Tiktok Marketing: Is It Right for Your Brand?
TikTok may be one of the newest social media platforms on the block, but it has already influenced its users and seismically impacted our culture. Just as when you create a website, you must know what works with TikTok’s audience if you want to build your brand and gain customers from the platform.
If you want to know what a successful TikTok branding strategy looks like, keep reading. In this post, we’ll go into what TikTok marketing is, why brands find it a useful type of marketing (with examples) and how to get your business up and running.
What is TikTok marketing?
If you haven't figured out what is TikTok yet, we'll make it easy: TikTok is a video hosting app that launched in 2017. Users can access it via their web browser, a desktop app or a mobile app.
Unlike a platform like YouTube, TikTok highlights short-form videos of anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes long.
TikTok marketing appeals to businesses and entrepreneurs alike who may be short on time (and funds) but want their marketing strategies to make a big impact.
Although prank and dance videos may often go viral on TikTok, other content does well there, too. And companies have achieved success far beyond occasional virality. TikTok creator Mario Moreno told Fast Company:
“TikTok is so much more than social media. It is a place where creators inspire, educate or entertain. There are so many sub-categories within TikTok and the view time illustrates that people are on the platform consuming content not from a social standpoint but an entertainment and discovery standpoint.”
Your content will unlock your success in TikTok marketing. Videos related to entertainment, fitness and sports, DIY, beauty, cooking, life hacks, and perform really well there. Small business owners and entrepreneurs can use this knowledge to devise a winning video marketing strategy for their unique brands.
Why is TikTok an effective marketing tool?
According to a recent Hello Alice Research Report, 51% of small-to-medium-sized businesses find TikTok allows them to organically reach their audience (not far behind Facebook and Instagram).
Like other marketing trends, TikTok marketing can do more than just boost brand awareness and bring more leads to your brand. SMBs said it also helped them to:
Hire new employees
Open new locations
Safeguard their business against the pandemic’s effects
What exactly makes TikTok such a useful marketing tool? For starters, analysts project TikTok will have 1.8 billion active users every month by the end of 2022. These users live all over the world, too—China, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, etc.
They also spend a lot of time and money on the app.
According to Statista, TikTok users watched 167 million videos every minute in 2021. What’s more, users spend an average of 52 minutes inside the app every day, according to Backlinko.
All that time equates to a lot of money. In just Q4 of 2021, TikTok users spent $824 million via the Google Play and Apple app stores.
Brands that devise an effective TikTok branding and marketing strategy can gain a very engaged and spendy audience. Brands can find marketing success beyond video creation there, though.
3 types of TikTok marketing
You can use TikTok in your brand and marketing strategy in three ways:
01. Create TikTok campaigns
You can become a creator—either through your personal TikTok account or you can set up a business account.
TikTok videos let you market your brand the best way you see fit. For instance, eCommerce businesses and small local retailers might find it beneficial to film product unboxing videos. This would allow you to let people see how your products look and work in real time. If your brand provides services on the other hand, then you or your team may end up starring in your videos.
You can go in so many directions with TikTok content creation. Brands bring attention to themselves in interesting ways that other platforms haven’t allowed them to.
02. Partner with an influencer
Brands of all sizes will find TikTok influencer marketing useful. Focus on finding an influencer that your target audience will recognize and who makes sense for your business.
Don’t stress if you can’t invest in influencers like Addison Rae. The right micro-influencers can impact your business just as much—if not more than high-profile figures.
In addition, if you’re an influencer yourself, you can find retail brands to partner with.
03. Run ads
TikTok ads work similarly to advertising on other social media platforms. A bidding model determines ad cost, so the more specific you get about your ad goals and target audience, the better.
That said, while TikTok advertising offers a variety of ad spots, they don’t come cheap.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, an ad costs $10 per CPM. In addition, you have to spend a minimum of $500 on every campaign you run.
Half of the small businesses surveyed by Hello Alice said that TikTok allowed them to organically reach their audience. Considering the high cost of advertising, start with organic (i.e. free) video creation first when figuring out how to make money on TikTok with your target audience.
