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How To Leverage Creators For Marketing On TikTok

Blog | Ramon Berrios | March 25th 2021

Trend alert! Marketing on TikTok is a must-have for your business this year. If you don’t have the TikTok app or barely know what a hashtag challenge is, download TikTok ASAP and get up to speed.

TikTok is surging in popularity right now. That’s largely due to the boredom of the 2020 pandemic lockdowns, but still.

While some experts claimed the pandemic would kill influencer marketing, it only poured gasoline on the flames of up-and-coming social network de jour, TikTok.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, TikTok is a short-form video platform that’s taking the world by storm. With everything from pranks to dancing to life hacks, TikTok has something for everybody.

Sounds great, right? Well, brands have been slow to accept TikTok. They’re not used to the video-only format, citing excuses like, “I just don’t get Gen Z.”

Because of its different layout and approach, few brands want to get on TikTok for themselves.

But do you want to limit yourself to Instagram or Facebook marketing until the end of time? We didn’t think so.

The bad news is that TikTok is tough for businesses to master. But the good news is that there’s less competition on the platform right now. Early adopters are getting tons of ROI and eyeballs on their content, connecting with shoppers across the globe for little effort.

So yes, it’s possible to do marketing on TikTok for your brand. It’s a new frontier for DTC brands, but the algorithm will reward you for building an audience early.

Instead of spending hours creating your own content, tap into the juicy virality of influencers and content creators.

Thanks to their dedicated following and experience on TikTok, they’re a faster way to get more results with less work.

See why TikTok should be a priority for your brand, decide whether TikTok is right for you, and try our 5 tips to do influencer marketing right on the platform.

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Why bother marketing on TikTok?

Although it started under the name of Musical.ly, TikTok launched internationally in 2017 under its current name. It’s popular with the under-30 crowd and particularly with Gen Z.

And TikTok is freaking gigantic: it has over 689 million active monthly users and 90% of its users are on the app daily.

Despite its size, we know it’s been tough for brands to “get” TikTok, so they stay away.

But TikTok is good for brands because it’s so different than the platforms you’re using right now, like Facebook and Instagram. Brands should absolutely start marketing on TikTok because it’s so ingrained in young shoppers’ lives.

1 - It’s built for video—and humans like that

As of January 2020, TikTok was the most-downloaded app in the world at 315 million downloads.

Why? Because it’s a video-first platform. Since 54% of consumers want to see more video content this year, it’s a no-brainer that a video-only platform would perform so well.

Get this: TikTok influencer engagement rates are as high as 18%, blowing Instagram (4%) and YouTube (less than 2%) out of the water.

Instead of trying to force your shoppers to read paragraphs of static Instagram copy, get on TikTok. These users are more likely to binge and share your videos—and that’s a recipe for going viral.

2 - The TikTok algorithm is about content quality, not followers

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube place a lot of value on your follower count. Generally speaking, the more followers you have, the more people see your content. Makes sense.

But TikTok’s approach is totally different: while you can definitely benefit from increasing your following, TikTok’s algorithm focuses on content quality first.

Translation: even if you have zero followers, people can still see your content in the For You tab of TikTok. Instead of sequestering your content to specific users’ feeds, you can rack up millions of views without a single follower.

TikTok rewards videos for good performance, which includes:

  • Views
  • Rewatches
  • Shares
  • Comments

The TikTok algorithm uses your engagement metrics to decide if your content should display for a user. If you’re cranking out high-quality content, you can put your brand in front of millions of people.

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3 - The under-35 crowd loves TikTok

Millennials and Gen Z are growing up, guys. That means they’ve got cash to spend.

Millennials alone have an estimated $2.5 trillion in spending power every year. Their younger counterparts, Gen Z, have an annual spending power of $34 billion. For the sake of comparison, Baby Boomers are at $2.6 trillion and Gen X is at $2.4 billion.

So yes, the older generations are definitely still buying things.

But if you want to cement your brand in the minds of young shoppers (and shape their shopping habits for decades to come), you need to do marketing on TikTok.

Considering the fact that 66% of TikTokkers are under the age of 30, it’s the prime social network for young shoppers. Users spend an average of 850 minutes per month on TikTok, so if your audience is the under-30 crowd, it’s worth marketing on TikTok.

4 - TikTok is easy to use

Hey, we get it: video content is hard. You’ve got to buy thousands of dollars of equipment, set aside weeks for filming, and spend hours on top of that editing the footage before you even think about posting it online.

The second brands hear the word “video,” they run to the comfort of caption-only Instagram posts.

The thing is, TikTok is easy to use. Just download it and film a tester video. Everything you need to edit and zhuzh up the video is native in TikTok.

There’s no need to buy editing software or invest in a bajillion-dollar camera. It’s just you, your smartphone, and TikTok.

Even if you’re a social media pariah, this app is intuitive and—most importantly—free. That’s right, folks: TikTok Business Accounts are free and come with all kinds of goodies. These accounts include:

  • Real-time metrics.
  • Follower insights.
  • A link to your website and contact information.

