The For-You Page: A Brand’s Guide to Using TikTok Today

The For-You Page: A Brand’s Guide to Using TikTok Today

In the age of modern media, many distinguished brands we know today have begun to incorporate social media platforms in their marketing strategy. As of 2021, there are 4.48 billion social media users online, thus forming the need to establish an online presence to interact with a brand’s target audiences.

There are many benefits to advertising your brand online. A brand such as yours can generate stronger brand awareness and effectively promote your products and services.

Plus, social media platforms are easy to manage and they cost relatively less for a wider reach. In fact, Lyfe Marketing claims that you can reach up to 1,000 people for less than USD$3 (RM12).

One of the platforms that are catching the eyes of digital marketers today is TikTok. Though there is no specific number of brands that are present on the platform, big names like L’OReal, Pepsi, and HP have claimed their space on the platform. Through this fast-growing app, they have executed various campaigns that have won the hearts of many.

Here is a breakdown of what you (as a brand) need to know about TikTok today.

What Is TikTok?

In short, TikTok is a free mobile application that centres around the premise of short-form video – it supports video creation, editing, and sharing. Launched in 2016, it used to be called but was later bought out by ByteDance (the same company which launched Douyin in China).

Much to everyone’s surprise, TikTok gained mass popularity almost immediately. As of 2018 (February%202021)), Wallaroo Media reported that the platform had a whopping 680 million monthly active users. Today, there are 1.1 billion online users interacting with the application.

Unlike Instagram or Twitter (or any of your favourite social media apps), TikTok is best characterised by its concept of 15 to 60 seconds’ worth of video content. This actually encourages its users to get extra creative and produce videos that would easily hook the audience immediately.

To assure great content quality, users may choose from the range of in-app filters and audios. They can also edit and adjust their clips simultaneously, allowing for smooth loops and transitions. These two things are part of the ongoing wave of TikTok trends, but I’ll be diving into that later.

Image via Giphy

What you must know though, is that the platform is heavily populated by Gen Z users (or people born between 1997 and 2015). Gen Z is known for their short attention span, and TikTok truly caters to that. As a brand, you have to advertise shorter content for this youthful audience.

A possible catalyst to TikTok’s growth would be its versatility in content. That is, you can find almost every type of video on there. Cooking segments, dance, fashion hauls, animal videos, comedy, lifestyle vlogs — you name it.

Oftentimes, users may be driven to interact with these videos, thus forming a personalised algorithm or feed. This is known as the For You Page, and it’s the equivalent of Instagram’s Explore section. But if you want to go viral on TikTok as a brand, you need to familiarise yourself with the For-You Page first.

The TikTok Algorithm

The For-You Page (FYP, or its hashtag: #fyp) is the first thing that you see when you open the app. As a user, you can scroll through endless videos and refresh the page if you’ve reached the end of the feed. There are many factors that determine how the algorithm operates. Let me explain how that works.

To put it in layman’s terms, it depends on what you like, comment on, share, and save on TikTok. These can be from accounts you do and don’t follow. When you (as the user) interact with multiple videos of similar nature, the FYP will detect a pattern and recommend these kinds of videos to you.

For example, if you’re an animal-lover liking content related to pets and animals, the algorithm will give you more videos related to pets and animals. This is how your FYP is constructed.

Over time as you choose to follow more accounts, the feed will expand, and perhaps a viral video or two will join in. These viral – or trending – videos can be from anyone. This also applies to the recommended videos as well.

In the case of content you may not like, you can opt to select “Not Interested” (as indicated in the image below). You can find this feature by holding down your finger on a video.

The FYP will take that into consideration and recommend fewer videos of that nature (e.g. if you don’t like fashion videos, TikTok will recommend fewer fashion videos). A user’s disinterest can also be indicated by how the user did not watch the video for its full duration or skip the video and scroll past it.

Image via Later

Another factor to keep in mind will be the basic information in a video – its caption, the use of hashtags, and the audio it uses. One of the tactics to get your videos on the FYP would be the use of trending hashtags.

Under each hashtag, you can see how many videos have used it in their captions, and they can garner up to millions in some cases. On the other hand, another tactic would be the use of audios (created through voiceovers) and trending songs. All of them can be found under the “Discover” section.

Image via Later

Secondary factors that influence the algorithm include:
– Device and account settings – Language settings, region or location, phone type (Android vs Apple), age, gender, etc.
– Audience/user activity – When are your followers most active from the time of your uploads? How often do you post your content and interact with your audience?
– Video quality – How clear are your videos? How smooth are your edits and transitions?
– Post frequency – How often do you post content and interact with your audience?

Brands And Tiktok

It is no surprise that TikTok currently hosts hundreds – or possibly thousands – of brands, from major franchises to entrepreneurs. A part of representing your brand on TikTok is the involvement of marketing strategies and tactics that can resonate with the consumers.

These can be done in many different ways, as long as they meet the 15-second video mark. However, as a brand, there may be difficulties in including your information in such a short amount of time. Fret not, these are some of the ways you can establish your brand on TikTok:

1. Celebrity and influencer advertising

This strategy involves collaborating with a celebrity, or a big influencer on the platform. Contrary to what you may think, there are celebrities on TikTok – Gordon Ramsay is one of them.

Celebrities and influencers are a way to access current audiences, as well as gain new ones. As a brand, you can feature a well-known figure in your videos and they could be using a product or service of yours. For example, if you were a fashion brand, you can use a fashion influencer to do a clothing haul or a lookbook.

2. Join the trend

TikTok trends are ever-changing. They come and go so fast, it’s baffling how things can go viral so quickly. As a brand, you need to make use of that. Participate in TikTok challenges, such as a film scene reenactment or a dance. If not, you can use popular audios/music in your videos, and attract your audiences with the right hashtags. All you have to do is check what’s trending today.

3. Create memes for Gen Z

When you’re on TikTok, you’re going to be visible to a lot of Gen Z users. One of the popular tactics to speak to them would be to generate memes with your brand. Big companies such as Netflix and McDonald’s are using humour in their videos alongside their brand. It makes for enjoyable, yet informative content.

4. Voiceovers

As with any audience, there may be questions about your brand that need to be answered. What is your brand about? What do you sell? You (as the brand) can answer their curiosities through educational voiceovers in a simple video.

No matter the trend, voiceovers are comfortingly familiar. They can make a video more casual and intimate, and they can easily be personalised to your content. Plus, they fill in the gaps in terms of context and can explain your brand better.

5. Tutorials

Tutorials are the way to go when it comes to brand information. They help simplify parts of your brand, especially the technical aspects. For example, for brands that are based mostly online, you can provide a tutorial on how to use their online services.

This may allow the brand to be perceived as considerate of their audience/customers and are more interactive too. Tutorials can also expand out to consumer industries, which are based on how to cook certain dishes and drinks.

TikTok is the new social media platform you shouldn’t miss out on. No matter what the day is, it’s always going to grow. Trends move in and out by the day, so it could be a challenge. But for a brand like yours, it’s a great opportunity to establish your name creatively in the eyes of your potential consumers.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent official policy or position of Pandan Social.

Natasha Effendy