Awesome TikTok brand examples
TikTok has an audience of almost two billion users. As you can imagine, many brands and entrepreneurs are attempting to get in on the action.
Some recent standouts include:
@barkbox: While the dogs care about the treats and toys they get from their monthly subscription service, their owners care more about the content that BarkBox creates—like videos that introduce them to all the office dogs or that show off rejected BarkBox toy ideas.
@jamesllewis: This artist publishes real-time videos of his creations via TikTok. He invites his followers to his website where he teaches workshops and sells art gear.
@nicky.cass1: This social media influencer creates comedic content that riffs on Italian American life. In addition to posting original content to his channel on a regular basis, he finds funny ways to integrate his affiliate partners into his skits.
@peachyslime makes and sells colorful and sparkly slimes. Rather than use her channel to actively push her products, she often answers questions from followers while demonstrating her hands-on techniques.
@planetfitness uses TikTok to put out humorous videos about working out. It shows off the brand’s personality while reinforcing the idea that exercise can be fun and you can joke about it, too.
You may already recognize @thedancingcarpenter from HGTV’s Extreme Makeover. He uses his platform on TikTok to share lighthearted videos of him dancing in his workshop while promoting his carpentry work.
The Washington Post
@washingtonpost: This Washington D.C.-based daily newspaper uses its TikTok channel to post video highlights from the week’s news. It also occasionally shares posts that add a comedic touch to its commentary.
@wix: Full of trendy songs, funny voice-overs, and retro effects, Wix users will find the website creation brand’s TikTok channel engaging. It also happens to frequently promote useful information for small business owners and entrepreneurs wanting to make headway online.
How to open a TikTok account for your business
While you don’t need to create a business account to use TikTok, you’ll miss out on all the tools offered to brands. For example:
TikTok creator marketplace (to find influencer partnerships)
Setting up a TikTok account for your business is easy. If you change your mind, you can easily switch back to a personal account.
Step 1: If you don’t yet have a TikTok account: Create one.
Go to TikTok.com and click the Log in button. This will open a pop-up with login options.
If you have an account, choose the corresponding login option. If you don’t, look for a Sign up link at the bottom and click it.
Sign up with your email address, phone number or use your Facebook, Google, or Twitter account.
Step 2: Fill in the basic details for your account.
Create an account name—this name will sit atop your page, like “Jack in the Box” does in the example here:
Also come up with an account handle (like @jackinthebox). It probably won’t match your account name since you can’t include any spaces and TikTok limits how many characters you can use.
Lastly, upload a photo or logo to represent your brand.
Step 3: Click on the three dots in the top-right corner of your account page screen and go to Manage account.
Click on Switch to Business Account. A pop-up will appear, telling you about the benefits of using TikTok for business. (By the way, if you ever want to switch back to Personal, you’ll do it here.) Click the Next button.
In the next screen, choose a category that best fits your business type:
When finished, you’ll return to your account page.
You can now add a bio as well as a link to your page. Use the link to direct followers and other TikTok users back to your website. You could also use it to promote a curated linktree, like those offered by Hopp.co.
8 tips for creating your TikTok marketing strategy
If you want a big return on your social media marketing investment, then you must strategize first.
Use these tips to craft your TikTok marketing and branding strategy:
01. Know your audience
First, get acquainted with who uses TikTok. According to DataReportal, 56.2% of TikTok users are female. Each day, the ratio of females to males shrinks, though.
TikTok also has an international audience. Of its almost two billion monthly users, only about 140 million live in the United States.
In addition, TikTok users tend to be younger. According to Statista, the age demographics break down as such:
25% are 10-19
22.4% are 20-29
21.7% are 30-39
20.3% are 40-49
11% are 50+
If you want to tap into a broad range of TikTok users, this information will help you decide if your brand’s target audience even uses the platform.
02. Stalk the competition
Find out if your competition already uses TikTok—many brands haven’t jumped on the relatively young platform yet.
If you do find competition there, spend some time perusing their content.
What videos do they create?
Subjectively, do you think they do a good job?
