Honey Talks: TikTok Platform Focus

Honey Talks: TikTok Platform Focus

Why the Chinese short form video app is the platform to watch in 2019

December’s Honey Talks event asked if time is running out for Facebook and Instagram, as TikTok – a rapidly growing and incredibly popular social platform – attempts to steal their crown.

Honey’s partner and client director Luke Bristow introduced the new destination for short-form mobile videos, that hosts a similar style of content to Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

However, those established platforms will be aware of TikTok’s rise, because the platform has been lauded as the world’s most valuable startup and claimed the top spot on Apple’s App Store download charts in Q3 2018.

TikTok came to prominence in the UK when Musical.ly was bought by TikTok’s owners, the Chinese company ByteDance, and the two platforms merged. TikTok has since gained more than 500 million monthly active users – around double that of Snapchat and Pinterest combined, and more than Twitter and LinkedIn. In the UK TikTok has 3 million monthly active users, who are collectively racking up 2.5 billion monthly views.

For brands, this app is particularly interesting not only because of its highly engaged user base, but also because it is establishing engagement opportunities for advertisers, including brand takeovers and sponsored # challenges. With analytics on the near horizon and new innovations constantly being tested in China, TikTok is a serious contender for the top platform to watch in 2019.

TikTok Influencers on Stage

So far, only early moving brands, including Gymshark, Red Bull, MTV and the BBC have started to create content for the platform, so we invited two prominent TikTok influencers and creators – Tom Hooker, known as OutTheBox, and Vikki Banham to speak at the event and share why they are so excited about it.

Since Tom Hooker started on Musical.ly three years ago, he has gathered more than 1.5 million fans and received over 10 million hearts – TikTok’s equivalent of the like. After trying to establish a presence on a range of social platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, Hooker found a natural tie in between his travel-focused and comedy content and TikTok’s ‘make every second count’ tagline.

Hooker shared that ‘wow’ content and comedy is particularly successful, but the platform really stands out because it encourages people to create. Hooker identifies hashtag challenges as a great way to gain followers and for brands to gain prominence. Hooker worked with the BBC to establish a presence for Eurovision on TikTok this year, and found that using distinctive Eurovision content in the challenges helped the channel to gain 1 million views in three weeks.

Sharing his tips for creating successful content for the platform, Hooker has found that 15 seconds in length performs best, using hashtags well will generate a much higher chance of content being viewed and sound can be used from other videos as well as a wide range of popular songs.

Briefing Influencers

Vikki Banham has gained a following of over 1 million people in less than a year, focusing on creating body art, clothing and beauty. She has worked with brands including the FA, the BBC and X-Factor Live.

An ideal brief, for Banham, would offer creative freedom and work as a partnership, when brands select creators whose content they like and matches the work that they do. She judges success based on the number of views, likes and comments that she receives.

Brands have the option to either work with influencers on their platform, establish their own account or use a combination of the two. Banham believes that TikTok offers a mega opportunity to reach 13-17 year olds, especially girls. She shared that for her, the best time to post content is around 5pm.

Both Banham and Hooker agreed that analytics will be a game changer for brands on the platform, and should quickly solve many of the doubts that brands have when they see the engaged comments and shares.

The pair also praised TikTok for supporting its community of creators, asking for feedback and nurturing them to ensure that the content is consistently high quality and engaging.

‘Calling everyone that’s on the app a creator is really inclusive’ says Banham. The opportunities, engagement and creativity on show on the platform mean that brands – particularly those targeting young people – should be thinking about their TikTok strategy as a high priority for 2019.

To learn more about how Honey works with brands on TikTok, email mark.terry-lush@makehoney.com.

Emily Hare