Wondering if your brand’s ready for a TikTok influencer marketing campaign?
Whether you’ve worked with influencers before or not, now could be a great time to make the most of the viral video app’s success.
At present, TikTok is the 6th largest social media network in the world, having surpassed LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.
It’s the most downloaded app of 2020 and is growing rapidly in markets around the world…
… and at least 40 TikTok stars have more than 10 million followers.
But while the app offers lots of influencer marketing opportunities, it does require a different approach to Facebook or Instagram.
Before we dive into how to work with influencers on TikTok, first let’s look at who’s actually using the platform to see if it would be a good fit for your brand.
Who’s using TikTok?
TikTok has a reputation for being popular with teens – and for good reason.
More than a quarter (27%) of its users are aged between 13-17 years old.
And more than ⅔ (69%) of users are 13-24 years old.
Here’s the full age breakdown:
- Age 13-17: 27%
- Age 18-24: 42%
- Age 25-34: 16%
- Age 35-44: 8%
- Age 45-54: 3%
- Age 55+: 4%
In terms of gender, TikTok skews 60% female and 40% male.
These TikTok users are active.
In the U.S., the average user opens up TikTok 8x a day and spends up to 46 minutes browsing through videos, whereas the average time Instagram users spend scrolling their feeds is 28 minutes a day.
Thanks to TikTok’s For You feed, viewers are sucked into a cycle of video content, which helps to explain the high engagement rate.
So, if you know that your target audience is hanging out on TikTok, working with influencers to create fresh, authentic content could be a great option for your brand.
Let’s dive into how to do that successfully.
TikTok Influencer Marketing: How to Work With Influencers on TikTok
Have a clear goal
As with any influencer activity online, you want to make sure you’re setting clear goals from the outset.
While there are lots of influencers to choose from that have massive reach, make sure you’re opting for those with relevant audiences.
This is why it’s important to check in with why you’re using TikTok influencer marketing: is it to generate brand awareness or make sales?
If it’s the former, you may want to focus on influencers with big audiences.
If it’s the latter, you may want to focus on niche influencers who are less well known, but more aligned with a hyper-specific target demographic.
That way, you’ll be much more likely to see a ROI from their engaged followers versus someone with a huge following that’s made up of lots of different demographics (that don’t necessarily align to your own).
Don’t forget to stick to the rules
Don’t be mistaken: Sponsored collaborations might not be as obvious to spot on TikTok compared to other social media platforms, but that doesn’t mean the same FTC regulations don’t apply.
TikTok influencers are required to disclose sponsorship with clear and visible messaging that the content is sponsored or an advertisement.
This may mean providing the verbiage TikTok influencers need to use e.g. #ad or #spon.
Make sure to stay on top of changing guidelines so that you and the influencers you work with comply with the latest regulations.
Use a hashtag
Whether a hashtag challenge is part of your TikTok influencer marketing strategy or not, you should definitely create a memorable hashtag to use alongside your sponsored posts.
Because they can help generate huge engagement for your content and leave a lasting impression on viewers.
Selecting the right hashtag is part-science, part-art, so make sure you consider the following before landing on your # of choice:
Do your research
First things first – analyse hashtags that have previously worked well for other brands. What was it about those hashtags that generated great engagement. Look for themes and commonalities across a few examples to understand what works (and therefore what may not).
The key is selecting a hashtag that can be associated with your brand, but which isn’t overly promotional. It’s a fine balance to strike, which is why it’s worth spending a bit of time researching and getting inspired by other successful campaigns.
Make sure it can be associated with your brand, product or niche
As mentioned above, there’s no point choosing a hashtag that goes viral if it can’t be associated with your brand, product or niche.
One obvious way to do this is to include the name of your product within the hashtag itself. For example, the brand Aerie partnered with influencers to spread the word of their debut on TikTok with the hashtag #AerieREALPositivity. They asked their audience to share three things they are grateful for, followed by a positive statement they wanted to share with the world.
However, it’s not always possible to include a product or brand name within the hashtag. In this instance, make sure whatever you choose is closely associated with what you offer.
For example, Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile hashtag challenge or Guess’ #InMyDenim branded hashtag challenge.
Make it shareworthy
You want your sponsored content to be shared as widely as possible. To achieve this, it should have simple spelling, be easy to remember and easy to search for. It’s also worth considering colloquialisms to ensure you don’t create a hashtag that wouldn’t make any sense translated to another language.
And of course, don’t forget to measure the success of your hashtag. You can do this using Iconosquare’s latest feature: Tiklytics.
Engage with TikTok-first influencers
If you’ve worked with influencers before on Instagram, it might seem tempting to work with those same people again over on TikTok.
