TikTok is Here to Stay: Ways to Utilize TikTok for Gen-Z Engagement

Written by: Team Telescope

Social Media


5 Ways To Engage Gen-Z on TikTok 

Gen-Z is a crucial coming of age demographic for brands. However, many brands are struggling to reach them in meaningful or memorable ways. TikTok is one of the most intriguing marketing opportunities online perfectly positioned for that purpose. 

TikTok’s explosion of growth during the pandemic saw a nearly 800% increase in users over the past two years.  While TikTok continues to see healthy growth from both Millennials and Gen-Xers, it’s clearly Gen-Z it has its eyes on.

Having surpassed Instagram in Gen-Z users, it continues to position itself as the largest threat to Snapchat’s share of the Gen-Z market and rapid global expansion.

So how can brands, tv networks, and marketing teams leverage TikTok to reach its users?

1. Use It Well

Simply using TikTok will give you higher organic reach. That's because TikTok is still a relatively new platform, with less competition and an algorithm that's more likely to show your content to new viewers.  

But there are also several things you can take advantage of on TikTok to make your organic reach even stronger. 

The first and perhaps most apparent is to participate with what is organically trending. Know why the latest sound or meme is trending and join in on the fun.

TikTok also has specific creation tools that will help you reach more people, like duets and stitches.

  • The duet feature allows you to repurpose other user-generated content, creating a side-by-side of their video with your video, hence the name duet. Duets create a high level of engagement and help push your content to the other user's audience.

  • The stitch feature on TikTok allows you to integrate other user's content into your video by clipping and editing it together. By nature, they are like duets, but instead of it being side-by-side, it's one clip after the other.

It's also important to note here that TikTok's users prefer acknowledgment of #sponsored or #branded content. It's better to break the fourth wall and be upfront about branding than try to hide it – you will get caught!

2. Advertise (Don’t’ Worry, It’s Not A Dirty Word)

In addition to having substantial organic reach on the platform, TikTok also has powerful advertising opportunities for brands, including:

  • Branded hashtags: Hashtags unique to your business or campaign. It’s sometimes as simple as the company’s name or product and should be used consistently. 

  • In-feed ads: In-feed ads place your video, well, in-feed. You can use this technique to feature a video as organically as possible. Make sure to include a CTA, and design it so that TikTok’s overlays don’t block key visual elements. 

  • Brand takeover: What do you see when you first open TikTok? That’d be the brand takeover. Considered “prime real estate”, brand takeovers are full-screen videos that can last up to 60 seconds long. 

  • Top view ads: Top view ads are similar to Brand takeovers, but in-feed videos can be used. 

  • Branded effects: Branded effects are stickers, filters, and effects that users can use when creating their videos. Pair the branded effects with a branded hashtag, and bada bing bada boom, your fans are engaged! 

Which techniques your brand ends up using will depend on what works for you and will probably take some experimenting to figure out what works the best. Brands should have a mix of organic and paid reach to have the best results on TikTok.

Also, plan for users to buy things directly in TikTok. The Global Web Index found that Gen Z is most comfortable purchasing things online and through social media. This is why TikTok has partnered with Shopify, to bring the ability to purchase products without leaving the social media app .

3. Use TikTok for Voting

The platform also offers a unique opportunity to encourage native voting. Take, for example, the 2020 Billboard Music Awards . Telescope has been a partner of the BBMA since 2015 and in 2020 Dick Clark Productions wanted a new and innovative way to encourage voting tailored to Gen-Z.

Powered by Telescope, TikTok users could search directly within the native app for the branded hashtag #BBMAsVote. The user was then taken to a hosted page where they could cast their votes for their favorite nominated artists without ever having to leave the social platform. 

Additionally, BBMAs included known TikTok influencers to introduce each category, creating a seamless connection between some of the platform’s recognized personalities and the BBMA brand, making it the perfect mix for Gen-Z engagement. Those who took part in the TikTok vote could return day to day, casting up to 10 votes for each category, and giving the audience a reason to keep returning for greater daily brand exposure.

4. Live Streaming on TikTok

A lesser-known fact is that brands can also use TikTok as a live streaming platform. Livestreaming is the perfect way to connect with your audience if you need more time to share your message.  And, as it’s already a platform heavily focused on connecting through a video that it makes it the perfect platform for pushing your visual content…perhaps even outside the box (the more visually interesting the better on TikTok). 

The organic reach on TikTok is robust, making it easier to start live streaming on the platform and gain momentum quickly.  The key to going live is to make sure you are creating content with your audience clearly in mind.  Gen-Z loves video, but you also don’t want to waste their time and fall into an incorrect algorithm.  Make sure you are taking advantage of tags and categories to maximize your reach to the correct audience.  

5. Pull Content from TikTok

TikTok also offers unique opportunities for businesses to pull content from the platform and use it outside its native environment. Take the Making Room , which we partnered with TikTok to create, within one of our Virtual Event Hub as a prime example. 

Telescope produced the Making Room specifically for Women's Month to honor women creators all around the world. Users could enjoy on-demand content, 'TikTok Videos of the Week,' and learn more about featured women creators. Users could also interact with like-minded creators, building a collaborative experience.

So, why does this work if it’s outside TikTok? The bottom line, people recognize the TikTok brand (up to 89% of Americans do according to recent studies).

While TikTok currently does not currently offer automation for extracting user-generated content, Telescope's partnership with the app allows easy re-use of the content through directed embeds.  And we have no doubt, we’ll be the first to know when that feature becomes available thanks to our already strong ties to the company.

We’d love to help you take advantage of everything TikTok has to offer.  If you have any questions about utilizing TikTok for your next event or campaign, reach out to us