TikTok marketing is quickly emerging as one of the best ways to connect with consumers, drive brand loyalty, and generate new opportunities online. Once considered a relatively niche social media platform designed primarily for younger audiences, TikTok is now a global powerhouse.
The platform is home to more than 1.53 billion users, ranging from Gen Z influencers to worldwide celebrities. What’s more, studies show that TikTok outshines the majority of other social channels in terms of overall engagement.
According to benchmarks released in 2022, TikTok has an average engagement rate of 5.95%, that’s much higher than Instagram (3.86%), Facebook (0.8%), and even YouTube (0.63%). Of course, just because TikTok has the potential to deliver exceptional results to brands doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be promoting your brand without the right strategy.
Here’s everything you need to know to master TikTok marketing in 2023 from Growth Collective, home to TikTok consultants and freelance social media experts.
What is TikTok Marketing (and Why Do You Need It)?
TikTok marketing is a branch of social media advertising focused on the fastest-growing platform in the modern world. Now available in over 150 countries, TikTok is a video and content-sharing platform focused primarily on fast-paced, short videos and authentic content.
When it first launched, TikTok was primarily popular among customers between the ages of 10-19. However, while younger Gen Z consumers still make up the majority of the platform’s users, there’s still scope for companies to reach a variety of leads on this platform.
While TikTok might not be the ultimate social media marketing platform for every brand, it’s ideally suited to a wide variety of businesses.
The companies most likely to benefit from TikTok marketing are:
- Companies with a younger target audience: Though there are various demographics on TikTok today, around 71.3% of all TikTok users fall between the ages of 18 and 34. If you’re trying to reach younger millennials and Gen Z, this is the platform for you.
- Brands with tangible products: TikTok is great for showing tangible products in action. Some of the highest-rated videos are the platforms that include creators showing off beauty and fashion products, as well as home décor items and food or drink.
- Businesses looking for content differentiation: 79% of TikTok users say they visit the platform to find new and different content. If you’re looking to expand your branding strategy and showcase your company in a new light, TikTok is a great choice.
- Organizations looking for awareness: Tapping into new trends is a great way to raise awareness for your brand on TikTok. Many smaller brands and creators have achieved fame simply by participating in duets and hashtag challenges.
10 Tips for Better TikTok Marketing
TikTok is a fast-moving and ever-evolving social platform. The content on the channel is consistently influenced by its users, who always appear to be looking for new trends. If you want to get ahead in the TikTok marketing world, you’ll need to be prepared to develop an agile marketing strategy that can adapt rapidly to changing interests.
However, some strategies appear to be particularly effective at gaining and boosting attention on TikTok. Here are some of the best ways to master TikTok marketing in 2023.
1. Find Your Hook
TikTok is a platform with a huge focus on speed. People scroll through and consume content quickly. This means if you want to keep people around and boost social media engagement, you need to rapidly capture their attention with the right hook. When creating a video for TikTok, make sure you share something interesting or entertaining in the first couple of seconds.
Options might include:
- Asking your customers a question to pique their curiosity
- Showing a funny or interesting image
- Making a bold statement
- Highlighting the value of the video with captions
- Using audio to make your video stand out
A great example of a company that knows how to use hooks to its advantage is Fenty Beauty. The company uses stunning, eye-catching shots and captions to rapidly engage its audience’s attention. Additionally, Fenty regularly creates custom sounds to ensure they’re not just reaching their audience from a visual perspective but from an audio angle too. For instance, this simple Fenty video achieved almost 30k views within about a week:
2. Follow the Trends
Successful TikTok marketing relies heavily on your ability to understand and respond to the latest trends in your target market. The trends on the channel are constantly evolving, so it’s worth paying attention to what’s hot in your industry or checking out the videos created by your competitors.
One of the best ways to make sure your content stays fresh is to take advantage of memes. Since TikTok appeals to a younger audience, memes always seem to work well on the channel.
