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TikTok Trends You Need to Know

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If you haven’t heard, TikTok will change the way your social media works. But what does that mean for you as a marketer?  

In fact, the rise of TikTok has been so quick, it almost feels as if it could be documented in a 60 second video clip and uploaded to the platform, ready to go viral.  

TikTok now boasts itself to be the number one downloaded platform in the world. It has 1 billion users who spend approximately 52 minutes on the platform daily – that’s a lot of people and a lot of screen time.  

As a marketer then, TikTok is the perfect place to reach and engage with your audience. So, what’s the best way to go about it?  

Here, we break down the TikTok trends you need to know for 2021 to help get you started as a savvy TikTok marketer.  

tiktok challenges

If you’ve heard of TikTok, you’ve likely heard of TikTok challenges. Challenges usually ask people to perform a certain task and share their video using a challenge-specific hashtag. 

If lots of people start doing the challenge and uploading their videos to TikTok, the hashtag starts trending – setting it up for potential viral success. You’ve likely heard of a few of the challenges listed below:

Perfect match challenge

In this challenge, two unlikely companions attract and jig to show their perfect matching.

Crowd cheers challenge

Ever wanted to be cheered for getting out of bed in the middle of winter? If so, these sound effects can cheer you on for the tiniest of accomplishments.

Versailles run challenge

In this challenge, an animation of a woman running through Versailles takes the main stage with the creator free to add their own face and caption. Chipotle, recently jumped on this challenge with great effect!  


how brands can use challenges

So how can you as a marketer make the most of TikTok challenges? There’s usually one of two ways:  

1. jump on an existing challenge

The above example with Chipotle is a great example of “trend jacking” where your brand jumps on an unbranded, organic TikTok challenge to attract followers and potential customers. 

This is a great, low risk strategy to start off with. If you’re looking for inspiration, the best places to look are on the “For You” page and the “Trending sounds” page, which can help get inspired with something that’s relevant and engaging to your audience. 

2. create your own challenge

Another option is to create a challenge to go viral with yourself. e.l.f Cosmetics have recently used this to great success with their #eyeslipsface challenge. 

e.l.f. wanted a brand campaign showcasing their edgy and inclusive brand values. They hand-crafted a music track based on recent hit songs and teed this up with the hashtag challenge. 

The challenge was an instant success, becoming the fastest-growing TikTok campaign of all time, celebrities like Lizzo even joining organically!   

Creating a challenge can take more effort than jumping on an existing one, but if you’re keen to test the waters, the main steps you’ll want to take are:  

  • Finding the right inspiration from other brands – what other brands have done challenges you’d want to do? 
  • Setting clear rules – what's the key things users need to include when recreating the challenge?  
  • Having a clear promotion strategy – will you get influencers on the challenge, or get it out there another way?   

Use TikTok challenges to help boost brand awareness and connect with your audience.


More brands will use tiktok in 2021

If there’s one obvious trend to take away from the success that brands like Chipotle and e.l.f have had with TikTok, it’s that more businesses will be jumping on the platform.  

TikTok now has a formal advertising network, you can expect to see an increase in the marketing on TikTok this year, especially brands aiming to target Gen Z or Millennials.  

As TikTok has grown, the diversity of the content on it has increased exponentially. A few years ago, TikTok was mainly people making their own music videos. Now you have experts from an array of fields making content that interests their specific audience.

As TikTok numbers have risen, so have the number of influencers on the platform. According to a Tribe Dynamics survey, 35% of influencers have said they’ve started to use TikTok more in the past year. 

Taken together what you have is an increase in audience, influencers and content diversity. In short, a marketer's dream! This, when paired with TikTok’s algorithm – which is well known for suggesting relevant content, means that brands have the perfect chance to take full advantage of TikTok marketing.  

We expect TikTok marketing will grow exponentially in 2021 

USEr generated content will increase

Another clear trend that we can see from the success that marketers have had with TikTok challenges in 2020 is that more marketers will rely on user generated content (UGC) in 2021.  

