TikTok Marketing: Leveraging the Power of Creative Content

TikTok Marketing: Leveraging the Power of Creative Content
27 June, 2023 • ... • 987 views
Nikita Nilov
by Nikita Nilov

If you still think that TikTok is a social media for kids with stupid dances in 2023, you could not be more wrong. TikTok is still among the fastest-growing social media players — and it has almost caught up with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Just one thing for you to consider: the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag and how it boosted sales. Most famous instance being pasta with a feta recipe going viral and making feta cheese basically disappearing from the supermarket shelves in some countries. 

So much for the kids’ dances, huh?

What is TikTok marketing?

TikTok has swiftly risen to become one of the most popular social media platforms globally, with millions of users creating and sharing short videos — TikToks — on a wide range of topics. It had 1+ billion monthly active users as of January 2023 — compared to 2.9 billion users on Facebook and 2.5 billion Youtube, according to Statista.

This immense popularity has made TikTok an attractive platform and one of the main channels for businesses to reach and engage with a wide range of different demographics: for instance, in April 2023 21% of TikTok’s global audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years, while male users of the same age made up approximately 17.5% of the platform’s audience. The 18–34 age group would make 38% of the female audience and 34% of the total male audience.

TikTok marketing refers to the strategic use of the platform to promote products, build brand awareness, and connect with potential customers through creative and engaging content. 

Moreover, it has developed its own style of content, so this would be completely different from, say, Twitter marketing.

So let’s start with the practical steps to get the ball rolling! 

How to set up a business account

Setting up a business account on TikTok is a simple process that allows you to access features specifically designed for digital marketing purposes. To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Download the TikTok app and create a personal account if you don’t have one already.
  2. Go to your profile settings and click on the “Manage Account” button.
  3. Tap on “Switch to Pro Account” and select “Business Account”.
  4. Provide the necessary information about your business, such as contact details and category.
  5. Verify your account through a phone number or email address.
TikTok business account setup
Just a few steps — and you’re all set!

Once you have set up your business account, you can access additional features like TikTok Ads, analytics, and promotion tools to enhance your digital marketing efforts.

Ways of using TikTok for digital marketing

Influencer marketing

Influencers are content creators who’ve established some reputation and are open to collaborate with brands. There is no strict threshold to become an influencer — there are ones with millions followers and some niche influencers have no more than a few thousands.

Collaborating with TikTok influencers is the first thing that comes to mind in terms of content marketing. It is an effective way to promote your brand and reach a wider audience. 

Influencers have established credibility and a loyal following, allowing them to create authentic and engaging content that resonates with their viewers. By partnering with relevant influencers who have the audience that could be interested in your brand, you can tap into their audience and leverage their influence to increase brand awareness and drive sales.

For example, there’s a blogger who is an extremely dedicated trainspotter: he films his reactions, and makes it special using a 360-camera pointed straight towards his face.

francis.bourgeois TikTok
@francis.bourgeois and his trademark face angle

Next thing you know — he’s collaborating with Gucci:

francis.bourgeois Gucci collaboration
That’s him again — collaborating with Gucci

The TikTok Creator Marketplace is a platform where brands and businesses can connect with TikTok content creators for influencer marketing campaigns. It serves as a bridge between brands seeking to promote their products or services and TikTok creators who have built a substantial following and influence on the platform.

The Creator Marketplace allows brands to search for creators based on various criteria such as audience demographics, location, engagement rates, and content categories. Brands can review the profiles of creators, including their follower count, engagement metrics, and examples of their TikTok content.

The TikTok Creator Marketplace is a platform within the TikTok app that connects businesses and brands with TikTok influencers for digital marketing collaborations. It serves as a marketplace where brands can discover, connect with, and partner with TikTok creators to create branded content campaigns.

