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Marketing For Brands On TikTok – Everything You Need To Know

by Holly Kay | 15.07.2020

TikTok has become a global phenomenon with a total of 800 million users worldwide. The marketing potential is huge and the reason for this is because TikTok’s short-form video model is loved by young audiences who prefer bite-sized content. In addition to this, what other platform offers such sophisticated editing tools? The experience is totally immersive and allows the audience to become the creators. We also cannot downplay TikTok’s ability to captivate audiences for long periods. Since COVID-19, there has been an 18% increase in time spent on the platform in the UK and the US (Social Chain TikTok for Brands webinar June 18th, 2020.)

So, if you are wondering; should my brand be on TikTok? The most likely answer is yes. Providing you are willing to do your research and make sure your brand’s identity fits with the platform trends. Below are ten top tips for marketing on TikTok.  

  1. Capitalise on your niche  

To be successful on TikTok you need to understand what content is being created by your fans and your competitors. A tip is to engage with relevant content within your niche. For example, an environmental brand might like and comment on environmental content. This alerts the TikTok algorithm to serve more similar content so that you can familiarise yourself with audience interests within your niche. Another tip is to think outside the box, look at trends that cross other niches e.g. fashion, food and travel to see how brands have become involved in challenges and aligned their interests with these challenges. Check out how Fenty Beauty jumped on the wipe the mirror challenge. 

  1. People first, product second

The most successful brands on TikTok recognise that it is a people-first platform. The recommended approach is always people first, product second. The content should always use people to tell the story.

  1. The importance of sound

When promoting your product or service, make sure you identify the right creators for your brand. TikTok is oriented on sound – Gym Shark have made influencers the voice of their content, helping to create a brand identity on TikTok. Every video should include music or sound to drive engagement.

  1. Speed is essential

If a challenge emerges that fits your brand’s niche, it is important to react and create content quickly. Internal barriers that prevent content being created, approved and published quickly will likely affect your brand’s opportunity to jump on relevant trends and test the waters.

  1. Low barrier to entry challenges 

If you are thinking about creating a branded challenge, remember low barrier to entry is essential. Make sure that your challenge is clear and easy to understand – the more relevant your challenge, the more likely people are to take part. For example, take the wipe the mirror challenge which emerged during COVID-19 and allowed people to dress up as if they were going on a night out. This was hugely successful because it allowed people to dress up in a time where there was nothing to dress up for. Relevancy is key.

  1. Create content for TikTok

Understanding TikTok’s editing tools are key for creating organic TikTok content. Familiarise yourself with what the tools allow you to do by checking out TikTok editing tutorials on YouTube. Here is a good example.

This is especially important if you are considering repurposing existing content as it must be native to the page. Overlaying stickers and text boxes will ensure that your video content is not jarring in the newsfeed.

  1. Don’t make ads, make TikToks 

Do not think simply repurposing a vertical Instagram story is going to fly on TikTok, you’ll likely be disappointed! Make sure you are creating TikTok’s and using them in your ads. Video content which does not feel native to the platform will stand out and for the wrong reasons. Check out The Drum’s partnership with TikTok, challenging advertisers to recreate their favourite ad’s from the past using TikTok’s editing tools.

  1. TikTok’s SEO potential 

TikTok aggregates sound, hashtags and captions to let people discover more. Make sure you are optimising your captions so that your video is the top result when people are searching within your brand’s niche.

  1. Use comments to build your TikTok community

Make sure you’re replying to the comments on your video in the first few minutes of it going live – there is a huge community in the comments section. The growing community has resulted in TikTok updating the platform, allowing brands and creators to reply to comments with videos.

  1. A post with low engagement one day could go viral the next

So, you’ve tried your hand at TikTok but your content is generating low engagement. Do not be too disheartened. TikTok has a long-life cycle, content can receive engagement over a long period. This is because the TikTok algorithm does not place importance on chronology or recency. Avoid deleting content if it does not perform well.