With more than 650 million downloads worldwide in 2021 (the most of any app or game on the planet over the course of the year), it seems abundantly clear: TikTok has officially taken the social media world by storm since its 2016 debut. And for businesses looking to gain exposure to new audiences, there are plenty of reasons to look into leveraging the unique social platform and its growing numbers of users.
But even for veteran social media users, successfully tackling TikTok can be quite a challenge. It’s simply a different kind of platform that requires a different kind of approach.
Tapping into TikTok’s ‘trends’
Once your brand has opened its own TikTok account and has started to grasp the ABCs of the platform, you’ll find that one of the best ways to amplify your TikTok user engagement is to identify emerging TikTok “trends” and offer your own spin on them. Specific TikTok trends change every day, but they’re not especially hard to spot if you stay active on the platform.
Basically, TikTok trends are community-wide conversation topics (or, in other cases, avenues of engagement) that tend to blow up on the platform and dominate users’ feeds for days, weeks and even months at a time. At any given time, half or more of the posts on TikTok will be following one trend or another. So, whether the trend at hand involves a particular song, hashtag, challenge, sound effect or other unique driving characteristic, attentive TikTok users shouldn’t have much trouble spotting them once they take root.
Putting your own take on a trend
Once your brand has identified a trend it would like to participate in, it can seize the opportunity and use it to convey its own unique personality. And maybe even better, if your brand’s take on the trend proves popular on the platform, your post could gain the business plenty of added exposure and engagement in the process, too.
Consider these five tips for putting your own unique brand spin on the latest TikTok trend:
1. ID your own unique take on a trend
TikTok trends are constantly coming and going, so if you’re paying close attention, you can find plenty of opportunities for your brand to tap into them. To zero in on the ideal ones to engage with, be on the lookout for trends that are in some way relevant to/connected with your brand and what it does, as these will offer a clear chance to offer a pertinent take. The connection might not always be a direct or obvious one, but with some creative thinking, you can often find ways to incorporate your brand without it feeling too forced. Alternatively, you can look for ways to inject your brand into the confines of a specific trend — which can be even more effective if the results are funny. For example, the San Diego Zoo often taps into music- or sound effect-driven trends by finding entertaining ways to put a trending song or sound over video clips of its animals.
2. Regularly convey your brand’s look, feel and/or persona
Just as your brand itself has a specific personality, its TikTok efforts can convey a brand persona, too. To make their videos quickly identifiable, some brands regularly lean on a specific color palette in their TikTok videos, while others might employ a lot of close-up shots in their posts on the platform. Other brands may be especially prolific when it comes to posts involving dance moves or songs that are trending, while still others might favor seeking out popular challenges and finding ways to make each trend their own. If your brand finds something it’s especially good at on TikTok, whatever the niche may be, consider regularly running with it — especially if you begin finding success and earning acclaim via the tactic.
3. Make sure it’s clear which trend you’re tapping into
Whatever trend your brand is taking on, it’s highly likely that TikTok users — who on average spend more than 45 minutes a day on the platform — have seen it before. So while creativity is certainly encouraged on TikTok, if you want to tap into a specific trend, you’ll want to make sure that the trend you’re leveraging is still easily identifiable when users see your video. Be careful not to think so far outside of the box that users are unable to quickly recognize the trend you’re tackling when they view your posted content.
4. Aim for authenticity … and amusement
The content that resonates the most on TikTok is typically the result of creators just plain having a good time with their posts. Further, the most successful TikTok content creators don’t tend to take themselves especially seriously all too often. So whatever the trend your brand is leveraging for its post, be sure to be yourself and have a good time with it — and don’t hesitate to, at least on occasion, poke some fun at yourself/your brand in your TikTok posts.
5. Look for ways to start your own trends
Once your brand has become proficient at tapping into popular trends on TikTok, it may be time to start thinking about creating your own. To facilitate this, always keep the possibility of launching a trend in the back of your mind, as the perfect challenge, song snippet or sound bite for your brand to leverage for its own trend may be inspired by another trend that you’re leveraging. Otherwise, when you encounter any of the typical trend drivers with a potential connection to your brand, actively consider ways that you could have some fun with turning it into your own trend. You could share your ideas with other members of your team to see if the idea might snowball from there.
It’s important to also understand that just because content is trending for a specific reason, doesn’t mean you have to (or should) participate. Sometimes, opt-ing out and staying true to your brand values is more valuable. A clear content strategy, starting with pillars that identify what your brand wants to be known for and what themes are important to talk about, can help act as a filter when evaluating whether or not you should pick up your phone and turn on the camera.
Need expert help revving up your brand’s TikTok presence and efforts — and, more importantly, boosting the results they bring? At Brandon, our social media team knows how to drive maximum engagement on all the top social media platforms, and its social-savvy members are well-versed in leveraging all the latest trends to boost the effectiveness of every post. To learn how you can put our team of social media professionals to work for your brand, contact us today.