TikTok creator marketplace interface
TikTok creator marketplace interface. Source: SocialPilot

TikTok ads

TikTok offers various advertising options to businesses looking to expand their reach and target specific demographics. Here are some popular TikTok ad formats:

In-Feed Ads

These are short video ads that appear in users’ feeds as they scroll through the app. In-Feed Ads can include links, enabling users to visit your website or app. This is the most flexible format, allowing to use any kind of budget and targeting.

TopView ads

TopView Ads are short videos appearing on the opening of the app, otherwise looking like In-Feed ads. It provides a higher level of visibility. They are the first ads users see when they open the app and can be used to create a strong brand impression. TopView has a minimum threshold of a few hundred thousands impressions depending on the market and should be booked beforehand. A brand can buy up to 100% share of impressions for TopView for a given day.

Branded hashtag challenges

TikTok is all about trends — and advertisers can try and use it to their advantage. 

The TikTok Branded Hashtag Challenge is one of the marketing features offered by TikTok that allows brands to create and promote their own hashtag challenges on the platform. It is a popular form of influencer marketing where brands collaborate with TikTok creators to create and promote a specific hashtag related to their brand or a particular campaign.

Here’s how a TikTok Branded Hashtag Challenge typically works:

  1. A brand creates a unique hashtag that represents their campaign or brand identity. This hashtag serves as a call-to-action for TikTok users to participate in the challenge.
  2. A brand collaborates with TikTok influencers or content creators to kickstart the challenge. These influencers create TikToks that showcase the challenge and encourage their followers to participate.
  3. TikTok users are invited to create and upload their own TikToks using the branded hashtag. They follow the challenge instructions and put their own creative spin on it.
  4. The brand promotes the challenge through various means, such as In-Feed Ads, sponsored ads, and collaborations with influencers. This helps to increase awareness and participation from a wider audience.
  5. As more TikTok users participate in the challenge and create videos using the branded hashtag, the challenge gains momentum and can go viral. Users can browse through the videos using the hashtag, like, comment, and share them, driving engagement and further amplifying the campaign’s reach.

Branded hashtag challenges on TikTok have been successful in creating buzz around brands, increasing brand visibility, and generating user-generated content that aligns with the brand’s messaging. They can be an effective way for brands to engage with the TikTok community and leverage the creativity and influence of TikTok users to promote their products or campaigns.

Hashtag Challenges are used to encourage users to create and share content around a specific topic. By creating a branded hashtag challenge, you can encourage user-generated content and increase brand engagement. 

It is also a premium ad format that should be reserved beforehand and it could be customized with branded effects like filters, allowing users to interact with branded content. 

Hashtag challenge total cost (including the cost of branding, supporting In-Feed/TopView ads, and bloggers) could go up as high as a few hundred thousand dollars depending on the target market. That would include the cost of the ad and creator fee of the influencers who support the Hashtag Challenge.

TikTok Hashtag challenge format
TikTok Hashtag challenge format

TikTok Ads Cost Statistics, according to the Business of apps:

  • Average Tiktok engagement rate – 5-16%
  • Average TikTok Ads CPM – $10
  • Average TikTok Ads CPC – $1
  • Minimal spend per campaign – $500
  • TikTok influencer post pricing ranges from $5 to $2,000

How to create a TikTok marketing strategy?

To effectively leverage TikTok for digital marketing, it is crucial to develop a well-defined strategy. Here are key steps to consider:

Get familiar with the social network and its content

Spend time exploring TikTok, understanding its unique features, and immersing yourself in the original content that resonates with TikTok users. This will help you identify popular trends, styles, and formats that can inspire your own marketing content. 

Remember: TikTok has its own rules and chances are that your content that works just fine in Instagram won’t be gaining a lot of interactions in TikTok. 

TikTok is known for its raw and unfiltered content. Brands should aim to create authentic and genuine videos that resonate with the platform’s users. Show the human side of your brand and connect with your audience on a personal level.

TikTok users appreciate humor and creativity. Find ways to inject fun and lightheartedness into your content. Use clever editing techniques, visual effects, or witty captions to make your videos stand out. Take a look at Ryanair — they definitely set a bar for brand behavior on TikTok.

