By: Jeffrey “JMatt” Matthias
June 2022
8 min

If you’re looking for new ways to reach your consumers, TikTok may be just the solution for your brand. TikTok is not your average social media app, rather, it’s an entertainment platform that thrives on a community that can drive culture and commerce.

Think about how often you hear someone say they learned about something on TikTok first. That’s one example of how TikTok is impacting culture.

As for commerce, the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has 12.9B views and shows many TikTok creators sharing their impulse purchases after seeing a video about a product on the app. According to a TikTok study, “TikTokers are 1.5x more likely to immediately go out and buy something they discovered on the platform compared to other platforms’ users.”

Now, the question becomes, does it make sense for your brand to have an active presence on TikTok? Let’s break down what you need to consider before deciding one way or another.

5 questions to ask yourself when considering TikTok strategy for your brand

1. Is your target audience active on TikTok?

TikTok started out as the lip-synch dancing app for its core users between the ages of 10 to 19 and became a pandemic staple to find humor in the mundane. The app has come a long way since then and is already reaching older users. As of September 2021, 25% of U.S. users were 10-19 years of age followed by 22.4% aged 20-29, 21.7% aged 30-39, 20.3% aged 40-49, and 11% that were 50+.

As for older generations on TikTok, through popular hashtags, you can see that parents are becoming more active on the platform: #Parenting has 15.9B views, #FamilyTime has 18.0B views, #DadsOfTikTok has 33.6B views, and #MomsOfTikTok has 114.7B views.

Looking beyond the ages of users on TikTok, being active on the platform is also about being a part of a community and finding your niche. While you’re starting out, communities can be found through searches for specific keywords and hashtags. For example, #CleanTok, #FinTok (financial), and #FoodTok are all very popular and have a very active community of creators and viewers.

Perhaps your business is in the consumer-packaged goods category like men’s grooming products, start with a search for “beard” and you’ll see that #Beard has 10.1B views, #BeardLook has 1.5B views, and #BeardStyle has 253.9M views (to name a few).

Or perhaps you’re in the tourism industry, #Tourism alone has 863.5M views. The keyword of travel expands your options to #Travel with 80.1B views, #TravelLife with 4.8B views, and #TravelTikTok to 7.9B views.

Once you find relevant hashtags for your community, tap on them to see what’s being shared. Who are the creators behind the content? Beyond that, what are users writing in the comments and who are the users with the most-liked comments (if they create too)? This information can tell you a lot about the communities that already exist.

2. Are your competitors active on TikTok?

If you find your competition active on TikTok, are they active and receiving consistent views and engagement? Watch their content and see what they’re doing that’s working and what isn’t. This will provide great insight into what your industry’s community engages with and how they engage (especially with comments).

If you can’t find them, it’s possible you’re the first to leverage the power marketing of TikTok. This is the opportunity to lean on the previously mentioned community discovery to see if your audience is active.

3. Does your team have capacity to produce consistent content?

Finding your community on TikTok is one thing, but to grow and receive views, you need a plan that involves providing consistent content. When you’re starting out it’s important to post several different styles at varying lengths to determine what resonates the most with your followers in order to decipher what’s working best.

And while younger individuals are more likely to create multiple videos to post on TikTok a day compared to the average brand, with a plan, you can show up consistently too.

Batching out content is nothing new but it’s a great way to stay ahead of your content needs for TikTok. The algorithm currently pushes TikToks to the For You page feed for up to 90 days after posting which means old content you post can continue to help you as you continue to post more. Just because a TikTok appears to slow down in views after a few days, doesn’t mean it can’t get a sudden surge of attention in the future.

If you can find someone on your team that is more dedicated to content creation, that will help with the consistency. Even better if they’re comfortable talking on camera, it will provide your brand with more options, and they can jump in to create more on the fly (especially around viral trends).

This person doesn’t have to be on your marketing team. Perhaps your CEO or someone else on the leadership team is already the face of your social media on other platforms. Schedule some time to shoot content with them each week (or each month as time allows).

