Tiktok – the next chance of a lifetime we are missing out?
“That’s only for young people,” said the board member of a German insurer when I presented Tiktok as a possible next big thing for the industry “What do you think, how many people downloaded it?” I asked. Brief silence. “If you ask like that, a few million.” Me: “Over 1.5 billion. It is the most downloaded app of the year – worldwide” Again silence. “Ok, how would you use it with us?”
A lot of discussion inside and outside the industry goes like this. A lot of insurers are happy to have seemingly caught up. We just created websites for individual agencies, putting some sales application processes online, or outperforming each other at Google Adwords. But now – the next development seems to be passing us by – the new video platform from China: Tiktok.
But also the next big opportunity. Tiktok has – like YouTube in 2005, Facebook in 2008, Linkedin 2009 or Instagram in 2010 – a seductive specialty – free organic reach in the millions. As with the other networks, this will not last forever – but whoever invests one dollar here today will probably get it back multiple times.
What is Tiktok?
At Tiktok, short videos of up to 60 seconds are uploaded – but mostly between 10 and 15 seconds. An algorithm determines which videos appear on the user’s home screen, the so-called for-you-page. When videos are finished, shared, or viewed repeatedly, more and more users receive them. Due to the shortness of the videos and the rigid selection methods of the algorithm, the user is usually shown one appealing video after another. This leads to a very long average time spent on the app. In the US its over 52 minutes per day. Tiktok has replaced all other social networks in this KPI. Over 41% are between 16 and 24 years old. However, the number of users in older groups is exploding too. The number of adults has quintupled in the last 18 months. There is a possibility that Tiktok will replace other networks such as Facebook and Instagram worldwide.
How do you become successful on Tiktok?
With our account, we achieved over 74,000 likes and over 1,8 million views with 2,400 followers within 3 months. We produced several viral videos that reached over 50,000, 70,000 but also over 250,000 views within a few days. Since many popular categories – such as dancing, lip-sync and modeling – fell out for us, we focused on business and relationship topics. Videos about business trips were particularly successful (examples here or here). We also tested insurance topics, such as “The 5 biggest insurance losses” or the need for liability insurance – but with less success.
Is this interesting for insurers and salespeople?
Tiktok is not for every insurer, broker or agency. Tiktok is only relevant for companies that want to grow above the market average and are willing to try new tactics. It is only relevant for decision-makers who want to deviate from pushy sales using sophisticated attention hacking strategies. The idea is, to create a situation in which not the salesperson reaches out to the customer trying to convince him or her but that the customers approach the salesperson in the moment of need. Tiktok can be an aspect here.
We are currently experiencing a situation on Tiktok in which enormous reach can be generated with little effort. But we hardly see any companies and international celebrities like Will Smith appear only slowly. This is often due to the fact that they are successful on other channels and they would need to start at zero on Tiktok. A lot shy away from having to start all over again and possibly fail. Therefore, previously unknown content creators dominate and build an enormous follower base.
Insurers can use this new channel, especially for branding, recruiting but also for sales. How? By creating content that appeals to the corresponding target group.
I see a special opportunity for insurance and finance content that addresses problems of different target groups. A particularly good example is Tim Hendrik Walter, who attracted over 725,000 fans and over 14,6 million likes with legal topics (as the German “Mr. Attorney”). He does this by explaining legal questions to target groups, such as “When can I order from Amazon?” or “How to get dressed in court?”
Insurers and salespeople could certainly do the same with their topics.
The board member quoted at the beginning asked what the most important criterion was to start at Tiktok. The most important thing is to try out the app yourself as a decision-maker and to watch content (iTunes – Playstore). Our biggest mistake, in the beginning, was simply dumping content from other channels for convenience. As soon as we started generating content specifically for Tiktok, the reach exploded. Those who are particularly creative get a particularly high reach. Even as an insurer. Let’s tackle it.