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Is TikTok becoming the new Google?

Jess, our Junior Creative, breaks down why so many users are turning to TikTok rather than a search engine.

With a recent study showing that nearly 40% of Gen Z prefer TikTok over Google when searching for content, there’s no better time to get your brand on TikTok.

Whilst TikTok is still predominantly used for content discovery via the tailored ‘For You’ page, the search option is being increasingly utilised by app users looking for specific content. TikTok’s algorithm is very good at delivering personalised and relevant content to its users, making the process of searching much easier as the search results are tailored to the data TikTok holds. With such a high level of personalisation, Google is struggling to keep up.

So, how can you use TikTok to find brand relevance with Gen Z?

1. Use SEO keywords within your video and caption

SEO-rich keywords are particularly crucial during the first 3 seconds of your video as this helps TikTok to categorise your content and makes it easy for users to find your content when searching for a specific topic. As well as verbally introducing your topic at the start of the video (as TikTok picks up on keywords when automatically generating captions) it’s also good practice to have them written on the post too. If you tend to edit your videos outside of the platform, hold off adding text and do it natively within the TikTok app so that the keywords are registered.

With TikTok announcing the increase of their character limit from 300 to 2,200 for captions, there’s even more opportunity to add value to your posts. Expand on the topic of your video within the caption to keep viewers reading and extend your video’s watch time. Ensure your caption is full of niche keywords relevant to your audience, along with popular buzzwords, and you should see better community engagement.

2. Be considerate with your hashtags

Hashtags are another way in which TikTok is able to categorise your content, so be mindful when choosing which ones to add to your video. For the most successful hashtag strategy, focus on hashtags your target audience would be using or searching for.

With some generic hashtags such as #fashion having millions of videos, try and use niche and smaller hashtags that will increase your chance of being seen. There’s varying guidance on whether it’s better to have a limited or wide number of hashtags on a post, but as a rule of thumb, if the hashtag isn’t relevant to your audience or content, don’t use it. Adding generic hashtags for the sake of reach can have the opposite effect by confusing the TikTok algorithm. Instead, aim for 3-5 niche-specific hashtags.

3. Go in with a strategy

Whilst it can be tempting to post anything and everything when getting started on TikTok, having a content strategy in place is crucial. Identify the content pillars you are already using across other platforms such as Instagram and review if they need to be adapted to suit TikTok.

Although shorter content generally gets a higher view-through rate, TikTok have expanded on their video durations, increasing the offering from 15 seconds all the way up to 10 minutes. With longer content increasing in desirability for TikTok to keep users on the app for longer, shorter content doesn’t always equal better engagement. That being said, if you can keep content concise and short, do. Utilise longer content when you have more value to add to a topic in an engaging manner.

With TikTok being predominantly an entertainment platform, light-hearted and entertaining content does well, but stay authentic to your brand. If your tone of voice is authoritative and serious, it wouldn’t make sense to be posting funny dancing videos on your TikTok. Keep content relevant, but in line with your wider brand strategy.


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