Feb 16, 2022

TikTok: The Viable, Venerable, Viral Social Media Giant

Why brands should explore the platform beyond its perceived sole value with Gen Z
By Anthony Darby, Head of Digital Marketing

Did you know that TikTok generated more traffic than Google in 2021? 1

Or that 30.3% of users are between the age of 30 and 49? 2

And in 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded app globally (850 million downloads) followed by WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram? 3

These stats bring us to the crux of this blog post—brands and businesses should not disregard TikTok, and other sure-to-come offspring apps, based on anecdotal perspective, the platform’s perceived audience or the type of content that is generated.

Driving the Narrative

Let’s set the table. First, social media platforms are undoubtedly capable of driving and influencing a spectrum of powerful narratives, including: your business/service quality, what songs people are currently listening to, society and culture news, baby names, top chicken sandwiches—the list could go on for days. And how they push the narrative can be good, bad or indifferent. That being said, mainstream media outlets are leveraging TikTok as a source for news stories and will even piggyback off the trends that originate on this platform for content in their national news stories. Over the past year alone, we’ve seen mainstream radio be forced to play songs solely because of its popularity on TikTok. We’ve watched dances and challenges go viral internationally after an influencer shared it on TikTok. All in all, TikTok has become a source for trends, news and content.

What is TikTok?

Created by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, TikTok is a social media app that allows you to record, edit, and share short form videos with musical overlays, sound effects, and visual effects. From music videos and montages to comedic shorts and special effects-driven clips, the platform is effectively a creative playground—with profound impact—boasting more than 1 billion users per month.

Leveraging TikTok in B2B Spaces

Pennebaker’s approach to digital strategy combines real-world experience, forecasting, and analytics. As such, when dealing with social media platforms, it is essential to understand if the platform will move the needle for businesses. For example, it isn’t necessary, nor strategic, for a company to have a presence on Pinterest without first determining whether its target audience is active and engaged on this particular platform.

In short, when considering TikTok, businesses shouldn’t just ride the wave, but should look at the platform and ensure it aligns with their business targets. From there, they should look at how they can create the wave by being original, creative, and letting authenticity shine through. Think outside the ordinary and showcase all types of personalities and demographics. For example, capture your typically introverted CFO for a “day in the life” to show what a day may look like in his or her shoes—the phone calls, the strategy sessions, and the company culture.

Not sure if it would work? Well, that was the approach of Sani,a South Asian-inspired fashion clothing brand, which had several TikTok moments go internationally viral in 2021, including a video that racked up almost 3 million views. This video walked the viewer through the brand’s process turnkey, from sketching out a design to a model wearing the finished product. In one year alone, Sani sales jumped by 891 percent.

Niki Shamdasani, co-owner of Sani, said, “There is this increased element of authenticity in TikTok that you really don't find in a lot of other places. We were lucky to have that video do well in the beginning, but every single time our series stops working, we're trying to figure out what the next thing is that is working. We just had to be consistent, and I think that's part of the craft. Just consistency in creation.”

Closing Arguments

TikTok is here to stay, and when/if it fizzles out, there will be another platform that comes along to capitalize on human psychology, motivations, and inspirations businesses can leverage for brand amplification. So, what’s our recommendation? TikTok is a great platform to authentically and creatively amplify your brand, if you can generate content consistently. Get in on the dance challenge, show off your quirky creativity, and get teammates involved to showcase company culture. You never know when you’ll make viral headlines.


  1. https://www.tiktok.com/business/en/blog/tag/success-stories

  2. https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/1-billion-people-on-tiktok

  3. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/tiktok-stats

  4. https://www.businessinsider.com/tiktok-got-more-traffic-than-google-in-2021-ranking-2021-12

  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2021/01/07/here-are-the-10-most-downloaded-apps-of-2020/?sh=24a32fcf5d1a

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