Written by Ariana Savci, Influencer Marketing Manager
MuteSix, one of the first TikTok Agency Partners
If you’ve been in the app store lately you might’ve noticed this logo to right holding it’s spot in one of the top ten free apps for quite some time. This app is called TikTok, featuring short 15 to 60 second short videos, which are soundtracked by music clips. Content is comedic, on-trend, and interactive. It sits amongst other popular social apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. It is one of the fastest growing social platforms in history.
As of November 2019 TikTok has over 1 billion users on its platform in 150 countries and has been downloaded over 123 million times. If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age 13 and 30, you should be on TikTok right now. Users have all sorts of tools at their disposal right in the app: amazing filters, effects and sounds to score your video. Unlike our old friend Vine, TikTok has created a one stop shop for editing. Users don’t need to use third party apps to create interesting content.
Users can engage with one another through “response” videos or by means of “duets” — users can duplicate videos and add themselves alongside. Hashtags actually exist as a real, functional organizing principle: not for news, or even really anything trending anywhere else than TikTok, but for various “challenges,” or jokes, or repeating formats, or other forms of activity.
“If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age 13 and 30, you should be on TikTok right now.”
Instagram’s “Discover” page includes images that may somewhat relate or interest you but TikTok's similar “For You” page has an even more advanced and engaging algorithm. With a full vertical screen experience, users dive down a rabbit hole of curated content. The app allows users to easily connect, create friendships, and collab with others. Every week there’s new trends, which makes it easy to go viral and increases the potential for popularity. Creators have identified this supportive environment to grow followers and have left Instagram for TikTok. Not only that, but the engagement rate on TikTok is absolutely wild.
If I haven’t sold you on why you should be on TikTok at this point, here are a few more statistics that showcase how powerful this app is and is still becoming…
How can a brand engage with TikTok Creators like we do Instagram Influencers?
- TikTok has about 800 million monthly active users with about 60 million of those being in the United States
- TikTok users spend 52 minutes in the app on average a day
- A user opens TikTok 8 times per day on average
- Of their users, 60% are female, 40% are male
- Of their users 60% are between the ages of 16-24 and 26% are between the ages 25-44
- 60% of TikTok users are GenZers and next year, 74 million people in the U.S. will be part of “GenZ”, which will make it the largest generation of all
Working with TikTok Creators has its similarities to working with influencers on Instagram but because these social media platforms differ in the content you create there are a few differences in strategy that you need to think about as a brand. To make it easier, I’ve laid out the 5 steps to working with TikTok Creators…
Identify your audience
Select the right TikTok Creators
Develop content concepts and creative brief
Outreach to TikTokCreators with collaboration opportunity
Make sure the content has trackable conversions
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE
One of the first steps in working with creators on TikTok to promote your brand is identifying whether or not it is appropriate for the age demographic that is currently using TikTok. For example if your product or service is geared towards men and women between the ages of 30 to 50, TikTok might not be the best platform to do your influencer marketing. Remember, roughly 50% of TikTok's global audience is under the age of 34 with 26% between 18 and 24. This isn’t to say that TikTok won’t expand into an older demographic in the future, it very well could, but right now it’s sitting with a younger demographic.
If you have identified that your brand is on target with TikTok's age demographic the next step is to decide if your product/service is for men, women or both genders. Just like working with Instagram influencers you will want to choose your TikTok Creator’s gender based on the use of the product/service you are trying to promote.
Next you’ll need to decide how your brand can be displayed by a creator on TikTok. With Instagram we are often used to product images with an influencer on a static feed or Instagram stories that include a review of the product. TikTok is not the place for videos of people talking about a product, users on TikTok will quickly be bored by this type of content. If they wanted that type of content they would be on Instagram. Like I mentioned before, TikTok videos are creative short form content that either include a sound or music as a score or are quality comedy that keeps the user interested. Here’s a good example of a brand collaboration on TikTok that showcases the brand and also does it in a way that stays in line with TikTok's type of content. This is pretty much the same strategy you would employ for the rest of your influencer campaigns.
One of the best ways to come up with ideas to promote your product on TikTok is to get on the app and scroll through the For You Page for about 20 to 30 mins. Quickly you’ll catch on to the trends and type of content that these users are interested in. If you are able to come up with some ideas of how your product can be used by a TikTok creator in a video, then the next step is to choose your creators!
STEP 2: SELECT THE RIGHT TIKTOK CREATORS
While TikTok has made a Creator Marketplace that brands and agencies can request to join, the platform is ever growing with influential creators every week. For example, popular TikTok creator Charli D’Amelio reached 6.2 million followers on TikTok is just 4 months, and has a total of 123.7 million likes across all of her videos. That’s why it’s important for you or your campaign manager to get on TikTok and start exploring through hashtags and challenges to see who the hottest creator is at this very moment.
Unlike Instagrams current algorithm that often makes even the best content not get as much engagement as it deserves, TikTok's algorithm essentially allows quality content to go viral. While follower count is no doubt important when choosing a creator to work with on TikTok, it’s equally as important to look at the content they are making and identify how much engagement each of their videos gets. It’s possible for a creator with over 100k followers to only get 3,000 likes on a video. And unlike Instagram, you cannot blame your decrease in likes on the algorithm because if the content is good on TikTok you will go viral. TikTok users spend less time in their following page and more time on the For You Page. Think of it like the discover page on any other social media app
When a user posts a video on TikTok, that video automatically ends up on a few other users For You Pages at random, if the content is interesting to those users that are served it on their FYP they will watch the full video and maybe give it a like. The more users who engage with the content on the FYP will ensure it ends up on other FYPs. You can get served content on your FYP from months before, so the reach is huge if you choose the right creators who have the ability to make good viral videos on TikTok.
