The influence that TikTok has on brands should not be downplayed, and neither should the need for a TikTok marketing strategy. Aside from being a favorite place for teens to procrastinate, the app has had a significant effect on cultures all over the world. Beyond that, TikTok has reshaped the influencer marketing model as we know it. For this reason, knowledgeable businesses worldwide are looking to invest time and effort into TikTok marketing.
Of course, the video app may not be suitable for every brand, particularly if your target audience and TikTok user demographics do not overlap. However, many businesses, including Chipotle, Crocs, and the N.F.L., have achieved success with TikTok marketing.
Surprisingly, many of the most memorable brand moments on TikTok are unintentional. For example, after Nathan Apodaca launched the #DreamsChallenge on a longboard ride to work in late 2020, Ocean Spray consumer domestic sales and Fleetwood Mac streams skyrocketed.
Even if you aren’t one of the lucky brands that managed to stumble into TikTok fame, you can still establish a successful presence on the platform.
Current trends on TikTok
TikTok trends motivate and inspire people to take action. More specifically, the TikTok community has helped musicians like Lil Nas X and Olivia Rodrigo become stars. The platform has also contributed to the success of brands like eos shaving cream, the brown G.A.P. hoodie, Goldfish crackers, and the L’Oréal Foundation, to name a few.
The TikTok community reflects our larger communities – diverse ecosystems of creators, people, culture drivers, and everything in between. Given the way the TikTok community engages with the content, trends emerge naturally and regularly.
While TikTok has been a popular platform among social media experts for quite some time now, more research has emerged to figure out what drives trends on the platform. Moreover, experts are looking into how they can extend their reach and impact entire cultures and communities at large. Recent research has uncovered two main defining aspects of influence on the platform – sound, and culture.
Music culture on TikTok
Music is TikTok’s universal language; it contributes significantly to the community’s creativity, vibrancy, and cultural impact. The power of music on TikTok has been revealed by research that sheds further light on the value and material impact music has for brands and the creator community alike.
TikTok’s “sound on” feature has pushed brands to think outside the box. Music plays an essential role in how brands share their personalities with the world, whether they are working with a relevant and current musician to create a custom song or tapping into trending voiceovers and jingles on the platform.
TikTok has become an essential part of music discovery, connecting artists with their engaged fans and introducing brands to every facet of the community. It is the home for music trends that spread like wildfire across the industry. Previous research confirms that by using the right music or sound on TikTok, creators, artists, and businesses alike can see a significant impact. Overall, TikTok’s community can discover, endorse, and co-create music in a unique way, and this makes it such a powerful tool for brands.
TikTok’s impact on culture
Beyond music, the platform and community impact culture and generate trends that start on TikTok and eventually go viral everywhere. A recent study found that 71% of users believe the biggest trends start on TikTok rather than other social media sites. TikTok has rekindled brand loyalty. The community-based model encourages brands to embrace and participate in trends, connect through conversations, and co-create. This all builds advocacy and, ultimately, drives purchases.
What is TikTok marketing?
TikTok marketing is the practice of promoting a brand, product, or service through TikTok. This can include a variety of tactics such as influencer marketing, TikTok advertising, and the creation of organic viral content. When done well, TikTok marketing can help you boost brand awareness, create active communities, and boost sales for your goods and services. Additionally, with a good marketing strategy, you can gather feedback from your customers and target audience, provide excellent customer service, and promote your products and services to a wider audience.
Doesn’t that sound good? If you are unfamiliar with TikTok or have not yet explored how the app works, worry not. TikTok actually functions in a similar way to other social platforms that you’re probably already familiar with.
Essentially, most TikTok content is a 15-30 second video (they recently added a 3-minute and 10- minute feature) that plays in a loop unless you scroll up for the next video or down for the previous video. Content creators can also use captions, descriptions, and hashtags to optimize their content. Think of your Instagram stories and the description box on YouTube. Combine those two features, and you’ll have a good idea of what your TikTok videos will look like.
TikTok user interactions are similar to those of other social media apps. Users can like (heart), comment on, and share your videos via direct message or to other social media apps.
TikTok has a remarkable level of user engagement, and it performs admirably in terms of keeping people glued to it. The only challenging aspect of this app for digital marketers is determining how to create content that will resonate with the audience. TikTok’s most active users are teenagers (also known as Gen Z). Some millennials (born in the 1980s and 1990s) are also among the most active members of the community. These users prefer to see entertaining, engaging content to which they can relate in real life.
Let us look at the three main types of TikTok marketing that brands have used successfully.
1) Influencer marketing
TikTok influencer marketing is a significant component of the app’s ecosystem. It’s no surprise that influencers are everything on social media, particularly on TikTok. Popular creators such as Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and Khabane Lame are just a few examples of influencers who have an active online presence on TikTok. What’s more, these influencers have follower counts in the millions. If you want to increase your visibility, you can reach out to a content creator who already has a sizable following.
