As more people bookmark TikTok, the short video app is expected to surpass YouTube for the first time in terms of time spent by their respective adult users in the U.S. by the end of the year, according to a report released on eMarketer last week.
The report indicates that TikTok users will spend an average of 45.8 minutes per day on the video-sharing platform, in contrast to the 45.6 minutes they’ll tune into YouTube. Despite emulating TikTok’s short-video features like Instagram Reel, Instagram accounts for an average of 30.1 minutes per day.
The difference between those stats on YouTube versus TikTok may be negligible, but it harbingers a turning of the tide. And for business owners, the ByteDance-owned app has huge potential to engage new consumers.
Here are three ways to capitalize on the app’s newly minted engagement stats:
1. Be authentic.
You’ll hear this a lot in reference to TikTok: In many ways TikTok and Instagram are polar opposites. Whereas picture perfect tends to rule the day on Instagram, TikTok users, rather, crave authenticity. So on TikTok, don’t suger coat, and stick to videos that can spark an emotion in the viewer.
“If brands are authentic on TikTok, they are not just perceived as advertisers, but seen as members of the community who understand what’s happening around them,” says Lyle Underkoffler, chief marketing officer at the New York City-based social ad automation platform Smartly.io.
CEO of creative agency Movers+Shakers in Santa Monica, California, Evan Horowitz, agrees with this strategy. He says TikTok users prefer content that “feels low-stakes.” Horowitz explains that videos that have a strong advertorial value usually won’t perform well on the platform.
2. Don’t jump on every big trend.
While you should attempt to post regularly about your products–and do so in a consistent manner–avoid jumping on every hot topic, which can range wildly from cute dog videos one minute to the “I am not meant to work” trend the next. Consider whether a trend is a fit with your business. A party outfit trend, for instance, may not be suitable for an energy saving company’s marketing campaign.
Further, “entrepreneurs and small business owners should find the most relevant hashtags for their brands, which may not necessarily be the most popular ones,” Jason Galloway, marketing consulting practice lead at multinational accounting and consulting firm KPMG, tells Inc. He adds that brands should also consider collaborating with smaller influencers for partnerships and product placement. “Speed and natural fit is far more important than polish, so focusing on trending content that fits the brand is the main strategy,” Galloway advises.
3. Embrace “live” interactions.
Last week, TikTok announced it will test out a new function, dubbed TikTok Live, to allow creators to generate recurring revenue via payments through live streaming. In a statement, TikTok says that the function aims to bring brands and viewers closer.
You can also now invite your best customers to a “VIP Room” by way of LIVE Subscription. TikTok’s monthly subscription for people to show their appreciation for their favorite LIVE creators grants brands the opportunity to grow their community and get exclusive offers for VIP customers. When the subscriber-only chat is turned on, advertisers and their subscribers have exclusive access to one another. Brands can build a personal network globally through live streaming.
“It’s increasingly important for brands to be relatable to their new and existing consumers,” advises Underkoffler. Regardless of how you engage, the point is to just start–and be authentic. “When advertising on TikTok, creating a genuine connection and interacting with the audience are critical,” he adds.