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TikTok/ Reels marketing for dummies

Similar to Vine, an old video hosting app, TikTok is all about short videos. While a lot of the content found on TikTok consists of users lip-syncing to popular songs or performing short dances, you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for, from makeup tutorials to strategically thought out, branded content, such as ELF Cosmetics’ viral #eyeslipsface challenge. ELF Cosmetics specifically commisioned a song to be recorded and promoted on TikTok, to pair with their challenge, and ended up gaining the most ever user-generated videos for a TikTok brand campaign. And with over 800 million monthly users, it’s safe to say that ByteDance, the creator of TikTok, is doing something right when it comes to attracting an audience!

Then social media competitor, Facebook, launched their own short-video platform called Reels. Similar to TikTok in almost every functional way, Reels also allows users to post 15-minute long videos, which can be uploaded to a unique Reels stream or posted to users’ stories.

Regardless of who copied who, both TikTok and Reels have managed to draw huge audiences to their apps, and Reels is hot on TikTok’s heels, having employed influencers to help draw viewers to the platform. So, with TikTok’s 800 million user count, and Instagram’s 1 billion user count (all of whom have access to Reels irrespective of whether they decide to create videos), it’s clear that the platforms offer great opportunity to brands looking to gain exposure to an audience between 13 and 24

Ultimately, there are three key directions that brands can take:

1. Create an account for your brand, where you create and upload unique content which is relevant to your business.

Challenges and trends are an essential aspect of TikTok and Reels-style content, encouraging users to jump on board and make videos accordingly, emphasizing the viral-ability of the platforms. Challenges are typically given a hashtag name, making them memorable and easy to find. You might find that posting content that is in line with current trends gains your brand’s account more exposure. Or, dare to start your own unique challenge with its own hashtag, but unless your brand’s account has managed to build up a significant following, we would recommend working with influencers to kick start your #challenge.

2. Pay influencers to advertise your product to their audience.

The influencer marketing techniques we all see on other content and video-based platforms, like YouTube, are suited to TikTok and Reels too. Influencers know how to create content that their audiences enjoy and engage with, so if your product suits an influencer’s style and audience, your influencer-marketing campaign should thrive. You might employ influencers to create content where they wear or use your product to inspire their audience in an authentic and entertaining way.

3. Advertise directly on the apps. However, TikTok and Reels advertising are still in their early days, and there isn’t a clear-cut market, like there is for YouTube, yet.

TikTok offers various advertising opportunities for brands to explore, such as their in-feed and Topview ads. In-feed ads are 5-to-15-second-long videos with a clear “sponsored” label when they appear in users’ streams, and include a new clickable call-to-actions, including “learn more” or “shop now”. Where as Topview ads appear as soon as the app is opened, and can last up to 60-seconds. Reels, on the other hand, does not currently offer any advertising formats, as they are “working on building up a community first”.

If the short-form videos of TikTok and Reels are a marketing strategy that you haven’t considered yet, but are keen to explore, our team at Yellow Door are more than willing to guide you through the process! Connect with us at hello@theyellowdoor.co.za if you have any questions you would like answered, or if you’re ready to start brainstorming the next viral TikTok challenge.

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