Is TikTok the new Google? (And other sentences you never thought you’d read.)

October 20, 2022
Is TikTok the new Google? (And other sentences you never thought you’d read.) Featured Image

It’s no question TikTok has gone the route of social media meta-stardom a la Instagram and Facebook. Opening the TikTok app is an immersive, mobile experience that displays sound-on video after video in a frenetic for-you feed that may or may not feel curated at all.

Oh the “this is what it looks like” video of a Golden Retriever mixed with a Corgi? Loved it. That video of a coordinated family dance in a gorgeous granite-accented kitchen? Not “For Me.”

To many users, the TikTok experience starts out as random, but through likes, follows, and time watched, the “For You Page” starts to actually feel like it’s “For You.” TikTok users are learning how to cook, finding useful travel hacks, and even browsing financial advice. Often they go to the app to search these topics.

At Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference, Prabhakar Raghavan, a Senior Vice President in charge of Google Search, stated “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search […] they go to TikTok or Instagram.”

If you want your brand to succeed on TikTok, you don’t need to convince your team to learn a choreographed dance or try to recreate the latest viral moment, you need to treat the platform like a search engine. Follow these tips for Search TikToptimization of your content.

Find the “For You Page”
The “For You Page” or FYP is similar to the Instagram Explore Page and the first page you see when you open TikTok. Anyone’s content can be displayed on the FYP, you don’t have to have connected with the account previously to see them on your FYP.

To give your content a shot at getting featured on the FYP, capitalize on trending audio (but stay within your niche!). Keep your videos short and digestible, and use relevant keywords in the captions. For added exposure, partner with an influencer. Treat TikTok like a search engine and start seeing results.

Shoot shorter videos
Did you know TikTok allows for video uploads after 10 minutes long? Probably not since you rarely watch a video longer than 60 seconds. Keep your videos short and to the point. Rewatch the video before you most and see if there’s anything you can cut out.

As an added bonus, TikTok videos automatically loop, so shorter videos will probably be watched more than once, increasing your views!

Use trending sounds and music
TikTok’s algorithm will serve you content similar to what you’ve already seen. If you’ve watched and interacted with a video featuring a particular trending sound, you’ll likely see additional videos featuring that sound.

Don’t use trending sounds just for the sake of their popularity, make sure there’s a way to adequately reflect your brand identity. Using a sound just for the sake of using it won’t resonate with your audience, but there are ways to creatively make trending sounds your own.

Include keywords in captions
Your caption should support the message in your video and include relevant keywords. Your viewer will only see the first words of your caption unless they tap to read more, so don’t bury the lead! Use keywords you think your audience would be searching.

For example, if you’re sharing a recipe showcasing a food product your brand carries, include keywords like “dinner idea,” “weekday lunch,” or “easy breakfast.” If your brand sells construction products, share DIY projects using keywords like “home renovation,” “do it yourself,” or “kitchen remodel.”

Partner with influencers
Collaborating with influencers is important on any social platform, and TikTok makes it easy and transparent to connect with creators and see the types of campaigns they have had success with.

TikTok Creator Marketplace allows brands to search trending creators, see what types of videos they are posting, and in some cases get a price quote. While browsing influencers on other social networks requires a third-party tool to compare engagement rates, costs, and content from potential partners, TikTok makes the process easier and more integrated.

“I don’t Google anymore, I TikTok,” may sound like a striking statement, but it’s becoming a reality sooner than you think. I polled a couple of Planiteers on how they use TikTok and the answers surprised me. While I, an elder millennial, personally haven’t gotten farther than the FYP, others turn to TikTok to look for meal prep ideas, local things to do, and movie reviews.

Using a social media platform effectively depends on answering, “what do I expect to get out of this?” If you’re looking to improve your product or service’s searchability and get discovered by a new audience, try TikTok. These tips could help you get started.

Sources: Buzzfeed, Forbes,