How To Use TikTok for Influencer Marketing

As the most downloaded app of 2020, with a total of more than 2.6 billion worldwide downloads, TikTok is a platform that you need to check out. It has primarily been taken over by Gen Z, with 60% of users in this age range. However, there’s definitely something for everyone on this app!

With Gen Z being the generation that holds 40% of the consumer market, it’s no wonder that brands have taken to the platform for their influencer marketing campaigns. Let’s take a look. 

What is TikTok?

Originally known as the popular ‘Musical.ly’ years ago, the app has now regained popularity after merging with another company to form TikTok. Musical.ly was known for being able to create lip sync videos, which is still a big trend on TikTok, however, there is a more widespread type of content creation. Some of the most followed accounts on the platform became famous for posting short dance videos, whilst other types of creators have gained increasing popularity too. There’s something for everyone, from beauty and skincare tutorials, to pranks and comedy, gaming, and much more.

No matter what your interests are, you can post short 15-second video content, follow other users, and view content across the world. The creativity behind the platform comes from the effects, filters and music that you can add to videos. What’s interesting is that, unlike other social media platforms, TikTok’s for you page allows you to see content from anyone around the world, not just those you follow. Nobody really knows how the algorithm works, but it seems that the videos that pop up on your for you page are based off the likes and shares that you give to others, or how long you have watched or re-watched a video. This means that each for you page is optimised towards every users’ individual likes and interests.

A screenshot of TikTok home page.

Types of content

As with all social media platforms like Instagram and Youtube, there are various types of content coming from a wide range of creators. TikTok also provides visual content, but of a different style. Everyone is talking about the ‘addictive’ nature of TikTok. The average user spends 52 minutes a day on the app, and opens it 8 times a day. Because of the type of videos available, it means that you can easily scroll for just a few minutes, or end up scrolling for hours without even noticing – because each video is so different!

 When considering the different types of content available, we can first take a look at the most popular TikToker, Charli Da’melio, with 105 million followers. Charli is a sixteen year old from Connecticut that grew to fame in late 2019 from her videos dancing to popular songs. Because these dances are only 15 seconds long, users (whether dancers or not), have been joining in and posting their own try at it, with these dances quickly becoming a trend across the app. Charli has quickly grown to fame, with a fast increase in followers across Instagram and YouTube too, whilst signing several brand deals.

Other popular communities on TikTok are beauty, fashion, and skincare. These groups are prevalent as the style of videos and effects available like ‘transitions’ are very well suited to videos such as how to style a product, a look book, make up tutorial, skincare advice, etc. Hyram Yarbro, or better known as @skincarebyhyram, has expanded his follower base substantially since starting his TikTok account, through videos offering skincare advice and product reviews. His opinions were taken lightly at first when he was speaking negatively of products from some high-end brands. However, by positively reviewing affordable products in unsponsored videos – he gained a lot of trust from his followers. It is believed that his videos are the reason behind CeraVe products selling out across stores across the globe. Subsequently, he has closed paid deals with CeraVe, and other brands which his followers trust that he genuinely likes.

A screenshot of TikTok influencer marketing.

Some of the other popular communities among TikTok include cooking, sports, gaming, and comedy like short skits and pranks. But the real difference with TikTok when using the term community, is that any video could end up on your screen, no matter what community your type of content usually falls within. A video can go viral with people from all different groups, because if the video is creatively put together, then anyone can appreciate it.

How are brands using Tik Tok?

Since TikTok is fairly new, it can be hard for brands to jump straight in with advertising. For a start, learning the best method of promotion can be complicated, as with learning about any new platform. But most importantly, with the majority of users being Gen Z, and as we know – Gen Z do not appreciate traditional advertisement, or anything that feels like an advert, it’s important to understand the best way to promote to them.

Advertising primarily through a business account can be difficult when your staff are from a different demographic to that of TikTok users, so typically brands have been hiring TikTok influencers to work with them instead. To get noticed on the for you page, whether a brand or influencer, you must provide creative content which users can easily pick up on. User participation is what’s key to remember here. Influencers can take part in popular trends, challenges, songs and hashtags to engage an audience that will soon take notice of your brand.

