The Guide to Marketing on TikTok

Columns - PPMA Pulse

September 14, 2022

As more businesses migrate into the digital space, it’s only fitting that we establish, maintain and continue to expand our virtual footprints. As marketers, it’s up to us to explore innovative ways to connect with target audiences, grow relationships with customers and boost customer service. To successfully accomplish these goals, businesses should consider ways to meet consumers where they are — on their technological devices.

The evolution of social media has been a tale of rapid growth. What originally began as a means of exchanging information and digitally gathering with others has transformed into a vital 21st century marketing tool.

Among the myriad of social platforms stands TikTok. While this video platform hasn’t been around long, it has certainly made a name for itself. Since 2016, TikTok has gained remarkable popularity, providing entertaining, informative content for more than 1 billion monthly users around the world.

Considered the leading destination for short-form videos, TikTok has something for everyone. From green screen effects to reaction videos and trending hashtags, TikTok invites users to collaborate and foster real-time conversations from all ends of the Earth. For businesses eager to dip their toes into this social pond, it’s important to understand the platform and its benefits for business growth.

REACHING NEW AUDIENCES. According to Hootsuite, TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users and gains eight new users every second. In its relatively short lifespan, TikTok has been crowned the most downloaded app in the world. A recent report released by Sensor Tower states that TikTok was downloaded more than 176 million times since the start of 2022, making it the fifth app to reach more than 3.5 billion total downloads.

TikTok presents a priceless opportunity for pest control businesses to interact directly with new demographics, especially younger digital audiences. In fact, Insider Intelligence reports that TikTok surpassed Instagram for popularity among Gen Z users in the U.S., with 37.3 million to Instagram’s 33.3 million.

TikTok is not a fleeting fad or something exclusively for kids. According to a forecast from eMarketer, the platform is making significant strides in popularity among other demographics. As such, small businesses can use this video platform to significantly expand their reach.

The platform released insight stating that 80 percent of new parents are millennials who turn to the internet and social media to learn about parenting purchases. At the end of the day, parents are busy, and online shopping makes purchasing decisions easier and more informed with readily available reviews. For marketers, doors of opportunity are widening to meet all generations in a meaningful way.

CREATING AUTHENTIC CONTENT. Perhaps what is most attractive to consumers about the app is its sense of raw authenticity. Contrary to Instagram’s reputation for perfectly curated social channels, TikTok invites imperfect, unfiltered content. For brands, this means showing consumers a side to your business that they may have never seen and, in a lot of cases, one that they can genuinely relate to.

Much like any other social media app, businesses can leverage TikTok to boost overall brand awareness. Once you’ve established a presence, it’s time to determine what types of content you’ll share with the world.

It’s nearly impossible to scroll through any social media platform without stumbling across a video post. However, what you may not realize is that the length of videos can play a major role in capturing and maintaining your audience’s attention. Centered on bite-sized videos, TikTok is a prime example of the clear rise in short-form videos. While there is not a hard-and-fast time limit, experts recommend keeping videos short and driving key points as quickly and succinctly as possible. Hootsuite recommends aiming for brevity and keeping TikToks around 15 seconds.

To flow with TikTok’s authentic nature, marketers would be wise to keep content light. In contrast to traditional marketing, strive for content that allows you to show your creative, more humorous side to help set your business apart. Pest control companies can leverage the app to educate consumers about the health and property threats posed by pests, and they can accomplish this in a manner that’s easily digestible for the average consumer.

Through our own TikTok account (@PestWorld), PPMA has built a following of more than 61,000 followers and noticed remarkable engagement on skin-crawling pest content that consumers have likely never seen before.

Beyond a lighthearted tone, TikTok presents opportunities for educational content, including fun facts, how-to tutorials and more. It’s recommended that all videos are accessible to the wide audiences you may be reaching. To do so, consider utilizing the platform’s auto-captioning and text-to-speech features.

SCALING YOUR BUSINESS. The thought of keeping track of yet another platform’s data may seem daunting, but the reality is that TikTok makes it easy and affordable to create worthwhile advertising campaigns.

A 2021 survey conducted by Material reports that TikTok users are 1.5 times more likely than other platform users to convince a friend or family member to buy a product or service they’ve seen on the app.

TikTok’s in-feed ads make it easy for users to unknowingly scroll past paid content, which underscores the importance of creating strategic, eye-catching content to catch viewers’ attention from the get-go.

Now more than ever, consumers know when they are being marketed to, making the delivery of your advertisements crucial for your success. Consider your messaging ahead of time to ensure consistency in addition to using trending hashtags and staying familiar with trending content on the platform.

When it comes to TikTok, the proof is in the pudding. All signs point to video as one of the most engaging forms of content across social media platforms, giving marketers a tried-and-true way to connect with target audiences where they are.

Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and senior vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. For more about PPMA, visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.