I have a complicated relationship with TikTok. In the early days of the pandemic, I found myself caving in and downloading the new ‘Gen Z’ app that I assumed I would not find relatable and would delete shortly after.
I was wrong. It took the algorithm no time to start feeding me more interesting content than any other social platform ever had. I was hooked for good (besides the occasional, and necessary, social media fast). To this day, TikTok remains my go-to for product research, design inspiration, a good laugh, the latest in music news, where to eat and stay on weekend-long trips and invaluable tips from marketing experts. Honestly, I find it quite awesome.
In this blog post, I hope to help you better understand some of the reasons TikTok’s content is so engaging and how the platform has changed the digital marketing landscape. Speaking as an avid user, it has altered my consumption habits and how I build trust with new brands.
Now, I don’t think every brand needs to be posting on TikTok or using it in their content strategy. I do believe, however, that as content marketers we can apply what TikTok is teaching us to our marketing strategies as a whole.
Content creators and digital marketers need to understand what users are paying attention to, even if they’re not using TikTok as a marketing platform.
The famous cookware brand Le Creuset has recently become a leader in marketing on TikTok. Here are three principles TikTok shows us that are important to audiences, with examples from Le Creuset:
1. Authenticity is key.
Social media users have become masters at sniffing out inauthenticity. And that’s because social media has been around long enough for us to learn what looks, sounds and feels genuine and what looks, sounds and feels fake — and TikTok has propelled that learning even further.
Unlike other social media platforms that often showcase the highlights of people's lives, TikTok users tend to share real-life moments. This authenticity has spilled over into marketing, where businesses are encouraged to showcase their true selves. It's no longer enough to simply present a polished image of a brand. Users want to see the humanity behind a brand.
Here is a stripped-down tour of LeCreuset’s bread oven — with no fancy lighting or microphones — just a Le Creuset employee talking about the product in a showroom. You wouldn’t see this from a company of its size a couple of years ago.
@lecreuset All about our fan-favorite bread oven, with Jennifer from our #LeCreuset Signature Boutique in King of Prussia, PA! 🥖 ##lecreusettiktok##foodtok##breadbaking##breadtok##baketok##bakingtiktok ♬ original sound - Le Creuset
2. Audiences like to see user-generated content.
TikTok is all about user-generated content. Brands tend to make their mark by hiring creators to talk about their products or services. This has opened up new possibilities for businesses looking to connect with their audience. By leveraging the power of user-generated content and partnering with smaller creators, businesses can tap into the creativity of their customers and create content that is both engaging and authentic.
You could compare a brand deal with an influencer to providing incentive for a customer to leave a review for your brand on Google. Brands are paying creators to talk with their own authentic voices about their products and services.
Here we have a beloved food TikToker who partnered with Le Creuset to create a video for their TikTok page. She made the video the way she would make any of her personal videos — she shows off her personality and humor and maintains her own unique video-editing style.
@lecreuset We’re partnering with some of the internet’s favorite grandmothers to share the love (and to share delicious recipes!). 🥰 Next up: @cookingwithlynja’s Chicken Gumbo. This recipe comes from Lynja’s own mom and grandmother, and she'll pass it down to her children – just like this heirloom-quality Olive Branch Signature Soup Pot will be passed down, too. Ingredients: 5 lb whole chicken 2 medium onions, diced (about 3 cups) 7 garlic cloves, minced 6 celery stalks, roughly diced (about 2 cups) 3-4 medium carrots, roughly diced (about 2 cups) 2 bay leaves 3 tsp thyme 2 tsp marjoram 1 32-oz container chicken broth 6 cups water, to almost cover chicken fully 2 28-oz cans whole tomatoes with juice 1/2 cup long grain white rice 2 lbs frozen cut okra Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions: 1. Place the first 10 ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower heat to med/low and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken just begins to fall off the bone. 2. Using two hands, remove chicken with long handle tongs and a large serving spoon onto a plate to cool. Debone chicken once cool enough to handle, cooling time is about 30 mins. 3. In the meantime, rinse rice and add to the same pot along with tomatoes and juice from can. Simmer until rice is tender, approximately 40 mins. Once rice is tender add deboned shredded chicken and add okra. Bring back to a slow boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or desired tenderness of okra. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. #LeCreuset #lecreusettiktok #cookingtiktok #foodtok #souptok #gumborecipe ♬ Hip Hop with impressive piano sound(793766) - Dusty Sky
3. Short-form video is king.
TikTok's format of short-form video has changed the way businesses approach content marketing. It's no longer necessary to create long, elaborate videos to post on social media. Instead, businesses can create short, snappy videos that capture people's attention quickly and post them across many social platforms (not just TikTok).
Let’s face it. I’m sure we can all imagine the effect social media has had on our attention spans. The emergence of TikTok has turned users into even faster scrollers. There’s so much quality content, and not enough time to consume it. Users are quicker than ever to scroll away if they’re not satisfied with the content you’re giving them.
Now, I’m not saying long-form video is no longer a powerful tool for your brand. There are many instances where a long video is helpful and necessary. But incorporating short-form video content into your existing content strategy will fill in important gaps.
Here is an example from Le Creuset of a simple and short, yet highly engaging, piece of content that shows off one of their new products — a customizable handle for your Le Creuset pot.
@lecreuset Provence Dutch Oven 🤝 iridescent knob… she is the moment. ✨ #LeCreuset #lecreusettiktok #cookingtiktok #designtok #foodtok #kitchenhacks ♬ and she is the moment - emma
Where should you go from here?
We know content creation can be overwhelming. Feeling the pressure, internally or externally, to keep up with trends and create content that appeases the ever-evolving social media algorithms isn’t easy.
Our advice? Engage with businesses or organizations that are similar to yours on social media. Play with new social platforms and see what they’re all about. Get to know what you’re drawn to in social media content and take note of any patterns you see.
And if you need help putting these three principles into practice, talk to us.