TikTok, like it or hate it, you cannot ignore it. Since 2018, TikTok has changed the world’s purview of social media platforms. TikTok overtook Google as the most-used application in 2021. Since then, the growth has been upward. It even beat competition from behemoths like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Today, with over 2 billion downloads and counting, TikTok is the world’s 7th most popular social media platform.
With GenZ as its cultural zeitgeist, TikTok has contributed beyond meme videos. It has neutralized the position of genders in the kitchen with its culinary challenges, made people groove to the ritual of keeping safe during COVID-19, and helped clueless teenagers build empires with innovative content. And, of course, they built an acting career for Adisson Rae.
With TikTok reaching astronomical numbers, every brand wants a piece of it. When it comes to TikTok marketing for a brand, the platform has the potential to make a brand famous with a loyal community base overnight. Brands can reach more audiences, engage with millions of people, and portray themselves most creatively. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok is about the community building of like-minded people. These people are not garnered to fill up sheets with followers, likes, and shares. It is about building a cult of loyalists who await your branded content and contribute to it.
Red Bull has over 7 million followers on TikTok. These followers are a part of the Red Bull extreme adventures community. A bunch of like-minded people who love all things thrill. Beyond watching Red Bull videos and contributing to its enormous engagement numbers, they create content at par with the brand. These users visit Red Bull’s branded events, create content, and acknowledge Red Bull by tagging the brand whenever they post online.
Getting famous on TikTok can empower small brands, build a unique brand personality, and transform the brand's perception in the market. It allows more people to discover branded video content, redirect people to your website or an app, and improve your chances of gaining followers who later turn into loyalists.
The algorithm of TikTok makes your branded content available to users based on their current and potential interests. Therefore, while strategizing content for TikTok marketing, audience interest must form the core. By marketing on TikTok, a brand can widen its exposure, enhance its authenticity, and gain online brand ambassadors.
A brand ambassador, also known as an influencer, is a person who believes in your product and spreads the word about it. When an influencer vouches for brand benefits, their followers share the beliefs too. In return, the brand can widen its network and increase its sales. Influencer often creates branded content in their unique style; this expands a brand’s creativity beyond the regular norms while showcasing its readiness to be perceived in a new light. This kind of branded content highlights the authenticity of a brand and makes it appealing to its online consumers.
Another reason for marketing on TikTok for brands is that unlike traditional marketing mediums like TV, Radio, and Print, TikTok gives detailed real-time reports irrespective of the budgets.
Let’s begin by asking what is common between these social media platforms.
The commonality is that all these platforms intend to deliver a great experience to the user. This experience concerns its content, interface, and accessibility.
We are now coming to the differences. All of these platforms operate with different motives.
Facebook: The objective of Facebook is to gain views and retention. If your content, be it a video or an ad, has captured a user's attention for at least 3-seconds, that is considered successful marketing.
Instagram: The 3-second rule also applies here with engagement and retention. Though scrolling is fundamental to the functioning of Instagram, it isn’t helpful from a marketing point of view. If your brand cannot capture a user's attention, be it for a post or a video for over 3 seconds, then it’s not a great marketing tactic.
YouTube: This platform aims to generate click-throughs and watch time. A great headline and thumbnail often do the trick to ensure that the right audience discovers your video. Unlock snappy content platforms like Instagram and TikTok; YouTube consistently engages with audiences through longer formats with tremendous stories.
TikTok: Breaking all social media marketing stereotypes, TikTok emerges as the top differentiator. This platform has no bar concerning the view time of the video but its entire content. The top indicator of success on TikTok is the absolute viewability of the content. The second one is Likes and Comments.
When a brand considers social media marketing, it is a best practice to create custom content for each platform. Content that fits the performance criteria while keeping the brand identity intact.
Now that we’ve discussed the reasons for a brand to be on TikTok, here are some top ways to make your content potentially viral material.
TikTok trends are the most accessible formula for a brand to succeed. Pick a trending challenge or a meme and create your version of it. Your branded content must be original, innovative, and relatable for the audience. Copy also plays a decisive role in making your brand content viral. An excellent copy can make your brand resonate with the right audience and fall into their consideration cycle.
Your brand may not be a ‘Musically’ personality, but your employees may be. Let your employees represent you on TikTok and participate in duets to showcase the humane side of your brand. Duet collaborations can increase your brand’s discoverability and help it to be successful on TikTok.
