TikTok has grown exponentially over the last couple of years to become one of the most downloaded apps out there.
It first started out pretty modestly, and did well in its native China as a video-sharing app. In 2018 though the Chinese company that owned it decided to market it for the West, and the rest is history.
The app that it was originally in China is still used for the Chinese market, but TikTok as it is currently known has taken the rest of the world by storm, particularly America. It should then come as no surprise that marketers everywhere are seeing the potential in it.
Below, we have mapped out a TikTok influencer marketing guide, where we recommend a number of ways that businesses can capitalize on TikTok as a marketing platform. Let’s dive in.
TikTok’s Impressive Numbers
What’s interesting about TikTok is that the majority of business managers and marketers older than 30 have never heard of the social media sharing app. It has also made the news lately because of security issues, which make people question whether it’s safe for their teenagers to be on. It was even banned in India, but it has since been allowed to operate again.
Despite these setbacks, it has grown exponentially over the last year. In fact, TikTok was the most downloaded free app for iOS in the first half of 2018.
In early 2019, the app received 188 million downloads. These days, more than 500 million people around the world used to TikTok every month.
What is TikTok?
So, what exactly is TikTok? TikTok is a social media sharing network that encourages its users to upload short videos.
Back in the day when it was Musical.ly, most of the content that you would find on there comprised lip-syncing videos. People who were talented, creative, and enthusiastic quickly ended up becoming influencers because of their appealing content.
The majority of TikTok videos on the platform are 15 seconds long, however, you can create videos that are up to 60 seconds long. Its main demographic are tweens and teens.
One of the biggest shifts that TikTok made from the app that it used to be is that it now has a lot more variety when it comes to the kind of videos that people can share.
This means that they are no longer just about music. You’ve got up-and-coming comedians performing standup routines, pranksters, fashion gurus, dancers, aspiring beauticians, artists, and even craft fans. We are now also seeing people sharing videos featuring their favorite products.
Not every TikTok user has the creativity and confidence to create videos. Just like many of the people that use YouTube, there are lots of people on TikTok that just use the app to look for entertaining content to check out. In fact, you don’t even need to be following anyone on TikTok to see their content.
All you have to do is open the app on your phone, and then go to the Discover page, where you will see videos recommended to you based on what your interests are. You can also search for videos on topics that you prefer by using relevant hashtags.
The more you use the app, the more refined your preference will be. This is why TikTok users tend to subscribe to channels that regularly share content that falls within their interests. Everyone on TikTok has a profile page, which is where you can highlight the videos that you’ve uploaded.
Who Uses TikTok?
Tiktok is primarily used by Generation Z, with a slight female bias. It is overwhelmingly favored by people in the younger generation, and the same goes for its female demographic.
As mentioned above, it also has international appeal, with a large number of TikTok users located in America and India.
How Can Brands Make the Most of TikTok?
There are three main ways for brands to make the most of TikTok. The first is that they can create their own profile and post related videos through this channel to connect with their target audience.
The second is that they can reach out to influencers, and work with them to share content related to their product or service, so they can reach a bigger audience.
Lastly, they can also pay to market their products on TikTok. Even though it is early days for TikTok advertising, it is becoming a lot more popular, and more and more brands are seeing the merit in applying their social media marketing budget to something like this.
For a lot of brands out there, they have a combination of running their own social media networks, and working with influencers, who can take their content and show it to an even bigger audience.
Let’s talk a little bit about some ideas for marketing your brand on TikTok, so that you can get it in front of the right people.
One of the most common types of content on TikTok is challenges. Challenges are an essential part of TikTok’s community.
People on TikTok love taking up a challenge and uploading a video around this challenge. Every time someone creates a challenge, they associate it with a hashtag, which makes it easy to find and memorable.
Perhaps one of the most famous examples of a hashtag challenge is associated with Jimmy Fallon. He was one of the first celebrities to promote TikTok, and he did so through the tumbleweed challenge.
He challenged people on TikTok to upload a video showing themselves falling to the floor and rolling around like a tumbleweed, while western music plays over the clip.
This led to more than 10 million engagements. Jimmy Fallon has continued to experiment with TikTok challenges. Brands can also use hashtag challenges to encourage people to interact with their profiles on TikTok.
Keep in mind that unless you have managed to build up a popular TikTok profile on your own, it is probably going to be best to work with an influencer around your next hashtag challenge. Remember to make it easy, so that people can participate in your challenge within just a few seconds.
User-generated content is the kind of marketing that brands can either put on their own TikTok profile, or work with an influencer to encourage their followers to create content around their brand.
The thing about Generation Z is that they love having a completely immersive experience. This is why they don’t like to sit at home and watch traditional advertising on TV. This is too passive. Generation Z likes to get involved. This is why it’s important to find a way to encourage your audience to share videos of themselves interacting with or using your product in some way.
When a few of your audience members start to create videos around a particular product, and associate a hashtag with it, this will spread like wildfire, and more and more people will want to participate in the challenge. This is a super affordable way for your brand to get noticed, and for it to be put in front of a much broader audience.
Conventional Influencer Marketing
As you might have been able to guess, conventional influencer marketing techniques that you see on other video-based platforms like YouTube work on TikTok as well.
If your product fits in well with an influencer’s audience, then your influencer campaign over on TikTok will do really well. We think that in most cases you need to leave it to the influencer to come up with a good content idea, because they know what their followers would like to see.
The secret to successful influencer marketing is setting the right goals and targeting the right part of the purchase funnel. Influencers on TikTok need to stay authentic to their followers if you want your influencer marketing campaign to do really well. Most of the time, all a brand needs to do is encourage influencers to make a video of them using their products.
Again, this is only going to work if the influencer is the kind of person who would use that product normally in everyday life. There is no point in trying to encourage someone to promote something that they wouldn’t use themselves.
Another thing about TikTok’s young audience is that they don’t really go for high video production value. This is why you need to trust your influencers to produce a video in their style, even if you think it doesn’t look well done. People on TikTok are interested in fun and originality and prioritize this over the quality of the video.
TikTok has played around with advertising over the last couple of years, but like we mentioned they haven’t set up any formal profit-sharing system yet. However, they are getting to a point where they are allowing more people to market on their platform.
The possible ad types that you could see on TikTok soon include hashtag challenge, in-feed native video, brand takeover, and Snapchat style.
To get more TikTok followers, and to market your brand so that resonates with your audience, you’ve got to not only make sure that your product is well suited to a young audience, but you’ve got to find an influencer who feels just as passionately about it as you do.
Leave it up to them to create the video idea, and trust that this kind of influencer marketing is just as effective on TikTok as it is on other video-sharing platforms. Good luck!