How to Market on TikTok –
So, you want to know How to Market on TikTok in 2023? Here we’ll break down the top 4 considerations brand marketers should have in mind, where to start, and where to keep your eyes peeled.
We don’t need to explain why brands and businesses should be marketing on TikTok, right?
Just in case, here’s the crash course:
- TikTok took over the social media space
- TikTok is the only non-Facebook-owned app to garner 3 BILLION downloads, with 1B active monthly users.
- The most engaging social app in terms of time spent – outranking runner-up Pinterest by a whopping 100%.
- TikTok overtook Instagram for Gen Z engagement and rose for other generations too (all other social media platforms saw decreases).
“65% of TikTok users enjoy when creators post about products and brands (The same metric on Instagram is 40% and falling).
- TikTok’s community actually enjoys seeing content about products and brands when it’s entertaining and/or authentic
- 65% of TikTok users enjoy when creators post about products and brands (The same metric on Instagram is 40% and falling).
- 67% of users say TikTok inspires them to shop— even when they weren’t planning to do so
- TikTok SEO entered the chat– Yeah, TikTok is starting to take over the SEO space too
- TikTok overtook Google in 2021 as the most-used site on the internet (ending Google’s 15-year streak).
- TikTok is rolling out new functionalities regularly to test SEO, like hyperlinking phrases in comment sections, showing related search terms not just in the Search bar but overlaid on already-played videos, extending caption length limits from 300 characters to 2200 characters (the same as Instagram), and more (we’ll talk more about this below in #3). Congratulations! If you’re here to learn more about TikTok SEO, you’re about as at the head of the ship as you can get.
(Feel free to read more on any of that at Business Insider, Hootsuite, MarketingCharts/ Social Insider, or plenty of other places.)
So let’s get on to the HOW.
How to Market on TikTok / Best Marketing Strategies for Brands on TikTok
1. Invest in consistent TikTok video content creation, UGC or otherwise
We know, we know, brands can really spin their wheels creating content for all the social medias. Entire teams can be dedicated to Canva graphic design, caption copywriting, optimal posting time research, hashtag tracking, etc. etc. BUT: If you only invest in one single social platform for your brand, it should be TikTok.
The content style must jive with what TikTok users like: Stuff that’s authentic, personality-driven, and entertaining. TikTok users, because it’s mostly Millennials and Gen Z, value content being interesting and AUTHENTIC over all else. Production quality, polishedness, professionalism, all that is second to authenticity. If you’re a brand, they don’t want to see the best video ever made about all the cool functionalities your product has – they want to see your Head of Design being a weirdo on a Friday afternoon, transparent and unapologetic.
They want humanity, real people, and faces as brands. Don’t beat around the bush and don’t fake anything – generational culture (having grown up with online communities and experiences) can spot inauthenticity and hates that more than anything.
Hit a few different buckets regularly, such as trending audios, humor, product reviews/ highlights, and on-screen vs. voice over.
The content must be consistent – we recommend 15-30 videos per month (yes, about every other day or more). DON’T FRET – we know that sounds daunting. Read on…
2. If you can’t or don’t want to invest in TikTok video content creation in-house, partner with one or more TikTok creators to do it for you.
No, not necessarily influencers (blah at outdated influencer campaigns), creators. Creators on TikTok don’t need tons of followers and you won’t be paying 10K for a single placement on the grid of someone with 100K followers.
We’re talking about partnering with creators in order to get content made for your page by others, and even partnering long-term with this creator becoming the TikTok face of your brand (or as we like to call it, Channel Host). This creator or small team of creators essentially become not only your natural camera-people and main characters, but creators are also naturally your video editor, your TikTok trend-tracker, hashtag monitor, caption writer, and community manager (their comments on other people’s videos can drive just as much traffic as your own video).
When you hire the right creators for your brand, that social media team goes down to one, because a Creator can be more in touch with what to create, how, and why, than anyone else could be based on research.
Side note- should you still invest in designers and copywriters and marketing strategists? Obviously – but you won’t need them for TikTok, you’ll need them for the parts of your funnel that come before and after TikTok, like outreach messages and landing pages.
3. Stay ahead of the curve by investing in TikTok SEO as soon as possible.
We’re not saying Google is dead – and you should be wary of any thought leaders that try to say so in order to sound controversial or contrarian or groundbreaking. BUT.
No one in history has broken Google’s 15-year streak as the most used site on the internet until TikTok in 2021. And from keeping a marketer’s eye on algorithm updates, function A/B testing, and plain ol’ user awareness, we know TikTok continues to roll out new SEO-focused concepts regularly.
They’ve just extended caption character limits from 200 to a whopping 2200, new hyperlinking functionality on keyword phrases in comments is being seen here and there, TikTok’s search bar result pages (can we coin TT-SERP right now?) continue to get more filters, toggles, and ‘related to your search’ updates, AND searching in Google is starting to result in TikTok results that bring you to the TikTok app> search result page with the pre-filled keyword phrases you typed into Google.
While TikTok hasn’t released an SEO-focused backend for marketers or creators (think Meta Ads Manager, Google Ads Manager, etc.), we’re predicting it won’t be long until they do. They’ll likely continue to test more and more functionality and algorithm rollouts and then open the platform up to select groups in 2023.
So far, the best ways to do this are research your target search terms (using traditional Google-scraping tools for now), expand the list by exploring that keyword ecosystem right within TikTok, then use those words in:
- Your video caption
- Your video subtitles/ closed-captioning (what you say in the video, it’s possible it also helps to say that keyword in the first few seconds of the video too)
- Your video on-screen text
- Your comment section/ pinned comment
4. Last, explore paid TikTok advertising too. It doesn’t all have to be organic content creation.
You can still simply advertise on TikTok, and technically, you don’t even need an organic profile to do so. You do need a minimum of $50 ad spend per day.
The first option is running Tik Tok Spark Ads, which are essentially white-label ads. This is when a creator makes and posts a video about your brand on their own page, and your brand puts money behind it as an ad. By making the video into a Spark Ad, you sponsor/boost it towards a chosen audience and add a CTA of your choice (like a link to the website, adding a comment or caption with a discount code, etc.).
Your second option is a normal TikTok Ad. This is simply advertising through your own brand page (not a creator’s). Either way, you still get a budget, a target audience, and a chosen CTA.
Marketers are still learning and testing every day what the perfect balance or combination of ad strategies are for TikTok, but one thing remains certain: If you can create a good video (see #1), ad dollars go farther on TikTok than other social media platforms, even if targeting capabilities don’t match Meta’s, because engagement is so much higher.
As a brand, when looking into how to form the best marketing strategies for TikTok, the internet wants to churn out snappy one-liners, tool after tool, SaaS after SaaS, creator agencies, ad services, and more. But really, the main ingredient for success, what it all starts with, is consistent entertaining content.
From there, content ideas and SEO and Spark Ads and more complicated campaigns all have somewhere to start, somewhere to live, and somewhere for you to start measuring KPIs.
Now, all that said, it can be helpful to have dedicated people on your side like TikTok-specific brand strategists, TikTok SEO specialists, TikTok Creator matching (Channel Host) practices, and more. That’s us.
If you want help putting your TikTok marketing strategy into action, get in touch with us about our TikTok Launch Pad, Incubator, or Ground Control offerings. The game keeps changing, but we’ve got forward-thinking players at your disposal.