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Social media has evolved from being a place to connecting with friends to a resource used daily. We’re diving into how one of the newest and rapidly growing platforms, TikTok, is being utilized as a tool for search and discovery.
It has only taken a few years for TikTok to change the landscape of social media. The video-first app initially launched in the United States, from its parent company ByteDance, as a platform to share short dance videos with friends aimed at attracting a Gen Z user base. Today, the 80 million active U.S. users are using the platform to discover new products, recipes and learn about topics that interest them — among thousands of other niches.
TikTok utilizes its unique algorithm to make searching and finding new content as simple as a swipe. The platform learns about the user’s interests through actions taken in the app like video views and engagement. The app easily divides new discoverable content and content from friends into two main feeds: “For You” and “Following”. As a result, users can quickly find content that is relevant to their interests, without having to sift through irrelevant results.
While TikTok started as a platform that was seemingly a passing trend, we have watched as this app has completely transformed the dynamic of both the social world and business landscape — and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. TikTok has not only served as a source for free marketing, but has turned itself into a search engine. For example: when the news broke about Taylor Swift’s most recent breakup, we turned to TikTok — not Google. It is a common belief that the creators of TikTok will have information quicker than the speediest search engine there is.
Diving deeper into this: when scrolling through TikTok, every video and comment section has a search bar either at the top of the video or in the comment section. For a business, this is often a reflection of what the video is talking about, for example, it could be categorized as “Texas Food” if the video is for a restaurant located in Texas. This shows that TikTok knows to show your video to an audience that enjoys watching Texas Food videos, and will often lead deeper down that rabbit hole. On top of this, you can find some outlandish search bars in the comment section. Back to Taylor Swift: a video about her breakup could have something along the lines of “Taylor Swift dating Matty Healy” in the comment search bar. This means that the majority of people who watched that video immediately searched that sentence in the TikTok explore page after watching that particular TikTok.
You might be wondering, how can my brand get involved in the discovery? We know starting fresh on a new platform may seem like a daunting task but TikTok will always be an entertainment first platform — so have fun with it! If you want people to know about your brand, you have to get people talking about (and searching for it!) To do so, you have to be relevant, and the fact of the matter is that whatever is trending on TikTok is relevant.
Our first tip would be to jump on a TikTok trend! Whether you are using a template in CapCut or a sound that is going viral, creating content around what is trending will help your video be seen by other people that have shown interest or interacted with that trend. Maximize your video’s searchability by utilizing hashtags and keywords. The more relevant text you have in your video the more chances TikTok will understand what your content is about to show it to the right people. If there is a person speaking in your video, we’d recommend adding captions to help capture the attention of a wider audience. Hashtags can also help people interested in similar topics to your brand find your videos. We recommend searching hashtags that are relevant to your audience and adding 3-5 hashtags to your captions.
TikTok has many great resources for businesses in their Business Creative Center. Before you get started on your next TikTok, you can discover the latest trending hashtags, songs, creators and videos. Get inspired and spark creativity on TikTok with your brand. Here’s to the new Google!
Jacqueline Fierro + Skyler McAlister