Normally it’s hard for brands to create their own video content. But tons of content creators make marketing on TikTok a breeze. You’re free to film your own content or tap professional influencers to do it for you—all while growing your business.

Should my brand invest in marketing on TikTok?

TikTok obviously turns heads. But so do platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and even LinkedIn.

Brands get a lot of success by marketing on TikTok, but does that mean your brand should hop on the platform, too?

Eh, it depends. Like most social media platforms you should only focus on TikTok if your audience is there.

If you’re targeting 50-year-old CEOs, your time is probably better spent on LinkedIn and not on TikTok dance challenges. Remember, you don’t need to be everywhere online; you just need to follow where your audience is to make the most of influencer marketing.

Not sure if you should be on TikTok? We think it’s worth it if:

  • Your primary audience is 35 or younger.
  • Your B2C products are easy to film or showcase in a video.
  • You’re in a creative field like dance or music.
  • You have a casual, fun, hip brand.
  • You really enjoy TikTok and producing video content.
Like we’ve said, you don’t have to do all of the heavy lifting on TikTok. Influencers and content creators are here to help out.

You can expect to pay $100 per 10,000 followers, so TikTok influencers are an affordable way to get your brand in front of millions for little effort.

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5 hacks for better influencer marketing on TikTok

We love Instagram, but influencers are moving to TikTok, guys.

In fact, TikTok is paying influencers $500 just to join the app and make content. The platform’s growing $1 Billion Fund for influencer relationships means influencers are only going to become more important on TikTok.

This is the golden era for businesses on TikTok.

Don’t weigh yourself down with pay-to-play platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Get on the platform early and the algorithm will reward you with amazing organic traffic. You can build a billion-dollar company by capitalizing on this opportunity, and it all starts with TikTok influencers.

Not sure how marketing on TikTok works with content creators? We’ve got you covered. Follow these 5 hacks to get more mileage out of your TikTok content creator relationships.

1 - Get your house in order first

Most businesses are TikTok newbies. As such, you’ve got to get your ducks in a row before you start hunting down TikTok influencers.

Yeah, maybe this sounds like basic stuff, but you can’t build a house without a strong foundation first.

Before you start marketing on TikTok, make sure you:

  • Know how to use TikTok: We shouldn’t need to say this, but it happens a lot. The thing is, you can’t sell yourself on TikTok unless you know how the platform works. Download TikTok right now and binge it over the weekend. You don’t need to become a full-on TikTok convert, but you should at least get a feel for the experience of the app. This is a must to ensure your brand is actually a fit for TikTok.
  • Create an engaging profile: Remember, the TikTok Business Account gives you the freedom to share a website link and bio—don’t waste that opportunity! You should also optimize your profile for SEO keywords and relevant hashtags.
  • Post good content consistently: It’s really hard to convince a content creator to partner with you if your TikTok account is empty. You need to produce at least a few videos on your own before you ask influencers to join you. After all, they’re going to push traffic to your profile. Make sure users see something good when they check out your profile! Content like pranks, fitness, how-tos, cooking, and beauty are very popular.
  • Use hashtags: There’s this I’m-too-cool-for-hashtags movement going on and it’s seriously misguided. Hashtags are a basic must-have for all of your social media posts. This is how users find your content on TikTok! Because video views and engagements matter more than follower counts on TikTok, you need to use hashtags so more users find your content.

Also, get over the pressure to create perfect videos.

Brands are so obsessed with controlling their image that they come off as too phony and polished on a casual platform like TikTok.

Consistency and content matter the most here. You don’t need production-quality video or audio. It’s enough to film everything on your iPhone, edit it in TikTok, and reap the benefits. As long as your content resonates with fellow TikTokkers, it’s good enough.

This is why it’s so important to partner with content creators when you’re marketing on TikTok! You can trust these folks to get more mileage out of your TikTok account for less effort.

2 - Create a strategy for marketing on TikTok

Influencer marketing on TikTok is relatively new, but it’s already a big deal. Like anything else you do for your biz, you need a strategy to get the most out of TikTok.

What do you want to get out of an influencer partnership? Product sales? Brand awareness? Engagements? More TikTok followers?

You’ve got to know your goals so you can measure if your influencer partnership was successful or not. Before you start reaching out to influencers, always sit down with your team and compose a thoughtful marketing strategy for your influencers. This makes it easier to find high-quality influencers and to justify the expense by proving your ROI.

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3 - Choose the right content creators

You’re free to create your own content on TikTok, but let’s be real: influencers already know what you need.

Let the pros handle the content while you sit back and watch the likes roll in.

There’s a difference between content creators and influencers, but both have the potential to market your biz on TikTok. In a nutshell:

  • Influencers have an engaged audience that’s eager to follow through on their suggestions. They aren’t necessarily pros at producing branded content, but they know what followers want to see.
  • Content creators are experienced creatives who tend to have a decent following on TikTok because of their content quality. If you need to source high-quality creative while promoting your brand on TikTok, go with a content creator.

It’s so, so important to partner up with an influencer who aligns with your target audience. Who do you want to reach? Choose an influencer whose followers match your target audience.

