You’ve heard a lot about TikTok the last couple of years, and you know the gist of it: The hugely popular short-form video platform has quickly risen to dominate a major share of social media use. But you may be hesitant to use it for your interior design business. After all, in a constantly evolving social media landscape, platforms come and go, and you already have a core stable of social media apps that are working well for your interior design business.
But we’re here to tell you that TikTok is a legitimate platform you need to be familiar with, and that you should at least consider using for your business. Here’s everything you need to know about TikTok, why it’s good for interior designers, and how to make it work for your business.
What is TikTok?
- It’s been around longer than you think: TikTok was originally launched to the Chinese market in 2016 under the name Douyin, and a parallel version of the present-day TikTok app still operates in China under the same name. It became available to international markets, including the U.S,. in 2018.
- In a few short years, TikTok has rocketed to the top ranks of social apps: TikTok exploded in popularity during the pandemic. By September 2021, the app had 1.1 billion users worldwide. That’s on par with Instagram, though still fewer than Facebook’s 2.8 billion monthly users; however, TikTok is growing the fastest of the three.
- What sets it apart: TikTok is exclusively a video-making and sharing platform. Users can make 15 second, 30 second, or 3 minute videos. There is an option to create a slideshow of still images, but the most successful posts are live-action video. It also offers a wide variety of production tools that dwarf similar offerings from other social apps, like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. Videos created within or edited using TIkTok can be shared to other apps.
- It’s built to reach a mass audience outside of your followers: While all social apps can be used to reach the masses, the algorithm of TikTok works much harder to share your video outside of your circle of followers. TikTok’s “For You” page, the pillar of the app, shows an endless stream of suggested content, curated based on the videos you have previously watched and liked. This is part of the reason why posts go viral on TikTok so quickly and frequently. By the time the same viral video reaches Instagram, it’s old news in the TikTok universe. The other factors include the insider references that quickly pick up steam on TikTok, which can be harnessed to better promote your content. More on that below.
Why You Should Be Using TikTok for Interior Design
- On the surface, it’s not a natural fit: The truth is that TikTok is not the ideal platform for most interior designers, as 69% of its users are teenagers. The top three categories of popular videos are entertainment, dance, and pranks. It doesn’t favor still images, which are the foundation of a designer’s portfolio.
- Yet, you can’t afford not to: Sometimes, participation is about fundamental relevance. You may not court a target clientele of affluent, luxury consumers on TikTok. But using the app will keep you in the loop of what is popular, and it’s important to stay on the cultural pulse of the greater markets in which you work. You can also quickly enhance your brand recognition. You may not be directly engaging your target audience on TikTok, but brand recognition on a platform of this scale will have positive ripple effects. Lastly, you can use the TikTok production tools to create better content for your core stable of apps: Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
How To Use TikTok For Your Interior Design Business
- Create content that plays to the strengths of the app: TikTok is primarily a video-sharing app, so use it to create site tours, juxtaposing before and after clips, personally present design tips or commentary, or any other videos that show off your personality + your design style.
- Keep track of interior designers with the biggest following to see what they’re doing right: Studio McGee, House of Jade Interiors, and Leclair Decor are dominating the design corner of the app.
- Leverage the insider culture of TikTok: in addition to using hashtags and the other familiar conventions that dominate the majority of social apps, TikTok has its own vernacular and rotating door of inside jokes, memes, and conventions that have viral moments in the app. A particular song, for example, can go viral on TikTok; featuring that song of the moment in your content (while it's trending) will bring eyes to your content.
- Go outside your comfort zone: As mentioned above, TikTok is not the platform to show off your most elevated content. Embrace DIY, which out of all design content on the app, has the greatest popularity. Also, consider participating in some TikTok challenges that are not off brand with your personality. The goal is to introduce your name to a greater audience.
- Sell your product lines: You can sell merchandise on TikTok. It has a smooth integration with Shopify and a robust “for business” account offering, like Instagram and Facebook. The question to consider is how well your products fit with the core demographics of TikTok. As discussed, TikTok is not the best platform to sell luxury items. Your time will be better spent on different outlets for higher-priced, specialty goods. But if you have a product that is geared towards the mass market, TikTok could be a great place to sell.
It might be daunting to learn yet another new social media app, but investing time to learn TikTok is worth it for interior designers. There is no better way to keep up with the zeitgeist, which can easily escape luxury interior designers, who operate in a small, tight-knit world. In order to grow, you’ll have to be ready to expand to new platforms for networking and selling products. While TikTok might not represent your core audience today, it’s rapid growth and expansive capabilities indicate there is much more in store for TikTok, starting as soon as now!