4 minute read

TikTok has emerged as one of the hottest platforms today, with more than 1 billion users worldwide. In the US alone, there are more than 80 million active users, and 60% of those users are Gen Z.

The average TikTok user spends a whopping 95 minutes a day on the platform. So what does this mean for brands? Our recent Shoff Chat guest broke it down for us. Tyler Beadlescomb is VP and Head of Digital Strategy for Pacers Sports Entertainment and former user growth marketing strategist at TikTok.

Here are a few key takeaways from the conversation.

Q: Tyler, you came to your current role with Pacers Sports & Entertainment after a stint working at TikTok. Tell us about that experience and what you see as the most attractive elements of the platform. How did it grow so big and so fast?

A: Every company starts with a mission, and TikTok is no different. “Inspire Creativity & Spread Joy” is that mission at TikTok – the goal was to create a platform inherently focused on fun, positivity, and the sharing of joyful content. And I think that resonates well today generally, the idea of being able to sit back and relax and spend some time each day watching positive things. But TikTok’s 2020 explosion makes so much sense in context…when the world was really dark with the pandemic and people were stuck inside, TikTok became a joyful bright spot to hundreds of millions of people.

One of the unique things that TikTokers, both users and the employees, are constantly evangelizing, is that TikTok is not a social platform, but an entertainment platform. And that’s an important distinction because when polled, people have a fair amount of social media fatigue. But the user experience of TikTok is much closer to Netflix’s or Hulu’s than it is Twitter’s or Facebook’s. People are purely consuming long stretches of video content, and not from friends or family or people they know to keep up with socially. It’s purely about enjoyment, and that’s very powerful.

Q: What are the most successful brands doing on TikTok? And those that aren’t quite getting it right?

A: A key to doing TikTok well is putting people at the heart of your content strategy. First-person style content really excels on the platform – people sharing their experiences using products and services. Nothing beats looking-at-the-camera, down-barrel, first-person POV video on TikTok.

And while using Creators/Influencers can be powerful for this, that doesn’t have be the expensive answer. So many local businesses are thriving by putting chefs, baristas, cashiers, handymen, or others front and center on their channels. Just sharing useful tips, how-to’s, showing off pretty work…TikTok is a great meritocracy and good content will find its way to large audiences, whether that “face of the brand” is famous or not.

Q: Developing content doesn’t have to feel daunting – let’s talk about what makes for good content and how you can create content for Tik Tok that is simple.

A: I can’t say it enough – personal storytelling. Relatable, basic things that add value to people’s lives, whether it’s a smart hack or something that makes you laugh. A trend in digital we are seeing generally is that consumers are looking for less polished content. Even when coming from brands, consumers want to feel like they are being heard and communicated with through people, not through logos.

At the Fever and Pacers, we try to put the players front and center on TikTok as much as possible, because we know that’s who fans want to connect with and see most. What thrives for us most is showcasing their personalities and the camaraderie in fun ways – taste testing new foods, celebrating each other, fun practice antics, their style and pregame outfits which are big deals, getting out in the community and giving back…that is the content that thrives.

Q: TikTok is different from other platforms in its ability to create a truly curated experience. Tell us about how that can benefit brands.

A: On most platforms, consumers of your brand’s content are seeing it because they have signed up to do so explicitly – they have given your page/account a Like or Follow because they already know and like your brand. This means growing a following is hard, because most of the content you are creating is shared with people who you already have connection with…you rely on them to share to their friends and family to help grow your following.

TikTok is unique among platforms in the discovery aspect. For top brands, over 90% of their views come from people who don’t follow their page. Which means those brands are just creating engaging content, and TikTok’s algorithm is exposing their brand to millions of new people because they think it’s content worth sharing. There are so many examples of brands and Creators going from zero to hero in a matter of days because they create viral work that immediately brings them onto the scene. It’s quite amazing.

Looking for a communications partner who can help you develop a content strategy? Let’s connect

Listen to this episode or past Shoff Chats episodes here.