Reaching a younger targeted audience on TikTok can be difficult with traditional ads, mainly because many users are used to scrolling through ads daily. So much so that traditional ads have turned into background noise. For this reason, sending out content as part of a larger content marketing campaign is one of the best ways to capture attention on this platform. Rather than launching a marketing campaign on its own, you should cultivate deeper relationships with more prominent content creators.
Putting together a PR package can convince influencers to try your new products and promote them to their followers. Don’t be surprised if content creators bargain with you to receive these packages. In fact, instead of waiting for them to ask, you should build this package ahead of time and offer it to them immediately. In exchange, creators will create advertisements and unboxing videos to showcase your products.
2) Creating organic content
This option gives you the most flexibility. Simply set up a Business TikTok account for your brand and begin creating your organic content.
You can post anything from product demos to day-in-the-life videos and dance challenges. If you need some inspiration, spend some time looking through your For You page for ideas.
3) TikTok advertising
If you’re looking for an avenue to start and have some money to invest, this is the place to be. TikTok is full of success stories from brands that began advertising on TikTok, such as Aerie, Little Caesars, and Maybelline. TikTok ads, like those on Facebook and Instagram, are priced using a bidding model.
Once you have become familiar with the platform, what happens next? What should you do to get your target audience (and possibly a new audience) to notice your brand on TikTok?
Again, as with other social media platforms, you optimize your content so that it appears on your target audience’s For You Page (a.k.a. F.Y.P.).
When you open your TikTok app, the For You Page is the first page you see. This is where you’ll find videos from creators you follow as well as creators who TikTok thinks you’ll like based on your previous interactions. Essentially, the TikTok algorithm functions in a similar way to your Facebook timeline, Instagram feed, and Twitter feed.
Your ultimate goal should be to appear on your target audience’s For You Page because this means you’ve done an excellent job creating content that resonates with them. It means that your content is of higher quality than that of other creators on the app. It also means that there are numerous opportunities in store for your business, such as increased followers, free exposure, and even higher sales.
Type of content on TikTok
Now that you understand how TikTok works and how your content could end up on the For You Page, it’s time to create content to upload. Here are the five types of TikTok videos that have proven to be massive hits.
1) Videos based on sounds
Have you ever heard of the Warehouse effect? What about “Nobody’s Gonna Know”? Yes, these two sounds have become so popular both on TikTok and outside the platform because many creators have used them in their videos, adding their own unique twist each time. As mentioned previously, it’s important to remember that sounds are important on TikTok, and it’s generally a good idea to use popular TikTok sounds in your videos.
2) Videos based on hashtags
Using hashtags is ideal on any platform, especially if you want to optimize your content for maximum visibility. The use of hashtags is even more crucial on TikTok. If a hashtag is trending, it means it’s popular, and if you use a popular hashtag, there’s a good chance your video will end up on users’ For You Page. Hashtags such as #edutok, #featurethis, #tiktokrecipes, and #dancechallenge have helped many creators get discovered and grow their following.
TikTok challenges are entertaining to create. While these videos are generally based on a concept that has been created by someone else, they still allow room for creativity and allow you to put your own spin on specific content. One of the most popular challenges was the #InfinityChallenge that went viral on the platform. Creators from all over the world participated in this challenge, pitching in with videos that demonstrated various creative ways to complete the challenge.
Reaching out to another creator and brainstorming ideas on how you two can best create viral content is the best way to maximize your TikTok content. TikTok has a Stitch feature that allows you to stitch your content to someone else’s video and a Duet feature that will enable you to create a video that appears side by side with another creator’s video. Beyond being a fun way to make a video, this feature effectively drives traffic to both your page and the other creator’s page.
5) Lip-syncing videos
This type of video content is similar to the strategy of using popular sounds. The main difference in this type of video is that you will be lip-syncing the popular sound. This sound could be a recorded song, a conversation, or a scene from a movie.
TikTok is now widely regarded as one of the best platforms for content marketing. Given the variety of distinct but well-known sounds, these bite-sized videos are lots of fun to create. Whatever your niche and regardless of the products and services you provide, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the creative process that goes into these videos.
Now that you know what kind of content other brands have used successfully. You can experiment to find a formula that works for your brand. What types of content and helpful info are popular among your target audience?
How to create engaging TikTok marketing content
Creating exciting content is the key to success on TikTok. If you can accomplish this, people are more likely to watch and interact with your videos. This results in the algorithm displaying your content to a more significant number of people.
The simplest way to generate exciting business content for your TikTok profile is to use the same approach you’d use to generate blog post ideas. If you want to create engaging blog post content, you should first consider some of the problems or topics that your target audience is interested in.
