The Clock Is Tiktokking on Social Media Reluctance
The only thing constant about social media is that nothing is constant. It can be a full-time job simply staying on top of the strategies and tactics for the platforms your brand is on and regularly using.
And that’s not enough!
To truly be successful in the pet industry online, you need to be up-to-date on new and emerging platforms. Because even if you’re not on them, your audience probably is. Pet parents increasingly purchase pet products online, which means that they’re … online. And that means they’re on the apps.
So maybe you should be on them as well. Shifting demographics and an increasingly online world mean that almost every “new” media platform could be the next big thing. Remember when Twitter first emerged? It’ll never catch on with that small character limit!
Even if, after extensive research into your audience, you determine that your brand doesn’t need to be on particular emerging platforms, you should never discount older platforms that are still in use or have a secretly large user base. Reddit is a great example. The interface looks like it stepped out of an AOL Online user’s fever dream and it can be far from intuitive, but Reddit users really use it. We’ll get more into why you should upvote Reddit in a bit. For now, here are some platforms that you should consider joining.
We’ll be honest here. We’re an Extremely Online agency, and even we were mystified by TikTok’s runaway popularity at first. Oh, it’s an app for… amateur music videos, created in 15-second bursts? And it had (checks math) 600 million worldwide users? It seemed popular, but it was hard to envision how it could be applied to brand promotion. But then we started seeing the app used in cool and out-there ways, and those ways were wildly popular. If there’s one thing the Internet loves, it’s a variation on a popular trend. So something like this could very easily be co-opted with some convenient brand messaging. Suddenly you’re interacting with the cool kids and generating conversation.
And there weren’t too many ticks of the clock before the TikTok developers realized how useful their app could be to brands. A few months ago, TikTok added a feature that lets users shop for products within the app, and it’s experimenting with an advertising feature, so there’s even more incentive to expand your digital horizons. And while the average TikTok user is under 30 years of age, it’s only a matter of time before Gen-Z becomes Gen-“I am in charge of the world’s money.” Remember when Millennials became the largest generation? Us, too.
The lesson here is to not be afraid of new tech. If you can get your brand in front of half a billion potential customers and let them buy your products? The clock is ticking for the brands who $*&@-talk TikTok.
In the Reddit
Back to the granddaddy of the new Internet, Reddit. Though it’s been around since 2005, Reddit is seen by some as a doorway into the worst corners of the web. While that’s not entirely untrue, it’s also the website with the fifth most traffic in the Unites States, and it’s owned by Advance Publications, which also owns Discovery Network, Charter Communications and Condé Nast. With more than 550 employees and being a trusted source for information on any topic, Reddit truly is the “front page of the internet.” And you should use it for brand communications.
There are more than 9,000 “subreddits,” which are basically ongoing conversations about a single, focused topic. And you can target ads to those subreddits. So if your audience research suggests that your target demo is people who are into “underwater chairs” or, uh, “boots that are too big,” you can find that audience and talk directly to them. It’s like having super-specialized cable channels, but ones seen by a billion and a half people.
Because Reddit is a forum format, it’s also perfect for interacting directly with the audience. Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything) is a subreddit with more than 18 million subscribers, and it’s literally a place where your audience can directly ask questions. If you are a pet food company and you want to field questions about nutrition, you can do it quickly and easily. Anyone from President Obama to a guy who played Goofy for 30 years can hold an insanely popular Reddit AMA. It’s a direct pipeline to an audience, and it costs nothing but time.
If you haven’t been able to tell, Reddit can be weird. Due to its sheer size and number of regular users, it can be very weird. But even that can be used for the good of your brand. You can mine relevant subreddits for content ideas to use in your social strategy, blog topics, etc. But more importantly, the forum nature of the site lets you see what others are talking about. See what your audience wants, and react accordingly.
Of course, like every other platform, Reddit has found a way to monetize its content. Why not take advantage? You can run display ads across the site, or take a more tailored approach and target the subreddits that are discussing topics or questions related to your product. If you really study those subreddits (Chairs. Underwater.) you can shape your ad copy’s tone and message to feel more organic and less disruptive than a typical banner ad.
Getting GIPHY with it
Unlike TikTok, the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format — hard G, everyone!) is a video format that has been embraced by young and old alike. If you’ve ever asked someone a question on Facebook, Twitter or by text, you’ve seen at least a few of these short, silent looping videos. Those of us who are Extremely Online may feel like the GIF jumped the shark the second our aunt Jackie shared a clip of Jeremiah Johnson on Facebook, but even we can’t deny the format’s usefulness and popularity. This is probably why, in 2013, GIPHY happened. It’s a search engine specifically for GIF sharing, and it’s insanely popular, with 300 million daily users.
The theme of this article so far is “if it’s popular, your brand should be on it.” So here we are with GIPHY. Your brand should be on it. But how do you use it?
The main thing is to create evergreen content that your audience can use. There are two reasons to create a GIPHY page. First, people looooove sharing GIFs, and they’ll share your GIFs on the other most popular social channels because GIPHY is integrated into Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat. And second, GIPHY acts as a search engine the same way that YouTube does — the more content you create, the more chances you have of being seen by millions. Let your audience find you, and then happily market you. Everyone wins!
We like these branded gif examples
Look Around You
These are just the three largest and most obvious examples of social channels you may be overlooking. But as we stated at the top, the social media landscape is always changing. Formats come and go, trends only trend for so long. Don’t be afraid of some new digital gathering place, because it might suddenly replace the most popular digital gathering place.
If you’re not sure how to stay on top of online trends, or you don’t have the bandwidth, we know a few people who could help.