4. What kind of content will we post?

Now that you’ve considered who’s responsible for posting consistently and you’ve looked into your communities on TikTok, it’s time to decide what content makes sense to start creating and posting for your brand.

Sure, viral trends are popular on TikTok but relying too much on trends alone isn’t going to help you grow consistently over time. What are the long-term trends that fit with your brand?

To go back to the men’s grooming products, a viral trend would be glitter beards around the holidays, where as beard care is a long-term trend. Or for tourism, many videos are popularized with a trending song that is hot for a few weeks to a month and when that song is perceived as old, you want to find the next song. But at its core is the long-term trend such as sharing your experiences traveling the world or exploring a specific tourist destination.

How to Use TikTok Duets, Stitches, and Hashtag Challenges to Create Engagement

Beyond trends, co-creation is a great way to create engagement with other TikTokers. This is often seen through duets, stitches, and hashtag challenges that are easy and accessible.

Duets: Consider how you could make a video that invites creators to add to what you posted. For example, John Mayer released his song “Wild Blue” in 2021 and allowed creators to play along with him after about 13 seconds, which spread attention of the new song and invited the music community to participate.

Stitches: A long-term trend has the delivery of “Tell me you’re a ___ without telling me you’re a ____” as shown by the NBA and stitched by Benny The Bull. Brands can also leverage other creators’ TikToks to provide a stitch to react to content or even answer questions with their brand as a solution. It’s another great way to humanize your brand and provide relatable content.

Hashtag Challenges: Goldfish launched a challenge to see if anyone could hold more Goldfish than Boban, which was a great way to invite their community to create fun content with their brand.

Beyond co-creation, think about how you can educate your community about your brand while providing the information in an entertaining way. For example, Duo Lingo frequently posts relatable content around how users will or won’t use their app, such as skipping their language lesson on a given day.

Another way to create content that is sustainable is through a series, especially ones that are built off suggestions in the comments. Using the art community as an example, Fritz Does Art has a series in which he matches a color by blending paint together while occasionally taking suggestions from his comments.

Speaking of comments, you can use them for inspiration to inspire additional content as you go. For example, try answering questions with a video response. The Washington Post is great at breaking down potentially complicated topics in an easier to understand way.

5. How will we measure success on TikTok?

As with any marketing campaign, what success looks like can vary based on your brand’s needs. Are you looking for general brand awareness? This can be determined with views and engagement on your videos. Are you looking for leads and conversions? This can be done through the link provided in your bio or promotional codes provided in your content.

Once you know what your goals are, select the best ways to monitor your progress and give your brand time to establish its presence. Organic content and reach can take time. You should invest a minimum of 6-12 months and stick to your pre-determined frequency of posting.

After your pre-determined amount of time and once you’ve made adjustments to your content, if you’re not coming close to (or exceeding) your goals, consider putting your TikTok plan on hold until your team can figure out a better way to leverage the platform.

You have your answers, so now what?

After you have a chance to consider each of the questions above and where your brand could potentially fit on TikTok, you may decide that your team doesn’t have the capacity to take on the consistency needed to be successful. You have options.

  • You could focus on running ads on TikTok (you’d still benefit from having a few TikToks up on your account for those who would want to see more content from you). Here’s one example of how a brand ran TikTok ads to promote a campaign.
  • Partner with a Creator on TikTok to make content for your account
  • Collaborate with an influencer to make content for your brand that they can share with their own audience
  • Hire an agency (like Hoffman York) to create a TikTok marketing strategy and manage your account

Regardless of what you decide, one thing is true, it will never be as easy to grow on TikTok as it is now. Statistics show that the average engagement rate on TikTok is 15.86% compared to only 2.26% on average for Instagram.

Right now, every video is a new chance to hit the For You page regardless of your follower count. It’s a chance to reach an audience that may be learning about your brand for the first time. As more brands realize the importance of being on TikTok, the competition for placement on the For You page will continue to increase, making it harder to organically reach your community.

Don’t let the opportunity to leverage TikTok for brands pass you by. Now is the time. It’s not too late!

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