If you’re not sure how to identify problems or interests, ask! Your current audience on Tiktok may be eager to share some of the issues they’re dealing with or topics they’d like to learn more about.
Let’s assume you know your target audience is interested in Instagram marketing. In this case, you can use the “autosuggest” feature on Google Search to generate good content ideas. If you Google “Instagram marketing tips,” you’ll get a list of related search suggestions.
You can use these initial suggestions as a basis for your TikTok videos. You can also use SEO tools to find ideas based on your ideal keywords. Start by entering a broad keyword related to your chosen topic. When you do this, you’ll see a section where you can view content ideas. If you click on this section, you’ll be taken to a page with some relevant content ideas for your video content.
You may be able to make your informational videos more engaging by doing this, even if the content is serious. It can be challenging to create humorous content. To make this easier, you should consider using a variety of effects when recording your videos. To save time, you could use the same filters or music in nearly all your videos.
If you need help with promoting your TikTok content even further, you should consider partnering with a PR agency. Pressfarm is one such agency that works with individuals and businesses of all sizes to create newsworthy and appealing content distributed through their channels and to journalists.
Once you sign up, the Pressfarm public relations team will gather information and create content that will help you gain media attention. By writing and distributing email pitches, press releases, and guest posts and creating eye-catching press kits, Pressfarm can help you capture attention and drive traffic to your TikTok channel. Furthermore, their Account Executive will create a customized media list from their database of over a million contacts so that you can begin developing relationships with the best media professionals in your niche.
Use relevant hashtags for TikTok SEO
If you want people to find your brand on TikTok, you should consider investing time and energy into boosting your TikTok SEO. This means optimizing your content so that people can find it when they use the platform’s search feature. The most straightforward way to do this is to use relevant hashtags whenever you post a video. If you are unsure of what hashtags to use, type a relevant, broad keyword into TikTok’s search section. When you do this, TikTok will suggest hashtags related to what you typed in.
If you want to reach many people, you can use relatively generic hashtags. “#socialmediamarketing” or “#smallbusinesstips” are two examples of generic hashtags. Your hashtags will appear in the caption of your video. Since captions are limited to 100 characters, it might be ideal to limit yourself to two to three hashtags, as this will allow you room to write a good description for your video.
Partner with other creators
If you’re having trouble growing your TikTok following, you might want to consider collaborating with other TikTok creators. For example, if you’re in the digital marketing niche, you might want to collaborate on videos with other people in the field who have a larger following. You can find these people by searching TikTok for relevant content. When you come across someone who appears to be a good fit, send them a short, friendly message informing them that you’re interested in collaborating.
This can be a numbers game, so it may be a while before someone takes you up on your offer. However, as your follower count grows, you may find that more people are willing to collaborate with your brand because the benefits of doing so are now greater.
How to create a TikTok marketing strategy in 2023
1) Get familiar with TikTok
It would be a mistake to approach TikTok marketing in the same manner as Instagram or even Facebook marketing. Remember that TikTok is an entirely different social network with its own set of trends, features, and user behaviors.
Spend some time engaging in TikTok videos from other creators before you start creating your own content. Explore the app’s various features and note which filters, effects, and songs are most popular. You should focus on Branded Hashtag Challenges, which feature a song, dance moves, or task that members are challenged to recreate (this is basically TikTok’s take on user-generated content). Don’t forget about TikTok’s Duets feature.
Knowing how TikTok ranks and displays videos in the For You tab can help you plan your content, hashtag, and engagement strategy. It’s also important to learn as much as you can about how the TikTok algorithm works. You can also brush up on your TikTok knowledge by enrolling in the TikTok Business Learning Center courses.
2) Define your target audience
Who do you want to reach out to via TikTok? Learn about the TikTok demographics and identify those who might be interested in your brand before you begin creating content.
TikTok is most popular among teenagers, but dismissing TikTok as a teen app would be a mistake. In the United States, the 20-29-year-old age group is closely followed by teenagers. In China, “glam-mas” demonstrate that fashion only improves with age.
Spend some time researching your target demographics on other social media platforms and looking for overlap on TikTok. While a brand’s current audience may not be on TikTok, subgroups on the forum may have similar or slightly different interests. For example, the audience for a children’s book publisher could include authors on LinkedIn, readers on Instagram, and illustrators on TikTok. Even so, don’t rule out new or unexpected groups or audiences.
Once you’ve identified a potential audience, find out what kinds of content they enjoy and engage with. With this knowledge, you can then begin brainstorming content ideas for your brand.
3) Execute a competitive audit
Are your main competitors on TikTok? If they are, you may be missing out if you don’t have a branded TikTok account. If they aren’t, TikTok could give you a competitive advantage.
