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Picture: 123RF/ josefku bes
Picture: 123RF/ josefku bes

In the past few years, TikTok has exploded and now presents a key way to engage with youthful audiences. The question, however, is how this platform can be used to effectively drive brand value and revenue in a way that’s authentic to the app itself. And what does it all mean for the broader social media landscape?

These issues came under the spotlight at a recent FM Redzone discussion, facilitated by Tilt chief creative officer Arye Kellman.

“Currently, every brand is questioning whether it should be on TikTok. When considering whether they should be on the platform they need to think about how consumers engage with their brand. Opportunity is ripe for those brands willing to take a risk. However, marketers need to understand the platform and how people interact with it. Content is king. TikTok requires its own unique messaging – it can’t be a repurposed TV ad,” said Melody Maker, digital partner at M&C Saatchi Abel. “Even with paid media behind it, content has to be naturally engaging, particularly as the content creator only has two to three seconds in which to grab eyeballs.”

Digital content creator and musician Khanyisa Jaceni started as a TikTok creator and is now also using the platform to promote her music, which means she has multiple earning streams on the platform.  She said she can tell within minutes which videos will be successful. She added that creators need to be given the space to create authentic content rather than deliver a prescribed message. “If brands want to use TikTok content creators, they must trust them to deliver the message in their own way,” she said.

Mfumo Bamuza, a digital content creator, agreed with Jaceni, adding that as a platform TikTok relies on authenticity. Brands need to understand that content has to appeal to the creator’s hard-earned audience. Getting the balance right between meeting the needs of brands and retaining audience starts with knowing and understanding the creator’s audience, he said.

Some brands struggle with handing control of their brand reputation over to a content creator. Khotso Makhele, a digital content creator, explained that he gives brands a degree of comfort and reassurance by allowing them some control over the collaborative process.

He said it was important to strike a balance between treating the platform as a business – creators, after all, want to earn remuneration – and retaining the fun and appeal that initially attracted the audience. “The brands you choose to work with must resonate with your audience and any collaboration must make sense and align with your own brand.”

Another issue that came up for discussion was the lack of standardisation in terms of how rate cards are created. “I charge different rates depending on the nature of the project,” said Bamuza. “I prefer sending a media kit which provides a breakdown of why I charge what I do.”

The next instalment of the FM Redzone in discussion with … will explore seasonal strategies: the impact of spring, summer, autumn and winter on advertising. Join us on April 19 at 9am by registering here.

The big take-out:

Brands that collaborate with TikTok content creators need to allow the creators to maintain their authentic voice.

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