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tiktok marketing 101

TikTok is one of the newest and fastest-growing global social media platforms, that has grown massively in popularity recently, - especially so during the pandemic. It represents a new opportunity for businesses and brands to engage with untapped audiences through the use of fun and engaging short-form videos.

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Many believe it is a teenage fad that will fade, just as Vine did (anyone remember that?!). However, the figures indicate otherwise. In 2019, TikTok was the second most-downloaded app globally, after WhatsApp, and in January 2020 its total downloads were estimated to be around 1.65bn

Putting this into perspective: it took Instagram six years from its launch to gain the same number of monthly active users that TikTok managed to achieve in under three years. And for Facebook to hit the same monthly active users mark, it took the best part of four years.

With the platform’s huge user base, it would be a missed opportunity for businesses and brands not to make use of it. Here are the top three ways you can use TikTok to add some fun into your marketing strategy.

Marketing on TikTok

1. Trends / User Generated Content Campaigns

As we know, the reason for TikTok’s success is that it has relied entirely on user-generated content. Users are always wanting to get involved with the latest challenges and hashtags, in the hope of going viral. 

Your brand can find a fun way to get involved with trends and hashtags, just keep an eye on the ‘For You’ page to spot the latest “big thing”. Remember, you need to be prepared to change your content regularly to keep up with the different crazes.

Your brand can also make use of trends by coming up with a fun and creative challenge that your own followers can get involved with. TikTok gives your brand the chance to show off its humour and creativity, as boring & salesy content just won’t work on this platform.


2. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing, where businesses engage users with a large following to promote their product or service, in return for money or goods. We have seen influencer marketing growing massively over the past few years, and we predict that it will be just as huge on TikTok. 

Businesses can find this type of marketing useful as it offers huge visibility. However, you must remember the golden rule of Influencer Marketing: relevance is more important than reach. Make sure the influencer you work with has the audience you are after, otherwise your efforts will fall onto deaf ears.


3. TikTok Ads 

From targeting, ad creation, insight reports, and ad management tools, TikTok Ads offer a powerful, easy-to-use platform to help businesses and brands advertise to millions of users across the globe. Although TikTok Ads aren’t as popular as Facebook or Instagram ads (yet), they’re a good opportunity for brands looking to widen their reach. 

As TikTok is a relatively new ad platform, brands are still experimenting and so it’s harder to understand the average spend and return on investment. However, don’t let this put you off giving it a go!

There are five types of TikTok Ads

1. In-Feed Ads

We see in-feed ads across platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, so they are a pretty safe option to go with. They appear as users scroll through the ‘For You’ page. When creating these ads, you have the option to include lots of calls to action, although the videos can be skipped very quickly.


2. Brand Takeover

Brand Takeover Ads appear when first opening the app. They’re one of the platform’s best options for delivering mass awareness and driving direct sales, as you are placing your message right in front of your target audience. With these sorts of ads, you can expect a huge reach with very little competition, as users only see one of these ads per day.


3. TopView

These ads build on the previous Brand Takeover ads. The difference is that users are not shown the ad upon opening the app. Instead, it is shown as the first in-feed post. You have a full 60 seconds of auto play and sound to capture your audience’s attention.


4. Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are exclusive to the TikTok app. Located on the discovery page, they are similar to the regular hashtags and trends, which encourages lots of user generated content.


5. Branded Effects

These are very similar to Snapchat’s branded filters. Effects can last for around ten days, and encourage audiences to engage with your brand in an unusual, yet fun way.

The CEO of cameras on TikTok, Sawyer Hartman, gave this advice on creating effective ads. “The text on TikTok videos should establish a problem or grab attention right away. Imagine your perfect viewer is sitting and watching your video with the sound off, what text can you put and what story can you tell that will convince them to turn their sound on?”

Brand Examples

Many well-known brands have been using TikTok as an effective tool to engage audiences. Take a look at some of our favourites below. 

1. Gymshark

From funny gym memes and workouts, to fun challenges, Gymshark’s range of engaging content has helped them to generate a huge, engaged following.  One of the brand’s most notable campaigns was the 66 Days: Change your life challenge, which launched on the 1st of January 2019, lining up with consumers’ desire to make new year's resolutions, many of which focus on improving fitness. 

The brand partnered up with six fitness influencers, who at the time had a collective following of 19.8 million people, to promote the challenge to their followers.

Gymshark’s ‘#gymshark66’ challenge was a major success for the brand, receiving 45.5 million views, two million likes, and an engagement rate of 11.11%


2. EA Sports

Video game company EA Sports is a perfect example for TikTok influencer marketing. The younger generations - Millennials and Gen Z, account for a large proportion of gamers, and the platform’s gaming subculture is massive (videos with #Fortnite have over 14.3 billion views on the platform).

EA Sports have used influencers to help promote games such as Apex Legends. They used Brent Rivera, who has a following of 17 million people on TikTik alone, as their chosen influencer. His video, which was massively successful, now has over 700k likes. 


3. NBA

The NBA was one of the early adopters of TikTok, but the coronavirus pandemic (and the suspension of the basketball season) has meant that it has increased its focus on the platform. 

One of the reasons that NBA content is so successful on TikTok is the variety of content it produces – which ranges from sporting challenges to behind-the-scenes pranks – as well as the amount of videos, with the brand typically posting five to six times per day.

The humour and creativity has been an unusual way for the brand to connect with audiences. However, it has obviously been successful for the brand, as the account now has a huge following of over 12 million. 

With TikTok still being relatively new in comparison to other platforms, it is a good chance to get ahead of your competitors by implementing a social media strategy for TikTok. Still hesitant? The best thing to do is just give it a try. Play around and see how creative you can get with the short-form videos – after all, the platform is supposed to be fun!

Our team of marketers keep up to date with the latest online trends and platforms, which is vital in helping businesses, like yours, reach their desired audiences. Want help from the experts? Get in touch.

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