TikTok as a Search Engine: The Social Media Marketing Evolution

In a remarkably short time, TikTok has clawed its way into today’s top-ranking social media platforms. What started as a fun short-form video sharing app has transformed into a cultural powerhouse and authority for a wide demographic of people. The younger generation, in particular, has even started using TikTok as a search engine, replacing Google as the go-to Almighty Answerer of Questions. 

Why is Gen Z Using TikTok as a Search Engine?

There are a number of reasons why the spirited members of Gen Z could be using TikTok as a search engine. Based on interviews, TikTok users have said that they consider the content to be more authentic, real, and personalized. Where Google is filled with articles upon articles—some of which are long-winded and dry—there’s an abundance of super informative, super short videos on TikTok. With attention spans shrinking faster than the polar ice caps, the length of the content we put out really does matter. TikTok tutorials, product demos, and explanation videos have fully capitalized on that. 

Another factor is the sheer variety of content available on TikTok. The app used to be primarily for viral dances and pop songs, but the content has branched out to create solid niches with collections of valuable, educational content. (You’ve probably heard terms like “mental health TikTok” or “home improvement TikTok”.) After all, why read a 5-minute, jargon-filled article about housing legislation when you can have easily digestible key points fed to you by a charismatic TikToker in under 2 minutes?  

How Does TikTok Affect Marketing Strategies?

Armed with the knowledge that people are increasingly using TikTok as a search engine, you can now adjust your social media strategy to reflect the evolving way users are engaging with the platform. It’s not just applicable to TikTok. You can take that strategy and apply it to other places like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. 

Keep these factors in mind:

  • Attention span: On average, adults have an attention span of 8 seconds. As a rule of thumb, you should cut that in half for the TikTok generation. Instant gratification has a way of making us a little bit spoiled. What does that mean for your social media content? It means make it short, clear, and easy to read or watch. There’s no need for too much nuance here. No one has time for that. 
  • Types of content: Think about what kinds of videos your target audience wants to be watching. Product reviews? Unboxings? Tutorials? Find a way to center your product or service in your videos. Don’t shy away from user-generated content (UGC). Who would communicate better to your target audience than a member of their very own? 
  • Trends: The bane of the steady-minded marketer. Trends, as fickle and short-lasting as they are, are still immensely powerful and capable of generating meaningful engagement on your posts and profile. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with copycat content, especially if it fits well with your niche. Taylor Swift is always a surefire way to get people watching your videos. #antihero

How To Optimize Content For TikTok

1. Answer the questions people are asking.

Just like how target keywords work for SEO, tailor your TikTok content to answer the queries your target audience is searching for. If you’re a drugstore makeup brand, you’ll want your videos to use titles like “5 Foundations Under 5$”. 

2. Always point your content and profile toward conversions.

Create a clear path to conversion for your audience. Everyone is already engaging on social media; that’s kind of the point of it all, so take that engagement and direct it to your shop catalog, subscriber page, contact page, or wherever you want potential customers to go to become customers. 

3. Use TikTok’s built-in features.

Filters and features galore! TikTok is constantly rolling out new features to keep users engaged and entertained. To stay ahead in your marketing game, familiarize yourself with these features and incorporate them into your content. Whether it’s using interactive elements like polls, questions, or the “Stitch” feature to collaborate with other videos, these tools can enhance user engagement and make your content more shareable.

No time for TikTok? We can help. Contact Make Your Mark today to schedule a social media consultation.

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