TikTok: how the social media platform is disrupting markets and digital strategies

From influencing the charts to driving consumer decisions, TikTok’s explosive growth has disrupted markets and become woven into daily life. Its fusion of social media and e-commerce has compelled digital marketers to rethink their strategies and provided new ways for brands to engage with their audiences. So, what makes TikTok different from the platforms that have come before it?

Operating around the ‘For You’ page, TikTok shows users content that is tailored to their interests and previous interactions. Users discover the content they’re likely to be interested in without even having to look for it, also passively consuming advertisements as part of their daily scrolling. Users can also manually search for content, exploring everything from recipe ideas to the best places to eat. TikTok’s immersive search experience lends itself to queries where a visual element is useful. Content is ranked by relevancy, using a multitude of factors such as, related sounds, hashtags, creators and topics.

While traditional search engines, like Google, cater to more informational queries, TikTok centres around inspiration, entertainment, and discovery. Sometimes, TikTok users will turn to Google to verify information or learn more about something discovered through the app.

TikTok, however, does boast robust SEO features. There are many ways content creators and brands can optimise their content, for example through strategic keyword use, hashtags, and location targeting. The algorithm is constantly evolving, prioritising photo sliders in 2024, alongside its signature short-form videos.

In addition to being an entertainment platform, TikTok has become a powerhouse for e-commerce. The app presents an unrivalled opportunity for brands to tap into highly engaged communities, drive sales, and grow organically with minimal spend.

Particularly advantageous for smaller brands, TikTok prioritises interactivity and engagement over follower count. Content can be a little more raw and authentic as it tends to work best when it seamlessly blends into users’ feeds. Moreover, brands can set up a ’shop’ and seamlessly convert sales through the app, with users kept on the platform from all stages from discovery to conversion. The ‘TikTok for Business’ feature equips brands with a suite of tools, from learning resources to a built-in affiliate centre.

Why is this important?

Despite regulatory challenges in some regions, notably the US recently, TikTok continues to champion its economic contributions, underscoring its role in brand building and job creation. Its exponential growth signifies a transformative era in digital marketing, where the boundaries between entertainment and commerce are blurred, and passive consumption seamlessly integrates into daily life. TikTok is not just another app but a genuine game-changer in the world of digital marketing. With its dynamic features and extensive reach, the platform offers endless possibilities for brands to adapt to new buying habits and connect with consumers in new ways.

Article by: Rosie Snooke

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