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Complete TikTok Marketing Guide for Success | Bullseye

by | Sep 12, 2022

As per the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, the social media platforms that connect brands with buyers across the globe are constantly changing. Just when you think you have a hold on the latest social media marketing strategies, a new network begins to trend — and with it, new techniques. Such was the case with TikTok, a platform that soared after its 2018 worldwide rollout.

By September 2021, executives reported1 that TikTok reached one billion active users worldwide, a milestone that few other social networks have reached and surely nowhere near as fast. For perspective, Instagram, the go-to platform for immersive digital marketing experiences, boasts just a quarter more2 active global users, despite garnering immense popularity since its release in 2010.

Though TikTok may only rank as the sixth-most popular3 social network globally, the platform is slated to become the fastest-growing social media channel among marketers in 2022. So if you are among marketers unfamiliar with ‘TikTok marketing,’ you have come to the right place. Here’s the ultimate TikTok marketing strategy to succeed on the latest trending platform. 

Why TikTok is Crucial to Your Marketing Strategy

Any digital marketer knows that high traffic can equal significant dollar signs — and right now, TikTok is equivalent to rush hour on a Friday afternoon. The social media platform was downloaded more than 3.5 billion times to become the most downloaded app of 2021, the only non-Meta-owned app to reach such an accolade. Even more, TikTok has gained over 10 million downloads per quarter for the past nine quarters, showing no signs of slowing any time soon. 

Aside from its rapidly growing number of users, several other aspects of TikTok make it a must-have in your social media marketing strategy. For one, the fast-paced nature of TikTok videos (which range from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in length) can keep users engaged for an average of 52 minutes per day4, compared to just 28 minutes per day5 on a platform like Instagram. 

Secondly, 90% of TikTok users engage with the app daily, making the odds of a consumer coming across branded content substantially more likely. And it’s not just entertainment users want. A survey of more than 1,000 consumers revealed that 55% of users6 turn to TikTok to learn about new brands. In addition, those who trust TikTok to make purchasing decisions, namely Gen Z users, are more than 50% inclined to buy products after consuming content on TikTok.

The Power of TikTok

Creating a TikTok Marketing Strategy

Between TikTok’s immense popularity and substantial influence on its audience’s purchasing decisions, it is no wonder why brands are quick to research new TikTok marketing strategies. However, like any other social platform, it’s impossible to post a short video to TikTok every now and again and expect to gain traction. Instead, you must have an established TikTok marketing plan. 

There are three pillars of a TikTok marketing strategy:

  1. Influencer marketing
  2. Advertising efforts
  3. Content creation

Here’s a breakdown of each pillar and their roles in a cohesive TikTok marketing strategy.

1. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that leverages a social media celebrity or personality’s rapport with their target audience to share a brand’s product or service. It is a tactic that has exploded across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and most recently, TikTok. The effectiveness of influencer marketing has a great deal to do with the size of the potential audience garnered by the influencer; however, a fair amount of psychology supports its effectiveness.

As social creatures, humans are substantially swayed by factors like cultural conformity and informational social influence. We often base our opinions or behavior to match those who believe offer us accurate information—like doctors, scientists, or lawyers. TikTok influencers are considered experts in their respective niches, whether fashion or food. When they endorse a product or service, it gives that advertisement more credibility in the eyes of the audience. 

TikTok influencer marketing, in particular, has proven to be a masterclass in social influence. Even micro-influencers experienced engagement rates of 17.96% on TikTok, whereas they achieved just 3.86% on Instagram and 1.63% on YouTube. 66% of TikTok users7 enjoy when brands sponsor creators to show off their products. The key to unlocking this success, however, is to locate and form partnerships with influencers who compliment your TikTok marketing strategy.

Influencer Engagement Rates

To find and form partnerships with the right TikTok influencers, follow these steps:

  1. Define your target audience of potential customers and learn which types of videos they prefer to watch on TikTok (i.e., reviews, tutorials, recipes, etc.).
  2. Search for TikTok influencers who share relevant videos, either organically through the app or Google or on a tool like Klear.
  3. Revisit previous influencer relationships on Instagram or YouTube to determine if their following and target audience has carried into TikTok.
  4. Analyze the resulting pool of influencers to determine if they are popular among your target audience, offer a strong engagement rate and if their values align with your brand.
  5. Decide on which partnership model works best for your TikTok marketing strategy, such as paid partnerships to display your product or service or complimentary products in exchange for reviews. 

2. TikTok Advertising 

Influencer marketing is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to TikTok advertising. In fact, there are eight types of TikTok ads to choose from on the social media platform. These ads are an essential part of a TikTok marketing strategy, as they enable your short videos, branded hashtags, or even creative filters to integrate into a user’s daily feed and enhance brand awareness. 

