An introductory guide to TikTok marketing

The popularity of TikTok has boomed over the past few years. Here we take a look at everything you need to know when planning a TikTok marketing strategy.

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If you haven’t heard of TikTok you’ve probably been living under a rock for the last year. The platform has been on the rise for the past few years, however, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown over the last 12 months have only boosted this popularity. Now available in more than 150 countries, the app has over 1 billion monthly active users, a dramatic rise from November 2018 when that number was 680 million. To really push home the popularity of the app, not only does it have such a large user base, but it also has a highly engaged user base with users spending an average of 52 minutes a day on the platform.

From a marketing perspective, if you are targeting anyone between the age of 13 and 40 you need to be on TikTok. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know when starting TikTok marketing.

What is TikTok?

Formerly Musical.ly, TikTok is a short-form video streaming and sharing app that allows users to create and share videos that are up to 60 seconds long. The original platform Musical.ly followed a very similar format, however, in August 2018 the app was taken over by a Chinese company and all users were moved over to TikTok.

How can brands utilise TikTok?

From a brand’s point of view, there are various different ways that brands can use TikTok as a marketing tool. The three main strategies are;

  • Creating their own channel and sharing relevant videos with their audience
  • Engaging in influencers marketing to spread their reach to a wider audience
  • Paid advertising through TikTok ads

For brands who use social media as a part of their marketing strategy, the above options will not come as a surprise. These are the strategies that you will see brands utilise on other platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. However, it’s the type of content and how brands use the platform that is different to the other platforms.

#Hashtags are essential

Again, this may seem straightforward to any brand using social media platforms, as hashtags are key for success on all platforms. If Twitter or Instagram are part of your social media campaign and you aren’t using hashtags then you’re missing out, however, on TikTok hashtags are essential.

Challenges are very popular on TikTok and users who incorporate a hashtag in the name of the challenge will see great success. Including a hashtag in the name makes it memorable and easy to find. If your challenge starts to grow in popularity users can simply click on the hashtag to find other users’ posts. The best example of this was US tv host Jimmy Fallon’s #tumbleweedchallenge which attracted over 8,000 posts from users and over 10 million engagements.

Of course, most brands don’t have the natural reach of Jimmy Fallon as he is a big celebrity in the US. This is where influencer marketing comes in.

TikTok influencer marketing

Again, this isn’t a new concept in the world of social media marketing, however, influencer marketing has huge potential on TikTok. Finding the right influencer to work with depends on your audience and the product or service you provide. While many brands will want to create high quality content for influencers to share on social media, it’s often the case that authenticity is preferred on TikTok. TikTok’s average users are much younger than other platforms, therefore, they are less interested in flashy camera work and are more interested in originality.

If you want to find out more about influencer marketing in general and how it can be a crucial part of your social media marketing strategy be sure to check out the Browser Media blog.

Paid TikTok advertising

There’s a running theme throughout this post; everything you would expect to use on other social media platforms transfers across to TikTok. TikTok provides brands with the opportunity to advertise on their platform via short engaging videos, however, what separates TikTok from other platforms is the opportunity to collaborate with your audience.

With brands striving to create a viral trend that reaches a large audience many brands will use paid advertising as a way to encourage user-generated content. Brands can focus their campaigns around a specific hashtag which will then encourage users to get involved, in turn reaching a wider audience than they may have organically. For example, a brand could create its own challenge or hashtag as mentioned above, and use paid ads to promote this. Their audience will then see the ads and get involved with the hashtag by creating their own content, using the hashtag, and thus boosting the brands reach.

This is just one example of how brands can advertise on TikTok, some of the other forms of advertising include:

  • Paid In-Feed Ads
  • Brand Takeovers Ads
  • Hashtag Challenges Ads (and Hashtag Challenges Plus Ads)
  • Discover Banners Ads

For more information on TikTok ads, visit TikTok for Business.

It’s time to get started

Ultimately, like any social media marketing, practice makes perfect and it will take some trial and error. While you can read everything you need to know about the platform, the most important information you will learn is through feedback from your audience. Start to understand what they engage with and why, the types of content they enjoy, and when they are active. To ensure your TikTok marketing is a success you need to invest a reasonable amount of time and effort into a well planned strategy and clear goals. If you aren’t achieving your goals, take the time to look at why and alter your strategy accordingly.

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