Founder and President of Ideas That Evoke, an influencer and social media agency focused on the beauty, lifestyle and luxury markets.
TikTok entered the social media world at the perfect time. An app that exploded in popularity with younger demographics, TikTok slowly evolved into a pandemic staple. To reach this new group of potential consumers, major companies and media outlets have jumped on the TikTok bandwagon, joining the app to improve their visibility among the younger user base. For example, the Washington Post hired a TikTok expert and now has a following of over 954K.
As brands start to incorporate TikTok into their social strategy, here are some essential tips to remember.
Leverage The Algorithm
The key to success on any platform is figuring out how to make your posts seen by as many eyes as possible. TikTok experts in our agency have been given a peek behind the curtain and know that a video gets shown to a tiny niche audience after a creator posts it. TikTok then evaluates how that small group responded, including how many people watched it all the way through, how many liked it, how many shared it, etc. If the video performs well in this small market, TikTok slowly expands the audience that sees the video. This process repeatedly happens, with the video increasingly reaching more and more people as long as it continues to perform.
Knowing this, a brand’s goal on TikTok should be to focus on users interacting with your video for the best performance.
Don’t Overthink It
Unlike other social media channels, like Instagram, TikTok content isn’t about a perfectly curated feed. Authenticity on social media has grown in importance, and the content that does well is not super edited and polished. Rather, it is genuine and organic.
A great example of this is Kraft Mac & Cheese’s account, where a video as simple as an animated running skeleton with text saying, “Thinking about all the people who forget to add water to their Kraft Mac & Cheese and start Maccidents,” has over 1 million likes.
Create A Community
Brands aren’t just looking for views and likes, though that’s still important. A brand’s goal on TikTok should be to get the viewer to purchase their product. To do so, it’s critical to build a community of followers and fans who go beyond just viewing content and comment and share it as well. An engaged fanbase provides third-party credibility while expanding the number of viewers of your content.
Creating a community isn’t easy, but the path to success can be smoothed by leaning into the communities already built on other platforms — for example, cross-posting TikTok videos on Instagram as a Reel.
Another way to build community with followers is to answer questions posted as comments. A fantastic feature on TikTok is the ability to respond to comments with a video. By creating a video response, brands can demonstrate passion and care for their fans, which builds credibility and community, while providing critical information for potential customers.
Going live on TikTok is an underrated tool that many users don’t utilize. Similar to other social platforms, going live can have a significant impact on your visibility. In our experience, recent videos will also get shown to more people right after going live, creating additional visibility for brand content.
Another beneficial tool brands should take advantage of is captions. It’s a simple tool but makes all the difference for a platform based on video and sounds when users watch with their volume off. Captions guarantee your content is fully viewable even if the user can’t have their sound on, leading to better comprehension.
Hashtags Are Essential
One critical difference between TikTok and other platforms is that, on TikTok, there are two primary tabs for users to view content: the “For You” page (similar to the Discovery page on other apps) and the “Following” feed, full of videos created by accounts that users follow.
TikTok is unique because, unlike most platforms, the “For You” page is the most-used feed. Put simply, TikTok is a place where viewers are shown content based on other videos they have liked — significantly more than accounts they follow. Therefore, to ensure your brand’s videos are showing up in users’ feeds, utilizing hashtags is critical so the app can appropriately suggest your video to users. We have found that the magic number of hashtags to use is about five. A brand should include one to two trending hashtags and two to three hashtags in your niche. To get the best results, don’t use the top hashtags in your niche — second-tier hashtags are smaller and thus easier to become a top video on.
Hop On Trends Quickly
TikTok’s popularity is rooted in the ever-changing trends and the fast-paced world of social media. Brands that have succeeded don’t take themselves too seriously and are quick to jump on those trends. An agile strategy is critical: By the time the long, drawn-out process that many businesses use of conceptualizing, planning, filming, editing, approving and posting is done, the trend is over.
For best results, I suggest giving a small creative team complete control over a TikTok program where they will have the flexibility to post quickly, increasing the odds of a video going viral.
Brands On TikTok
TikTok has significant reach and power to engage with consumers, but it is a platform that is not a natural fit for many brands. With an emphasis on authentic content, a brand’s desire for the perfectly curated feed will not lead to success on the platform.
We have already seen how many brands have successfully used TikTok to grow their brands both with paid advertising and creative organic content. However, many of these are exceptions and require a unique vision from the marketing team to create content that will perform well on TikTok.
TikTok isn’t for every brand, but if a marketing team is considering venturing into this space, the tips above can set the stage for success. Happy TikToking!
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