Some companies have achieved great success on TikTok through partnerships with influencers. As well as the mentioned partnership between CeraVe and Hyram, stemming from previously unsponsored content, other brands have found this type of occurrence too. For example, a video from Hannah Schlenker wearing leggings by American Eagle’s brand Aerie, led to the leggings selling out on their site worldwide. She now has a brand deal with the company and promotes different styles of leggings and other clothing on her account. However, not all brands are lucky enough to stumble upon this type of promotion! Let’s have a look at a couple of examples of how other brands are using TikTok.

Chipotle has primarily gone for the use of hashtags and challenges associated with them to promote brand awareness. One of their first hashtag campaigns on TikTok used #tiktoktimeout, when they hired popular influencers to post content showing them eating Chipotle, whilst having a ‘time out’ from TikTok and social media. Another one of their hashtag campaigns that went viral using popular influencers was #boorito. It encouraged users to post a video of their Halloween costumes over the years, and of course include this hashtag. This seemed like an interesting choice, as the challenge did not directly show any Chipotle products. However, these types of campaigns aim to promote brand awareness rather than a product itself, so to get people thinking and talking about Chipotle.

@k0uvr

@chipotle delivery has me dancing through the day #TikTokTimeout #ad

♬ Yummy – Justin Bieber

Moncler has recently taken to TikTok with a hashtag campaign too. By hiring popular influencers to use the hashtag #MonclerBubbleUp, they are directly promoting the products that they sell. This hashtag uses what’s called the Hashtag Challenge Plus, whereby clicking ‘discover’ after following the hashtag, it will take you to the business page to purchase from. This TikTok feature has not been widely used yet by brands, however, is a way to directly incorporate ecommerce to the platform. Using this feature of TikTok is fairly similar to Instagram Shopping.

@moncler

@bellapoarch joined the #MONCLERBUBBLEUP challenge 💭It’s time for the bubble up.

♬ Bubble (feat Ty Dolla $ign) – 24hrs

5 Tips to ensure success with TikTok influencers

Hopefully by now, you will have a better idea of how TikTok is being used by influencers, brands, and most importantly – the general public. So, before starting your campaign, you’ll want to consider these five tips that we have put together to ensure success:

  1. Think about your goals

It’s important to establish what your primary goals are. The type of content that you and your influencers post will depend on whether you want to create general brand awareness, to promote a singular product, to drive traffic to your website, or any other goal.

  1. Understand TikTok

If you’ve come this far, then you’re heading in the right direction. But, before getting ahead of yourself, it’s important to take some time to read up on TikTok and all of its features, as well as spending time on the app to familiarise yourself. Knowing what trends are currently popular or have been in the past, as well as how to use all the right tools, can really boost the quality of your content. 

  1. Know your target audience

Determining your target audience is essential for any marketing campaign, but for TikTok it can be more challenging as a newer platform. When hiring influencers, you will need to thoroughly assess their current audience to make sure that these followers align with your brands target demographic. Remember – the right audience is better than a bigger audience. Check out these influencers on other social media platforms, as usually their followers will be loyal across apps.

  1. Be creative and natural

As we have already learned, Gen Z don’t respond well to traditional advertisement. This is why influencer content usually works better on this demographic. Promotional content cannot seem forced – it needs to naturally blend in with the regular type of content that the influencer posts. So, you must give control to the influencer to be creative and authentic, at the end of the day, they know how to engage their audience best!

  1. Measure results

Finally, it’s important to measure the results of your campaign, to know what’s working well, or not so great. TikTok’s in-app analytics tool allows you to evaluate engagement, through looking at views, followers, profile visits, etc. You should consider using an influencer marketing platform, which will help you to find influencers that match this data.  

TikTok Analytics.

Conclusion

There’s no need to be overwhelmed when considering TikTok for your next influencer marketing campaign, because with a bit of reading, you’ll be ready to get started in no time.

As an emerging app, influencer marketing platforms are still updating their databases to reflect the growing number of influencers on TikTok. But, come back soon to let Heepsy help you out with your next campaign!

Olivia works on the Marketing team at Heepsy as a Content Writer. She is studying for a Masters degree and likes to play sports with friends and explore new cities in her free time.
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