The types of TikTok ads you can run on the platform range from —

  • In-feed Ads, or self-service ads created through the TikTok Ad Manager interface, including:
    • Image ads: Feature an image, ad text, and brand or app name (available only in TikTok’s News Feed apps)
    • Video ads: Feature a 5-60-second full-screen video, ad text, ad display image, and brand or app name in a user’s For You feed 
    • Spark ads: Ability to boost organic content from your brand account or other users’ TikTok accounts for a 142% higher engagement rate than standard feed ads
    • Pangle ads: Feature video ads and ad text placed on third-party apps through the TikTok Audience Network
    • Carousel ads: Feature up to 10 images with unique captions (available only in TikTok’s News Feed apps)
  • Ads for Managed Brands, or TikTok advertising formats available only to brands that work with a TikTok sales representative, including: 
    • Top view ads: Feature a 5-60-second full-screen video takeover (brand takeover) when users open the TikTok app
    • Branded hashtag challenge: Features a three- to six-day ad campaign timeline during which user-generated content appears on the hashtag challenge page
    • Branded effects: Features branded filters, stickers, and other special effects to encourage TikTok creators to interact with your brand

Compared to other social media platforms, TikTok offers a wide range of advertisements that can work with any product, service, or budget. Top view ads, in particular, provide businesses with the opportunity to plan for a total brand takeover that can reach millions of users. The sheer variety of ad types paired with internal support gives TikTok advertising a significant competitive edge.

TikTok marketing trends do not last long, so it’s essential to keep up to date with opportunities

3. Organic Content Creation

While you can pay an influencer to create a TikTok video or center a lot of your TikTok content on advertisements, true success on the platform is found with organic content creation. So, in between searching for TikTok influencers and navigating the TikTok Ad Manager, it’s important to create short videos you feel will relate to your target audience. But remember to be authentic — 56% of users feel closer to brands they see on TikTok when they publish unpolished content.

Likewise, the TikTok community tends to embrace brands that participate in the shared language and behaviors on the app. According to a recent TikTok study, 61% of users like brands better when they participate in a TikTok trend, and 21% feel more connected to brands that comment on others’ posts. The combination of authenticity and foresight to participate in a trend is a recipe for success. 

Though it’s never guaranteed you’ll go viral overnight, adhere to these content creation tips:

  • Use trending hashtags for inspiration. Users are quick to scroll the hashtag page for trending topics, so strike while the iron is hot.
  • Check out related posts to your brand. Keep an eye on the types of videos the TikTok algorithm suggests for like-minded brands or TikTok users and follow suit.
  • Develop a cadence for posting. Like any social media marketing strategy, a TikTok strategy will require a consistent schedule for posting.
  • Engage with your community. Encourage comments, pin comments, and respond to them, as well as take the time to comment on other users’ posts.

With a combination of trustworthy TikTok influencers, catchy TikTok ads, and trending videos, you can develop a following — and a stream of loyal customers — from TikTok in no time. 

TikTok Marketing Trends

Like any social media platform, the trends on TikTok don’t stick around for too long. On average, you can anticipate a trending hashtag or TikTok challenge to remain on users For You pages for a few weeks to a month before they are replaced with something new. So, rather than educate yourself on the latest TikTok dance craze, start by analyzing the overarching trends that draw engagement. 

Capitalizing on UGC

User-generated content, typically abbreviated as UGC, is the type of content that drives social media platforms, particularly TikTok. When you strip away the numerous ad formats implemented on social media through the years, it’s UGC — like your friend’s latest recipe or family’s recent holiday party — that populate most users’ news feeds (and For You pages).

On TikTok, UGC consists of short videos made by a TikTok user rather than a brand or company page. On average, UGC TikTok videos bring in 8% more engagement than brand-created TikTok videos, 21% more than Facebook ads, and 68% more than traditional ads. Like influencer marketing, the success of UGC can be attributed to the psychology behind seeing other TikTok users review or discuss a specific product. And like influencer marketing, UGC drives brand awareness. 

To generate UGC for your brand, create a TikTok marketing strategy that involves videos like: 

  • How-to Videos. Create a branded hashtag challenge or simply post a video that urges users to create their own TikTok of how they use your product or service in daily life. 
  • Challenges. Invite users to participate in a challenge that centers around your product or services to draw attention to your brand and create a strong desire for others to have your product or service themselves to create their own video. 
  • Contests. Like Facebook or Instagram, TikTok contests inspire users to create tons of UGC in the hopes of winning something desirable to your target audiences, such as a cash prize or gift basket of products. 

Gen Z Curated Content

Generation Z, colloquially known as Gen Z, is the demographic born between the late 1990s and early 2010s. As a generation largely present for the digital landscape shaped today, it is no surprise that a social platform as popular as TikTok has taken Gen Z by storm. Of the 78.7 million TikTok users8 in the United States in 2021, approximately 37.3 million — or 47% of all users — belonged to Gen Z. This particular audience is also projected to reach a whopping 48.8 million by 2025.

