TikTok’s 1 Billion Users: What You Need To Know For Social Media Marketing.

Tiktok is a social media short-form video app for creating and sharing lip-sync, comedy and talent videos. TikTok first grew in popularity in Asia and then the app’s parent company bought Musical.ly and merged the two apps under the TikTok name. In two years, Tiktok has quickly grown to 1 billion global monthly users. Unlike previous social networks that relied on organic growth, TikTok has invested in a huge advertising campaign on competing social platforms. Globally, TikTok users are younger than most other social platforms with 41% aged 16-24 years-old and 60% under 30.

Statistic: Most popular mobile social networking apps in the United States as of June 2019, by average session duration (in minutes) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

In the U.S., TikTok is the second most popular mobile social network app.

Facebook users spend an average of 13 hours per month on the app, while TikTok users have risen to 6 hours per month over Snapchat’s 3 hours. Average session length is high with nearly 10 minutes per session compared to Pinterest’s and Facebook’s 5 minute average and Snapchat’s 2 minute average. This isn’t surprising when you learn TikTok is one of the first social platforms to use artificial intelligence to show users more of what they like with advanced interest behavioral targeting.

Despite the growth and active engagement, TikTok is a niche audience.

With just 2% reach among U.S. mobile users placing it 16th behind Facebook with 91 percent reach and Snapchat’s 26 percent reach. Even among Gen Z, Instagram (65 percent), YouTube (63 percent) and Snapchat (51 percent) are still the most popular social networks based on daily use compared to TikTok (11 percent).

TikTok has unique and similar features to other social networks.

Like other social platforms TikTok users have a profile that includes a photo, username and bio. Users follow other accounts to see their videos. Popular videos are liked with a heart counter appearing over the video and organized by hashtags that appear as trending on a Discover Page. Examples of trending hashtags include #whywebrokeup, #rocktober, #facetrackingchallenge, and #MosaicZoom creatd by TikTok to promote use of a new creative effect.

The For You page is TikTok’s front page as it is the landing page when users first open the app. The For You page is based on an algorithm designed to show you more content similar to what you have liked in the past from people you do not follow. At the bottom of the page users can find content outside the For You algorithm through the Search and Explore page. This is the opposite of Instagram where when you open the app you first see content from users you follow, then you can switch over the Explore tab.

Getting on the For You page is important to going viral and is a goal of many users to grow their followers much like brand trying to get into the newsfeed of Facebook users. TikTok has not released information on what goes into a video making the For You pages, but many speculate it has to do with engagement such as likes and more people watching all the way through (retention rate). Hashtags related to what users have indicated they like also most likely matter, but many also include #foryou, #foryoupage, or #fyp trying to get on this page, gain more exposure and become TikTok famous.

TikTok enables users to create short music and lip-sync videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. Videos can be sped up, slowed down and edited with filters and background music is selected from various music genres. Users can also create short lip-sync videos to popular songs. The react feature allows filming reactions in a small window over the main video. The duet feature you can film two videos beside each other. Unlike Facebook videos the default is to have the sound turned on. Therefore, subtitles are not has important.

Businesses can participate in the social platform.

Brands can create a brand channel and uploading and sharing relevant content. Brands can work with influencers to spread messages to a broader audience. TikTok offers social ads with some creative formats. TikTok ads include standard native in-feed video, brand takeovers that run full screen, and branded lenses that use AR face filters and 3D objects. Brands can also sponsor Hashtag Challenges that encourage user-generated content such as the #JumanjiChallenge.

 

TikTok offers social media advertising options.

TikTok ads can be targeted by age, gender, state-level geo-targeting and custom audiences from CRM lists. The platform also boasts advanced interest targeting based on their AI technology. Marketers set campaign periods and budgets paying on a cost per thousand (CPM), cost per click (CPC), or cost per view (CPV) basis. Advertisers besides Jumanji include Grubhub driving app downloads and the NFL courting younger viewers. TV stars such as Jimmy Fallon have embraced the new platform. His #TumbleweedChallenge created 8,000 videos with over 9 million views in just 7 days.

This fast growing social platform is not without controversy. The U.S. government opened up investigations into TikTok owner ByteBance alleging the Chinese company may be censoring politically sensitive content and questioning how it stores personal data. Users have also complained that their videos are being used in TikTok ads on other social platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram without being asked for paid. Yet, everyone who signs up for TikTok agrees to their terms of service (whether it is read or not):

“You or the owner of your User Content still own the copyright in User Content sent to us, but by submitting User Content via the Services, you hereby grant us an unconditional irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully transferable, perpetual worldwide licence to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, make derivative works of, publish and/or transmit, and/or distribute and to authorise others users of the Services and other third-parties to view, access, use, download, modify, adapt, reproduce, make derivative works of, publish and/or transmit your User Content in any format and on any platform, either now known or hereinafter invented.”