RyanAir account in TikTok
Content RyanAir account in TikTok is not what you would see as typical branded content

Define your audience

Again — forget that “TikTok is for kids” rant. You can find an audience of any kind there.

Identify and understand your target audience on TikTok. Consider their demographics, interests, preferences, and the type of content they engage with the most. This knowledge will guide your original content creation and enable you to tailor your messages.

Your audience brief could look like this:

  1. Target demographic: Define the specific demographic group you want to reach with your TikTok media campaign. Consider factors such as age, gender, location, and interests depending on your target audience.

Example:

Gen Z females aged 18-24, located in urban areas and interested in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content.

  1. Psychographic profile: Consider the psychological and lifestyle characteristics of your target audience. This includes their attitudes, values, behaviors, and motivations.

Example:

Fashion-forward individuals seeking inspiration for trendy outfits, makeup tutorials, and lifestyle tips. They enjoy staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and are active participants in online communities.

  1. Interests and preferences: Identify the specific interests and preferences of your target audience on TikTok. Consider the types of content they engage with, the challenges they participate in, and the influencers or creators they follow.

Example:

Interested in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content, including outfit ideas, makeup tutorials, fashion hauls, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into the lives of influencers. They enjoy interactive and visually engaging content that provides entertainment and inspiration.

  1. Platform usage habits: Find out how your target audience uses TikTok and their typical behavior patterns on the platform. Consider factors such as frequency of use, preferred content format (e.g., short videos, duets, challenges), and time of day they are most active.

Example:

People who regularly use TikTok multiple times a day, often during leisure time or while commuting. Someone engaged with a variety of content formats, including watching short videos, participating in challenges, and exploring original trends. Most active in the evenings and weekends.

  1. Goals and call-to-action: Define the desired goals and outcomes of the TikTok media campaign, as well as the specific call-to-action you want the audience to take.

Example:

Increase brand awareness, generate engagement and buzz for the campaign content, drive traffic to the brand’s website or online store, and encourage users to create their content using branded hashtags or challenges.

By developing a comprehensive audience brief, you can effectively tailor your TikTok media campaign to resonate with the target audience, increase engagement, and achieve your desired campaign goals.

TikTok Ads Manager offers several audience settings to help brands target their ads effectively.

  1. Basic demographics: You can target audiences based on basic demographic factors such as age, gender, language, and location. 
  2. Interests and behavior: You can select from a range of predefined interest categories or create custom audiences based on specific interests.
  3. Custom audiences: This feature allows you to target users who have already shown interest in your brand or have interacted with your online assets.
  4. Lookalike audiences: They are built based on the characteristics and behaviors of your existing customers or custom audiences. Lookalike audiences help you reach users who are similar to your current customer base, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
  5. Retargeting: TikTok Ads Manager allows you to retarget users who have interacted with your brand in some way, such as visiting your website, engaging with your TikTok content, or using your app.
Audience setting in TikTok ads manager

Analyze your niche and competitors

Analyze your niche and competitors on the platform. Look for accounts within your industry or niche that are performing well and gaining a significant following. Study their content strategy, engagement levels, and the type of content that resonates with their audience. This analysis will help you understand the original trends and audience preferences within your niche, allowing you to tailor your content and stand out from the competition.

Define your goals

Setting clear goals is crucial for any marketing strategy, including TikTok. Determine what you aim to achieve through your TikTok marketing efforts. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or boost sales? Defining your goals will help you shape your content, measure success, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategy.

Prepare a content plan

Creating a content plan is vital to maintain consistency and ensure that your TikTok account remains active and engaging. 

  1. Develop a content calendar: Plan your content in advance by scheduling posts and organizing them around relevant events, holidays, or trending hashtags. This will help you maintain a consistent presence and keep your content aligned with your marketing goals.
  2. Be diverse and creative: Experiment with various content formats, such as tutorials, behind-the-scenes glimpses, challenges, or storytelling. The more diverse and creative your content, the more likely it is to captivate and engage your audience.
  3. Incorporate trending challenges and hashtags: Participating in popular challenges and using trending hashtags can increase the visibility of your content and attract a wider audience. However, ensure that the challenges and hashtags align with your brand and resonate with your target audience.