Regardless of whether or not your competitors have an active presence on TikTok, it will help to find at least three to five similar corporate brands or organizations and see what they’re up to on the app. Use the S.W.O.T. framework to identify each competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Try to learn from what has and hasn’t worked for other brands.
Since TikTok is a creator-led platform, you should include TikTok stars and influencers in this exercise. Find relevant subject matter experts or influencers who are experts in your field. This could be cosmetics, medicine, or education and literature.
4) Set goals that align with your overall mission
You can make TikTok videos for fun, but it’s best to have goals in mind related to your overall business objectives.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to reach a new, potentially valuable audience, improve brand image, raise product awareness, or strengthen customer relationships through engagement. Regardless of what you’re looking for, it’s critical to have a rationale to back up your efforts.
5) Choose the right influencer
As mentioned previously, influencer marketing is one of the main branches of TikTok marketing. In addition to actually having a strategy to connect with these influencers, it’s also critical to spend time doing research on these influencers before deciding on a spokesperson. You’ll want to make sure the TikTok demographic you’re reaching out to through an influencer is the right one for your brand.
For example, beauty brands will frequently approach professional makeup artists or young female influencers. If you run a beauty brand, you should put together a PR package that includes the makeup and skincare products or hair extensions that you feature in your tutorial videos. In a similar way, fitness brands like Gymshark frequently reach out to athletic influencers to wear their clothing in sponsored videos. Workout tutorials on TikTok’s fitness side (sometimes referred to as GymTok) are a good place to show off these products.
6) Use effects
TikTok’s library of various visual effects is one of its most distinguishing features. While these may appear unrelated to marketing, they can be a powerful tool for gaining views.
Here’s the deal: if you see a video with an interesting effect, you can click on it. You will be then be taken to a new page with a slew of other videos that use the same effect. At this point, you will see attractive thumbnails and click on other videos in the collection purely out of curiosity. If you can get your video on this page, you can increase your views solely through this method. It doesn’t hurt to experiment. Play around with the platform’s features and find out what kind of visual effects are most appealing to your audience.
7) Use humor
One of the more powerful TikTok strategies you can employ in your TikTok marketing campaign is humor. If you create an engaging video, many users will keep watching if the story is interesting enough, especially if it makes them laugh.
You can increase your brand viewership by incorporating relatable, down-to-earth humor into your marketing videos. Create a short, well-crafted skit that also serves as an advertisement. In this way, you’ll sell your brand while also providing the viewer with an enjoyable experience.
8) Combine branded content
You must balance the type of content you share on TikTok, just as you would with any other social marketing program. The majority of your content should entertain or inform your viewers. If your brand builds an audience through this process, you can then incorporate a few more promotional videos.
The average TikTok user ignores advertisements. For this reason, you must establish your credibility before releasing content that is overtly promotional. Many businesses believe that uploading videos of people using their product is the best way to get around this disdain for traditional advertising.
9) Create interesting videos with concise descriptions
TikTok videos can last up to 10 minutes. This may appear to be a long time, but users will happily invest this time for the right kind of content. Whatever you do, don’t just post blatant advertisements – even official TikTok advertisements should provide some value to the brand’s audience.
You can use your descriptions as teasers at times. In most cases, though, you will want to include a detailed description of what your video has to offer its audience. If at all possible, word it in such a way that people are compelled to comment.
Remember to include your essential keywords in your descriptions. However, they must make sense and not be a random assortment of words. Writing a solid description is also necessary for SEO. In essence, you want Tiktok to understand your video when it indexes it and hopefully recommend it to your target audience.
Ultimately, you only have a finite amount of screen space. For the best results, you should prepare short, snappy descriptions. You can also repurpose videos you’ve made for YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook. But keep in mind that they must fit within TikTok’s one-minute time limit. Before you repurpose a video, make sure the video is appropriate for the demographic you’re trying to reach on TikTok.
10) Comment regularly & post often
As with most social networks, TikTok encourages frequent user engagement. In an ideal world, your content will generate conversations with potential customers. Replying to comments is a great way to accomplish this. You should also engage with other brands and content creators by leaving comments under their videos. TikTok ranks comments on posts based on the number of likes they receive, so make sure your comments are meaningful. Avoid making generic “nice video” comments.
Additionally, TikTok is a social platform that rewards frequent posting. A TikTok scheduler can always be used to minimize your efforts. The more videos you upload to your TikTok account, the more likely it is that you will gain followers. The more you post and share content, the easier it will be for people to find your TikTok account and decide whether or not to follow you.
TikTok has taken the internet by surprise, and people will probably continue to flock to this platform for high-quality entertainment for years to come. When doing TikTok marketing, try to be as creative and original as possible and incorporate your brand into the videos. However, don’t create all of the content around the brand. Instead, make your brand more appealing to young people by adding creative and entertaining elements to your content.