Have you suddenly seen TikTok videos creeping across your social media platforms and wondered what’s going on with this Gen Zee short-form video app?
Well, TikTok is the number one downloaded app in 2021 and the top-performing advertising platform in Q1 of 2022. In addition, serious platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo, as well as hosts and Property Managers are actively playing on TikTok.
To get started, let’s dig into the app’s origin.
TikTok is available in over 150 countries, has over 1 billion users, and has been downloaded over 200 million times in the United States alone.
TikTok, known as Douyin in its home market, was launched in China in September 2016. It gained traction in China before parent company ByteDance launched an international version in 2017.
Most people know of TikTok as an online community that made a huge impact on the internet through mixed dance videos and voice-over memes, launching a gold rush of instant influencer careers of Charlie D’ Amelio and the likes. However, it is best described as being in the right place at the right time, as the free app lets them win big.
According to The Business of Apps, ByteDance had prior experience running wildly popular apps as the operator of the AI-powered news aggregation platform Toutiao. Zhang Yiming, the founder and CEO of ByteDance, incorporated a similar AI platform into TikTok, which can identify users’ interests and feed them more relevant videos.
TikTok has since grown into a fully-fledged video service, with content available for all types of viewers.
TikTok is viewed by more than 2 billion people worldwide, and nearly 100 million people use it each month alone – this makes it an invaluable app for concentrated attention.
If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age of 13 and 60, many suggest you launch your brand on TikTok right now. But trial and error show that jumping headfirst into posting on social media is not a strategic approach.
Industry data shows that in 2017, there were around 2.6 million adult users in the US. However, 12 months later, adults were almost tripled, reaching a staggering 7.2 million. In a year, the number of US adult users grew 5.5, reaching 14.300 million today.
The beauty and inspiration of this popular social media app are that users can produce, watch, and share 15-second videos shot on mobile devices or webcams.
With its personalized feeds of quirky short videos set to music and sound effects, the app is notable for its addictive quality and high levels of engagement.
Marketing on TikTok is still maturing, but a growing number of agencies are eager to help brands create the kind of quirky content that gets clicks on TikTok.
Conventional advertising that stresses a product’s superior qualities doesn’t work. Light, fun campaigns set to music hit the spot.
The ultimate goal is to go viral on the site and spur imitation trends.
TikTok has yet to make extensive inroads into the vacation rental and tourism sectors, leaving the door open to growing your strategy.
With so many eyeballs on the app, it’s no longer a question of whether you should use TikTok to promote your vacation rental business, but when will you use the app?
TikTok lets you upload your own videos, crop them, add different effects, sounds and music and filters directly from the app in one place. You can also enhance your video’s characteristics through speed adjustments and by modified facial characteristics (hair color, eyes, etc) with special filters.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on TikTok, you’ve these videos with a split screen. It’s where the original video appears to the right and the new video from the person creating the duet appears to the left. So basically, you can create a duet with any video that allows duets.
Duets are great for reacting to user-generated content, engaging with guests who share about your vacation rental, or just general content that relates to your offering.
@wavewyld this feature can help you get more duets and views on your videos #howtoduet #contentideas #tiktokstrategist #createduets ♬ original sound – TikTok Tips + Trends
Stitch is a creation tool that allows you to combine another video on TikTok with the one you’re creating. It is similar to duets, but shows up a bit differently. The original video plays for a few seconds before the new video does, with no split screen. Add to this, you must have a public account to allow others to Stitch with your videos.
@gordonramsayofficial #stitch with @aboodyalzoabi There’s only one person to blame in this disaster….the cook ! #ramsayreacts #tiktokcooks #masterchef ♬ original sound – Gordon Ramsay
Stitching lets you respond easily to a video or add a follow-up idea to the topic but you can only use up to 5-seconds of the original video. It is also a popular way to participate in trends on TikTok. Examples of stitching for hosts would be to show your beautiful retreat versus a stressful situation or answer a question from a guest with a video reply.
Much like other social platforms Instagram and Snapchat, TikTok allows you to create ‘Stories’ that disappear in 24 hours. A blue ring will also appear around your profile picture, indicating to other users that they can tap to view your Stories.
If you share a story on TikTok, you will be able to see who has viewed it in a separate tab located next to the comments section. Viewers can also publicly react and comment, which will appear on the story itself.
To create a Story, tap the “post” button in the bottom center of the navigation bar and swipe to the ‘Story’ option. Then you can either record a video on the spot or upload one from your camera roll.
Next, edit your video — Stories have the same creation options as normal TikTok videos. Then, tap the “Post to story” upload icon to add it to your story.
