Written by Taya Patel

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For many, the likes of Ryanair, Fortnite and Gymshark come to mind as brands who have successfully navigated the world of TikTok… TikTok royalty if you will.

The common thread boosting the popularity of these brands on the app, is that they’re able to not take themselves too seriously. The platform has allowed brands who are actively marketing on the app to make bold and unique moves. Exploring the ever-evolving TikTok trends and branching out to a continuously expanding audience of potential customers. But what’s the insider tip? How can other brands win on the app and get a seat at the TikTok round table?

Ryanair has been thrust into the limelight for its humorous approach to TikTok. Pairing their videos with carefully selected trending sounds, quirky filters and relatable air travel issues. A huge part of Ryanair’s success can be attributed to their use of negative consumer opinions of the ultra low-cost air carrier, as they mock themselves on the app for increased views and engagement. Gymshark and Nandos have also followed the humour suit. Gymshark produces videos on relatable perspectives of the fitness experience, whilst Nandos post content on customer’s sneaky behaviours in its restaurants. For Gymshark it’s everything from skipping leg day to using the wrong piece of gym equipment, or finding it difficult to keep up with peers, the list of gym woes goes on and on. Thanks to Nandos Tok we now know all of our sneaky tricks have been aired out to dry…they even know about the ‘refilling of the water glass with tango’ ploy.

But it’s not just humour doing well on the platform. It’s all about the trends.

Since the dawn of social media, trends have been an integral part of capturing consumer attention. For anyone who’s ventured onto TikTok, you’ll understand how much trends dictate and dominate the space. In comparison to Instagram, which encourages the creation of original and artistic video content, TikTok’s most popular videos seem to be the ones that can be quickly produced and easily replicated. The key problem with trends though is that you have to be Speedy Gonzalez in reacting to them, they change with the wind. Then there’s the matter of setting trends, which is an art form. If you don’t have a high TikTok following, setting trends is all about TikTok’s discovery section and keeping track of which hashtags are performing the best. This leads nicely onto the small matter of the TikTok algorithm.

TikTok’s ‘For You’ page (FYP) is an infinite feed of selected content that TikTok’s algorithm – a user-centric design – believes you’ll be interested in, very similar to Instagram’s Explore tab. The clever, complex system has your movements tracked to a T, using machine learning to show you a personalised feed, unique to each user. Through new campaign launches, consistently posting, leaning towards shorter videos, and using trending sounds and hashtags, brands like Fortnite managed to crack the TikTok algorithm.

Soon after joining TikTok, Fortnite invited TikTok users to their ‘Emote Royale’ contest which challenged people to create dances which could then be turned into official emotes on Fortnite. The campaign turned into a trend and was a fun way of directly engaging with thousands of participants, where both parties reaped the rewards. Who doesn’t want their choreographed dance created into an avatar for a world-renowned video game? As a result of hacking the algorithm, Fortnite has now reached over 8.9 million followers and 59.2 million likes. We need to be more like Fortnite.

So…how can you make the most out of TikTok? What are my Top Five  Takeaways for TikTok Success?

  1. Be UNPOLISHED. We can learn a lot from the less polished, more ‘homemade’ style TikTok videos. This content is far more relatable to the consumer than those expensive and clean shot videos.
  2. Be RELATABLE. The content needs to be relatable. The videos perform better when the viewers can relate.  Whether that’s through personal experiences, humour or niche interests.
  3. Be EDUCATIONAL. People love to learn new things and feel as though what they’re ingesting is of value, try and make your content informative.
  4. Be a TREND FOLLOWER. Don’t be unique, don’t set yourself apart, follow the crowd and be super reactive.
  5. Be a victim of the TIKTOK ALGORITHM. I know it goes against every fibre of your being but make the TikTok algorithm your best friend, you won’t regret this one.

There is an unconscious cost-benefit analysis that goes on in the human mind when scrolling mindlessly through TikTok. The viewer is thinking about the value they can gain from the app whilst TikTok’s number one priority is to keep your attention for as long as possible. Attention equals money…so, create relatable, educational content, follow the trends, crack the algorithm, reap the rewards and secure the crown jewels as your brand thrives from these top tips on TikTok. Simple.

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