However, there’s a reason why you should consider working with people that started life on TikTok (as opposed to Instagram).
Generally speaking, they won’t have such high pay expectations as established Instagram (insert other social media platform) influencers…
… and they are likely to be savvier about the ins and outs of TikTok as opposed to those who are focused on multiple different platforms.
So, definitely include influencers who grew up on the platform in your search – they are the people who really understand how to drive engagement.
Charli d’Amelio is one of TikTok’s original stars.
Think outside the box
The beauty of influencer marketing on a platform like TikTok (that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries) is that you have a wealth of influencers to choose from.
Food brands don’t need to work exclusively with foodie content creators. Beauty brands don’t need to work exclusively with beauty bloggers.
Brands can consider partnering with a less obvious influencer who has the right audience that loves their content.
For example, the brand Mucinex partnered with five influencers to promote its over-the-counter cold medicine during the #TooSickToBeSick zombie-themed campaign.
Those influencers were TikTok couple Chris and Sharla from OurFire, Drea Knows Best, a Nigerian-American creator with a passion for making people laugh, singer-songwriter Nick Tangorra, and YouTube and TikTok star Jayden Croes.
Nick Tangorra’s TikTok video begins with him in bed looking poorly. Then he takes Mucinex to feel better and in about five seconds, the video cuts to him recording a song in a studio, looking amazing.
The campaign racked up more than 400 million views in just five days.
Find influencers using TikTok’s creator marketplace
One of the best ways to find suitable TikTok influencers is to use TikTok’s Creator Marketplace. This platform allows brands to search for and collaborate with influencers – all you have to do is request access to the platform.
Once you’re granted access, you can search through the TikTok creator catalogue. Use the following search filters to find out information about a creator’s profile and valuable audience data:
- Country: The country in which the influencer is based.
- Topic: The type of content a creator publishes. TikTok’s platform is capable of identifying the context and objects within a video, so Creator Marketplace is able to accurately segment creators into content categories.
- Reach: This can be sorted by the following brackets – 1) 10k to 100k, 2) 100k to 1 million, and 3) 1 million to 10 million. Don’t forget, however, that the true potential reach of a creator’s content is often far beyond their own audience. If a piece of content is featured on the For You feed, a creator’s reach could exceed the millions.
- Average Views: This data point helps forecast the future performance of a piece of content.
- Ecommerce anchor: As TikTok continues to introduce ecommerce features for sponsored content, this filter shows you which creators have access to these.
This is an important metric to keep an eye on, as a recent GlobalWebIndex survey found that 20% of millennials and 22% of Gen Zers in the US and UK have been inspired to make a purchase based on an influencer or celebrity recommendation.
When vetting potential influencers, look closely at their previous posts and overall branding.
But remember, while finding a TikTok influencer with the right audience is very important, keep in mind that the look and feel of TikTok content is quite unconventional.
The influencers probably won’t have the Instagram aesthetic you’re used to seeing – not unless you’ve spent a lot of time in Reels recently!
If you don’t want to use TikTok’s creator marketplace, you can always use other ways to identify the best influencer, Hivency gives you 3 tips to find the perfect content creator for your influencer marketing campaign.
Ask influencers for advice
Don’t be afraid to ask the experts for their insight on what kind of sponsored TikTok videos will perform best with their audience.
After all, they’re the ones most engaged with the platform and have spent time trying and testing different approaches to see what resonates best.
So, work with them to create a message that’s authentic and fits with TikTok’s somewhat unconventional approach, rather than a message that seems too corporate.
The key is to be flexible and allow influencers to provide feedback to your strategy so that you develop a campaign that aligns to your brand and resonates with TikTok’s hyper engaged community.
As ever, the best influencer campaigns come from close collaboration – and the same goes for TikTok.
Give influencers creative freedom
It’s safe to say that successful influencer marketing campaigns on TikTok will require brands to relinquish a little control.
If the idea of that terrifies you, then working with TikTok influencers might not be for you.
That’s because the very nature of TikTok content is fast and user-controlled – it is not contrived.
Rather than trying to push specific brand messages, capitalise on the format of TikTok content by allowing users to take your idea, hashtag or filter and make it their own.
Keep a close eye on metrics
Watching metrics is as important as setting goals when working with influencers.
The ones to watch out for are: views, engagements (hearts, comments and shares) and reach, to assess your campaigns success.
And now that TikTok allows users to add links to their profiles, businesses can direct and track traffic to their website from the app.
Until recently, the biggest challenge to tracking influencer marketing activity on TikTok successfully has been doing so for a group of influencers simultaneously.
Collecting data manually can be time-consuming and overwhelming, but it’s essential to do to ensure that your campaign and the influencers involved are generating results.
