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Everything you need to know about TikTok

KidsKnowBest’s Myriam White on why brand owners should take note of the social media phenomenon.

The rise of TikTok has been phenomenal. If you’re involved in entertainment, video gaming or music, you’ll be aware of how quickly the social media video app has grown. It has been the number one app on the global App Store for five consecutive quarters and has around 500 million users worldwide.

If you have a vested interest in marketing to children and young people, you’ll be aware of how influential this platform is. Just ask the previously unknown US singer Lil Nas X who found fame overnight when Old Town Road was used extensively across TikTok. It took him to the top of the US Billboard charts and launched thousands of Fortnite memes, as well as other videos, with more than 67 million plays via the hashtag #yeehaw.

Like every other medium and youth phenomenon before it – from the internet itself to video games, to VHS tapes, to Elvis Presley’s hips – its success has raised issues about child safety. Of course, it’s imperative that safeguarding is ensured, particularly with a platform whose audience is young – and any brand looking at working with TikTok influencers needs reassurance that the environment is right.

At KidsKnowBest, we’ve been working with TikTok influencers right from the start.

Fashion retailer Guess partnered with TikTok for a #InMyDenim hashtag challenge.
Fashion retailer Guess partnered with TikTok for a #InMyDenim hashtag challenge.

Brands who want to target kids need to be on TikTok because we know kids are on TikTok. Brands who engage with children are already working with children because they understand and will continue to do so in the hope of higher engagement.

Since FC Bayern launched its account on April 6, it has reached nearly half a million followers. By the end of its first month, it had 75,000 fans from 11 posts. Those posts have been viewed over four million times and have attracted 400 likes.

Fashion retailer Guess was the first to partner with TikTok for a hashtag challenge consisting of a brand takeover using #InMyDenim. It reached more than 37 million views. Then, Calvin Klein organised a similar campaign, ‘My Calvin’, which earned 10 times more engagement.

With success like that – a lot of heads are turning towards TikTok.

We have been working with many influencers who have started from the ground up and have not spent a single penny on content. They are some of the biggest TikTokers. There is money you can put behind TikTok, but as the ad campaigns die off, companies who have used that to benefit their exposure will be lost.

TikTok promotes spontaneity and the users on the platform can spot ‘branded’ or ‘planned’ content from a mile off. This means narratives will always beat ad spend on TikTok.

We believe TikTok will retain its users/audience because of the integration it has with other popular platforms. It reminds us of Vine, which was a popular platform that was used to create short content. TikTok fills that void and more with the multiple features it possesses.

This feature originally appeared in the autumn 2019 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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