TikTok continues to demonstrate remarkable growth in terms of downloads, active users and engagement, more and more businesses are integrating the social media platform into their marketing strategy. And TikTok has taken notice, adding specific tools to help brands connect with influencers to help promote their brands.
Here are some best practices for small businesses and brands looking to build or increase their engagement on this popular social platform.
How Do You Use TikTok As A Brand?
On the surface, using TikTok for business is similar to other social media channels and digital marketing platforms. You’ll want to create a business account so you’ll have access to analytics and the ability to run paid ads. Once you have set up your business account, you’ll create content (in this case, short videos) to share and promote on the platform.
There are differences between social media marketing on TikTok versus other platforms, however. Authenticity is key on TikTok. A perfectly polished campaign may do well on Instagram or Facebook, but it might flip on TikTok where videos are often natural and unscripted.
Why Is TikTok So Good For Brands?
TikTok allows users to create short-form videos (generally 15 seconds to one minute in length). It was the most downloaded app of 2021 and it continues to be popular with a global, younger audience. A compilation of TikTok statistics by Hootsuite reports the app reaches almost 18% of internet users over the age of 18 and for those classified as Gen Z the reach is even further, especially among female users.
“TikTok is popular because it feeds the addiction of short attention spans,” says Brian David Crane, an experienced digital marketer and founder of CallerSmart, an iOS app and website which helps users investigate mystery phone numbers plus avoid unwanted calls and texts. Through experimentation, CallerSmart has found success advertising on the app.
“Short videos that are tastefully done with attractive designs and sound effects allow brands to share fun content that fulfills the instant need for excitement,” he adds. “The rawness and authenticity of unfiltered video sharing make it so attractive. This organic virality and reach are highly promising for advertisers. They can work and partner with content creators to achieve more visibility for their brand and succeed.”
Businesses whose target audience fit the demographics on TikTok can take advantage of the popularity of the platform to grow their brands. According to Hootsuite’s report, Social Media Trends 2022, nearly one in four marketers considered the platform effective in helping them reach their goals.
"TikTok is the best platform for Brands to connect with a younger audience,” advises Crane. “When it comes to the ‘virability’ of user generated content and the light heartedness of laidback advertising, TikTok aces it well".
How Do I Brand My Business On TikTok?
While many of the most popular TikTok videos involve lip-syncing or pranks, many individuals and brands have found success in niche topics including Excel worksheets, thrifting, cleaning and more.
Maintaining a level of consistency across your videos can help viewers quickly identify your videos. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the latest trends (like challenges or duets), or even that you should stick with one particular type of video, but it does mean using similar fonts, colors, and an overarching content theme.
If you sell products, try to feature your products in your videos. Exposing viewers to your products, packaging, and how they work can help familiarize viewers with what you offer so when they see it online they already know what it is about.
Branded Content On TikTok
The term “branded content” on TikTok specifically refers to collaborative style content in which one of the parties has (or will) provide payment, goods or services to the other in exchange for the post. Many brands find success on Tiktok via influencer marketing; partnering with creators and/or influencers with established audiences.
If the influencers you work with create branded content, TikTok requires they enable the branded content toggle for the post. The toggle puts an ad disclosure on the post so that users can easily see the creator is working with a brand. It doesn’t matter if the video is a tutorial, funny video, lip-synching, etc, if a creator is (or will) getting paid, including goods or services received in exchange for the post, that toggle must be on. (If you’re a brand working with creators, you want to ensure they will follow these rules.)
Branded content also has rules on the music used. Creators working through the TikTok Creator Marketplace must use music for which they have the rights to use. That means using the commercial music library or supplying proof of the right to use the music in the video.
How To Use TikTok To Build Your Brand
Building your brand on TikTok may take time and dedication, but some brands do find they achieve success quickly. Here are a few best practices:
Content: One of the most important things to do when building brand awareness is to create video content that not only represents your brand but also resonates with your target audience. It may take you a while to figure out what type of content your target audience wants, but when you get it right, the results can be phenomenal.
Hashtags: Another important step for building your brand identity is to use hashtags. Appropriate hashtags helps users find your videos particularly as it helps relevant videos end up in users’ ‘For You page’.
Influencer Marketing: Unlike other platforms where it can be tricky to find influencers to work with, TikTok makes it easy to find and develop partnerships with influencers (including micro-influencers) through the TikTok Creator Marketplace.
Paid Ads: With a TikTok for business account you can easily create paid ads on TikTok. Be sure to review TikTok ads best practices to help ensure you invest your ad dollars wisely .
Analytics: Tracking your account analytics is essential to making the most of your TikTok marketing efforts. The analytics for your account, without ads, will give you insight into metrics such as shares, comments, likes, and hashtag views. If you invest in paid ads, you will gain insight into additional analytics such as cost per click, number of initiated checkouts, rate of app downloads, and more. Some of these analytics will be tied to specific ad types and goals, but either way you can gain valuable insights into your marketing campaigns on the platform.
Examples From Some Of The Best TikTok Brands
TikTok calls the combination of organic content, paid ads and partnerships with creators an “always engaged” approach. And while it may seem self-serving coming from TikTok, there are plenty of examples of brands who have used this formula successful. Here are a few that stand out:
Marc Jacobs: If you want an example of a successful hashtag challenge you don’t need to look any further than Marc Jacobs #PerfectAsIAm and #PerfectAsWeAre campaigns. The campaigns generated billions of views and thousands of user generated content (ugc).
Chipotle: The company ran a campaign that coincided with national guacamole day and had great results. Users jumped on the trend and by the end of the campaign they had around a quarter of a million videos and over 400 million views.
Flighthouse: Have you ever heard of flighthouse? Chances are if you have used TikTok you will have seen some of their ads. They are a media company having great success on TikTok, both in terms of building their brand and elevating other brands.
NBA: The NBA definitely had a fan base before getting on TikTok, but their popularity continues to rise with their strategic video formats. They structure their videos to each social media platform well and find ways to engage their audience.
We’re Not Really Strangers: This TikTok account was started by the creator of the card game and has done a great job engaging its audience, which the TikTok algorithm favors. Now with over four million followers the account is one many can look to for inspiration.
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