For example, the GymShark company regularly produces new content based on trending memes, connecting well-known images and statements to its own products. This particular video earned more than 160k views within a week because it was funny, relevant, and shareable:
Other ways to take advantage of trends might include:
- Checking out the content your target audience is sharing regularly
- Keeping up to date with news and events in your industry
- Paying attention to TikTok Hashtag challenges such as #ShopBlack
3. Always Use Music in Your Content
Although TikTok is a highly visual platform, it sets itself apart from other competing channels like Instagram and Facebook by allowing users to experiment with audio. In fact, around 88% of TikTok users say they think sound is essential to their browsing experience.
What’s more, around 73% of people on TikTok say they would stop and look at obvious ads on TikTok, provided they had the right audio included.
Fortunately, adding sound to a TikTok video is extremely simple. You can tap on the “+” button on the bottom of the app screen to create your video, then simply click “Sounds” from the top of the camera screen. TikTok will show you which sounds are already trending, so you know what’s hot in your space. You can also bookmark sounds that work well for your brand or create your own.
Make sure you’re using sounds that stand out to your target audience. In 2022, Meghan Trainor’s song “Made You Look” was massive on TikTok, with about 1.7 million videos using the same audio clip. The key to making your video stand out above the rest is ensuring you add your own unique personality to the mix. For instance, Sony Music Ireland used a celebrity appearance in their video to attract some extra views:
4. Know Your Niche
This tip actually applies to all forms of social media and content marketing, regardless of whether you’re posting on Instagram or TikTok. However, it’s still a crucial part of ensuring your campaigns are successful. Knowing your target audience and the type of content they consume most will make it easier to produce videos that generate likes, hits, and shares.
The best way to collect as much information about your niche as possible is with research. Look at the target market that interacts with you most on other social channels, and list their demographics, pain points, interests, and behaviors. Check out what other brands in your space are doing, and find out what kind of videos are linked to hashtags in your industry on TikTok.
For instance, Lad Bible knows its target audience is generally made up of younger customers looking for funny, tongue-in-cheek content. As such, they’re not afraid to experiment with a wide range of different, fun, and playful videos, like this one:
Lad Bible also regularly shares content contributed by its audience and creates playlists for different kinds of videos based on the categories it knows its customers enjoy, such as humorous, news-based, or wholesome clips.
5. Work with Creators and Influencers
Perhaps more than any other social media platform, TikTok is the home of the creator economy. It’s where younger influencers and micro-influencers thrive, so it’s an excellent platform to pursue if you want to boost your authority and credibility. TikTok even has its own creator marketplace where companies can search for potential influencers to work with.
The key to success with TikTok influencer marketing, just like any influencer campaign, is to find the right partner for your needs. Research the target audience and engagement levels of each creator you consider working with, and experiment with strategies such as:
- Reviews: Influencers can showcase your products with quick reviews and how-to guides, drawing attention to the core benefits of whatever you sell. You can even consider sending free products to a range of influencers to ask for their assistance.
- Video collaborations: With influencers, you can produce a variety of videos as part of a comprehensive campaign drawing attention to your products. You might experiment with musical duets or fun guide-based videos.
- Product collaborations: If you can grab the attention of a major influencer in the TikTok industry, they might be willing to work with you on the production of a new product line. You’ll just need to make sure you have the budget to invest in development.
Even sharing content from other influencers can be a great way to boost your appeal to your target audience on TikTok. For instance, the GAP company shared content from @YoungBlackDad in 2022 to capture the attention of his 2.8 million followers.
6. Avoid Overly Corporate Content
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when first getting involved with content marketing is assuming they can continue to produce the same kind of content they would make for other channels. Ultimately, TikTok is designed to be a fun social media platform focused on entertainment.
If you have a relatively stuffy and professional appearance on other channels, TikTok could be your opportunity to show another side of your company. For instance, one of the biggest TikTok channels in the world right now is Duolingo, thanks to the approach they’ve taken to creating fun content.
Tired of being seen as a boring “language learning” app, Duolingo invested in making its mascot the core of its TikTok marketing campaign. By giving the mascot a fun and somewhat outlandish personality, Duolingo rapidly grabbed the attention of millions of followers.
For instance, one of the company’s most recent videos has earned a massive 8.9 million views, and it only features two pictures in a simple carousel:
7. Get Geographical
One of the best things about TikTok marketing is you can use the platform to gain rapid attention, regardless of whether you’re running a huge global brand or a small local business.