Objectively, do they receive a positive response in terms of views, likes and comments?
Also, take a look at the pages of their most engaging followers. This will help you learn more about the people who might want to follow you on TikTok.
03. Follow the trends
If you spend enough time on TikTok, you’ll quickly notice what trends: In some cases, it’s a background song, sound or voice-over. In other cases, the video’s content catches on—like a particular dance routine or a social media challenge.
Hopping on a trend doesn’t guarantee your account will go viral. Instead, brush up on trends so you can sense what gets users excited. Even if the trend doesn’t fit with your brand’s personality, it may inspire an inventive variation.
04. Carve out your own path
Speaking of originality, you’ll find the most TikTok marketing success if you stay authentic.
It may take some time to figure out how to best present your brand’s uniqueness through video. Don’t be afraid to test out different content strategies.
Are you and your team members particularly funny? If so, will your particular brand of humor play well to the TikTok audience?
Will people find your brand’s behind-the-scenes as interesting as what you produce? Can you capture it on video in an innovative and exciting way?
Do you have a talent for making social media videos? If you have experience on a platform like Instagram that allows you to play with music, filters and emoji, then you may find success jazzing up otherwise regular posts.
05. Use a video editor
Although you can use TikTok’s app to film videos and import images, you’ll likely find it easier to create your content within a platform-specific tool.
With TikTok’s free video maker, you can:
Import content from the media library or stock photo websites (in case you don’t have your own to start with).
Embed your logo as a watermark or to reinforce branding.
Choose from a pre-made theme and special effects (like glitch, pixels or duotone).
Apply a custom color palette and font style to all your videos.
While you can use the video maker to add text overlays to your content, save music for inside the app to make sure that your content plays without issue.
06. Create a schedule
The more consistently you publish TikTok videos, the more engagement you’ll get. Users want to follow TikTok brands that regularly create new, interesting content.
As you plot out what content you’ll create, also think about how frequently you’ll film and when is the best time to post on TikTok to engage with your followers. You may want to set aside a day every week to create and schedule out a batch of videos. That way, you won’t have to scramble to publish a video to meet people’s expectations. Plus, if you get in the creation habit, you’ll think about it more, which will simplify your content brainstorming.
07. Engage with your followers and other accounts
Successful brands use social media to build communities and engage with them. So start following other accounts that you personally enjoy or operate in the same industry.
Then, start engaging with their content. Start putting your brand (and personal) account name out there. Like their posts, comment on them and get to know other TikTok users. All the while, work on creating your own content.
As your engagement on the platform grows, users will naturally want to know who responds and will make their way to your page. An account full of innovative content for them to check out will help you get followers on TikTok.
08. Monitor your analytics
As a brand, TikTok will give you access to analytics so you can monitor your account’s performance.
Before you start checking in on your analytics, though, set some goals for yourself:
How many new users do you want each month?
How many likes should your posts get?
What about comments and shares?
How many people would you like to click on the link in your bio?
If you know what you want from TikTok, then you’ll find your analytics more meaningful and useful. For instance, if people don’t click on your bio link, then this might suggest that you need to mention it more in your posts.
Pro tip: Use the right hashtags
TikTok hashtags (#) aren’t just a list of words you throw on the end of the post. Hashtags can help you accomplish many of your brand goals.
For one, hashtags can surprise your visitors with an extra dose of humor or personality when they least expect it. They can also subtly provide more context to your video.
Also, hashtags can help new users find your content. You don’t need to use trending hashtags and compete with millions of other posts. In fact, that might make it harder for your target audience to find your content.
In addition, using the same hashtags to reinforce your branding and certain labels associated with your brand can tell TikTok’s search algorithm more about your account. This will help the search engine place your account and posts in relevant results.
Lastly, you can use hashtags as a challenge to your users. Do something in one of your videos and then challenge your followers to do the same thing. If they take on that challenge, give them a branded hashtag to use so that you know they participated. Not only can you build a community around your brand, but you’ll have free user-generated content that you can share on your account page.
By Emily Shwake
Wix Blog Writer