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November 16, 2020 Last updated on November 18th, 2020
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With an estimated 800 million active global users, TikTok is the hottest social media platform right now. It’s explosive growth and active young audience has caught the attention of brands. Many brands are looking for ways to take advantage of the platform to promote their products and services.

Unlike TikTok, promoting your brand on Instagram and Facebook isn’t difficult anymore. There are a ton of articles online to help you get started. This isn’t the case with TikTok. Since TikTok is relatively new, most brands are still trying to get a hang of the viral video platform.

Wondering how you can successfully promote your brand on TikTok?

Look no further. In this article, we will see a step-by-step guide to using TikTok as a brand.

Let’s get started.

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Why you should promote your brand on TikTok

The biggest appeal of TikTok to brands is its huge number of active users. Every month, millions of people are downloading the app from the app store. As of April 2020, the app has been downloaded 2 billion times. This huge number of users offers brands a unique opportunity to promote their products and services to a large audience.

Any brand that wants to target a younger audience should also look into TikTok. According to TikTok’s demographic, it’s main users are teens and young adults. 42% of its users are aged between 18 – 24.

What happens when your target audience is older?

The app is growing in popularity at exponential rates. Even older demographics are beginning to use the platform. 15% of its users are aged 35+. This number is expected to grow as more people download the platform. So instead of waiting till your preferred audience starts using TikTok en masse, it’s best to start building your following now.

If you are looking to reach an international audience, TikTok is the way to go. TikTok is available in over 150 countries. The platform is effective in helping you reach audiences in different countries.

Tip: Videos are consumers’ favorite content type. Stats show that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands or businesses they support. If you are looking to build brand awareness, increase customer loyalty as well as sales, you need a video marketing strategy. TikTok is an effective way to add videos to your existing marketing strategy.

How TikTok’s algorithm works

In the past, TikTok’s algorithm was a mystery to its users. Getting your videos to the ‘For You’ involved mostly guesswork.  The one sure thing was that user interaction played a huge role in video rankings.

Fortunately, TikTok has come out to highlight how they recommend videos to the For You page.

Let’s see the factors that affect TikTok’s algorithm:

Factor #1: Videos users interact with

Similar to Instagram’s algorithm, TikTok’s algorithm shows users the videos they interact with the most. So on the users ‘For You’ page, they will see videos from accounts they follow, videos they like or share, comments they post, and even the content they create.

Tip: Video completion rate is another important ranking indicator. When a user watches a video in full, it signifies to the algorithm that the user enjoyed the video. The algorithm gives preference to videos that are watched in full than videos that users skip after a few seconds. Videos with positive user responses get more exposure.

What this means is that brands should create videos that capture the attention of the viewers from the beginning to the end of the video.

Factor #2: Video information

Details like captions, sounds, and hashtags affect the reach of TikTok videos. The algorithm serves users with videos that contain sounds and hashtags they regularly explore. For instance, if a user searches for a specific sound regularly, TikTok’s algorithm will start showing videos that contain that sound on their ‘For You’ page.

Hashtags and Sounds (i.e. the music you use in your TikTok video) are effective ways to boost the discoverability of your videos. TikTok videos that have trending hashtags in the captions have an increased chance of showing up in relevant Discovery pages.

Factor #3: Device and account settings  

Factors like language preference, country setting, and device type can also affect video rankings. But note that these factors play a very little role in the recommendation system when compared to factors like user interaction and video information. These factors are just added to make sure that the algorithm is optimized for performance.

Video completion rate is a stronger indicator of interest than whether the viewer and the creator of the video are in the same country.

In an experiment, I spent a whole day watching funny TikTok videos from China. A week after that, TikTok continued serving funny videos from China on my ‘For You’ page. To reset my ‘For You’ page, I skipped any video from this country. With time, I started seeing the normal videos I usually interacted with.  

Note: While a video from an account with a large following is likely to gain a lot of views because the account has a lot of followers, neither follower count nor whether the account had previous high-performing videos directly affect the recommendation system. Every new video uploaded on TikTok is an opportunity to go viral.

Effective strategies to promote your brand on TikTok

Here are some effective strategies that will help you promote your brand on TikTok.

Create entertaining content for your target audience

The first step to success on TikTok is creating awesome content. As a brand, create videos that your audience will love and interact with.

The key is to make the videos fun and lighthearted. TikTok isn’t a serious platform. TikTokers aren’t on the platform to watch product demos (except you are showing the demo in a fun and interesting way).

One way brands can easily create entertaining videos is by leveraging the trend culture on TikTok. At every point in time, there is always a trend making waves on the platform. Find topics that are popular on the platform and create your trending videos.

To find the trending videos and hashtags on the platform, visit the discovery page.

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Next, pick the trends that can help you market your product or services and create your videos.

A good example of a trend that brands can jump on is the #WipeItDown challenge. This trend was very popular during the peak of the pandemic. In this trend, TikTok creators wipe their mirrors to the catchy “Wipe It Down” tune. At the end of the third wipe, they show a different version of themselves. After the fourth or fifth wipe, the user reverts to their original self.

