COVID-19 Increases TikTok’s Popularity, Is it For Your Printing Business?
Pre-COVID-19, not many printing companies or people over the age of 24, for that matter, were likely to have heard of a TikTok video. As the pandemic shutdown has expanded the leisure time of people of all ages, watching and creating short-form videos on the TikTok social media app helped to fill the void.
TikTok allows users to create, promote, and react to short video content. Users create videos of themselves dancing, lip-syncing popular songs, acting, exercising, decorating cakes, printing t-shirts, and many other activities. The videos incorporate music, sound effects, filters, quick cuts, stickers, special effects, and other creative add-ons. There are many options for video creation. A big benefit of TikTok is that you don’t need to create highly polished videos.
More people are tuning into the app to follow the antics of their favorite celebrities, while families are participating in TikTok video challenges. This social media app, with more than 1 billion users worldwide has the potential to become the next big thing in marketing and promotion. Businesses, including printing companies, can use it to increase awareness, promote products, and engage other users to participate in challenges and contests that get users to generate brand-related content.
While the app is currently surging in popularity it is also making news headlines as the U.S. government is looking into banning TikTok — which is owned by Beijing-based startup ByteDance — over concerns that the popular app may share data with the Chinese government. TikTok counters that it is led by an American CEO, employs hundreds in the U.S., and is focused on user security. Meanwhile, many in the cybersecurity community say the threat is largely hypothetical and exaggerated for political purposes. As the fate of TikTok in the U.S. unfolds, what is certain is that the social media app has become enormously popular amid coronavirus shutdowns across the U.S. and worth investigating. According to venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes per day in the platform.
Educating Digital Natives on Print
This platform offers print service providers a way to elevate awareness of print and their company to a wide audience of prospects that includes digital natives. For examples of print-related videos on TikTok search TikTok hashtags #digitalprint, #packaging, #signage, #printingpress, or other printing-related terms or companies.
Marketers are also leveraging hashtags, in similar fashion as on other social media platforms, to promote their TikTok marketing campaigns.
Printing providers can use the social media platform for many purposes, from showing print work coming off of a press to a wide-format device printing labels to consumers reacting to the delivery of their business cards.
The company recently launched TikTok For Business to offer marketers a range of resources and tools – including tips, case studies, access to TikTok ad formats and more – to help companies use the short-form video app for their marketing campaigns.
High-Growth Firms Use Social Media
Print providers experiencing high sales growth use a variety of tools to promote and grow their businesses. According to a recent NAPCO Research survey, over half of print providers reporting double-digital sales growth use social media marketing (Figure 1). TikTok offers a new social channel for reaching and educating younger — and now even older — generations about print and your company.
Figure 1: Sales Growth Leaders Use Social Media to Grow Business
Showcase Print in TikTok Video
Given the popularity of the TikTok app, print providers can use it for many marketing purposes, including promoting services, showcasing unique print products, and educating on the value of print. The app isn’t the place for serious sit-down sales pitches, but its fun and visually appealing content serves as venue to build community and showcase print work.
Large brands such as Chipotle, Nike, Skittles, Pepsi, and Universal Pictures are using TikTok to drive brand awareness and engagement, as are many savvy small brands.
Here are examples of how other types of organizations are using TikTok for marketing and promotion.
- Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle publishes posts that use music, memes, and other references to highlight menu items.
- The NBA creates TikTok videos that mix game highlights with music montages and inspirational quotes.
- Bakeries, cake decorators, and pastry chefs are creating videos to show bakers decorating many types of desserts with music in the background.
- Many colleges and universities have TikTok accounts that feature everything from student accomplishments and sports videos to behind-the-scenes campus footage and dance challenges.
- E-commerce providers use it to demonstrate how their products work with music in the background.
If you think TikTok is a fad and choose to ignore it, consider that many of the social engagement platforms once deemed as fads, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, have become billion dollar businesses that are ingrained as an essential part of daily life for many. Learning more about the platform and experimenting with TikTok is a low risk, low cost investment that can elevate your brand and drive new business.
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.