TikTok Marketing, Should You Try it?

by Josh Barney

TikTok Marketing, Should You Try it?

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn…

…99% of you will have had some sort of interaction with ALL of these social networks.

But there’s a new social beast on the rise and its continued growth is just too big to ignore…


Many of you will have heard the name, maybe even know a few things about it, but how many of you are actually using it to market your business?

There (have been) a ton of reasons that brands have not utilised the platform yet, but the list of excuses is wearing thin…

TikTok Ignorance

The size (and the speed of growth) of TikTok is frightening and yet, most online businesses have completely ignored it in favour of other networks that are more popular in the marketing community.

I’ll give you the facts, figures and explain why TikTok should be in your thinking in just a minute, but first…

…I want you to leave your hang-ups, fears and TikTok bias’s here.

tiktok logo

When you first approach a new social network, particularly one where you have no friends, followers or little idea of its functionality, it’s common to feel overwhelmed.

But, the majority of brands are in the same shoes as you. In fact, the only real businesses that have ‘conquered’ TikTok are those with massive social media marketing teams, with the resources to explore emerging channels.

If you’re fast and effective, you can easily capture a decent slice of the TikTok pie (before your competition gets there).

Ed JC Smith talking about organic TikTok growth at EMC 2021.

The great news is that TikTok marketing offers a whole new world of potential and organic growth for businesses!

What is TikTok?  

TikTok is a video sharing social network that is only available on mobile.

TikTok videos are recorded on a vertical display (full mobile screen) and can run for up to 60 seconds (per post). Text-only posts are not available on TikTok, with the network specifically targeting video.

Video creators (TikTok Users) are given access to tons of video editing tools (much more extensive than any other social network for video) including filters, videos, timers, text and effects, as well as tons of different music and audio options.

Recording and editing are super simple for creators, making the network even more desirable and addictive for its users.

A helpful guide about TikTok marketing made by Shopify.

Post viewers have the option to like, comment and share content (from their ‘newsfeed’) as well as following the videos creator.

TikTok, A Brief History

The reason that marketers have been sceptical about a social network that is growing so rapidly, is its history.

TikTok is the birth-child of two different platforms, Musical.ly, a music video creation and sharing network (primarily used for lip-syncing) and Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.

muscial.ly logo

Musical.ly was acquired in 2017 for $800m by Bytedance, the owners of the Douyin app and the parent company of TikTok.

Bytedance retained the branding and name of Douyin in China, while relaunching Musical.ly to the rest of the world as TikTok.

Despite TikTok’s history, it’s a different platform to the aforementioned Muscial.ly and offers users a much broader range of functionality.

Why Should You Start Thinking About TikTok Marketing?  

OK, so now you know more about TikTok, let’s look at why I’ve put this post together, why you’re reading it and why TikTok is fast becoming one of the most mentioned networks in marketing…

Move Over Uber: TikTok’s parent company Bytedance is now the most valuable start-up in the world (valued at $75 Billion) which surpasses the previous occupant, Uber.

A Billion Reasons

A company executive announced that the network has more than 1 Billion monthly active users, whilst outside sources report the figure at closer to the 500 million a month mark…

…to put that in perspective, even if we take outside sources as the accurate figure, that’s more than networks like Reddit, Twitter and LinkedIn…

…but if we take TikTok’s word for it, that’s the same size as Instagram!

Download Central

TikTok was the most downloaded App in 2020 with 850 million downloads, and is the most downloaded app in 2021 surpassing FB, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix, Uber, Snapchat, Amazon, and has held the number 1 position (at some point) in over 40 country’s app stores.

User Engagement

More than 90% of TikTok users log on multiple times a day…

…and their engagement levels are sky-high!

BTW: To prove this point I created a completely new profile and recorded one of the Einstein Marketer staff with a filter and some music. I had no followers, but in less than an hour the video had 400 views, 23 likes, 3 comments and gained me 4 followers.

If I had done the same thing on another social network, the engagement and views for such a simple post wouldn’t even be comparable. 

TikTok Content 

The primary type of content that you’ll find on TikTok are either humorous, entertaining or music based videos.

I’ve spent some time searching around the app and discover pages and struggled to find much educational content. This gives brands the opportunity to share their personalities and truly open up to their audience on this platform.

A complete beginners guide to TikTok!

Challenges also do very well on the social network, with TikTok users regularly taking part in the video challenges set by the app and other users.

In addition to this, users can also share their reaction to a video and place their video over the top of somebody else’s before sharing it as their own (creating even more exposure and reach for the original post).

But…the best thing about TikTok (especially for marketers) is their newsfeed algorithm.

The majority of social networks attempt to show their user’s the best content from the people they already follow. However, TikTok has two different newsfeed-style pages:

  1. Following: These are posts from people you are already following
  2. For You: This is a feed of posts from people that you don’t follow. TikTok assembles this content by other posts you have interacted with, attempting to show you content relevant to your preferences.
tiktok foryou page

The ‘For You’ newsfeed automatically plays as soon as the TikTok app is open, encouraging users to discover new creators and find fresh and relevant content…

…and this is what makes TikTok such an amazing opportunity for brands.

The ‘For You’ feed allows users to scroll through full-screen videos that play automatically, giving your brand the chance to reach people who already like content similar to yours.

