In successful social media platforms, perhaps no other forum has experienced the same meteoric rise to fame as TikTok. After absorbing the Musicl.ly app in 2018, TikTok grew exponentially, with active user counts growing from 133 million in 2018 to 700 million in 2020 and over one billion users by the end of 2021.
While brands have been exploring ways to capitalize on this app— especially in light of the global pandemic— there’s still ample opportunity for smaller brands to carve out a piece of the pie. TikTok has yet to succumb to the controversial algorithms and paid ad schemes of Facebook and Instagram and opens the door to the next generation of engaged consumers.
If your brand is looking to capitalize on this powerful platform, utilize this guide to learn how to properly use TikTok for your marketing strategy.
Video Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2022
Brands without a video marketing strategy are doing themselves a disservice, especially in our modern consumer landscape. Much of TikTok’s success as an app was related to timing. Video consumption was already on the rise, and the pandemic caused a massive spike in social media use and mobile browsing. Suddenly, people found themselves with nothing to do and nowhere to go for the first time in over a century— TikTok became a beacon of hope.
According to Cisco’s Annual Internet Report, it’s estimated that by the end of Q1 of 2022, video consumption will make up 82% of all internet traffic, up from 73% in 2016. Furthermore, videos tend to have better engagement, reach, and retention than images and text alone.
What does this mean for marketers in 2022?
WP Dev Shed says, if your business doesn’t already have a broader video marketing strategy in place, it’s time to re-evaluate your approach. Then, a focused TikTok strategy will fit nicely into your broader marketing efforts and align with social media trends.
Considering Your Overall Marketing Strategy
When considering how to use TikTok for business growth fits into your overall marketing strategy, there are various factors to evaluate. Here are some starting points to begin to determine how TikTok marketing will fit into your existing marketing efforts.
Allocating Your Budget
One of the biggest concerns when exploring a new marketing channel is spend. One of the primary benefits of using TikTok for business is that videos don’t have to be polished or professional; consumers love the authenticity of this app.
Yet, while your company can make profitable TikTok videos on an iPhone, it’s still a time-consuming process. Additionally, if you opt for paid marketing efforts through this platform, your costs will increase.
Take some time to consider the budgetary needs and how you can reallocate effectively to get a basic execution plan in place.
Consider Your Required Resources and Tools
Within the bigger budgeting bucket, you’ll also need to identify your required resources and tools for creating original content. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, consider your strategies with other platforms. For example, with Instagram marketing, you have to plan photoshoots, editing tools, how to remove people from photos (learn more here), identify scheduling tools, etc. Use what your team has learned by implementing new platforms in the past as a guideline for the future.
While equipment and overhead costs are affordable for TikTok marketing and other video marketing efforts, the main resource draw will be on time. Planning out exciting content and putting it together takes longer than snapping photos. While you’ll be able to convey more during a shorter period of time, scripting, editing, and shooting will require a dedicated team.
Considering Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has revolutionized how businesses connect with consumers and sell products over the past decade. With influencer marketing campaign efforts on track to reach $13.8 billion annually, it’s time for all brands, great and small, to consider how they can capitalize on this social media revolution.
TikTok influencer marketing is still relatively new, with fewer brands taking advantage of this opportunity than they are through other channels. Consider whether partnering with content creators fits with your brand’s marketing goals and the best way to execute this strategy. This consideration will also play into your overall marketing budget, as you’ll need to determine whether you’ll take an affiliate approach with micro-influencers or opt for flat, up-front payments with more established macro-influencers.
Outlining Your Sales Funnel
Consider your overall goals with TikTok and how this platform fits into your sales funnel. When it comes to direct leads to your site, TikTok doesn’t have the same native selling features as Instagram or Facebook. However, this visually-driven app still offers the opportunity to add one link to your bio.
Determine whether your TikTok strategy’s main purpose will be brand awareness and audience-building or if you have aspirations for further down the sales funnel. Take the time to outline how it works with your other platforms and overarching marketing goals.
Create a Repurposing Strategy
Finally, before you start making new content, put a repurposing strategy in place. Look at the content you already have— blogs, podcasts, Instagram posts, etc.— and evaluate what tidbits and information you can use to create your initial posts.
Next, take a high-level overview of how you’ll distribute your TikTok videos. In addition to posting natively within the app, you can also convert your TikTok content to Instagram Stories or Reels and Pinterest Idea posts for further reach across various social media channels without recreating the wheel.
Tips for Implementing a Strong TikTok Strategy
Now that you’ve evaluated how TikTok fits into your overall strategy, it’s time to start planning around the app. Here are some practical tips for implementing a robust TikTok content strategy.
Create a Long-Term Content Calendar
Start by drafting a long-term content calendar, outlining at least a month of content. The goal with TikTok— as with any other social media platform— is consistent posting. It’s better to outline a strategy of posting three new videos a week and succeeding versus a strategy to post every day while failing.
In other words, do less, better.
When outlining the content calendar, draft the steps it takes to make a publish-ready TikTok video. Include everything from brainstorming sessions to storyboarding to editing and beyond. This exercise will help you create a realistic timeline and strategy to generate a workflow.
Consider using a project management tool like ClickUp to help outline the process. Continue with a lighter content posting schedule until you create a sustainable workflow before scaling up.