In addition to using audio from other TikToks, you can also create your own custom TikTok audio. Allowing other TikTok users to find the sound you’ve taken the time to create also showcases your own account. To allow others to find it, open your video with the custom sound, tap on the spinning record icon in the lower right corner of the screen. Then click the Edit button next to the title and change the title to whatever you want and tap to save.
This way it’s attributed to you, especially if your original sound has viral appeal.
Saving your TikTok videos and saving them to other social platforms is another seamless function of the app. You can send them directly to Facebook and Instagram for example.
It’s important to note that your TikTok username account is embedded to the video when you do this, allowing other users to follow you directly.
To activate the stream function you will need to have at least 1 000 followers in your account. If you qualify to go “live”, tap into the “Cross” middle icon to begin. This feature is well suited to do live walkthroughs of your property to showcase all the unique things that make it an amazing vacation rental experience.
When recording you have all the options available on the screen. On the right side, you can change the speed of the video, add beauty effects, filters and use the time
TikTok also lets you create your own TikTok code so other users can find you and subscribe. They also have a built-in library offering a selection of music to elevate your videos, as well as a geolocation feature to promote live broadcasters around specific regions, which could be useful if and when you create live walkthroughs.
So now that we know about TikTok and some of its features, let’s briefly talk about what else you can do to promote your vacation rentals.
We’ve already mentioned that the top platforms are active on it, but the incredible power of this platform is that it puts the possibility of community and engagement right in the power of your hand if you use it correctly.
Sure creating TikTok videos can cost you time and money (if you’re outsourcing) with little way to know if it’s bringing you more bookings.
Focusing on TikTok now does however put you on the front foot of growing your brand visibility with a younger audience. And it’s a lot of fun too.
It really depends on your target audience and the time and effort you want to put into it. If you’re looking to reach a younger audience, the app might be perfect for you – especially because not a lot of vacation rental brands are taking advantage of it!
1. Get to know your audience
• Analytics is a great resource to get insight into your top trending videos and audience engagement
• View your follower list, likes and video comments
• Engage with your audience by reading, reacting, and replying to comments
2. Collaborate with other creators
TikTok is a creator community. Collaborating with other creators helps your content reach wider audiences. Reach out to other interesting creators!
Some factors to consider when looking for collaborators:
• Similar content categories and genres
• Similar video format
• Similar audience size
Reach out to other creators in the community:
• Make sure you’re following each other
• Comment and engage with their content
• Chat or meet on TikTok or at creator events
Brainstorm ways to collaborate:
• Appear or make a cameo is each other’s videos
• Tag each other in captions or challenges
3. Participate in trending hashtag challenges:
Trending hashtags are a creative way to find new topics that will get your content exposed to more viewers. Participating in challenges also helps you engage with the community.
4. Post videos regularly:
Being active on the platform gives your audience something to tune in and look forward to. Posting 3-5 videos per week has proven to be successful for steady growth.
5. Connect with your community outside of TikTok:
• Post your TikTok videos on other social media accounts
• Share a link to your TikTok video with friends and viewers outside of TikTok
All home feeds are sorted by TikTok’s algorithm, and it is heavily influenced by viral content. Driven largely by challenges that are accompanied by a hashtag, people are invited to upload their own video.
Hosts can use personalized sponsored hashtag to extend visibility. Users can then upload their own content in response to your challenge and share it with other users. You’ll be able to access all the content created via the TikTok Ads a page where the content created by users will be stored.
Hashtags around holiday periods are also another obvious but very useful inclusion, like #ThankGiving or Halloween. The same strategic marketing rules apply here in relation to supply and demand.
Finding the right brand ambassador could be the key to crushing your social media marketing strategy. These don’t have to be major celebrity names either.
Taking the time to research your audience and identify individuals already active on key hashtags you’re targeting will pay off in bucket loads.
The popularity and largely unthrottled organic reach of this platform puts the power in the hands of micro-influencers already creating winning content about your area or brand. Dig into their accounts to see their tone, how they respond to users and your comments.
Once you’ve identified who you’d like to work with, suggest a meeting and put forward a proposal for them to promote your business.
This way your properties and vacation rental brand are featured on other accounts with followers who might not know about you.
Added to the research you did to find the right brand ambassador for your listing, you could pitch an affiliate program giving micro-influencers a unique promo code to offer to their followers. Package the offering so they can score a percentage for every code purchased in their name for your vacation rental.
If you find the right connections it will generate brand reach and convert them into actual bookings for your listing.
On the face of it, TikTok videos look fun, lighthearted and engaging. But if you ultimately decide to start a new social media platform, you must carefully weigh your resources including free time to post regularly as well as research some of the suggested hacks and tactics.
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