For instance, let’s have a look at what a TikTok content strategy of a dairy company could look like:

  1. Establish brand identity: Define your brand’s unique identity and personality on TikTok. Consider the tone of voice, visual aesthetics, and messaging. This will help you maintain consistency and create a recognizable presence.
  2. Showcase product range: Feature your dairy product range creatively in your TikToks. Highlight different variations of milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, or any other dairy products you offer. Showcase their quality, taste, and versatility through appealing visuals and engaging storytelling.
  3. Recipes and food hacks: Share delicious recipes and food hacks that include your dairy products. Create short and visually captivating videos demonstrating how to make simple and tasty dishes using your products. Encourage viewers to try these recipes and share their own creations using your branded hashtag.
  4. Nutritional tips and benefits: Educate your audience about the nutritional benefits of dairy products. Create informative videos highlighting the health benefits of consuming dairy, such as calcium for bone health, protein for muscle recovery, and vitamins for overall wellness. Make the content visually appealing and shareable to maximize engagement.
  5. Behind-the-scenes farm tours: Take your audience behind the scenes of your dairy farm or production facility. Showcasing the process of milking, processing, and packaging your dairy products helps build transparency and trust. Highlight your commitment to quality and animal welfare practices.
  6. Engaging challenges: Develop unique challenges or trends related to dairy products that encourage user participation. For example, challenge users to create their favorite milk-based recipes, show creative ways to enjoy yogurt, or create fun cheese platters. Make sure to create a branded hashtag to gather user-generated content.
  7. Influencer collaborations: Partner with popular food influencers or content creators whose content resonates with your target audience. Collaborate with them to create engaging TikToks featuring your dairy products. 
  8. Q&A sessions: Host live Q&A sessions or create dedicated videos where you answer common questions about dairy products, such as the differences between milk types, how to choose the right yogurt, or debunking common myths about dairy. 
  9. Seasonal and festive content: Tailor your content to match seasonal or festive themes. Create TikToks showcasing dairy-based recipes for holidays, summer refreshments, or special occasions. 
  10. User testimonials and reviews: Share user testimonials or reviews of your dairy products. Feature satisfied customers who can talk about their positive experiences or share creative ways they use your products. 
  11. Collaboration with nutritionists or dietitians: Collaborate with nutritionists or dietitians to create content that highlights the nutritional value of your dairy products. They can share expert tips, answer audience questions, or provide advice on incorporating dairy into a healthy diet.
  12. Engage with the TikTok community: Actively engage with your audience by responding to comments, participating in trends, and sharing user-generated content. Encourage your followers to tag you in their dairy-related videos or share their favorite dairy product experiences.

Remember to analyze your TikTok analytics regularly to understand which content resonates the most with your audience. Adapt your content plan based on their preferences and interests. Stay creative, consistent, and interactive to build a strong presence for your dairy product company on TikTok.

A content timeline can look like this:

Social media plan
Source: SemRush

TikTok marketing tips

Be authentic

Authenticity is key on TikTok. Users appreciate genuine, relatable content that feels authentic rather than overly polished or scripted. Showcasing the human side of your brand, being transparent, and engaging in a natural and conversational tone will help build trust and connection with your audience.

Oreo content in TikTok
Oreo content in TikTok — how a brand can tell its story with a single cookie

Be simple

TikTok’s content format thrives on simplicity and brevity. Keep your TikToks short and concise, focusing on a single message or idea. Use clear and straightforward language to communicate your message effectively. Remember that attention spans on TikTok are short, so capturing your audience’s interest quickly is vital.

Be regular

Consistency is crucial on TikTok. Aim to post regularly to maintain engagement and stay on your audience’s radar. Develop a posting schedule that works for your brand and ensures a steady flow of content. Consistency will help you build an audience and foster loyalty among your followers.