Did you know that ‘Green Screen’ is the most used filter on TikTok? Though TikTok has a vast collection of filters and effects, the green screen is beneficial for a brand to add an image of an actual store. With the store in the background, the brand can build visual relatability with the audience and allow them to hear your point of view. Brands often use this formula to highlight an upcoming sale or comment on new products at a given outlet.
As TikTok functions like a video creation tool, it does not require any expertise in editing from its users. One can easily pick a trending or a pre-uploaded video and stitch it to create customized content. The TikTok stitching tool allows you to pick a copy and create a video with another user. It’s a great way to collab and rides on an ongoing trend. This format also allows brands to collaborate with their audiences via content.
To be successful on TikTok, being interactive with your audience is the key. Audience interaction is not just limited to responding to comments but also to co-create content via the stitching tool. An interactive brand post consistently, has an attractive display picture, is responsive to the audience on comments, and works closely with trending influencers.
Since 2020, influencer marketing has been the trending jargon amongst successful TikTok brands. By partnering with creators, you can add value to your brand identity and expand how online audiences perceive your brand. Co-creation of content adds originality and realism to a brand’s personality.
Hashtags are a great way to increase the interest-based discoverability of your brand. Hashtags are a great way to reach wider audiences and fall on their feed as a recommendation from TikTok. As a best practice, a caption could have 30 best and most relevant hashtags to be found more often by people who may be interested in what your brand has to offer.
Tagging is a strategic aspect of copy on a social media platform like TikTok. Tagging your content with the right handle name of the collaborator or brand you are associating with is crucial. This allows followers of the collaborator or the associated brand to know who you are and what you have to offer. It even entices them to come back and visit your feed leading to new followers for your page.
As mentioned earlier, TikTok is an editing tool in itself. Many filters may only be available on TikTok. A brand should use the plethora of tools right, from a filter to music and collabs that TikTok offers. This, in return, helps increase the visibility of branded content on the platform.
Music is the key to a good video on TikTok. To be successful on TikTok, a brand must be aware of the trending music and use it to its benefit. The more you use trending music, the higher your chance to go viral on TikTok. Many TikTok videos help you keep up with the trending music. You can follow them and create a video for yourself. With TikTok’s easy-to-edit software, you can add a bunch of footage and images to allow TikTok to make a ready-made video for you that aligns with the music you’ve chosen.
TikTok users love to participate in contests. Contests can be effective if you want to promote your brand and interact with the audience. The best part about contests is that they allow a brand to send their products or services as a trial. Contests are a great way to increase engagement and spread word of mouth about your brand.
Yet another critical TikTok strategy is to add Call-To-Action in your captions. While TikTok ads have a preset to add a Call-To-Action that redirects the user to a defined destination, captions allow customization. This customization helps a brand subtly add a Call-To-Action in the flow of a statement and ensure that the content doesn’t come across as a force fit. Call-To-Action like website links, app downloads, usage of hashtags, or tagging your friends are used often.
To be successful on TikTok, all you need is consistency. Ensure that your content is planned well to stick to the publishing schedules. This will help the followers anticipate your following content and wait for it to add value to their feeds or lives. Another aspect of consistency is the look and feel of your content. To abide by the brand identity, a brand must maintain its visuals, tone of voice, and communication style throughout. This extends to collaborations as well.
The top social media marketing tactic is to make the most of your audience’s timetables. Keep an eye out for the best time to engage with your audience and publish accordingly. If you want to partake in a trend, post it during the trending period instead of finding a brand connection after. The same logic applies to collaborations. Part with influencers and ask them to instill your branded content in an ongoing social media conversation. To learn about the current branded content formats, refer to the ‘for you ‘ page.
Last but not least, have fun with your branded content. TikTok is all about authenticity and realism. Therefore, ensure that your brand is not restricted to those 200-pager brand guidelines but extends to honest conversations and stories your audience would like to hear.
TikTok has a growth rate of around 8% yearly in the United States alone. These kinds of numbers provide ample opportunities to brands and creators alike. With TikTok being the most engaged user base in the world, brands can now be open to personification and build a real connection with their audiences. The best part is, irrespective of the size of your business; you can access TikTok’s offerings, such as content creation and promotion. You don’t need huge budgets to reach out to people who may think of your brand as cool. So, be open to trial and error to know what’s best for your brand. Build a strong marketing strategy and an execution plan. And lastly, have fun and see the miracles of your branded content unfold right in front of your eyes.