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4 Reasons TikTok Should Be Part of Your Marketing Plan The video-sharing platform remains one of the fastest growing apps in the U.S. and the world.

By Evan Horowitz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

MEGA | Getty Images
TikTok star Nathan Apodaca, aka 420doggface208

TikTok has grown exponentially over the last year, passing 100 million active users in the U.S. and hundreds of millions more across the globe. What was once a Gen Z hangout is now a diverse platform spanning ages, geographies and interest. This means that most brands' target audience can be found there. The platform can be particularly impactful as it propels engagements into the billions, numbers that are unheard of on any other platform. This is just one of several reasons why TikTok should be a part of most brand's 2021 marketing plans. Here are four that stand out.

Nearly every audience is on the platform, and that will only increase

As of December 2020, TikTok's share of monthly active adult users in the U.S. has grown substantially. More than one-third (nearly 38%) are over the age of 30, and more than 65% of U.S. users are over the age of 20. This diversity in age is reflective of the platform as a whole, which is increasingly diversified and enables brands to reach niche communities, from gamers to fashionista's to finance geeks and beyond.

The type of content on TikTok is also extremely diverse. Communities have emerged for every interest, from beauty to cooking to sports, comedy and even beekeeping. Most brands will find the conversation around their category (and sometimes even their specific products) is already robust. This diversity is only projected to increase. Some reports have TikTok growing to more than one billion users in the upcoming year.

Related: How to Use TikTok to Promote Your Business

Opportunity for authentic brand marketing

Much of TikTok's culture is rooted in its early adopters: Gen Z. As the first to latch onto TikTok, this generation has really set the platform's norms. What feels like oversharing to older folks is normal for these digital natives, and that's reflected in the platform's content. TikTok favors authenticity over perfection, and thus offers an authentic and natural space to showcase your brand. That's a contrast with Instagram's highl -commercialized approach, where users are encouraged to purchase products featured in curated posts.

To be effective on TikTok, brands should adopt a storytelling style germane to it. Take Chipotle for example. By aligning with popular TikTok trends and offering users an authentic look into their recipe book, Chipotle is a TikTok fan favorite with nearly 1.5 million followers and more than 25 million likes.

Brands can achieve relevance quickly

TikTok virality offers unexpected opportunities to build relevance with audiences, and quickly. Ocean Spray is a great example. It all started when Nathan Apodaca's truck broke down on his way to work and he came up with a creative way to finish his commute by creating an organic, non-sponsored TikTok equipped with his skateboard and a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice. Almost instantly, the video reached 26 million views and is currently at close to 80 million views and counting. To jump onto the viral moment before it passed, Ocean Spray sent Apodaca a new red truck packed full of the brand's juice, making waves not only in the TikTok community, where TikTokers made their own renditions of the viral video, but also offline. The product quickly sold out on grocery shelves across the country.

In this example, Ocean Spray jumped on an existing, relevant TikTok conversation. Brands can also hop into the driver's seat and spark relevance through their own TikTok content. e.l.f. Cosmetics, for example, was an early-adopter of TikTok. Throughout 2020, their series of viral hits helped propel the brand to five quarters of consecutive sales growth, even as the total category dropped by 20%.

TikTok works for budgets of all sizes

Perhaps the most attractive part of TikTok is that it can garner success within various budgets. Its marketing options also span a wide range, allowing for companies of all sizes to participate. Compared to more established platforms, it's still relatively easy for brands to achieve organic reach.

Users turn to TikTok to find the coolest products and trends, all through word of mouth. This is reflected in some of the platform's best performing hashtags that are all driven by organic engagement: #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt; #BuyThis; #TikTokFinds; #GotItFromTikTok; #TikTokMadeMeDoIt; and #WhatTikTokMadeMeBuy — each of which claims anywhere from more than a million to in excess of 600 million views.

The app's upcoming integration with Shopify will only make these campaigns more valuable for many DTC brands, where direct opportunities for purchase are embedded into the platform experience.

Related: How This 18-Year-Old TikTok Star Built a Business With 5 Million Followers

Bottom line: TikTok should not be overlooked in anyone's marketing plans. The platform offers a huge opportunity for engagement and brand building, unlike any other social platform. Like any new campaign, these efforts may take some trial and error, but you may be surprised at how quickly content can take off.

Evan Horowitz

CEO of Movers+Shakers

Evan Horowitz is CEO and co-founder of creative agency Movers+Shakers, which has generated more than 90 billion views on TikTok for brands including e.l.f. Cosmetics, Amazon, Warner Bros., Freeform, CVS and more. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Engineering from Stanford.

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