Big-name content creators might not be the best fit for you, either. We love Charli D’Amelio, but is she the best fit for a DTC dog collar brand promo? Probably not.

To find relevant TikTok influencers:

  • Search trending hashtags on TikTok.
  • Check comments on popular posts. Influencers tend to interact with each other in the comment section!
  • Look for sponsored content. The hashtag #ad is a great way to find influencers who partner with brands.
You can find good content creators with a little digging, but the best way to find high-quality influencers is through a platform like Trend.

Our platform gives you a shortlist of vetted influencers with a proven track record of working with brands. Communication, payment, and contracts are already taken care of—just set your campaign parameters, select an influencer, and start making a name for yourself marketing on TikTok.

4 - Create amazing content with your influencers

Sorry, but you can’t have a stranglehold on the content direction when you work with a TikTok influencer. Sure, you can give them guidelines and parameters, but let the influencer do the creative work.

Influencers understand TikTok and their followers better than you do, so trust them on this.

You should always review content before it goes live, but remember that nobody—including influencers—wants to work with a micromanager.

With that said, you need to create bangin’ content that TikTok will love. That means creating content like:

  • Following trends: Remember the “I’m Just A Kid” TikTok trend? It’s easy to hop on the bandwagon with your own spin on popular trends.
  • Hashtag challenges: If you’re new to TikTok, you’ve got to check out hashtag challenges. The #tumbleweedchallenge was one of the best, if not silliest, examples of hashtag challenges done right. The hashtags make this content easy to find. Since there’s a competitive element to it, you stand to get a lot of views by asking your influencers to promote you in a hashtag challenge.
  • User-generated content: Your influencer can request reviews, testimonials, and how-to videos from their followers as part of the campaign. This is great if you need to source tons of video of consumers interacting with your products.
  • Original content: Ask your content creator to brainstorm original scripted content for your brand. How-tos are a great way to quickly stand out on TikTok without doing a silly dance challenge. For example, a shoe brand could create a 15-second how-to video on restoring your sneaker soles to be factory-white again.
  • Duets: TikTok allows two users to create one video. Originally intended for singing duets, this feature goes back to TikTok’s roots as Musical.ly. But hey, the platform has become a lot more than a lip-syncing hub. Ask two influencers to do a duet for your campaign to amplify your reach more quickly.
  • Localized content: TikTok targets users based on location. So, if you’re in Florida, you might see more content from Florida-based TikTokkers. Ask influencers to create content tailored to followers in their area. For example, if you want to saturate the New York City market, ask NYC-based creators to make NYC-specific how-tos, hacks, or comedy.

Remember, content creation is a collaborative process.

Work with your influencer or content creator to make videos that will stand out on TikTok without coming across as a spammy advertisement.

As you develop closer relationships with influencers, you’ll learn what moves the needle for your audience.

5 - Amplify your reach with TikTok Ads

TikTok gets you a lot of bang for your buck in terms of organic traffic. Although the platform is still pretty young, it does offer paid ads for businesses.

With CPC, CPM, and CPV pricing options on the table, TikTok Ads can help you get more eyeballs on your influencers’ content.

We recommend taking your most successful influencer piece and promoting it via:

  • Brand takeovers: This is the most expensive advertising option on TikTok, but if you’re serious about creating a splash on TikTok, it can be worth the investment. TikTok only allows one brand takeover per day because it takes up the entire screen with a CTA. You get 5 million guaranteed impressions, but it costs $50,000+ a day to do a brand takeover, so this isn’t a small-potatoes option.
  • In-feed ads: These ads mimic your standard TikTok content natively in a user’s feed. This is a great, non-intrusive way to get users to view your content. Since it blends seamlessly into the TikTok experience, it’s hard for people to ignore you.
  • Hashtag challenge ads: A hashtag challenge ad is a great way to collect UGC and garner a lot of attention on your brand. You’ll show up on the Discover tab of TikTok and, with proper planning, put yourself in front of millions of video-crazed consumers.
  • Stickers: You’ll need AR chops for this one, but it’s still worth mentioning. Brands can create sponsored stickers or lenses for TikTok. These are pretty much the same as the lenses and stickers you’ve seen on Snapchat or Instagram. Try to create a brand-specific sticker that people will still use.

Conclusion

At first glance, TikTok looks like a weird Gen Z fad where brands don’t have a place. That might be true if you’re a B2B brand, but DTC brands, in particular, have so much to gain on this platform.

Done right, TikTok will enhance your brand image, and influencers help you do it faster and better.

You don’t have to drop what you’re doing on Facebook or Instagram to take advantage of TikTok. Influencers and content creators are a small investment that will help you earn swaths of organic traffic on TikTok before your competition masters the platform.

Create a campaign with influencers at your side who already get the platform. You’re free to search through TikTok manually for experienced content creators, but that takes a lot of time and there’s no guarantee you’ll find anyone good.

When you want to start influencer marketing on TikTok without the hassle, go with Trend. We match you with a shortlist of pre-vetted TikTok content creators to produce content in as little as a week. Create your free account now to start matching with creators.

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