Communicate with your audience

Get in contact with your audience by responding to comments, direct messages, and engaging in conversations. Encourage interactions and create a sense of community by asking questions, seeking feedback, or running contests. Responding promptly and authentically to your audience will strengthen your relationship with them and enhance their loyalty to your brand.

TikTok commenting
Here are brands like BarkBox and Habit Skin managing a community of lively TikTok commenters. Source: ChatDesk

Go live

TikTok’s Live feature provides an excellent opportunity to connect with your audience in real-time. Use Live sessions for Q&A sessions, product launches, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or interactive challenges. Going Live allows for direct interaction and engagement, fostering a sense of authenticity and building a stronger connection with your audience.

Collaborate with other content creators

By partnering with influencers or other brands, you can tap into their established follower base and leverage their creativity to create compelling content. Here’s how to make the most of collaborations:

  1. Find relevant creators: Look for TikTok content creators who share a similar target audience or have expertise in your industry. Analyze their content, engagement rates, and authenticity to ensure a good fit for your brand.
  2. Reach out with a value proposition: When approaching content creators for collaboration, focus on the value you can provide to their audience. Offer unique ideas, incentives, or mutually beneficial partnerships that align with their content style and interests.

If you find yourself in a situation where you as an influencer try to approach the brand — learn some tips and tricks in our article on brand pitch emails.

  1. Co-create engaging content: Work together to create TikTok videos that showcase your brand and align with the creator’s unique style. Collaboration can involve duets, challenges, or even creative storytelling that integrates your brand seamlessly.
  2. Cross-promote and engage: Once the collaborative content is live, cross-promote it on both your and the creator’s channels. Encourage viewers to engage, follow, and participate in the conversation. Actively respond to comments and engage with the newfound audience to build relationships and foster loyalty.
Khaby Lame x Boss
Khaby Lame and his way from a content creator to the face of Hugo Boss
Collab impact for brands in TikTok
Collab impact for brands in TikTok. Source: TikTok for business

Analyze the results

To measure the effectiveness of your TikTok marketing efforts in digital channels, it’s crucial to analyze the results and gather insights. Here are key steps for analyzing your TikTok marketing campaigns:

  1. Track engagement metrics: Monitor views, likes, comments, shares, and follower growth for each TikTok video. Analyze what types of content perform best.
  2. Assess audience demographics: Understand your TikTok audience demographics by utilizing TikTok’s analytics tools. This data will help you refine your targeting and tailor your content to the right audience.
  3. Measure conversions and website traffic: If your goal is to drive traffic to your website or generate conversions, track the performance of links and CTAs within your TikTok videos. Use UTM parameters and track conversions through tools like Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your TikTok marketing in driving desired actions.
  4. Learn from feedback: Pay attention to comments, direct messages, and user-generated content related to your brand. Analyze the sentiment and gather feedback to understand how your TikTok marketing is perceived and make improvements accordingly.
  5. Adjust your strategy: Based on the insights gathered, refine your content strategy, experiment with new ideas, and optimize your approach. Continuously test and iterate to improve your TikTok marketing efforts.

Final thoughts

TikTok marketing offers a unique and exciting opportunity to connect with a diverse and engaged audience, compared to the other channels. By leveraging the platform’s creative features, collaborating with influencers, and analyzing the results, businesses can drive brand awareness, engagement, and even conversions. Remember to stay authentic, keep your content simple and engaging, and maintain consistency in your posting schedule. With a well-defined TikTok marketing strategy and continuous optimization, you can harness the power of TikTok to achieve your marketing goals and build a thriving online community.

Article by
Nikita Nilov
Nikita is a marketer by calling, exploring the world of digital marketing with experience in agencies, corporations and media platforms with a journalist background. Nikita is experienced in multiple industries and markets: from automotive to telecom and from government to FMCG, and from Eastern Europe to Middle East. Outside of work, Nikita’s interest lies in music, cycling and learning languages.
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