TikTok: How to Market Your Brand on the Rising Social Hub

abstract representation of tiktok: how to market your brand on the rising social hub

Ah, yes. TikTok. The “Vine” of Gen Z. What began as a startup app centered around short lip-synching videos has grown into a flourishing hub for content creation. As one of the most downloaded apps in the world, it’s no surprise that big brands such as Chipotle, Guess and the NBA have found ways to utilize this large platform for their own gain.

With large areas of the world being ordered to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok downloads reached 6.2M in the US during the month of March. Additionally, TikTok’s gross revenue raised 34% in just one week.

Since TikTok is still such a young app, many marketers are left wondering if starting an account is even worth it. Rest assured, in order to entice brands and capitalize on their momentum, TikTok has been hard at work developing a new self-serving ad platform that aims to reach targeted audiences and track ad performance in real-time.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, a simple, standard ad or influencer campaign won’t cut it for TikTok users. Because of the creative nature of the app, brands need to find new ways to stand out and grasp the attention of their audience.

Here’s a closer look at how brands are taking advantage of this rising social platform:

The Evolution of Hashtags

Hashtags have long been used as conversation filters on social platforms. Users can search for specific hashtags and be served content that matches what they’re looking for. TikTok promotes hashtag usage in the same way, but with a slight twist.

One of the many unique features of TikTok is the overwhelming participation in hashtag challenges that users create. Anyone can create a challenge with specific directions for users to follow, along with a corresponding hashtag that makes it easy for users to search and find. For example, Jimmy Fallon created the #TumbleWeedChallenge where he asked viewers to submit videos showing themselves rolling on the ground like a tumbleweed set to western music. While this challenge seemed totally bizarre, it actually generated over 8,000 submissions and 9-million views in just one week.

Chipotle found their voice on TikTok by reposting The Guacamole Song and included the caption “#GuacDance.” This sparked the #GuacDance challenge, which became the highest performing branded challenge on TikTok. The challenge received 250,000 video submissions and 430 million views during it’s six-day run.

Influencer Marketing Reinvented

Traditional influencer marketing has grown in popularity across a wide range of social platforms. Influencers have created a realm of marketing techniques that consumers actually want to see. This still holds true on TikTok.

Just as we’ve seen on Instagram and Youtube, influencers are creating video content featuring sponsored products that they share with their audience. But instead of just talking about the product, influencers are finding new ways to make marketing creative.

For example, Vera Bradley X Venues self-care products employed a TikTok influencer to spread the word that these products were now available at Target. The influencer created a montage of short video clips that showed her visiting Target, buying the Vera Bradley products and using them at home to prep for her first day of school. Although the caption clearly states that this post is an ad, the video feels like content that the influencer would naturally create on her own.

This marketing tactic is a great way for brands to promote their products in an authentic way that consumers will trust.

Get Creative

TikTok is a hub for humor, experimenting and creativity. Some examples of creative content that brands are taking advantage of include:

  • Try-on videos for clothing companies
  • Step-by-step product tutorials
  • Showcasing recipes and cooking skills in restaurants
  • User-friendly assembly videos for products that require at-home assemble

TikTok marketing may not appeal to everyone on the outside, but as the number of daily users continues to rise, it’s proving to be a smart trend to take advantage of. Taking a closer look at successful branded content may just inspire you to create an account.