WARNING: The following does NOT contain dancing teens, lip syncing, or cute animals. 

What began as a punchline aimed at Gen-Z’ers by the older generations, has now become a powerful global hub for business. 

TikTok’s Fast Beginnings

The meteoric rise of the social media website rocketed to dominance in a relatively short period. It is now the young person’s YouTube, maintaining the tightest demographics for any social network. This year, total users on Tik Tok surpassed 1 billion users, trailing only Facebook (2.91 billion), Youtube (2.29 billion), and Instagram (1.2 billion). 

Originally an abbreviated learning platform, the app was founded in Shanghai by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. When the concept didn’t take, the duo pivoted, rebranding to focus on the entertainment sector. By 2016, the app had claimed 70 million downloads. 

People were able to upload and share 15-second videos, scored by music clips. Two years later, it was the fourth most downloaded free app in the Apple App Store. Inevitably, it attracted the attention of celebrities and high-profile individuals. 

Specifically, it was featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in November 2008, encouraging the trending #TumbleweedChallenge. Sports, health and fitness, and other businesses began integrating their own goals into the platform. 

2020 Changed Everything

Then, in the spring of 2020, COVID-19 caused a global pandemic. 

A generation of isolated young people reached out to the TikTok lifeline, transforming trauma into creativity and reaching out for connection. At the time, the app had 45.6 million users at the time (14% of the total US population). Since then, the Chinese-owned video platform has exploded, and has positioned itself to overtake the advertising scale of Twitter and Snapchat combined. 

The current version of the app allows users to create short videos that are capped at 15-60 seconds. Unlike its competitors, TikTok is about sharing videos exclusively. 

How to Tik Tok

There are several ways that your company could (and should) use TikTok. For the sake of easy memorization, let’s use the following alliteration, and call them the (5 R’s). Here’s how to gain a quick following, and how you can be a leading expert in TikTok in your industry: 


If your business thinks they’ve already spread itself too thin across numerous platforms… think again. 

For long-term growth, one can’t go wrong advertising by incorporating user-generated content and engagement into your digital strategy. The platform is tailored to maximize creativity to impress the incredible algorithm and exposure inherent in the app. 

The customer strives for relatability. 

If you shun the fastest-growing app of the last five years, it’ll show how detached you are from targeting the latest trend. Make sure to place your finger on the pulse of the market. You’ll certainly feel TikTok’s beating heart.   


The consumer is always famished for human connection and authenticity. Make sure to position your company as a relatable entity, rather than a faceless corporation. 

Anything that’s conversational will make it easier to connect with those that are uncertain about committing to your offerings. The app is perfect for this. 

Overall, it has a positive tone: light, whimsical, entertaining, and mindless. By publishing genuine content, the well-populated viewership will respond. 

Repurposing Content

If there are concerns about spreading yourself thin through digital marketing, no worries. These short, customizable videos can (and should) be repurposed across all channels. Make sure to send the videos on an email chain, Instagram Stories, and even Facebook. 

The more creative you are, the more you’ll attract the eyes of users. However, maintain the same message and imaging across all channels. A user may be confused if you’re posting different content with different vibes on other platforms or your website. 


How much time do TikTok users spend on the appThe average TikTok user spends an estimated 52 minutes per day on the app. That’s a lot of screen time for one location. 

Due to the app’s algorithm, higher engagements will come with much less effort. However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore timely trends. 

Discoverability hashtags are important to keep tabs on. Additionally, there are SEO tools that you can download to monitor relevant and ideal keywords. 

Right Target

According to the app, TikTok has five different kinds of ad products: in-feed ads, branded hashtags, top view ads, branded effects, and brand takeover. By using any of these, you’ll be able to reach your target audience within 24 hours. 

These ads should run between nine to fifteen seconds in length. When it comes to targeting, there are two options: interest and behavioral. Interest is the same methodology as Facebook ads, focusing on an interest relevant to your target audience. Behavioral can reach people who are actively engaged and determines their behavior on the platform within the past seven to fifteen days. 

Reliable and Credible Influencers

This one is pretty obvious. 

As with all digital marketing, influencer marketing is a reliable method of quickly generating results. Sifting through the glut of influencers can be cumbersome, so discover one with proven results. The app even has a built-in TikTok creator marketplace where you can peruse options. 

According to recent stats, nearly 86% of marketers have used influencer marketing to generate their sales or brand awareness, with audience age trending on the younger side.  

Security Concerns

Yes, the security concerns around privacy with TikTok are real. While users of all social media platforms blindly sign away a good amount of privacy when agreeing to the Terms-of-Service (TOS) for any social media site, this is even more true of TikTok where the social network does have a farther-reaching TOS than other networks. And, of course, there are questions as to how much of the information is accessible by The People’s Republic of China CCP.

Our best advice, which goes for all social media platforms, is to read the Terms of Service. If you have no issues with the TOS, you shouldn’t have concerns. If you do have issues, then don’t use that particular social media platform, or utilize the platform on a separate device to which no important information is saved or connected, such as banking apps or private messages and images.

TikTok for Sales

Can TikTok be used for sales? Yes, even if you can’t hold a tune and have zero dancing rhythm.

TikTok, like any newer growing social network, has an algorithm that favors quicker growth. Simply put, you can reach more people and quicker than most social networks. Yes, the average age of a user is younger, and the average disposable income of TikTok users is less than other major social networks, so you do need to keep in mind your target audience. But, Tik Tok might present a unique opportunity for a competitive advantage to establish yourself or your business as a leader in your industry and to reach people that you aren’t reaching through other digital marketing efforts.

Also worth noting, similar to how Instagram evolved, it is highly likely that TikTok will continue to add options to benefit financially and add more options for businesses. While the network may lean more towards an opportunity for branding and exposure, it is likely to eventually become more e-commerce friendly.

So, dust off those dancing shoes, and get to TikTok’ing!