You want to look at the TikTok creators who have consistent views, likes and comments on the past 10 videos on their feed. That will be the best indicator that they are a good influencer to work with.
If you aren’t seeing any creators on TikTok's Marketplace that you would want to work with, there’s an easy way to find some creators organically through the app. Use the hashtag search and type in something that relates to your brand.
For example, if your brand is a makeup product try searching #makeuptutorial or #makeup on the app. Look through some of the top videos, check out the users that posted them, look at their profiles and other video’s success. Look through the hashtags, the most popular videos will often show up first. From this you can come up with a good list of creators that would be good to promote your makeup product on TikTok.
STEP 3: DEVELOP CONTENT CONCEPTS AND CREATIVE BRIEF
When working with TikTok Creators, you might want to be more specific in your content asks to ensure you get the best results. TikTok videos are popular when they include several or one of the following:
- Music or Sound
- Lip syncing
Remember, you want to build content that centers around your marketing strategy without overtly calling it out. If your brand isn't super used to building video content, don't sweat the details.
If you have an idea in mind, outline it in a creative brief that you will share with the creator once you’ve confirmed a collaboration. It is important to outline your asks before you begin your outreach because if you are looking for a specific type of talent in TikTok video creation, you will need to be sure that the creators you’ve picked to reach out to have it. Remember, you want this to play out organically and not have it feel like one of thousands of video ads your audience has ignored.
Here are some good examples of each of the outlined “talents” that you could be looking for in TikTok video creation:
Music or Sound: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4, Example #5, Example #6, Example #7, Example #8
Narrative: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4, Example #5, Example #6
Dance: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4
Lip Syncing: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3,
Transitions: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4
Interactivity: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3
Challenges: Example #1, Example #2, Example #3
If you aren’t sure what kind of video would work creatively or catch attention you can ask the creator if they have any ideas or thoughts on what would work. Remember, they are the ones who are able to get their videos to scale on the platform, so they know the best techniques to ensure maximum reach. TikTok is an app that allows you to lean on the influencer to come up with the best ideas for a brand collaboration. One thing you’ll want to be sure you provide them with once you confirm a collaboration is a short list of value props, tag lines, hashtags etc. Be sure to give them enough information on the brand or product/service for them to develop an idea for the video.
STEP 4: OUTREACH TO TIKTOK CREATORS
Once you’ve identified a list of TikTok creators you would like to work with and crafted a creative brief and or basic outlines for the collaboration, you will need to look for the Creator's contact information. Since TikTok isn’t as advanced in the influencer space as Instagram is for example, it might be harder to find contact information. A good TikTok campaign needs the right creators to have any impact.
The steps outlined below are the best to follow if you can’t find a TikTok Creator’s contact information in the TikTok Creator Marketplace:
- Check their TikTok profile to see if their contact info is listed in their bio
- Check to see if they’ve linked their Instagram account on their TikTok profile, go to their Instagram account from there and see if their contact info is listed
- Check to see if they’ve linked their YouTube account on their TikTok profile, go the about section and see if there’s any info that can lead you to a way to contact them
TikTok does not allow DMs between two accounts that do not follow each other. (this is to protect the significantly younger demographic that is on TikTok). If you can’t find contact information with the steps above, then you can resort to the below options if you would still like to reach out to that specific Creator:
- Create a TikTok account on behalf of the brand and comment on the Creator’s video asking if there’s a good email address to contact them at for collaborations
- If they have their Instagram account connected but no contact information listed on there either, go to Instagram and send them a DM asking for their contact information
- If they are a large enough TikTok Creator trying Googling their contact information or see if they have any type of website or other social media accounts out there that could give you that information
STEP 5: MAKE SURE YOU CAN TRACK CONVERSIONS
Like in any influencer marketing campaign, in order to make sure you get your return on investment (ROI), you need to include something in the creator’s content that ensures you can track the success of the partnership between the brand and the Creator.
To do this you will first need to identify your goal for working with TikTok influencers:
- Increase social traffic (ie followers on instagram, facebook etc.)
- Drive revenue
- Create content
- Brand awareness
Increase Social Traffic
There’s a few ways you can increase social traffic on your Instagram or Facebook from a creators post on TikTok. One way is to create a giveaway, and when the creator posts their branded TikTok video they can include in the caption outlining how you can win something by entering this giveaway. In order to enter the giveaway one of the steps can be to follow the brand’s Instagram or Facebook page. To track the growth over time you can use a tool like SquareLovin to see how many followers and or engagement the accounts are getting over the period of the campaign.
The easiest way to drive revenue through TikTok videos at this present moment is through discount codes. This will be the only way to really see what revenue is being driven from a TikTok creators post. TikTok doesn’t have stories that include swipe up links like Instagram does so your best bet is to ask the creator to include a personalized discount code in the caption of their video, or as overlaying text and drive the viewer to purchase using their discount code.
If your goal is to create content that you can repurpose for ADs there’s a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. Since TikTok uses music and sound in it’s videos you’ll want to instruct your creators to either use no music or make sure you have the rights to a specific song. A brand can also make a TikTok account and upload their own sound if they have one already created for the brand, you can find instructions on how to do that here. The only hurdle you’ll have here is to make sure you don’t have copyrighted sound. Other than that, you will probably be able to get some quality content that you can piece together in a mashup for ADs and test how it does on other networks.
Since challenges are extremely popular on TikTok, one of the best ways to increase brand awareness is to select some TikTok creators to take part in a challenge that encourages their viewers to partake as well. You can reference some of the challenge examples videos listed in Step #3 to get some inspiration for a good challenge that increases awareness of your brand.