"The algorithm is kind": 3 reasons why now is the time to launch a TikTok brand campaign

It's cheap to make content for the short-video platform, and the key to success is being authentic, not perfect.

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Image: iStock/Wachiwit

Now is the time to start using TikTok to build an audience and build a brand strategy using the social media platform, according to an industry expert. Companies should take advantage of low ad rates and the ability to get good exposure even with a small number of followers, said Aron Tzimas, chief creative officer and co-founder of Knotch.

Tzimas used the example of Notion, a company that helps individuals organize and plan their work and personal lives. Tzimas said users posted TikTok videos about how they were using the tool to organize their days when the pandemic shutdowns changed everyday life.

"People felt disoriented and unsure and they needed structure and drive, so they were making videos about how they're using Notion to structure their lives," he said.

This led to more people posting videos about how they use Notion, which boosted the brand's story. Tzimas said the biggest mistake a company can make is not getting on the platform fast enough.  

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Tzimas manages product engineering design and marketing for the content intelligence company, which tracks multiple metrics of a piece of content from how a reader arrives at the article or video to any actions the person takes after consuming the content.

Here are three reasons companies should build a presence on TikTok.

TikTok's algorithm is friendly to creators and users

Tzimas describes the current iteration of the TikTok content recommendation algorithm as "super kind." One reason is that the algorithm understands even users who don't interact with the videos via likes or comments.

Tzimas said another benefit of the algorithm is that accounts don't need lots of followers to get significant views.

"You can have 50 followers and get 100,000 views because the algorithm is tweaked so well," he said.

"You can be a passive TikTok user and it still knows what you like," he said.

The platform is built on copying an idea

Another reason the platform is good for brands is because stories and ideas are reinforced when users make their own versions of someone else's initial post.

"It amplifies your initial creative, something that people might see as an ad on other platforms," he said.

TikTok rounded up the top 10 content types for 2020 in a list that covered a little bit of everything, including playlists, memes, and top creators.

Popular hashtags like #dontleaveme are another way to drive traffic. These videos feature puns and physical comedy: one person makes a terrible pun and runs away while the other person chases after calling, "Don't leave me."

Dance challenges are another good way to drive interest; the #blindinglights challenge from 2020 got 3.5 billion views. 

The platform also has various filters and visual effects that creators can use to alter videos. The #Timewarpscan was a top hashtag from 2020 and used a visual effect to scan from the top of a video to the bottom changing the person's visual appearance from young to old.

It's cheap to build content and buy ads

TikTok is the cheapest story-telling platform available right now, Tzimas said.

"It's not a place where you will spend massive budgets to create polished content," he said.

This dynamic benefits companies and content creators because the cheaper it is to make content, the more content a company can make, Tzimas said. "It also forces brands to think about strategy and be a lot more creative."

The platform is most popular with 16- to 24-year-olds but the 24- to 44-year-olds are a significant chunk of the users as well. Tzimas said TikTok is where these age groups are spending their time. 

"When Facebook started paid ads, it was super cheap and very effective, and right now it's the same for TikTok," he said.

He also encouraged brands to consider working with rising stars, not just established creators.

"You have to have your finger on the pulse because it changes so frequently," he said. 

The key is to tie the content to overall strategy and business goals and then measure the impact. 

"You want to make sure the time and effort is tied to a business outcome," he said.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...