TikTok Your Way to the Top

Smiling young woman poses for a TikTok video.
Image: AP Photo/Josh Rose

Madison Stone pulled down her face mask to use facial recognition to unlock her iPhone and swiped to open TikTok. As the social media specialist at Kodiak Cakes, she had spent countless hours attempting to flip pancakes in the air for its next TikTok challenge.

After hundreds of video flops of pancakes falling on the floor, Stone captured the perfect shot. Basic, yet catchy. Stone has learned how to use TikTok as a tool to organically promote Kodiak Cakes.

“TikTok is one of the biggest apps on the internet,” says Stone. She claims that the app is no longer exclusive to Gen Z but is beginning to reach Gen X where, “it’s getting a lot of organic reach.”

Two years ago, Stone had to prove that TikTok would bevaluable to the company. After hours of researching on her computer and analyzing cases, Stone created a strategic plan to launch Kodiak Cakes on TikTok. Initially her request to launch a Kodiak Cake TikTok was denied, but after seeing competitors launch and bloom on the popular app they allowed Stone to proceed. 

“You have to jump on a trend,” says Stone, “and be a trendsetter or a thought leader in your industry by taking risks and trying new social platforms.”

Through her months of mastering the optimum angle and perfect caption, Stone has found that the most effective way to use TikTok as a business is to use hashtags to create challenges, be authentic, and keep it short.

Tag it, challenge them.

The TikTok community is driven by hashtag challenges. These are videos that encourage people to respond with a video using an original hashtag. As people catch the challenge and repost your hashtag, your brand gets organic reach and views.

Colgate ran a heartwarming successful hashtag challenge called #MakeMomSmile. The challenge was to create a video about or for your mother on mother’s day where you’re caught doing something that makes her smile. Every time the hashtag was used, and warm memories were created, the attribution was given to Colgate which increased positive awareness and drove sales during the month of May.

Be authentic.

Stone has found that the videos that are made to be creative and fun perform better than the serious and professional videos.

“I’ve learned in marketing and social you really cannot marry yourself to any strategy or any particular process,” says Stone after watching her professional TikTok feature of a professional climber fail and her 30 second video of a pancake falling on the floor achieve record engagements.

Although they should be done professionally, TikTok videos perform better when it feels authentic and casual. Viewership increases when the videos include dances or pets. Businesses should try to adapt a more casual yet appropriate tone for TikTok.

Keep it short.

Although the TikTok allows videos up to 60 seconds, videos that are 30 seconds or under perform better on the platform.  

In their 30 second time frame, businesses can show:

  • a preview of an upcoming product
  • how a product works
  • a customer interacting with the product

Videos perform better when they are focused on the customer and their story rather than the product itself.

Become a business TikTok star.

In an age of technology boost your business and get organic reach through a TikTok account. Let TikTok’s algorithm work for you by getting a bigger total reach with customers you never before thought possible to reach. Will you give up the opportunity to get your product in front of millions of potential customers?

Katie Ann headshot

Katie Ann is a junior studying public relations at Brigham Young University. She also is a research assistant for a biometrics lab where they study the intersection between communications and biology. She aspires to be a public relations project manager.

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