Don't make ads make Tiktoks

Don’t make Ads – Tiktok warns not to use Branding

It’s been about a year now since TikTok launched TikTok for Business and challenged brands with the bold statement: “Don’t make ads, make TikToks.”

After a year of pushing for brands to join the platform, now TikTok has published a new post reiterating their original advice and shedding more light on what it really means to “make TikToks.” 

The TikTok for Business mantra is not one to be taken literally and is a useful message for marketers to extend across all social platforms and campaigns. It aims to encourage marketers to embrace the creativity of the platform which is known for the so-called #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon. 

Don't make Ads - Tiktok warns not to use Branding

In an attempt to highlight the benefits of following TikTok’s advice, they’ve shared statements from brands that have followed this advertising trend with great success.

As explained by TikTok Global Business Marketing head Katie Puris:

“…what happens on TikTok is completely unique. Every day, people participate in campaigns, build alongside them, and even create their own TikToks for brands and products they love. We frequently hear people say, ‘I didn’t even realize that was an ad!’ and that’s the goal on TikTok. The work is so good, it fits right in and it’s celebrated… just like a TikTok.”

TikTok points out how internet platforms have evolved, but ad formats have stayed relatively the same. However, when you think about how you interact with ads that show up, you’re likely imagining skipping them or tuning out until they disappear from blocking the view of the content you really wanted to see. That is why ‘the TikTok format,’ which is copied by other social media platforms with their own features like Reels, Shorts, and Spotlight, is more successful. By “making TikToks,” brands are actually producing valuable and engaging content that the younger audience is more receptive to. As Katie Puris said, it’s inviting them to be part of the story and to build on it instead of just receiving it and moving on, which aids in brands getting more exposure to new audiences.

Here’s how to make TikToks instead of ads, according to TikTok:

Embracing the Opportunity

TikToks take up the whole screen of a mobile device, and they use it to tell a short, compelling story. Once the viewer has seen the content, they have seemingly endless opportunities to interact with it. From duets to reactions, TikTok users can keep building on the story, add their own take, and contribute to the creation of viral trends. 

Brands can maximize their approach by thinking about the different engagement possibilities users have. Creating content that is valuable to their audience and that invites them along can help brands reach more potential customers as well as create brand loyalty as they become a community member rather than an intruder.

Being Real, Not Polished

The trick to a good brand TikTok is to make it feel like it’s all created by users. Too polished ad content will immediately stand out and will likely be skipped. Content that feels like it’s part of the community, real, and genuine, on the other hand, will spark interest and conversation. 

Hugo Lewis, co-founder of a London-based haircare company Only Curls told TikTok:

“For us ‘Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks.’ fits in perfectly with our strategy for TikTok. We always wanted our feed to be authentic, real, and showcase our products in a way that focuses on how they work so well.”

Making TikToks the TikTok Way

Similarly to the first piece of advice, your created TikToks should seem natural in their environment. Brands who take time learning the format, different styles and tools, will have better success. For example, TikTok users are using fun transitions to reveal new outfits, completed projects or their creative process. Making the most out of those trends can help brands blend in as well as make their videos more entertaining. 

Joining Just as You Are

Finally, TikTok encourages all brands to join as it doesn’t require a big budget. Native editing tools like Green Screen, voice filters, and special effects enable all brands, big or small, to create high quality content with almost no cost at all. Marianna Hewitt, co-founder of best-selling skincare brand Summer Fridays told TikTok:

“It’s almost like the more unfiltered, and the more real it is, the better it performs. On other platforms you have to really invest in your content and have videographers, photographers, and models; on TikTok, you don’t, and I love that about the platform.”  

TikTok is already a popular hub for big and small brands alike. By releasing this explanation to their approach, TikTok is trying to convince those still on the fence how they can save time and money by cutting down on the more traditional advertisement campaigns. For smaller businesses, especially, this is worth giving a shot as the app is known for gaining great exposure and momentum.

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