These terms are similar to what other apps and social platforms have included in their small print, but perhaps they have been noticed more with the high profile of Tiktok’s ad campaign. California’s new data privacy law (CCPA) takes effect January 2020 with similar privacy protection and disclosure requirements to Europe’s GDPR. Many companies will be changing the way they disclose and what they do with people’s data to avoid fines.

Despite these concerns brands have moved forward on the platform to reach its young user base. How will your brand leverage TikTok? How will TikTok fit with your larger social media strategy? Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy and consider Top Social Media Channels By Category.

Employer Branding in Social Media [Infographic]

Employer Branding and Employee Engagement in Social Media Strategy for Marketing

Why social media employer branding? Job seekers rank social and professional networks as the most useful job search resource compared to job boards, job ads, employee referrals, recruiting agencies, and recruiting events. Companies believe that social media marketing will be the most in demand human resource skill by 2020.

An employer brand is a brand’s reputation as a place to work and its employee value proposition. It is related to, but unique from the general brand reputation and customer value proposition. Think of the difference as “great place to work” versus “great place to buy.”

Employer branding is attracting, engaging and retaining talent. This is often done by human resource managers working with marketing and/or applying brand management concepts to recruitment and employee relations. Social media can be a powerful tool for employer branding with many benefits as evidenced in the statistics below.Employer Branding and Employee Engagement in Social Media Strategy for MarketingHow do you use social media for employer branding? First, understand your employee value proposition (EVP), the set of offerings you provide an employee. EVP is an employee-centered view of the unique set of values that differentiate your company from competitors. A good EVP helps attract and retain talent that is the best fit. Kristina Martic from the recruitment marketing firm TalentLyft explains that EVP includes:

  1. Compensation (salary, bonuses)
  2. Benefits (healthcare, vacation)
  3. Career (stability, development)
  4. Work environment (positive atmosphere, work-life balance)
  5. Company culture (team support, social responsibility)

By defining your EVP you should form an idea of who your ideal job candidate would be. This is more than a standard job description of required education, skills and years of experience. TalentLyft recommends creating a candidate persona combining demographic and psychographic segmentation the way you would in defining a target audience for marketing.

Next, discover where that ideal candidate is spending their time online, where they are looking for job information, and who they want to receive that information from. The average candidate uses 18 different resources to research a company before applying for a job and 79% are using social media in their job search. The top social networks for recruitment are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These social channels are good places for more formal posts (organic and paid) about specific positions, benefits and corporate values, but other factors are important.

A LinkedIn survey found that the number one obstacle candidates experience is not knowing what it’s like to work at an organization. For more of the behind the scenes or in the trenches view other social channels like Instagram or Snapchat could be powerful. Show don’t tell with images and videos of what the company culture and work environment are like.

Another LinkedIn survey found that candidates trust employees three times more than employers. It is important to include your employees in your employer branding social media. Consider employee takeovers and Instagram and Snapchat stories from live events. Or have employees guest write about their accomplishments on the corporate blog. Pew Research indicates that 77% of workers use social media while on the job. Why not leverage that time for the good of the employer brand?

Be sure to also use social media to communicate to your employees. Remember that it isn’t just candidates that are viewing your social posts. Employees are as well, especially when you start engaging them to communicate company culture. Job Vibe reports that employee turnover can be reduced by 28% by investing in an employer brand.

Another social channel consideration for both employer branding and employee relations is employer review sites. Survey’s indicate that 50% of job seekers read employer reviews on sites like Glassdoor before applying. And 69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand by responding to reviews, updating their profile, and sharing updates on the culture and work environment.

With employees sharing updates on brand social channels, writing corporate blogs and leaving reviews on employer review sites employer branding and employee engagement are intricately linked. Employee engagement is actively appreciating employees and their work to motivate more productive and active employees. This is important considering 89% of employees say performance recognition impacts their drive and determination.

Driven and determined employees are excited to be recognized for their work in social media and happy to share their enthusiasm for their work and company in social. This enthusiasm is observed by job candidates who become new employees and continue the cycle. Thus, good employer branding becomes good employee engagement.

Who is doing this well? The international IT company CISCO has a great employer branding and employee engagement program based on #WeAreCisco. Explore their Life At Cisco Blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat for inspiration. They have even been enter into the Shorty awards for employee generated content for for employer branding.