The great news is that you can take the hard work out of tracking metrics with our Tiklytics tool, which presents all the data you need to know on a clean, simple interface. Within Tiklytics, you can monitor the performance of any account, which means you only have to create your account to be able to check in on how influencers are performing. All for free!
Contact influencers via Instagram
Lauren Nally – who works on brand partnerships for PromGirXO and is an influencer in her own right – revealed that she often gets in touch with TikTok influencers via Instagram.
“We actually get in touch with them on Instagram because they don’t have as many followers there. They’re not used to brands reaching out to them, and subsequently working with them, so we’ve been getting these great relationships.”
The beauty of working with influencers on TikTok versus other channels like Instagram, Lauren says, is the rate of growth.
tiktok tips with @itssissysheridan 💜💜
Everyday individuals are becoming TikTok influencers overnight, and being thrust into sudden fame means that they’re usually more open to new ideas.
This is great news for brands that want to partner with an up-and-coming star who’s willing to have fun and be creative.
Just don’t forget to look for them on Instagram – it may be easier to contact them that way!
Keep an eye out for sponsorship saturation
When searching for potential influencers to work with, make sure to check how often they’re sharing sponsored content.
If lots of their recent content are paid posts, their engagement rate may not last.
Instead, look for TikTok influencers that have a good amount of organic, non-sponsored content.
Because they are more likely to have interested and engaged followers that aren’t fatigued by a glut of sponsored posts.
Consider collaborating on educational content
Well, it’s an indication of TikTok’s focus and response to users’ demand for content that shares knowledge and personal insight.
TikTok’s EU general manager, Rich Waterworth, said:
“[…] Tiktok has quickly become a place people turn to when they want snack-sized entertainment. Now we want to build on this strong foundation, bringing together entertainment and learning, offering our community a truly rich and diverse ecosystem of content.”
So when planning upcoming influencer campaigns, why not consider creating educational content?
Teaming up with the right influencer to make informative videos could be a great way to cut through the noise and capitalize on TikTok’s shift towards the online education market.
3 TikTok influencer marketing campaigns to inspire you
Walmart is no stranger to TikTok influencer marketing campaigns. In one of its recent campaigns, #DealDropDance, TikTok users were encouraged to share videos of themselves dancing in the aisles of Walmart for a chance to win a $100 gift card.
Walmart worked with influencers including Lizzo, former NFL star and actor Terry Crews, singer Montana Tucker, comedian Drea Knows Best, dancer BDash, TikTok star and gamer Kidrl, and duo OurFire.
Cameronfromwalmart, a young Walmart employee who became famous on TikTok for his dancing in the store, was also part of the campaign.
#DealDropDance won a Shorty award and received more than two million impressions. What made this TikTok influencer campaign so successful? A variety of influencers, which helps increase reach, and the fact that participation was super simple – the #DealDropDance had only eight simple moves, which meant almost everybody could take part.
Psst: Check out the 10 most influential TikTok brands
To celebrate the launch of its new “Shop Now” button, TikTok partnered with Levi’s on the brand’s recent influencer campaign.
Levi’s worked with four TikTok influencers to personalize their denim using its Future Finish 3D customization technology. During the week of April 13, the creators’ videos appeared as in-feed ads, encouraging TikTok users to click on the “Shop Now” button by April 19 if they wanted to get their hands on the unique designs.
Levi’s reported that watch time for these influencer videos was twice as long as the platform average on TikTok.
And, product views to Levi.com’s “Future Finish” pages more than doubled for every product included in the videos.
To increase brand awareness and boost sales, Gymshark partnered with six influencers for the campaign 66 Day | Change Your Life challenge.
The challenge encouraged users of the platform to set personal goals for themselves and continually post their progress under the hashtag #gymshark66.
Interestingly, four out of the six influencers Gymshark worked with were twins. Each covered a niche area on TikTok – dance, fitness, comedy, challenges, beauty and/or fashion – and all were from different countries.
By partnering with high-profile TikTok creators – each with more than one million fans – Gymshark was able to reach 19.8 million fans and an 11.11% engagement rate. The hashtag #gymshark66 has earned more than 122 million views.
There’s no better time to develop a TikTok influencer marketing strategy.
With unprecedented reach, TikTok can be a powerful way not only to drive engagement for your brand but also to convert users into customers.
Even for brands with smaller marketing budgets, influencer-led TikTok campaigns offer a cost-effective and creative solution to drive engagement and awareness in a short period of time.
When planning your influencer marketing strategy, consider the best and worst case scenarios and don’t be afraid to show the human side of your brand.
And don’t forget: the very best influencer campaigns are born out of meaningful relationships and close collaboration.
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