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The following excerpt is from the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing by Eric Butow, Jenn Herman, Stephanie Liu, Amanda Robinson, and Mike Allton and is available on August 25th through Entrepreneur Press. Pre-order now at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple books.
The most popular and talked about social network in 2020 – and perhaps the second most controversial after Facebook – is TikTok. Beijing-based ByteDance Technology Co. bought the lip-sync app Musical.ly in 2017 and merged it with its own lip-sync app in 2018 to create TikTok. (TikTok is known as Douyin in China.)
Both TikTok and Musical.ly did almost the same thing: users can create 15 second lip-sync music videos, add filters to make them more fun and colorful, and then send them to other users. But TikTok rules the short form world.
ByteDance has continuously updated the TikTok service and its efforts are paying off – it now has 500 million monthly online users. You can find more interesting statistics on the rapid rise of TikTok on the MediaKix website:
The TikTok app was downloaded more than 660,730 million times in 2019. Only 26.5 million of the 500 million monthly online users are from the United States. The country with the most TikTok users is in India, where 24 percent of all TikTok users live. ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing, TikTok is not available in China. The company is still selling its original app there: Douyin. Sixty-six percent of TikTok users are under 30 years of age.
Related: 3 Types of Social Media Marketing That You Shouldn't Ignore
When would you use TikTok to promote your business? If you want to attract young people, make videos on TikTok in communities that are in line with what your business has to offer. If you are marketing your business overseas, especially in South Asia, TikTok should be on your list of social media networks to review when creating your company's social media strategy. Here are five ways you can take advantage of the power of TikTok:
1. Create video
TikTok allows users to choose from a wide variety of background music. Once you have chosen your music, you can dance and / or synchronize with the music yourself with your smartphone camera. Once you've captured the video, you can edit it using a variety of filters such as: E.g. one that allows you to change the speed of the video.
2. Share video
When you're done editing, you can share it with other TikTok users or post it to YouTube and Facebook. TikTok is similar to the other two social networks in that you can set your TikTok profile to private and only share your videos with your friends.
3. Find your community
Additionally, TikTok has a variety of theme-based communities that you can search for. If you find some, check out some videos in the community to see what types of videos are popular before you record and post yours.
4. Pay attention to reactions
After you've published your video, the users you share it with can use TikTok's "Respond" feature, which lets them respond to your video in a small window in front of your video. This feature is an effective way to find out who likes your video in the community and / or in your group of TikTok friends.
5. Create duets and challenges
Two of the most popular features in TikTok are the creation of "Duets" and "Challenges". A duet is a video that is combined with another video so that both videos can be viewed at the same time. Someone can do this to your video and vice versa. If another user has the Duet function disabled, you will not be able to add the video to your own Duet. (You can also disable this feature on your own profile or only allow friends to create duet videos.)
You can also take part in a challenge where a user posts a video on a topic and asks others to post videos on the same topic. A list of the best TikTok challenges of 2019 has been posted on the One37pm website. One example was showing videos of a user's best artwork and an insight into their artistic process. This challenge created an atmosphere of creativity and community.
Related Topics: TikTok Bans Deepfakes and Extends Fact-Checking to Tackle Election Misinformation
Data retention studies
Even so, TikTok has obvious security issues. In mid-2019, the UK began investigating how TikTok collected and used children's account information. That investigation followed a US Federal Trade Commission fined TikTok in February 2019 for illegally collecting personal information from children.
In 2019, U.S. lawmakers raised concerns in Congress that TikTok was censoring information, particularly videos of the anti-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and sending user data to the Chinese government.
These concerns led to a formal national security review by US federal agencies. The U.S. Army and Navy have also banned their employees from using TikTok on state phones because they consider it a security risk.
ByteDance is committed to working fully with the US government to address their concerns. That promise was received with great skepticism by Congress, however, when the company refused to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in November 2019.
(Since UG went to press to SMM, the legal concerns regarding TikTok's relationship with the US and China have been updated significantly. Please see here for more information.)