Social Media Blogs by Aliza Sherman
Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Is TikTok or Snapchat Good for Your Business?

Is TikTok or Snapchat Good for Your Business?

Choosing the right social media accounts to use to market your business isn’t always easy or straightforward. There are many considerations before settling on the "right" ones and, over time, the ones you initially picked may not continue to deliver the results you seek to reach your business goals.

While the most commonly used social networks remain Facebook and Instagram - and they remain the top social networks used in the U.S. - LinkedIn and Twitter usually rounds out the typical social media landscape. YouTube and Pinterest are typically used for specific needs - video hosting and reaching women, respectively.

But what about TikTok and Snapchat? Both of these social networks are popular, more popular than LinkedIn or Pinterest. However, there are several reasons why they might not be right for your business including:

  1. Both tend to reach a younger demographic. If you are targeting a more mature consumer, they may not be using either TikTok or Snapchat regularly. That’s not to say that certain segments of older populations aren’t there - such as moms, book authors and readers, and exercise and cooking enthusiasts. The largest audience for TikTok is under 35 and Snapchat skews younger - under 25 years of age.
  2. Both require very specific types of content. With any social network, you want to tailor your post content both your audience and what is recognized as that particular network’s specs. For example, you couldn’t compose a 500-character post for Twitter, and you wouldn’t create a static graphic for YouTube. Both TikTok and Snapchat have their own style of posts as we’ll discuss below.
  3. Both have their share of controversy. TikTok is frequently the subject of discussions around privacy and security. TikTok’s parent company is based in China and there have been media reports outlining various security breaches and the potential for data breaches leading to talks about banning TikTok in the United States. Snapchat has been in the news for incidences involving underage users and sexual predators as well as teens using the network to order and obtain illicit drugs. These controversies are not unique to Snapchat but are easier to take place on a network where messages disappear in 24 hours.

Limitations and controversies aside, there are legitimate ways the TikTok or Snapchat could help boost brand awareness and even sales. Here are just a few.

Both TikTok and Snapchat offer self-serve advertising options. Like all the other popular social networks, TikTok and Snapchat have expanded their networks to include paid advertising opportunities. With both, you can tailor your ads to particular audiences and interests. Snapchat’s fee-based geofencing tool is particularly useful if you are holding in-person events. The app lets you mark off a physical space such as a portion of a conference center, fairground, or a place of business and show branded graphical filters to people nearby who are using the app. They can then use your filters to embellish their posts or "Snaps" and help increase your brand’s exposure.

They provide opportunities to be "discovered." Both TikTok and Snapchat have sections where your posts may be seen by people who do not follow you. Snapchat has a Discover page and TikTok has the For You page. While there is no guarantee that each platform’s algorithm will serve up your content to a wide audience, there is opportunity to reach new people and gain new followers organically.

TikTok is more public while Snapchat is more private. While both have public-facing sections, Snapchat is still more commonly used for one-on-one back and forth messaging. Keep this in mind if you are trying to make a bigger impact more quickly.

Both platforms allow the content you publish to be shared. Snapchat lets you share your content to Public Stories which goes to your subscribers and could be featured in Discover. You can also share them to Spotlight which is available to a wider audience. In addition to shares, TikTok offers several ways that your content could be utilized by others including Stitching where users can add snippets of your video to theirs; Duets where another user can react to your content in a side-by-side video where your content appears next to theirs; and Sounds where audio you create can be repurposed on someone else’s video

As you can see, there are several opportunities on both TikTok and Snapchat for companies and brands. The challenges using either include reaching the right audience, creating the right kind of content in the appropriate format, and keeping your content on-target and on-brand. If you’re looking to incorporate either into your social media marketing mix, be sure to do your homework and get familiar with the platform before you dive in.

Read other social media blogs by Aliza Sherman