If you haven’t thought about the importance of employer branding, employee engagement and social media, now may be a good time. It could be a nice edition to your overall social media strategy. If you are an employee looking for a job consider this Social Media Career Guide and developing A Social Media Plan For Your Personal Brand.

Social Media Etiquette & Ethics: A Guide for Personal, Professional & Brand Use.

With 73% of the world’s Internet users active in social media, 83% of Fortune 500 companies with social media accounts and 92% of recruiters using social media to find candidates it is too important not to carefully consider your actions. Social media brings together our personal, professional and working lives in a way no other medium has before. How do we navigate this social landscape where our worlds collide and brands communicate like people in one-on-one conversations with consumers?

Etiquette is the proper way to behave and Ethics studies ideas about good and bad behavior. Both combine into Professionalism, which is the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior expected from a person trained to do a job such as social media marketing. Because social media blurs the lines between our personal and professional lives it is useful to look at actions in social media from three perspectives: Personal (as an individual), Professional (as an employee or perspective employee) and Brand (as an organization). To simplify the discussion I have created questions for each category in the Social Media Etiquette and Ethics Guide below.

Personal Social Use

If you think what you do in social has to do only with your personal life, there are facts you should consider: 60% of employers use social sites to research job candidates, 41% say they use social networking sites to research current employees and 26% have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee. Even if you try to keep your social profiles completely private 41% of employers say they are less likely to interview someone if they find no information about that person online.

The top types of content that turns employers off should not surprise you: Inappropriate photographs, videos, drinking/using drugs, discriminatory comments, bad-mouthing a previous company or fellow employee, and poor communication skills. The good news is employers can find information that causes them to hire a candidate including: background supports job qualifications, a professional image, personality fits company culture, a well-rounded range of interests, and great communication skills.

What about ranting? Rants blow off steam and make you feel better right? Research has found people’s moods decline after reading rants, and after writing rants they became more angry, not less. Forum moderator Bill Horne describes ranting as “watching others being burned at the electronic stake as they abandon logic, courtesy, common sense and self-respect.” In the end no one feels better. Recruitment professional Kate Croucher says about candidates, “If they are sharing lots of interesting things, and making insightful comments or forming strong opinions, and interacting with others in a positive way, it shows their ability to rally people behind them and develop effective relationships.”


Before you post or comment in a personal capacity consider:

  1. Is it all about me? No one likes someone who only talks about themselves. The same applies in social media. Balance boasting with complimenting.
  2. Am I stalking someone? It is good to be driven and persistent but be careful not to cross the line into creepy. Don’t be too aggressive in outreach.
  3. Am I spamming them? Not everything or even the majority of what you post should ask for something. Don’t make everything self-serving.
  4. Am I venting or ranting? Venting and ranting may feel good, but research says it doesn’t help and no matter how justified you feel, it never presents you in a positive light. Do not post negative comments or gossip.
  5. Did I ask before I tagged? You had a great time and want to share those memories, but your friends, family or employer may have different standards. Check before you tag people in posts.
  6. Did I read before commenting or sharing? Don’t make yourself look foolish by not fully reviewing something you are commenting on or sharing with others. Don’t jump to conclusions.
  7. Am I grateful and respectful? Don’t take people for granted. Respond and thank those who engage with you.
  8. Is this the right medium for the message? Not everything should be said in social media. Consider the feelings of the other person. Some messages should be given in person, by phone or email.
  9. Am I logged into the right account? There are too many corporate examples of embarrassing posts meant for personal jokes that went out on official brand accounts. Always double check which account you are on. Don’t post personal information on brand accounts.

Professional Social Use

As seen above, social media has blurred our personal and professional lives. As an employee or contractor you should consider how your social use impacts your employer. When hired you should always refer to the company’s social media policy, but here are some general guidelines to consider. Not only should your social media not hurt the company, but many companies today see your active personal social media use as a medium of advocacy for the brand. Also, anything you post now may impact your professional image as a potential employee at another company or organization.


