If you are under the age of 30 or have an interest in marketing, you have heard of TikTok or are possibly one of the 800 million users losing hours of productive time each day scrolling through the addictive app. In case you don’t fit into these categories, TikTok is a short-form video app which allows anyone with a smartphone and access to the internet to become a content creator and even go viral.
So why does TikTok excite marketers? Because it has caused a disruption in the social media industry – the fastest growing marketing platform. Unlike Instagram or Facebook which mainly show users content from accounts that they are following, TikTok utilises data to provide users with the highest trending or personalised content based on their past interactions with videos and accounts. This unique structure provides brands with the opportunity to access millions of viewers within a matter of hours for free if they get it right.
Every brand wants to go viral and be on millions of potential customer’s screens. This article will accelerate your brand’s TikTok marketing strategy, positioning you to capitalise upon the mechanisms and workings of the app and create virality.
Which TikTok Marketing Strategy Suits Your Brand?
It is crucial for your business to pursue the strategy that fits best with your brands characteristics and objectives. There are generally 3 routes for your brand to take when attempting to grow brand awareness and engagement through TikTok.
- Create an account for your Business/brand
- Utilise TikTok’s advertising functions
- Collaborate with established TikTok accounts/Influencers
Keep scrolling to learn more about how these strategies might look.
Creating Your Own Account and Growing an Audience
The process of creating your account is as easy as signing up and adding to your profile. Once your profile has been set up you are free to browse the latest trending sounds and research what kind of videos are gaining traction on the home page known as the ‘For You’ page. It is recommended for business accounts to switch to the pro version of TikTok which gives you a variety of extra analytical tools to aid you in assessing the performance of your content.
This option is particularly relevant for smaller brands who may not have the budgets to spend on options 2 & 3. One way that smaller businesses can gain traction is through giving viewers backstage access to the creation of their product, paired with a trending sound and some clever editing to tell the viewer a story. This inexpensive content creates a casual intimacy which cannot be captured by bigger brands and can lead to mass engagement and even respect for your brand.
Remember, external engagement is still necessary for organically grown accounts. Some ideas to engage with your viewership include competitions, giveaways, challenges or TikTok’s duet and comment reply features to ensure that you are staying in the minds of your potential customers.
Although the thought of building a brand and gaining mass engagement through TikTok sounds exciting, the unpredictability and competitive environment that the apps algorithm creates can leave you scratching your head at times. Unlike paying for advertisements which guarantee impressions, growing your brand organically involves competing with millions of other creators. Your videos will only be pushed to the top of the algorithm and be sent out to a larger number of screens if it gets engagement through likes, comments and shares and does so rapidly. Otherwise, your profile could look like a minefield with one in every 10 videos exploding and the rest misfiring regardless of the time, thought and effort put into the creation. In TikTok terms, these clips that failed to gain traction are called ‘flops’.
In this way growing and marketing your brand through more traditional follower / subscriber-based apps such as Instagram and YouTube can be more effective in providing consistent and measurable engagement. The algorithms on these apps are more predictable, focusing on content but substantiated by the fact that new content will be sent directly to the main feed of your followers/subscribers, rather than getting lost in the endless and unpredictable ‘For You’ page.
Exploring TikTok’s Immersive Advertisement Options
TikTok has 3 distinct paid advertisement options.
- In-feed content
These are branded videos that appear in-between normal user videos which hold the advantage of including calls to action e.g. (shop now, download now etc). Users can interact with this type of advertisement like any other video on their For You page, providing valuable engagement for the brand. This format of advertising will cost $10 / 1000 views (CPM) and has a minimum spend of $500.
2. Brand Takeover
These are still images or short GIFs with a clickable link that pop-up on your screen upon opening the app. TikTok makes sure users only see one brands takeover per day which creates decreased competition for the said brand. This format is priced at $50,000 per day with a minimum of 5,000,000 impressions guaranteed.
3. Branded Hashtag challenges
This advertising format is just as it sounds – a brand will create a hashtag that is related to a challenge usually involving their product or linking to one of their brand values or mantras. This format of advertising is exclusive to TikTok and are so successful due to their competitive nature – where the leading videos are displayed at the top of the hashtags landing page. This format will cost you $150,000 per week (where the challenge usually lasts one-week).
Getting Involved with Popular TikTokers
When deciding to promote your brand or business through any influencer it is important to first choose the right person. For TikTok in-particular, it is important to:
- Ensure that the Influencer has a good understanding of what good content is and how to gain positive engagement rather than criticism of ads that look scripted or forced.
- Ensure that your brand’s positioning is aligned with the content of the influencer so that the brand doesn’t look out of place. For example, Red Bull and extreme sports athletes.
This strategy gives you access to an already established fanbase who in many cases mimic the popular creators’ videos including new dance trends or fashion choices. This presents brands with an opportunity to convince their target users to trust their brand and maybe purchase their products to stay in-touch with what their favourite influencer is doing. Again, this strategy can vary in cost usually dependent on what is asked of the creator and the level of engagement that their page regularly receives. In some cases, smaller influencers can be traded products such as clothing in exchange for them to wear said items of clothing in a video.
Three Companies That Are Crushing TikTok Engagement Using the Strategies Above:
@salavat.fidai Creating his own platform
This sculpture artist has created his own platform for advertising his work and his skills. The artist posts regular montages of the process of him creating his sculptures which he amazingly details onto pencils. The craftsmanship and skill displayed in his work as well as the satisfaction of the end result create great opportunities for viral content. This creator also interacts with his viewership through suggestions, where the most liked comment with a suggestion for a sculpture will feature in an upcoming video.
Adobe Lightroom Showcasing Their Value Proposition Through Native In-feed Advertisements
The Adobe Lightroom smartphone app has used TikTok’s paid in-feed advertisements by displaying how the app works and how it helps improve your photos. The stunning result sparks interest from the audience who can actively engage with the post by sharing, commenting and liking. A call to action placed subtly at the bottom of the display provides users with access to downloading the app with minimum fuss which can encourage impulse downloads.
David Dobrik and Chipotle’s friendship
David Dobrik’s campaign with Chipotle was a perfect mix of utilising a hashtag video challenge as well as influencer marketing to create the perfect storm of likes, comments and shares. Dobrick kicked off the campaign by posting a video with his celebrity Chipotle card which gives him unlimited free Chipotle as well as 5 other cards which were to be given to the winners of the challenge he proposed. To compete, participants had to follow @Chipotle, post their most creative Chipotle TikTok video and use the hashtag #ChipotleSponsorMe.
In Just 6 days, the hashtag had accumulated over 635 million views and thousands of videos reaching other users For You pages. Effectively, Chipotle was able to sit back and let TikTok’s users create free advertisements for them as they scrambled to acquire the cards or just get the attention of their favourite celebrity. Genius right?
Charlie Cormack - I am currently in my final Semester of the Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne, Majoring in Marketing and Management. I enjoy the challenge of learning new skills and look forward to deepening and sharing my marketing and management skills in the workplace.