UGC is any content that users have created themselves, and creating your own challenge can be a great way to boost UGC that mentions your brand. Put simply, it’s a great way for marketers to get their name out without having to do all the work themselves, since the users make the content for you by replicating your challenge.

UGC is also a great tool for a brand to turn their customers and supporters into brand advocates. Taking part in a challenge can bring zest and fun into how customers experience your brand without you needing to add any new bells and whistles to your product or service. 

Simple and very effective, UGC is set to skyrocket in 2021. 


repurpose long form content

TikTok is known for short videos – with most videos being around 15 seconds long. Although videos can be as long as 60 seconds, most users prefer to keep things on the shorter side. 

More recently, this has started to change. Clever marketers and influencers have figured out a way to make users hang around longer – hooking people in with “episodes” of content. 

The most popular example of this is ex wait-staff rating celebrities they’ve served on the job. By the end of the video, the creator implies there’s a part two coming, hooking the user in. The videos have shown that TikTok does have the ability for longer content, while sill sticking to its short form roots – great for brands that want to create build up for a product launch or new campaign.  

If you’re not already, you should create episodic content with cliff-hangers to hook users into viewing your content.


Social Commerce

If there’s one thing we’re experienced with at Socialike, it’s maximising eCommerce sales for businesses. Why? Because eCommerce is a booming trend that isn’t getting any smaller. Instead, it’s growing rapidly 
Social commerce is eCommerce's cousin. It’s eCommerce but on social media. It’s widely accepted that younger audiences are far more engaged with it than their older peers. Which is handy as they’re the users that make up TikTok’s biggest demographic.  

TikTok’s Hashtag Challenge Plus capitalizes on this by letting brands set a sponsored hashtag challenge, which includes shoppable component to the hashtag. Users post challenges using a product or hashtag just like they usually would, but there’s now the option for those watching to buy the product after. 

If you need any more indication that this trend is set to grow, then look no further than the recent announcement TikTok made about their partnership with Shopify. Brands using Shopify can access TikTok right from their Shopify dashboard after installing the new TikTok channel app. The channel app will allow Shopify users to create, run and optimize their TikTok marketing campaigns and In-Feed video ads. 

Social commerce on TikTok is set to grow, and savvy eCommerce businesses will jump on the trend. 


The New TV

It’s well known that TikTok appeals to Gen Z. In fact, a recent report suggested that 20% of Gen Z spend five hours a day using it.

This isn’t surprising, as a recent IBM report also suggested that 25% of Gen Z spend around five hours a day using their phone. Unsurprisingly, 75% named their phone as their device of choice.

Put simply, Gen Z love their phone. Watching TikTok for them is like what watching The Simpson’s or Friends was for millennials.  In fact, when it comes to TV, a mere 3% prefer an interactive/Smart TV as their device of choice. 

As more TikTok creators start to make episodic content, you can expect to see TikTok take over as the new TV. As a marketer, being able to identify and tap into Gen Z’s watching time is a smart move to make.

TikTok content will start to compete more and more with traditional TV based style content. 


More Ads

If TikTok is the new TV and every hour is primetime, then it makes sense that the final trend we’re going to see is more ads. 

With trends, challenges and hashtags evolving and changing there will very likely be more marketers looking to gain traction on the app.  

If you need evidence to this claim, TikTok has recently announced that they’re raising the price of their top advertising spots. A clear tilt to the idea that advertising on the platform isn’t slowing down. 

TikTok advertising will boom in 2021 and will be a mainstay for any savvy marketer.  


Want to add tiktok to your marketing mix?

TikTok marketing might feel new, but for a savvy marketer wanting to boost online sales in 2021 it’s quickly becoming an indispensable tool. 

With no plans to slow down their growth any time soon, TikTok looks set to become as important to marketers (or even more important) as Facebook and Instagram. 

Keen to chat to see how TikTok might help your eCommerce business? We’d love to chat, get in touch with us.