If you haven’t yet familiarised yourself with TikTok, I commend your self-control. Like many, I downloaded the app ‘as a joke’ and to debunk the hype, only to find that the journey from TikTok sceptic to self-confessed addict is an incredibly short one.

Alongside baking banana bread and completing jigsaw puzzles, TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular ways people are choosing to keep themselves entertained since social distancing rules came into effect across the world – in fact, TikTok experienced an over 15% increase in average daily traffic between mid-January and mid-March this year, and surpassed 2 billion global downloads across iOS and Android in May.

For those consumer brands scrambling to maintain connections with Millennials and Gen Z amid the pandemic, these figures may be enticing enough for marketers and social media managers to dip their toes into the world of TikTok.

Unlike Facebook or Instagram, organic reach and cut through seems actually possible on TikTok given its infancy – music to the ears of those working with smaller budgets and risk averse stakeholders.

The most notable brand to benchmark success on TikTok to date is Deciem, which saw a 426% increase in sales of its The Ordinary peeling solution that went purely, organically viral through user generated content that showed the results of the affordable product. The #theordinary hashtag now has 122.7 million views and counting.

And while TikTok is still cementing its paid promotion offerings, the first wave of testimonials is promising. With brick and mortar stores closing across the world mid-campaign, the “Shop Now” button on TikTok became an unprecedentedly important way for Levi’s to connect with online shoppers and bolster its e-commerce, saying even the initial tests of its latest activation saw high engagement and increased traffic to its website.

TikTok is currently on the up and up and momentum will continue to build into the near future, however I caution brands who are tempted to cut corners on their social strategy in favour of diving in quickly.

Copy and pasting existing content themes and posts across from Instagram to TikTok just won’t cut it, as users will spot a lack of authenticity from a mile away before running in the opposite direction.

While it is only early days, and the secret sauce for social media marketing on TikTok changes as brands experiment, trial and fail fast, there are already some established best practices that cannot be ignored if you’re thinking of cashing in on its popularity.

Lean into relevant trends and challenges in real time, tap into the growing market of TikTok influencers, use in-app instead of in-house editing features, and favour relatable, user-generated or behind-the-scenes content, over polished aspirational content you might be used to posting across existing socials.