As a marketer who understands the importance of reach, TikTok is a platform that works to improve post reach like no other (and the key marketing benefit of TikTok).

TikTok Marketing

The reach and exposure of TikTok marketing makes it an amazing place to generate brand awareness, reach new audiences, and start moving prospects through your marketing funnel.

tiktok ads marketing

If you’re able to create content that appeals to TikTok users and reach more new people on the ‘For You’ page, you’ll quickly boost your brand awareness and perhaps even your following on other social networks.

As mentioned earlier, I created a really simple video (it took about 30 seconds to record and post) and it gained more then 400 views in less than hour (as my first video, with 0 followers).

It’s this kind of reach to new audiences that can make a massive difference to your brand, especially if you take the time to consistently post on TikTok.

You could start by simply repurposing old content from other networks and analysing their performance, recording short behind-the-scenes snippets or asking staff to have some fun creating entertaining (and brand personality building) videos.

TikTok Marketing Tactics

After being on TikTok for a short period, I can see some big opportunities for brands to boost their exposure and awareness on the network.

Here are four TikTok marketing tactics, that you should consider: 

TikTok Influencers

Just like the other social networks, TikTok influencers are a real thing and they’re growing in popularity for brands.

And, similarly to Influencers on other channels, there are also ‘agency’ websites that list TikTok influencers who are open to brand collaboration. (I can’t recommend any yet, but try a Google search and see how many results it returns!).

tiktok influencers

Before going ahead with a TikTok influencer, be sure to check their content and engagement levels. Likes are one thing, but comments and shares demonstrate a real interest and care from an audience.

If you’re really smart, you could even use a TikTok influencer to help snowball our next TikTok marketing tactic… 

Brand Challenges

Challenges are incredibly popular on TikTok, providing users with regular content ideas for their followers.

Trending challenges are also featured on TikTok’s ‘Discover’ page, aggregating all the top content for a specific challenge.

This creates a great opportunity for brands to encourage users to record their own content, provide social proof and increase their reach (and exposure).

The most popular challenges on TikTok are fun, engaging and easy for the average user to record in their own environment.

The key to a successful challenge on TikTok is to quickly harness the power of the snowball effect. This may mean asking your friends and existing followers to take part and share their attempt at the challenge (at the very start)…

…or try using a TikTok influencer to reach more people!

TikTok Hashtags

The great news for social media marketers is that TikTok use hashtags to categorise content and help their users find relevant content.

I’d recommend using a hashtag on every post you publish, as well as using the #fyp and #foryou to help you become more discoverable on the For You page.

hashtags marketing

You should already have a good understanding about how to market your brand with hashtags on social, particularly Twitter and Instagram

…but just in case you don’t, or your Hashtag strategy isn’t working as well as you’d want, you should read more about How to Use Instagram Hashtags (and How Not to), and apply this knowledge to TikTok!

TikTok Ads

TikTok ads offer an early-adopter advantage to anybody brave enough to give them a shot!

TikTok have a very engaged userbase, who’s newsfeed is already filled with auto-playing videos. This will ensure that TikTok ads easily blend into content and drive action from target audiences.

A TikTok ad that appears on this newsfeed is very difficult to spot, with just a small ‘Sponsored’ text note appearing in the bottom left corner.

TikTok ads can be formatted to highlight your Call to Action after 9 seconds! Source

I’d advise creating ad content that compliments a user’s existing TikTok feed (you’ll discover this by spending some time on the network) and captures the audience’s attention early.

Try to use the first 3-5 seconds to capture attention, before getting into your core value proposition or ad message.

And make sure you test, track and analyse, just like any other network.

Find out more in our guide to the TikTok Business Account!

Ready for TikTok Marketing?

If you haven’t already, join the masses who are already downloading the TikTok app and see what all the fuss is about.

 Set yourself up with an account (you can do this with your Facebook, Twitter, Insta or Google logins) and explore the content.

BTW: Until you have an account, TikTok will guess what kind of content you like. When you have a profile, they will show you much more personalised stuff that you actually like!

The best way to understand the social network is get on there yourself and explore.

Try making a short, simple TikTok video (use a filter and audio file if you’re stuck for ideas) and see how many people view your content before you even have a following! You’ll be surprised!

And when you’re ready to level-up, try some of the marketing tactics mentioned in this article.

Josh is the Founder of We Imagine Media, an award-winning content marketer, best selling author and creator of the www.joshbarney.blog. He creates and strategises content, sharing the most successful tactics with his lovely audience. He hates writing in the third person, follow him on the social links so he can get back to writing as himself.

5 Responses

  1. Wow. I didn’t even know this app existed (I’m not surprised) which means most people are probably not taking advantage of this brand new market. I might have to download Tik Tok and see if this market can work with my brand!

    1. Hey Anthony, TikTok is definitely worth testing for brands. Videos can get lots of views and reach wide audiences. The more you use the app, the more it learns about your preferences and the better it becomes.

  2. Tiktok Marketing plays a very vital role for increase your sales and aware your business to the targeting audience. Tiktok Marketing also helps you in affiliate marketing and here are the many ways on TikTok to increase your income.

  3. I read a lot about marketing, a little bit of marketing, little about the topic of Tik Tok, marketing in Tik Tok allows reaching your target audience, unlike Instagram algorithms, it has become difficult.

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