Before you post or comment as a professional consider:

  1. Does it meet the Social Media Policy? Most organizations have official social media policies that you probably received when hired. Don’t assume you know what the policy says. Many employees have been fired for not following company social media regulations. Make sure you know and follow employer or client requirements.
  2. Does it hurt my company’s reputation? No matter how many disclaimers you put on your accounts such as “views are my own” certain content and behavior will negatively impact your employer. If your bio states where you work, your personal account represents your employer.
  3. Does it help my company’s marketing? Employee advocacy is an important strategy. Have a positive impact on your company’s image and when you can advocate for your brand in social.
  4. Would my boss/client be happy to see it? You may not have “friended” your boss or client but a co-worker may have and your post is only a share or screen grab away. Even private accounts are never fully private.
  5. Am I being open about who I work for? It is good to post positive content about your employer and it is nice to receive gifts, but if you are trying to pass it off as unbiased opinion that is wrong. Be transparent about your financial connections.
  6. Am I being fair and accurate? Everyone is entitled to their person opinion, but if your opinion tends to always be unfounded and seems to have an agenda it will reflect negatively upon you. Criticism is welcome when it is constructive and opinion is backed by evidence.
  7. Am I being respectful and not malicious? People can get very insensitive, judgmental and angry in social media posts. That does not convey a professional image. Don’t post what you wouldn’t say in person. Even an outburst in person fades in memory, but a malicious post is there forever.
  8. Does it respect intellectual property? Not everything on the Internet is free. Check for or get permission to post company or client brand assets and content.
  9. Is this confidential information? As an employee or contractor you are granted access to privileged and confidential information. Don’t assume it is fine to share. Do not disclose non-public company or client information.

Brand Social Use

For those who are responsible for creating and sharing brand social media content there are additional considerations to ensure you are helping to meet business goals and following laws and regulations. With 92% of S&P 500, 100% of Down Jones companies active on social media and 91% of retail brands using two or more social channels chances are your company is participating in social media through brand accounts.


Before posting or commenting as a brand on a social account consider:

  1. Does it speak to my target market? Social media is unique from traditional marketing and requires a different perspective to be effective. Be sure to focus on your target’s wants and needs not yours.
  2. Does it add value? Social media only works if people view and share it. Make your content educational, insightful or entertaining to grab interest and draw engagement.
  3. Does it fit the social channel? Don’t post content ideal for Twitter on Instagram or Reddit. Each channel has its own culture and community. Make sure each post fits the channel’s environment, mission and policies or standards.
  4. Is it authentic and transparent? Trying to trick people into clicking a link or making a purchase will get you nowhere. Don’t hide or exclude any relevant information.
  5. Is it real and unique? Bots can automate tasks and be a great time saver, but use them for the right actions. Don’t use auto responses and create anything that could be perceived as spam.
  6. Is it positive and respectful? It may be fine to talk trash about competitors or complain about customers in the office, but not in social media. Don’t badmouth the competition or customers.
  7. Does it meet codes of conduct? As professionals we are part of trade associations that set standards of conduct. Be sure you are meeting these ethical standards such as the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s Code of Ethics.
  8. Does it meet all laws and regulations? Government has been catching up with social media and have issued regulations and laws you must follow. See guides on requirements like the FTC social media endorsement guidelines.
  9. Does it meet the Social Media Policy? Most likely your brand or a client’s brand has a social media policy. Ensure you follow your own company standards.

The last consideration in all social media action from a personal, professional or brand perspective has to do with listening. A recent study showed that listening can influence up to 40% of a leader’s performance. Listening improves relationships and social media is based on relationships with friends, colleagues and customers.

The last question to ask before posting or commenting in social media is:

10. Have I listened twice as much as I am talking? Do you fully understand the person, organization or situation you are commenting about? We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Taking the time to pause and listen has saved many a person or brand from putting their foot in their mouth and given valuable insight into creating successful social media efforts.

This guide just touches the surface of social media etiquette, ethics and professionalism. For formal legal advice you should consult the official documents or more in-depth resources. The lesson here is to take the time to ask questions and think before you post.

To consider the bigger picture in social media marketing Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy.

A Simple Guide to Calculating A Social Media Marketing Budget.

You have worked hard in researching and developing a social media strategy and plan, but how much will it cost? Budgeting is an important part of social strategy and probably needed if you want your strategy to be executed. Few managers or business owners will approve any effort without first knowing the cost. Understanding expense is also an important step to calculating return on investment (ROI).

To help make the budgeting process easier follow the Social Media Budget Template shown above. It breaks down costs into five expense categories and divides each category into in-house costs (to be performed by employees) and outsource costs (to be hired out). It also calculates the percent of each line item under a category and the percent of each category out of the total budget to understand where you are spending most of your money. As you understand how each category is contributing more or less to business objectives you may want to adjust percentages to match contribution level. Each item and category is calculated as a monthly expense and percent of total per these categories:

Content Creation covers in-house or outsourced time to write and design plus any fixed costs such as stock photos or video production. Estimate time to create the content needed for the strategy in a month. You can get an idea of how much you need from a Content Calendar. For in-house employees divide salary into an hourly rate. For outsourced help calculate by their hourly rate or their cost per piece or project. Global brands may need to consider cost such as cultural partners and consultants plus language translation.

