TikTok: How to Tackle Trends and Stay Relevant

Scrunchies. MySpace. Beanie Babies. Netscape. “The Rachel” haircut. TikTok. Ah, trends. They change on a dime, resurrect decades later and generally wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans. Or do they?

Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “maybe.”

The good news for marketers navigating these ever-changing waters is that a sound marketing strategy with a solid foundation and a crystal-clear buyer persona shouldn’t need much immediate tweaking to keep up with the hottest trends.

Let’s Talk TikTok

TikTok is the latest “thing” in social media that’s got everybody chatting. Owned by ByteDance (a Beijing-based internet technology company), TikTok was released in 2016 within China and by October of 2018 was the most downloaded app in the US (the first Chinese app to do so) and was announced the seventh most downloaded app of the decade.

Whoa. Stats like that command attention.

Sounds like something any marketer should be jumping all over, right? That many eyes looking at the same place has to be good for business. Why not be an early adopter and grab tons of followers while the algorithms are (more often) generous with organic reach? Hopping on a hashtag or movement trend can plop your post at the top of the heap when you jump on a trend asap.

But, Strategy.

Not all things are what they seem.

Yes, there is a large audience, and absolutely your marketing team and/or creative partner should be keeping an eye on all established and emerging social media channels. But, making sure that it’s the best fit for your brand, audience and use of resources is a smart move before leaping in with both feet. For instance:

  1. Is our ideal customer using TikTok (or any other platform/trend you’re considering)? If we’re not talking to our target audience, our efforts are all for nothing. And who has resources to waste?

  2. Are you comfortable and capable of creating the kind of content the platform likes best? You’ve worked hard on your branding and need to honor the effort. While showing the relatable, human side of your company is always appealing, it’s in nobody’s best interest if posts are forced and feel far from authentic. It’ll drain your internal resources and won’t land with users.

  3. Discern whether there is a practical way to dip your toe in the water to test things out before full immersion. When launching or ramping up a social media marketing strategy, it can be difficult to know from the outset which efforts will pay off and which won’t. If you are equal parts intrigued and unsure about a platform, look for small opportunities to educate yourself.

    Can you create a personal profile and understand the platform better as a user? What about creating a username or handle for your company but leaving the account essentially inactive until you know more? Is there anyone in your personal or professional circle who can help shed some light on the situation? Maybe the platform has an ephemeral segment (think Instagram Stories) where you can test the waters without bogarting a bunch of resources to create content.

Now, we have nothing against TikTok, but it’s a great example because it isn’t for all audiences. Ultimately, it sets us up for long-term success when we’re intentional about jumping on the right bandwagons for our businesses. From social media channels and hashtag trends to celebrity and character endorsements, it’s not all a perfect fit for your business. And that’s a good thing.

We’ve Got More Good News!

With the right creative partner, clarity around your buyer personas and a solid brand strategy, all the bright and shiny trends of the day will be a lot easier to navigate.

At the end, it doesn’t matter if we have ten million TikTok views (or Instagram likes or views on YouTube) if the ROI simply isn’t there because it’s not a fit for our business.

There’s no shame in saying no. In fact, if it’s not a fit, don’t be afraid to get yourself a first-class ticket on the No Train and leave overwhelm in the dust. Free up your brilliant brain to do what it does best – promote your business.

If your marketing foundation is feeling a little cracked, like trends are taking over and you’re not sure who you’re talking to, hit pause and reevaluate. A creative partner will help you find your way before trend-chasing leads you astray.