we need to get out of your head before we get into this blog post is that TikTok is an app for kids or teenagers where you just watch people dance and do other silly things. That is how TikTok originally started out when it was still called Musical.ly but it has moved on from that a long time ago. Today, you can find so many different types of content on the platform: whether that is people showing you how to cook, how to clean, people showing you their renovations, or professionals giving tips.
In fact, one thing I really like about TikTok is that the algorithm learns really quickly what kind of content you enjoy and what topics you might be interested in.
TikTok's popularity in numbers:
We know that TikTok is really, really popular but I wanna tell you just how big of an app it has become with some user statistics that I found:
In the first quarter of 2022, TikTok had 1.39 billion users worldwide and it's predicted to reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2022 (DemandSage, 2022).
Of these 1.39 billion, 1 billion are monthly active users. The metric Monthly Active Users (MAU) is something that we like to use in the digital marketing space because it tells us not only how many people have downloaded an app or have an account on the app, but the people who are actually using it on a monthly basis (DemandSage, 2022).
TikTok has more MAU than Twitter, Telegram, Reddit, Pinterest, or Snapchat. Only a few social media networks have more monthly active users than TikTok right now: Facebook with 2.9 billion, YouTube has 2.5b and Instagram has 1.4b (DemandSage, 2022).
In March 2020, people spent on average 858 minutes a month on the app whereas that was only 442 minutes in October 2019. I can imagine that this has only increased since then.
My TikTok journey so far:
I signed up for TikTok during the first lockdown in March 2020 while we were still living in Belgium because I wanted to see what all the fuzz was about. It then took me a bit more than half a year to actually upload my first video. The first one I uploaded was on December 18th 2020 and it was just a Reel I had repurposed.
My strategy back then: reusing the Reels that I made on Instagram and post them on TikTok. I would say I had rather limited success with it. My first video now has 458 views which is really not that bad considering that my account had like 5 followers back then, but still, it's not a crazy number either.
This is one of the big differences to Instagram: It's much easier to reach more people, even if you have a small audience. On Instagram, your audience size matters quite a lot but on TikTok, each account can, in theory, go viral.
In the beginning, probably for the first 1.5 years, I wasn't very consistent with posting. But then, one day in November 2021, when we were living in New Zealand already, I decided I wanted to do a video about things that I find special about New Zealand.
So I recorded this video about the fact that in New Zealand, there is a ridiculous amount of road cones being used in construction works (this video here) - and it went viral.
To this day, it is my most watched video. Right now, it has 334k views, 36k likes and 1.4k comments. Within a few hours, my account grew to 1000 followers. Today, I have around 4300.
People still comment on that original video and watch it daily. The content on TikTok has much more longevity compared to Instagram.
Since that viral video, I have continued to post a mix of social media content, NZ-related content and Italian food videos.
It's much easier to reach more people, even if you have a small audience.
The content on TikTok has much more longevity.
Engagement is much higher (The average micro-influencer would have an engagement rate of 17.9% on TikTok whereas they would only have 3.8% on Instagram)
There are more trolls on TikTok compared to Instagram. While the majority of the comments are very positive and supportive, I noticed more negative and attacking comments on TikTok. People are very quick to give their opinion due to the fact that TikTok is a bit more private than Instagram.
It's harder to start conversations on TikTok because you can only message someone if you both follow each other. This makes it harder to build relationships with the individual.
BUT you get bombarded less with spammy DMs because of that as well.
Should you join TikTok as well?
By now, you're probably thinking: "Well, should I join TikTok as well now? Would it be a good addition to my marketing mix?" Here are 3 questions that you can ask yourself to see if TikTok would be a good platform for you.
1) Is your target audience on TikTok?
First of all, you want to ask yourself if your target audience is on this platform. While it is not just an app for kids and teenagers anymore, you still have to understand that the older generation is not really active on TikTok just yet. For now, a great target audience to reach on TikTok are people from 19 to 35 year old.
2) Do you have the capacity & motivation to create videos consistently?
I want you to be honest with yourself. It definitely takes some time to get into the platform and to understand how all of the features work, how to edit your videos and how TikTok in general works. Consistency is just as important as it is on other platforms and if your plate is already full with Instagram, then it might not be the best idea to add TikTok to the mix. (You can obviously also reach out to a Social Media Manager for support! Send me an email if you need help with this 😁)
3) Are you willing to join TikTok?
TikTok is very different from Instagram as a platform. It's much less polished and people are more open to sharing their lives. Also, if you just don't like being on camera, TikTok is not the platform for you either.
To sum up, what I recommend is first downloading the app, spending some time on there, and getting a feeling for the platform. And then you can decide if it fits your business's vibe. I also would advise you to not have a lot of expectations in the beginning and to try to experiment as much as possible. And I'm sure you'll get the hang of it really quickly!