A guide to TikTok marketing strategy

Marion Steward

TikTok marketing should be a priority for brands as the platform continues to grow. Here’s why it matters and how to do it.

(Image credit: Solen Feyissa / Unsplash)

Just a few years ago, most brands resisted the idea of marketing on TikTok. They dismissed it as a passing trend among middle schoolers who used it to share dance parodies and memes.

But TikTok’s fresh take on social media has won it a large and growing audience. It has more than 73.7 million active US users today, and the majority of its audience is now over the age of 30. It’s a regular source of entertainment and information for many consumers. Moreover, the brands excelling on the platform are seeing results.

So, how can marketers use TikTok? First off, marketers must move beyond a “one-campaign-fits-all” way of thinking. When your content strategy is tailored to fit the platform, TikTok can help amplify your message, increase brand recognition, engage customers and drive sales.

In this guide to TikTok marketing strategy, we’ll cover the three main ways to kickstart your TikTok marketing strategy:

  • Branded content
  • Influencer content
  • Ad campaigns

Let’s dive in!

Use branded content to drive conversations

Why it’s useful: A big part of TikTok’s appeal is the user-generated content. You are watching everyday people who can make you laugh, cry – and, yes – dance to their content. This can pose a real challenge for marketers looking to break into the conversation.

Every TikTok marketing campaign must come across with that kind of grassroots authenticity. You have to drive user-generated content in creative ways, so your campaign feels genuine.

Chipotle has had great success on TikTok and has gained more than 1 million followers. Chipotle uses a simple formula any business can employ that comes across as organic and real. What do they do? They post a mixture of tips, recipes, fun facts and hacks about their menu items. The information is useful to fans and followers. Most importantly, it’s practical information – not sales content – that’s delivered in a short tutorial manner, as are so many other TikTok videos.

Chipotle also offers light, humorous video scenarios based on customer experiences. I suspect that the scenarios are largely made up, but they’re plausible and fun. I also suspect the “customers” pictured in the skits are actors, stock photos or employees. By keeping production values minimal, however, all of the content comes across as genuine and has the feel of being user generated.

How to do it: If you’re planning to build a TikTok presence, it’s important to study the platform to get a feel for its storytelling techniques. It’s also smart to explore what competitors are sharing. To do this, search for keyword hashtags that are appropriate for your industry and see what others are saying. This will give you some content ideas of your own.

For brands that are just starting out, we recommend producing short videos with value-added information about your products or services. Just as Chipotle does, you should offer tips, tutorials and interesting user examples. Be sure to hashtag content with appropriate keywords that will help the TikTok algorithm place your video in front of people already interested in the subject matter. It’s a great way to build an initial following.

TikTok influencers can help you reach new audiences

Why it’s useful: Influencers are emerging on TikTok and can help your brand speak to their audiences. The platform is still relatively young and these influencers are often available at more reasonable prices than on Instagram and elsewhere.

As with brand-produced content, influencer content has the best impact when it comes across as organic and when the target audience can relate to it. It is for this reason that many brands have shifted away from polished, highly produced-looking content to more organic content.

How to do it: When looking for an influencer, be sure to perform all of the necessary due diligence to ensure that his or her audience aligns with your brand and customer profile.

Influencers usually bring their own ideas to the table, but it’s a good idea to stay on top of what’s driving traffic on the app. TikTok is full of trend videos that go viral on a weekly basis – from challenges and songs to dances and glow-ups. It’s crucial to stay in the loop on the latest fads, as they go away quickly. If executed correctly, however, implementing a trend can be a great way to get creative and jump into the conversation.

TikTok trends can be monitored through tracking hashtags, perusing the “Discover Page,” and exploring other tabs for related content. The number of views and likes on a particular video is a telltale sign of TikTok content that works. At the EGC Group, one of the TikTok-inspired trends achieved for beauty brand, KISS, was the “This or That” Challenge.

Ads are a useful way to capitalize on content

Why it’s useful: If all of this sounds like too much work – or you feel creativity is in short supply, but you still want a TikTok presence – consider an ad campaign that will put your brand in the feeds of thousands of users. Ads can also be used to supplement your organic content, creating a space for a more direct sell than you might make in organic stories.

How to do it: It’s worth finding an experienced marketing agency that knows the ins-and-outs of the platform. That way you are designing ads that will resonate and connect with target audiences.

Even though many more brands are finding their way on TikTok, there is still plenty of room to utilize and flourish on this creative, cutting-edge platform. Now is a great time to get on board with the platform, when a viral video can have a huge impact for your brand. With the right inventiveness and knowledge, it’s possible to engage consumers meaningfully and produce lucrative campaigns.

Nicole Penn is the president of EGC Group and co-founder of Raydeus Local.

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