Video TikTok Dreams Viral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtzVKUCZE5w
Monitor TikTok Trends
While having a long-term strategy is a must, it’s equally important to take an adaptable approach when using TikTok. TikTok trends are powerful yet fleeting, and you must act fast to take advantage of them. You may recall the Dreams TikTok trend featuring Nathan Apodaca sipping cranberry juice on his longboard as he sang along to Fleetwood Mac’s classic number. This viral trend racked up millions of views within the first few days, increased the song’s streams on Spotify by 88% in three days, and was even recreated by Stevie Nicks herself.
Like many social media trends, the key to capitalizing on the increased reach from these trends is to act fast, even if it doesn’t fit your scheduled events. Create a pivot plan for these opportunities, brainstorming how to fit your brand voice and values into each trend as it arises.
Many marketing teams are taking a more flexible approach to their long-term content plan by outlining what topic they want to cover, then reviewing up-and-coming trends each week to make something fit. Determine whether this flexible approach is better for your business after getting established.
Conduct Hashtag Research
Just when you thought you could escape hashtags for good, TikTok brought them back in a big way. Engaging in hashtag research is a must for making traction within the app. Ideally, the relevant hashtags you choose will fit the core content of the video while being in alignment with your brand.
When it comes to TikTok, it’s best to have fewer, better hashtags than the 30 allowable and recommended on Instagram. Keep in mind that TikTok captions only allow 100 characters, including your copy.
Conducting hashtag research for TikTok marketing is relatively straightforward. Type in a seed keyword into the search bar, and you’ll see several variations to try in your video. It’s beneficial to have a blend of both higher traction keywords and a few niche hashtags as well.
Create an Engagement Strategy
One thing that rings true across all platforms is that a post-and-go strategy won’t work; you must create an engaged audience by interacting and nourishing relationships. As TikTok has higher engagement rates, that often means responding to many comments on a single post. Furthermore, TikTok videos are more evergreen than Instagram posts, meaning older videos could see a resurgence at any time.
Create an engagement strategy for how you’ll interact with your target audience through this app. Assigning resources to this task should also be outlined in your marketing strategy overview.
One of the most exciting features of TikTok is that you can respond to comments with new videos. This feature creates the opportunity for new inspiration and added traction on existing content themes— another reason why having a blend of scheduled and flex content can be beneficial.
Start and Participate in TikTok Challenges
Video of TikTok Chipoltle Challenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=619Qt61paHo
Chipoltle became the leading TikTok for business success story, breaking the internet and the company’s profit forecasting with their famous #guacdance hashtag challenge. This simple challenge encouraged their audience to share funny videos of their dance, showcasing their love of avocados. It ended up reaching 430 million views and 250,000 video submission responses in six days while also driving up in-store guacamole sales up by 68% over the campaign.
Participating in other brands’ challenges is an excellent way to take advantage of TikTok trend algorithms while forming connections with non-competitive allies. Yet, on a platform where being an original thinker is prioritized, it’s also integral to consider starting TikTok hashtag challenges of your own to help encourage user-generated content for repurposing.
As you craft your overall TikTok marketing strategy, hold some blue sky strategy sessions to develop new and original challenges from your brand.
Create a Paid Ad Strategy
TikTok was a beautiful, ad-free place that created even footing for all brands and users for a while. However, it’s recently transformed into a typical social network by becoming a paid advertising platform, offered various paid ad and sponsorship options within the app to generate revenue and appeal to bigger brands.
While it’s recommended that brands start to build an organic presence on the app before investing in paid advertising, it can also be beneficial to consider what that might look like in the future.
The primary types of TikTok ads include:
- In-feed ads – these ads post natively in the TikTok feed, automatically playing after a user-posted video on the “For You Page” and include a CTA button with an external link.
- Brand takeover – these costly ads take over the entire app upon opening, with no option to interact or swipe out, and include both internal and external linking options.
- Top-view ads – these ads are a hybrid of brand takeover and in-feed ads, showcasing as the first video on the FYP page when the app is opened.
- Branded challenges – sponsored challenges leverage the TikTok algorithm to boost reach and engagement with your brand challenge (though you can create an unpaid challenge).
- Brand effects – filters and editing overlays that feature your brand elements (similar to Snapchat filters).
Many brands find success with an organic-only strategy or by investing marketing spend in collaborations with influencers. However, it’s best to know all the options when you start crafting your TikTok strategy.
Analyze Data and Adjust
It’s rare for things to go right the first time, even with careful planning. Your team may get immersed in the app and find that something unexpected resonates with audiences resulting in viral content. Conversely, some videos might do exceptionally well while what you consider your most entertaining videos fall flat.
Take the time to do a deep dive, identifying and tracking KPIs to measure your success on TikTok. Some of the top KPIs to monitor include:
- Audience demographics – who is consuming your content?
- Views per video – how many people are seeing each video?
- Profile views – how many people take an interest in your brand after discovering a video?
- Watch and completion times – how much of your videos are people viewing before bouncing?
- Engagement metrics – what are the likes, comments, etc.?
- Follower count – how does this number change over time?
These metrics act as great starting points for tracking the effectiveness of your overall strategy and subsequent campaigns.
Many small businesses and brand marketers are intimidated by how fast TikTok moves, as things look different from one day to the next. However, this ever-evolving landscape creates an opportunity to jump in and explore new ideas in content marketing.
TikTok isn’t going anywhere— and neither will your brand if you don’t come along for the ride.