Source: TikTok/The Toy Book

by TIFFANY TASKER, director of business development for North America, SuperAwesome

Let’s talk about TikTok: This social sharing platform that grew into a huge global video community has taken our world by storm — and young people in particular absolutely love it.

TikTok is the most popular app for users ages 16 and under in the U.S. right now because it brings together the best bits of YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, then adds music, effects, editing, and more. The app feels like the cooler, next generation of social media — snackable content, interaction between influencers and users, and a whole community of creators having fun.

It’s important for brands to have a presence on TikTok as it’s becoming a brand discovery platform similar to Instagram for moms. Generation Alpha and Generation Z audiences, known for being price-conscious, prepurchase researchers, are spending up to 52 minutes per day on the platform. They archive (save) brand posts they like to refer to when they go in-store or online to make a purchase, so there’s a lot of opportunity to make an impact with your brand.

TikTok is unique because of its video-only, super short-form content. TikTok videos are light-hearted and funny — by young people, for young people — based on memes or popular culture trends like challenges, dance videos, and transformations. Music and sounds like ASMR play a key role in the creation of viral memes and content — Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and now Drake’s “Toosie Slide” are great examples of this. Most users film, edit, and add effects all within the app, differentiating it from Instagram and YouTube user cultures, in which most content is created outside the platform. Users can make such high-quality content that some of them now use TikTok as their creator tool for content to post to Instagram and other platforms.

Another crucial element that makes TikTok exciting is the sense that any video can go viral, regardless of how many followers you have, via the For You page and thanks to the algorithm. YouTube creators are flocking to the platform because of how engaged their followers are there, and because of the ability to communicate with them via comments.

TikTok feels disruptive for many reasons. The best-performing kids’ content on YouTube is around 14 minutes long and centers around unboxing, lengthy storylines or product demos, and talking. It’s notoriously difficult for new creators to gain any real traction or views, and commenting is turned off on kids’ content.

So, when and how should you leverage TikTok for your brand marketing? Let’s dive into some best practices and things to look out for.

It’s important to create content specifically for TikTok. With the right hashtags, influencer partners, and content themes, your videos can get a lot of views and potentially go viral. Check out the current top trending hashtags and think about how to integrate your brand authentically. The sweet spot for TikTok videos is only 15-30 seconds — and remember, the platform is about fun, so let loose, get silly, and have fun with your brand!

You can either create and post from a brand channel or work with TikTok influencers like SuperAwesome’s Creators. Influencers are a great way to tap into an existing follower base within TikTok and guarantee views for your video, plus you’ll learn about the platform and how to execute a campaign without the longer-term investment of having to curate a brand channel. It is currently more cost-effective to work with creators on TikTok than YouTube, making now a great time to invest.

The goal for TikTok campaigns should be brand awareness, tracked through video views, comments, likes, and shares. We also report on metrics like average watch time and traffic sources, as well as age and demographic breakdowns (for users who are logged in). There is no way to directly link out of the app, so if you have a specific sales or download KPI, this might not be the platform for that campaign — try online video instead.

The most important things to think about when marketing on TikTok are brand safety, kid safety, and compliance. As a kids’ toy company, you must adhere to COPPA and CARU. If you’re working with influencers, we recommend those who are SafeFam certified. SafeFam Creators take a pledge to create appropriate, responsible, kid-safe content, and this ongoing regulation protects you as a brand. If you’re working with agencies or influencers, ask about their kid-compliance measures and processes.

So now you’re a TikTok expert! Download the app and have some fun getting to know the platform. Just don’t blame me if you get addicted.

This article was originally published in the June 2020 issue of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!