Using TikTok to spice up your marketing strategy

The immensely popular video app TikTok has its foot planted firmly in the social media landscape. With over 2 billion downloads, TikTok is currently one of the most widely used social media platforms in the world and is particularly successful with teens and young adults.  It's a good opportunity to check if it fits in your digital marketing strategy.

The principle is simple: TikTok allows users to create and share short, creative 15” or 60" videos. These videos mainly feature music, dancing, lip-syncing and even sketches. TikTok is about trending topics and musical challenges that are identified by means of hashtags. When you see a video with a specific hashtag or soundtrack you like, you can save it and make your own version of it.

Selected content and hashtags

TikTok users get content offered to them via their For You page. It shows all the movies that TikTok recommends based on your interest, interaction and previously viewed videos. But as a user you can also search for certain trends and challenges. To make sure that other users see your version of a video when you participate in a challenge, using the hashtag is the way to go.

Organic content with an extra-wide reach

While, for instance, the Instagram algorithm barely makes your organic content visible, TikTok does exactly the opposite. Unlike Instagram, you don't need thousands of followers on TikTok to be successful. One viral video can immediately trigger thousands of followers. This makes TikTok more accessible and better suited to reach a large number of people over a short period of time.

Okay, but is TikTok really relevant to my brand?

Admittedly, TikTok is not a the holy grail of marketing channels for every company or brand. But for B2C brands that target mainly young people, TikTok holds great marketing opportunities. The platform is often used to make young people aware of important topics, like covid-19 or social/ethical themes. Moreover, the creative possibilities of the platform are quite extensive: tutorials, how-to videos, shopping guides, tips & tricks, …

Getting started with digital marketing on TikTok

As a marketer, there are two paths you can follow to start a fruitful journey on TikTok. You can create a TikTok profile for your company and create your own organic content. Or you can tap into the many possibilities to advertise on the platform.
Be aware that working with a TikTok account as a company can be quite time consuming. If your aim is to be be prominently present on the platform and build a large network, you will need to post regularly and consistently (just the way you would on other social media). Still, it’s a good way to reach lots of people in the short term on a relatively small budget.

5 smart ways to advertise on TikTok

1. Infeed native advertising

This technique can be compared to advertising on other social media. Your ad will appear on users’ For You page when they scroll between the videos. That’s why it’s best to make your ad look like a native TikTok video. You can design your ad via TikTok Ads Manager. By doing so, it will support various advertising objectives such as traffic to landing pages or app downloads. This is done through various bidding methods, comparable with the way Facebook and Instagram are doing it. Advertising on TikTok starts at € 40 a day. The example below shows you how a TikTok-ad is built up.

2. Brand takeovers

In this case, TikTok will make your ad appear immediately when the user opens the app. This can be a still image, a video or a click through to a landing page or a specific TikTok account. After a few seconds the ad disappears and the user is forwarded to the content on the For You page. But do keep in mind that a brand takeover is limited to one advertiser per day, making this an expensive option, mainly reserved for larger companies.

3. Branded hashtag challenges

Want to boost the engagement of your page and increase people’s awareness for your brand? Launch a branded hashtag challenge! In this concept you work together with TikTok to launch a sponsored challenge. Tiktok’ers are triggered to create and share content with a hashtag specifically linked to your brand.

As an example, Coca-Cola launched a successful campaign by buying the #ShareaCoke hash tag. At that time, the back of the Coca-Cola cans contained song lyrics. People were urged to share a video with the song and the hashtag. The result: 953,000 videos made by TikTok’ers - and a helluva lot of attention.

4. Branded lenses

A lens is a filter that’s designed to give photos and videos a creative extra, preferably linked to your brand. A branded filter is a cool, playful way of interacting with the target group and your brand.

5. Influencer marketing

A fifth option is to set up TikTok as a channel for influencer marketing. By working with a well-known TikTok’er who is popular with your target group, you can put your products or brand in the spotlight in a positive way. Have the TikTok’er provide a video with viral potential in his or her own particular style. And it seems to be catching on more and more. Just have a look at the ever-growing list of Belgian TikTok’ers who work as influencers for companies or brands.

3 tips to be successful on TikTok as a company

Whether you're putting a lot of effort into your TikTok videos or you’re hiring a third party to do the heavy lifting: your marketing communication will undoubtedly support your brand identity. Once you’ve nailed that, these three tips will help you implement TikTok successfully within your marketing strategy.

1. Keep it simple

What makes TikTok accessible is the low threshold to create your own content. Use trending topics or brainstorm briefly about simple ideas. You don't have to map out a whole strategy per video to reach your target group on TikTok.

2. Use trends to your advantage

TikTok is all about trends. Don’t be afraid to jump the bandwagon and put these hypes to good use. Using popular music or filters increases the reach of your video, giving it a better chance to go viral.

3. Ensure identification

Make sure that the content you create matches the interests of TikTok's target audience. Don't overload your videos with information, but keep them light and breezy with a dash of music, humor and, why not, special effects.

Conclusion

It’s quite simple: if your main target group is active on TikTok, you should be too. It’s not just a powerful channel to give your company or brand a playful edge. It also offers lots of marketing opportunities to make your digital marketing plan stronger in the short term, without having to invest a hefty budget.

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