What makes the use of TikTok as a legitimate marketing app so ironic is that it started as a trend for lip-syncing teens called Musical.ly.
Adults paid minimal attention to this ultimately harmless fad until the Chinese tech company ByteDance acquired Musical.ly. They renovated it, combining it with their version of something similar called Douyin.
They released the new creation, TikTok, in August of 2018. Less than a month later, it was a viral success with close to a billion downloads.
Today, TikTok remains wildly popular with the prime Gen Z demographic. The ease of use, fun 15-second video clips, and viral capability have attracted users in many other target markets, too.
How to Use TikTok
Much of TikTok’s success comes from the simplicity of the app. You don’t have to be a techie to use the features to their maximum effectiveness. And it piggybacks off of other social media platforms that users may already be familiar with.
A quick overview of TikTok’s setup looks something like this:
- Download the app and set up a free account.
- Usernames default to a generic selection based on the user’s info given, but you can change this in the Profile Settings in the bottom right corner.
- If you want to, you can add personalized info to your profile, such as a bio and picture. Here is where you’d adjust your privacy settings, too.
- Like with Instagram and Tinder, the swipe feature is used to navigate around. The default option is a selection of videos generated by TikTok based on the user’s preferences. A left swipe takes you to any accounts you’re following.
- Hearts are used to “like” a video, arrows let you share posts with other users, and the spinning record tells you what song is playing. A hard press brings up the Not Interested button to remove a video from your feed for good. Hard presses can also be used to bookmark favorites.