If you have a specific target audience in a certain region, creating content specifically for that niche is often a good bet. You can either produce a single TikTok account showcasing all of your locations and make the most of geographical hashtags, or you can create different channels for each region you serve. For instance, Lays has a TikTok channel for a range of different countries.
While all of the channels convey the same brand messaging and ideals, the content varies drastically, thanks to Lays’ understanding of its target audience. Check out this post from Lays Thailand, for instance:
Compared to the content on the universal Lays brand account:
Creating different accounts for different segments of your audience is a great way to ensure you’re developing highly personalized posts for each type of customer.
8. Connect with Your Followers
Comments are a major factor in defining which TikTok posts rise to the top of the pack. If you want your TikTok marketing efforts to pay off, then you should be constantly looking for ways to convince your customers to interact with you.
There are plenty of ways to boost your chances of getting comments on TikTok, from producing thought-producing content to working with influencers. However, the easiest option is to simply ask your audience questions.
For instance, influencer Dylan Mulvaney made a post asking her followers to assist her in choosing the best Halloween outfit and received nearly 50 thousand comments in response.
Another way to boost your comments on TikTok is to actually reply when customers reach out to you. Responding to comments helps to boost your ranking with the TikTok algorithm, and it will ensure you can establish a genuine relationship with your target audience.
For example, @erikatitus has more than 3.9 million followers on her TikTok account, but she still makes time to reply to comments as often as she can:
9. Always Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a major factor on a lot of social media platforms, including Instagram and Twitter. They also play a major role in your visibility on TikTok. There’s a reason why so many TikTokers still clutter the caption of their videos with dozens of tags. The key to optimizing your TikTok marketing strategy is figuring out which hashtags to use.
First, make sure you’re examining all of the popular and trending hashtags in your industry. That means not just using #FYP or #ForYouPage on all of your posts. Use tags that are relevant to your industry and target audience. You can also create your own hashtags, just like you would on Instagram, to encourage user-generated content.
For example, Shopify posted the #ShopifyDisplay hashtag on their marketing campaign and earned a variety of fantastic user-generated videos in return:
If you’re not sure which hashtags will work for you, try conducting a competitive analysis of other TikTok users in your niche. Using the same tags as your competitors is a good way to boost your chances of reaching the same target audience.
10. Learn from What Works and What Doesn’t
Finally, a few things are more important to boost your chances of TikTok marketing success than paying attention to your analytics. If you have a Business or Creator account on TikTok, which you should have for promotional purposes, then you’ll gain access to a range of analytics.
You’ll be able to track which of your posts get the most views, likes, and comments in an instant and even find out more about who your target audience is. Use what you learn to figure out which campaigns you should replicate in the future and which you should avoid. You can also use your TikTok analytics to:
- Experiment with new forms of video: Trends on TikTok are constantly changing, along with the types of videos that go viral. Experimenting with different styles, filters, and even content strategies can give you a good idea of what works for your audience.
- Post at the right time: Timing counts on TikTok. According to some studies, the best time to post is usually around 9 pm on a weekday or 7 am on a Sunday. However, the timing that works well for your audience can vary depending on your industry or location. Pay attention to when your followers are most likely to be active.
- Track viewing habits: TikTok analytics also allows you to see how many videos your viewers listened to, compared to how many they watched. If you know many of your customers aren’t watching your content with the sound turned on, you can consider adding captions to make sure you still get the right message across.
Mastering TikTok Marketing
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for striking gold with TikTok marketing. Like with any social media channel, you’ll need to experiment with your content strategy and learn as much as you can about your target audience if you want to drive the right results.
However, the research clearly shows that the tips above do pay dividends. If you’re just getting started with TikTok marketing for the first time, make sure you follow the steps covered in this post to get the most from your investment. Alternatively, if you need help making sure you really stand out on the world’s fastest-growing social media platform, you can reach out to Growth Collective.
Our hand-picked TikTok experts can assist with everything from producing TikTok marketing strategies to analyzing data and connecting you with influencers. Contact us today to find your TikTok marketing guru.