When we consider the vast majority of consumers who learn about new brands on TikTok, Gen Z is at the forefront of demographics most likely to use social platforms for brand discovery. However, they’re also some of the most specific regarding the TikTok content and types of video marketing they find intriguing. More than anything, Gen Z is seeking transparent and authentic content, preferring real users or customers over mainstream celebrities and influencers. 

To curate content for a Gen Z audience, ensure your content hits the following four marks:

  1. Transparency. Gen Z’ers are among the most informed consumers, so be forthcoming with all aspects of your brand, from price and availability to ingredients and sourcing. 
  2. Authenticity. 56% of younger TikTok audiences feel more connected to brands that publish human, unpolished content as opposed to scripted, rigid videos. 
  3. Ethics and Corporate Responsibility. Gen Z’ers are substantially more socially aware than other demographics, so showcase your brand values, sustainability, and fairness initiatives.
  4. Humor and Relatability. Gen Z’ers are among the majority on TikTok and seek video content that speaks to their wants, needs, and desires, namely relatability. 

Sounds > Hashtags

Sounds are the new hashtags on TikTok. When users partake in a new TikTok trend or dance, they don’t rely on a trending hashtag for others to find their video — they often use the same sound as the original creator. Much like a traditional hashtag, clicking on a sound on TikTok (placed at the bottom of the screen) brings users to a page of videos, all of which use that specific sound.

TikTok sounds have become integral to success on the platform, with 88% of TikTok users9claiming that the sound is central to the overall app experience. Countless recent chart-topping songs have gotten their start on TikTok, as 75% of TikTok users say they discover new artists through the app. Using a trending song or sound in your TikTok content is an easy way to capture your target audience’s attention, as 67% of users prefer to see brand content featuring popular songs. 

To fully grasp the power of sounds on TikTok, consider these recent findings:

  • 68% of users say they remember brands better if they feature songs they like in their videos.
  • 58% say they feel a stronger connection to a brand if they use trending TikTok songs.
  • 58% say they’re more likely to talk about a brand or share an ad with a song they like.
  • 62% say they’re curious to learn about a brand if they use a trending TikTok sound.

So, while heading to the trending hashtags might seem like the simplest way to create a trending video, do not negate the importance of sound on TikTok. Sometimes, the quickest method to go viral is to leverage a sound that’s gaining traction and add an authentic spin from your brand. 

4 TikTok Marketing Tips 

With the above steps for crafting a TikTok marketing strategy and the inside scoop on the latest trends hitting the TikTok algorithm, you’re almost ready to debut on users’ For You pages. First, take a look at four TikTok marketing steps to fast-track your success on TikTok. 

1. Find Trends with #TrendAlert and Creative Center

Do you wish there was a shortcut to finding the latest trends? Just check out the TikTok Creative Center! Home to the top trending hashtags, songs, creatives, and even individual videos, social media marketers can search by location to learn what’s popular right now. If you are in a hurry, just type in #TrendAlert in your search bar on the platform to find the week’s top trends. 

2. Schedule and Plan Your Posts with Automation Tools

Like any digital marketing campaign, a TikTok marketing campaign requires a wide variety of content that must be scheduled daily or bi-daily across multiple weeks. From UGC videos to branded how-to TikToks and challenges, the sheer amount of different videos can become overwhelming to manage. To streamline your TikTok marketing strategy, schedule and plan your posts with automation tools or a TikTok Business Account.

3. Experiment with Timing and Captioning

With video lengths ranging from 15 seconds to 10 minutes, multiple closed captioning options, and endless posting times, you’ll need to experiment a bit to find the right TikTok strategy. First, review your TikTok analytics to learn which videos are getting the most engagement and visibility and take note of the features that worked best, whether it be video topic or video style. 

4. Utilize the TikTok Creator Marketplace

Not sure which content creator will mesh with your brand style or values? Head to the TikTok Creator Marketplace! As a central hub for several types of TikTok creators, simply search for creators based on campaign criteria, such as niche or demographic, then invite the creator to collaborate to check out their insights. The Marketplace is the perfect place to take the guesswork out of finding TikTok influencers and provides an accurate, real-time look at their engagement. 

Build a TikTok Marketing Strategy That Converts

TikTok remains the social media platform at the forefront of growth for average users and marketers alike. A solid TikTok marketing strategy encompasses influencer marketing with the right creators, a variety of TikTok advertising, and organic content creation to be successful. If you’re looking for help crafting your TikTok campaign, reach out to experts you can trust.

At Bullseye Strategy, our team boasts more than a decade of experience helping brands succeed on the platforms of their choice. Since 2018, we’ve been honing our TikTok marketing skills to help brands connect with consumers on the world’s fastest-growing social media network. Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand succeed on TikTok. 

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