Why TikTok still represents good value for African marketers

By our News Team | 2022

Brands have a great opportunity to achieve excellent ROI on the platform. However, there are several important points to be aware of.

The rapid growth of TikTok has become well known, but to what extent should marketers and their agencies be engaging on the social media platform to promote brands? 

This was among the questions that Pieter Groenewald, CEO of the Influencer Marketing Division at communications agency Nfinity, sought to answer at the recent IMM Fridays live event organised by the Institute of Marketing Management South Africa at its new facility in Parktown, Johannesburg.

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Guest speaker Pieter Groenewald addresses guests during the recent IMM Fridays event. Photo courtesy of IMM South Africa

The IMM is one of the founding members of the African Marketing Confederation.

Addressing an audience of high-level marketers on the topic ‘TikTok Who’s There?’, Groenewald emphasised that the platform is “more joyful than negative” and “gives very deep organic reach”, which makes it attractive to marketers and advertisers. 

It is, he explained, focused on entertainment and has set the standard in the now-expanding short-video trend that is being followed by other social media platforms, albeit with less success. 

Creativity is king on TikTok, with the most popular creators being individuals – as opposed to, for example, ad agencies or professional film-makers. It is also interesting to note that many of the most popular creators are newcomers and have not migrated from other, sometimes slicker, social media platforms.

This makes the content gritty and typically flawed by marketing industry standards, but always ‘real’ and in tune with the audience.

Perfection is not the aim on TikTok

“Don’t make ads, make TikToks,” Groenewald told the gathering. “You don’t need to be perfect; people on the platform want what I call ‘flowsomeness’. It is not a channel for traditional brand advertising.”

When engaging with TikTok influencers, brands needed to beware of trying to exercise too much control and trying to carefully script the content, as they would in a typical marketing campaign.

Influencers are the people who understand the TikTok audience best and they need to be given a large amount of creative freedom to develop the kind of content that will attract viewers and, hopefully, go viral.

But predicting the success of any one piece of content can be largely hit or miss. Therefore, he advised, marketers should aim to develop four to five pieces of content, with the expectation that perhaps two of them would be winners.

However, marketers should take control of the distribution of the final content and not merely rely on the organic reach of the creator

Brands should also be prepared to work with more than one influencer on TikTok campaigns. “Some partnerships will be great and some not,” he stressed.  

According to Groenewald, TikTok still represents good value for marketers and should continue to do so for the next 18 months or so. 

IMM Fridays are held on the last Friday of every month. The aim of the IMM is to bring together like-minded individuals to share thoughts and experiences within the rapidly changing marketing environment. 

The institute offers a wide range of value-added products and services for marketing professionals who are Associates in either an individual or corporate capacity. Find out more about the IMM here.