Social Advertising is paid outsourced costs for reach per social channel such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Again, start with a Content Calendar and estimate how many posts will be paid social ads or promoted/boosted posts. For an idea of what is available see this guide to paid social. Then calculate costs based on current rates per social media network. Because much of social advertising works on a bidding process many managers set per day limits. Thus, this category is estimated based on spending per day, per network multiplied by the number of days you expect to be running social ads in a month. In addition be sure to include costs for influencers. Influencers are paid a variety of ways such as per post, free product and commission. For more on how these campaigns are structured see this guide to influencer marketing.

Social Engagement is the cost for employees or contractors to listen and respond to brand talk per channel. Listening and engagement are important activities in social media. They cannot be planned ahead of time, but you can estimate how much it may cost based on current activity. You could go back to or perform a Social Media Audit to get an idea of the level of customer activity on brand social media channels. Are there hundreds or even thousands of posts everyday day or a few dozen? From there estimate hours per day needed to engage all or a percentage of those customers per channel. Multiply number of hours by employee or outsourced rates. Depending on the business management may also require costs for social media strategy planning and reporting as a percentage of a full-time employee salary or the salary of dedicated social media staff. However, some include this as a part of the overall operating budget as overall marketing budgets don’t normally include the salaries of the marketing department employees.

Software/Tools covers monthly costs for social media monitoring and other automation software services. These software services and tools can help save time and thus money in other categories such as content creation and engagement. There are a lot of free tools, but to get access to advanced features and enterprise level service many organizations have to pay. This budget category is broken down into monitoring, scheduling, reporting, and analytics as a first step. You may find it useful to add additional categories such as consumer research, automation, or artificial intelligence (AI) software. Some tools may have one time costs but most are billed as monthly access fees. Another consideration is accounting for the cost of training for these tools. This may be one time upfront costs to get up to speed on a new software package. Yet, social changes so quickly you may want to estimate a monthly amount for ongoing training of staff to keep up to date.

Promotion/Contests are costs for prizes, discounts, etc. Besides buying reach through social ads, many businesses build audience and engagement through special offers, discounts and contests. Whether they are executed through a Facebook app, hashtag or unique offer code promotions, contests, sweepstakes, coupons and discounts have hard costs associated with them. In this category estimate those expenses per campaign. For example, you may have a summer campaign and a Spring campaign or campaigns that happen around specific holidays. If you have a social campaign built around a live event, don’t forget to include those costs as well.

Finally, add totals per month, per line item and category. Also calculate percent of each category and category percent of the total budget. This social media budget template is a good way to calculate how much a social media strategy will cost to execute, but how do you know if the total is too much or too little overall?

One way to put total social media budgets into context is to compare to competitors. In a Social Media Audit you may have uncovered insight that a main competitor is much more active in social media and seeing business success as a result. Your strategy would be to increase your social activity to compete and your budget is an estimate of what it costs to match that level of engagement.

Another way to put your total social media budget into context is to compare to industry standards. In an analysis by Content Factory they estimate that outsourcing professional social media marketing can cost anywhere from $1,000 per month to $20,000 per month. Admittedly this number is very broad. Another approach is to look at typical percentages of overall marketing spending and social spending. In other words, take your existing marketing budget and estimate social media spending based on current standards.

Nick Rojas of The Next Web points out that businesses spend an average of 10% of revenue on marketing. Yet, this could vary by industry. For example, B2C products companies spend an average 16% of revenue on marketing. For social spending the CMO survey indicates businesses now spend an average of 9% to 15% of their marketing budget on social media (expected to increase to 20% by 2024). Thus, a general guideline would be to take your marketing budget as a percent of revenue (such as 10%) and then calculate a percent of the marketing budget (9%-15%) dedicated to social media.

Seek additional research to narrow this estimate further. The CMO Survey reports social media spending by sector including B2B Products (9%), B2B Services (12%), B2C Product (13%) and B2C Services (15%). Companies with over 10% of sales from the Internet spend more on social media (14%) compared to those with no Internet sales (11%) and small companies (<$25 million revenue) spend the most (15%). If your estimated social media marketing budget from the template above is significantly off from this general number you may want to go back and adjust the plan.

Budgeting in social media can be complicated. But taking a step back and calculating costs based on categories and in relation to marketing spending averages can simplify the process. If you are budgeting against a solid social media plan tied to real business objectives with the right metrics in place a return on investment (ROI) will be justified.

To consider the bigger picture in measurement see Why You Need A Social Media Measurement Plan And How To Create One. To consider the bigger picture in social media marketing Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy.