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The Definitive Guide to TikTok Marketing

The Definitive Guide to TikTok Marketing

Many businesses are overlooking the potential of TikTok as a viable marketing resource. As a result, many of these businesses that remain on the fence are missing out on reaching their target audience and wasting their budget on less effective platforms that fail to offer an acceptable return on investment.

This definitive guide will look at TikTok, one of the most popular social media platforms, as a lucrative marketing platform. Even governments and leading global organisations are embracing the potential of TikTok marketing. There is no reason your business shouldn’t capitalise on TikTok’s innovative features and high engagement rates too!

What is TikTok marketing?

Best Tiktok Marketing Tips 2021

TikTok is a social media platform designed to share short-form video content that can relate to any topic. Users can share 15-second videos to different communities, with content predominantly centred around creative arts, comedy, and music. The platform has gained huge success and has become one of the biggest social platforms, with 1 billion monthly active users.

Many marketers are now using the robust platform to promote brands, services, and products in various forms. The main types of TikTok marketing are direct advertising, influencer marketing, and creating viral content. Successful campaigns can be highly effective when it comes to increasing brand awareness and developing communities that are based around your product. 

Social media marketing campaigns that you can apply to TikTok

There are different ways of launching successful marketing campaigns across the major social media platforms, including TikTok depending on your product, whom you want to reach, and how you want to engage with your target audience. 

Below are some of the most successful methods of social media marketing:

  • Creating communities for your target audience to encourage regular engagement.
  • Using brand advocates to promote your product or service.
  • Paying influencers to raise awareness about your product.

The key reasons why your business should be using TikTok marketing

Tiktok Active Users Demographics

TikTok was the most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2022, beating the likes of Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram to the top spot. Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has reached over 1 billion users. In 2021, 78.7 million of these users resided in the United States, which is expected to grow to 84.9 million by the end of 2022. TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, with enormous potential for brand exposure!

For now, the largest demographic of TikTok is Gen Z, with most users between 16-24 years old. If that’s not your target audience, don’t worry – US users between the ages of 20-29 make up 22.4% of TikTok’s user base, and people aged 30-39 account for another 21.7%. 

61% of active TikTok users in the US are female, while China is the country with the most active users.

In terms of marketing, data shows that micro-influencers in the United States achieve almost an 18% engagement rate, which is very impressive when you compare that to Instagram (3.86%) & Youtube (1.63%). Additionally, TikTok ads reach 17.9% of all internet users over 18. 

This data shows why TikTok marketing should be a significant consideration for businesses of all types and sizes. A successful campaign can bring a significant boost in content reach and new followers, which will, in turn, improve conversions and help ensure profitability for years to come.

Four ways to market your brand on TikTok

This section will discuss how your business can use TikTok marketing, looking at the various forms of content, ads, and influencers.

Influencer marketing 

Influencer marketing is nothing new and has been a valuable avenue for many marketing departments over the last few years. However, for the people who aren’t aware of what influencer marketing entails and how it can be effective, here is a quick run-through.

Influencers are users on TikTok who have a significant number of followers who regularly engage with their content. Influencers are respected platform members who create content regarding a particular niche, whether travel, fashion, or sports. 

You can reach a broad audience with influencer marketing, and a well-planned campaign can deliver amazingly high engagement rates. As influencers are considered a trusted and respected source of information in specific areas, any product they recommend will likely be well received. It’s kind of like a recommendation from a friend or colleague.

TikTok has an advantage over the likes of Instagram and Facebook because the market is not overly saturated, meaning users pay more attention to sponsored posts and promoted content. The daily number of adverts a user may see on platforms like Instagram can be overwhelming, causing them to skip most ads and brand-specific posts.

The personalised nature of TikTok and its freshness means it is considered the best platform for influencer marketing, especially if you are targeting younger audiences. 

The main challenge is finding influencers that perfectly suit your brand, as choosing the wrong type of person can not just result in a poor return on investment; it could even damage your brand. Therefore, you should conduct thorough research across the platform and shortlist potential influencers who may fit your criteria. Even tools can provide valuable statistics such as the number of followers an influencer has, the number of views or likes they get per video, etc. 

Once you find suitable influencers to work with, sign a formal agreement detailing the terms of the contract. Be specific about things like deadlines, deliverables, payment terms, etc. For example, some influencers may prefer to get paid in cash, via a bank transfer, or even in crypto, so make sure you have different options set up. 

Use TikTok ads

Tiktok Marketing Ads

TikTok has only recently introduced ads on the platform, helping it to compete with rivals such as Instagram. Ads on TikTok are similar to other social media platforms, but some subtle differences can appeal to different kinds of marketers. 

It may also be worth noting that ads on TikTok are generally more expensive than its main competitors, with a minimum ad spend of $50 compared to $20 on Facebook and Instagram.

There are five ad types on TikTok:

  • In-Feed Ads
  • TopViews
  • Brand Takeovers
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges
  • Branded Effects
Related:  The 5 Best Digital Marketing Tips You Need

Let’s take a closer look at each.

In-Feed Ads

In-Feed Ads are very similar to Instagram stories in that these ads will show when a user scrolls down their feed, and they are strategically placed in between videos after a certain number of scrolls. Marketers can be very creative with these kinds of ads, helping to make them stand out from regular videos with call-to-actions, graphics, and more. 


TopViews are a type of In-Feed Ad. TikTok will guarantee that this is the first In-Feed Ad shown to users after 3 seconds for an extra charge. TikTok will display these ads on the user’s ‘For you’ suggestion page.

A TopView Ad can support 60 seconds of video that people can watch in full-screen mode.

Brand Takeovers

A Brand Takeover is shown to users as soon as they open TikTok and is suitable for large businesses and organisations. This type of ad is much more expensive than an in-feed ad, sometimes costing around $50,000 daily. This is because the reach of Brand Takeover Ads is enormous, and you can effectively block out any competition on the platform. 

Branded Hashtag Challenges

Another option that is on the pricier side is Branded Hashtag Challenges. This type of ad helps to improve brand awareness with user-generated content. Users are challenged to produce unique and fun videos with the best content rewarded with a prize. 

When a user clicks the hashtag, they are redirected to your branded page that provides details about the challenge, a link to your website, and any user-generated content that other participants have submitted. 

A 6-day Branded Hashtag Challenge costs $150,000, taking a significant chunk out of the company’s budget, hence why massive businesses mostly use this ad. 

Branded Effects

Taking inspiration from Snapchat, Branded Effects are augmented reality overlays that you can embed in a user’s video. This type of advertising usually costs around $100,000 for each effect.

Create viral content

Every brand has the ambition of ‘going viral,’ and TikTok is one of the best platforms to make this happen. That’s because TikTok does not give preferential treatment to users with many followers like other social media apps – someone utterly new to the platform has just as much chance of publishing a viral video as a global celebrity. 

Marketers with innovative campaign ideas can create a new trend even if they have only been using TikTok for a short time. TikTok’s most viral video so far is a homage to Harry Potter by a user named Zach King, gaining 2.2 billion views.

Keep your content diversified

TikTok is more than just another social media platform; it aims to allow people, especially younger generations, to express themselves online and build communities of like-minded people. The popularity of short, easy-to-digest videos shows no sign of slowing; however, that is not to say that experimentation is not worthwhile. Marketers should always look at the different ways they can diversify their content.

The content you post on Instagram or Twitter may not be well received on TikTok, which can be challenging. TikTok is built around video and audio, whereas other platforms might be more text or image-based. Considering all multimedia when building your social media campaigns would be best. 

Most content posted on TikTok is informal; therefore, your ad campaigns should probably follow suit. People do not use TikTok to be greeted with sales campaigns and professional, business-orientated content… save that for LinkedIn. 

When creating your content, ensure you are up-to-date with the latest TikTok trends and pay close attention to your competitors. If a particular song or effect is viral that week, it may be a good idea to jump on the bandwagon. 

Popular brands on TikTok

Most Popular Tiktok Accounts

Many top companies have embraced TikTok as a marketing tool, although there is still a baffling number of well-known brands who have neglected the platform. 

Some of the top brands currently on TikTok are:

  • Duolingo
  • Crocs
  • GymShark
  • The NBA
  • The Washington Post

For example, The Washington Post was one of the first top US brands to take to TikTok and has since launched several stand-out campaigns. Known for more serious journalism, the Washington Post has instead opted for a more comedic approach to TikTok, collecting 1.4 million fans along the way. 

TikTok is perfect for small businesses

The best thing about TikTok, especially from a marketing perspective, is that the platform is still very new. It was launched only in 2016, hitting the headlines in 2018, and it then added business functionality in 2020. 

There are still many well-known brands and global organisations that are yet to take advantage of TikTok, opening the door for smaller, upcoming businesses that are forward-thinking. Even fashion giants such as Gucci are yet to take off on TikTok despite pumping millions into their marketing campaigns every month and having a strong presence on other social media platforms. 

This is why it is recommended to get involved with TikTok marketing before the market becomes saturated and competition becomes too strong, with multiple businesses fighting over the same audiences. 

Success is not guaranteed, and marketing is never easy, but utilising TikTok marketing before your competitors can give your brand a significant edge. So get innovative and pay close attention to trends to deliver powerful marketing campaigns that can achieve unrivalled levels of engagement. 

TikTok marketing – conclusion

It is never a good idea to focus on just one marketing channel or just one social media platform, for that matter. Successful marketing strategies incorporate a range of tactics and reach different audiences, using analytics to determine what is effective and what isn’t so you can better use your budget in the future.

If you are not exploring TikTok marketing, you risk leaving your brand behind. As a relatively new platform, TikTik allows businesses to tap into their target audience before competitors can get in on the act. Many brands, even household names, still fail to see the platform’s potential. 

TikTok is mighty in marketing to younger people, with 39% of users aged 16-24. Of course, this doesn’t mean you cannot reach older audiences interested in certain products and niches. 

Some of the advertising options on TikTok, like Brand Takeovers and Branded Hashtag Challenges, may be way out of your price range. However, smaller businesses can still achieve extraordinary results with clever In-Feed Ads that are in touch with the latest trends. And considering anyone can go viral, no matter how many followers they have, TikTok offers many marketing options for small businesses without a budget.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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