TikTok Ya Don’t (or do) Stop

We’ve got Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But these days, when it comes to social media, we’re TikTok obsessed. The former Music.ally app, TikTok has emerged to become the social media app of choice for teenagers and twenty-somethings.

The popular Chinese-based app has come under fire in recent days for privacy, security, and safety reasons. And users, parents, and brands are taking notice, including some agencies even banning the network for employees. 

Since early 2019, employer brand and HR pros have had TikTok on their radars. Fast forward to today, and some people claim that TikTok is the future of recruitment marketing. As more consumer based marketing success stories are coming to our screens, the time is ripe to ask the tough questions: Is TikTok right for us? How much should we invest? Does it only work with influencers? And what should we do?

Broad data tells us that of TikTok’s users, ⅓ are in India and approximately 8% of user downloads are in the U.S. with the majority between 16 and 24 years of age. But, what does your data tell you? Are your target candidates users of the network and do they even want you there? 

Our #teamexaqueo strategists have a wide variety of opinions on TikTok so we collected their advice and thoughts on the network, including a few ideas on what you should do next. 

Shannon: Personally, I have an issue with a platform rampant with pedophiles, lawsuits on collecting data on kids under 13, and the U.S.'s national security review of this Chinese-owned app. But, then again, I’m not the target market. Personal bias aside, before launching a campaign on TikTok, it is important to know if your target audience uses the app and is open to consuming career-related content there.

Alyssa: Before launching any new channel—social or not—look at the data. If you find that your target audience is there and it makes sense for your brand, consider how you’ll manage content creation and engagement. Being successful on platforms like TikTok requires a pipeline of fresh and fun content. What resources do you have to ensure what you’re putting out there is engaging and sustainable?

Emily: Technology is always changing and new tools, including social media channels, are constantly appearing—and disappearing. Remember Tumblr? The free blogging platform became overrun with NSFW content, leading to it banning all adult content and losing ⅓ of its users. Is it worth being on TikTok knowing that it could face a similar outcome? As the old saying goes — the early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.  

Jackie: There’s still a lot we don’t know about TikTok and the value it might create for job seekers. If it’s not part of your brand to be super innovative and first to market, or if you’re not recruiting Gen Z or planning for Gen Alpha just yet, then wait this one out. Let consumer brands get to know the platform, build best practices, and in the meantime, you can evaluate the benefits and begin to develop a content and promotion strategy that makes sense for your business. If it maintains its popularity, it will be there later when you’re ready for it.

Susan: It may be TikTok today, but what will be the hot app of tomorrow? It’s so easy to jump on the bandwagon just because everyone else is on there. But that doesn’t make it right for your organization. What’s your overall social media and channel strategy for your employer brand? Organizations need to have a plan for how to rigorously evaluate all channels that seem enticing instead of being reactive to volume and noise.

Lexi: What your data says about your candidates and employees aside, it’s important to consider how aligning with certain channels can affect YOUR brand. There is quite a bit of controversy around the app. Are you equipped to handle the adverse effects of the tool? Both from a resource and PR perspective? It’s important to think through the risks involved in engaging with a channel that is so new. 


We do know that employer brand can’t be about a bandwagon approach, jumping from something shiny to the next. To be successful, we have to be data driven, strategic, and consistent. What steps is your organization taking to uncover if TikTok is right for you? 

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