@kirakosarin😉⚡️ ##wipe ##wipeit ##wipeitdown ##wipeitdownchallenge ##whipeitchallenge

♬ Wipe It Down – BMW KENNY

Cosmetic brands can partner with influencers to participate in the challenge. During the third wipe, the influencer can wear the brand’s makeup. The influencer can then add the makeup product they used in the video caption and even tag the brand. This is an effective way to promote a brand using trends.

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Here is an example of a brand using entertaining content to promote their products on TikTok.

CHIPOTLE

Chipotle has over 1.3 million followers on TikTok. The popular Mexican restaurant chain uses a variety of memes, funny videos, and viral trends to highlight their menu items.

On National Avocado Day, Chipotle posted a video referencing the popular Guacamole song. In their video, they showed someone dancing to the song and aptly added the hashtag #GuacDance in the video caption.

@chipotleTFW guac is free. Online/in-app only 7/31 ##GuacDance Terms: chip.tl/avoday

♬ The Guacamole Song – Dr. Jean

The video got popular on the platform and sparked the #GuacDance challenge. In a week, it became the highest performing branded challenge on the platform.

The challenge involves TikTokers posting videos of themselves dancing with avocados or Chipotle’s guac.

@piffpetersonWátch this twice to see if my mom did it on purpose 🙈🙉 @chipotle ##GuacDance

♬ The Guacamole Song – Dr. Jean

Even though the initial aim of the videos was to promote their new offer – when customers order online, they get a free guac – the content still feels right for TikTok. The musical and silly nature of the video caused it to go viral.

This is a good example of how brands can use trends to promote their products. All you need to do is be creative when plugging your products into videos. When done right, you can help increase your brand awareness.

Curate user-generated content (UGC)

If you are a brand or business looking for ways to increase engagement and followers on TikTok, you should encourage your audience to share videos of themselves using your product or services.

UGC content on TikTok usually drives more engagement than content created by the brand themselves. Stats show that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.

One effective way to curate user-generated content is by starting a hashtag trend.

Encourage your followers to share content using a branded hashtag you have created. Popular branded hashtags can generate millions of views and thousands of responses. The best part of using a hashtag is that you can easily track users’ submissions.

A good example of a brand using a hashtag trend is Guess’ #InMyDenimChallenge.

Not long after TikTok was launched, TikTok partnered with Denim to create the challenge. In the challenge, users were encouraged to make videos of themselves wearing Guess’ new denim line in different locations.

The challenge went viral and has been viewed millions of times on TikTok.

@kuhleeuhHad a fun day ##inmydenim ✨👖✨ @guess ##style ##OOTD

♬ original sound – Kalia 🎤❤

A branded challenge like this can help your brand increase product awareness. TikTokers who see the videos can get enticed by the products and buy them for themselves.

Brands who sell interesting products should create their own branded hashtag challenge. For example, a shoe brand might want to launch a new line of boots. The brand can create an “#InMyBootsChallenge” where customers will show their favorite ways of styling the boots.

People who watch the videos might like the boots and want to buy one for themselves too. Hashtag challenges encourage users to buy products to participate in the challenges.  

Collaborate with influencers

As a brand, one of the most effective ways to promote your brand on TikTok is by partnering with influencers.  

Partnering with influencers can help you increase your brand’s reach. The key is to partner with influencers that are relevant to your business. Do not collaborate with an influencer just because they have a huge following. Always work with influencers that are related to your niche or industry.

For example, a fashion brand should partner with influencers in the fashion niche. Partnering for instance with a tech influencer will not help the brand reach its marketing goals.

Tip: Always look at the engagement rates of the influencer. Some influencers have a huge number of followers but low engagement rates. When you work with influencers with a low engagement rate, you will see little return on investment.  The more engagement an influencer receives on their videos, the more attention your brand will get.

TikTok also has a feature called Creator Marketplace.

TikTok Marketplace 768x412

This feature makes it easy for brands to connect with influencers that are relevant to their business. In the Creator Marketplace, you can search and connect with over 1,000 influencers. You can choose influencers you want to work with based on factors like location, follower count, audience demographics, topics, and more.

Here is an example of a brand using influencer marketing to promote their brand on TikTok.

CROC

The footwear brand created the #ThousandDollarCrocs hashtag challenge to promote their lines of Croc sandals. In the challenge, the brand asked users to share videos of them wearing Crocs while acting like they paid a thousand dollars for them.

The campaign originated from a Post Malone song lyric.  When the challenge began to gain some traction, the brand partnered with the musician. The partnership increased user engagement on the hashtag and hype around the shoes. Along with the hashtag going viral, the product sold out incredibly fast.  

Due to the #ThousandDollarCrocs challenge, the brand saw an 18% increase in their followers.

Working with influencers is one of the most effective TikTok marketing strategies. Check out other TikTok marketing strategies you can use in promoting your brand.

Cross-promote your TikTok content

After uploading your TikTok video, also cross-promote it on other social media platforms like Instagram.

Cross-promoting your TikTok content will help you boost your video performance, grow your followers, and increase the awareness of your TikTok account.

The best part is that TikTok makes it very easy for you to download your videos straight to your camera roll. After saving the video to your camera roll, you can share it anywhere you want.

To save a TikTok video after publishing, tap on the share button, and click Save video.

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Tip: Since TikTok videos are 15 seconds short, they are perfect for Instagram and Facebook stories. You can also add a prompt in your stories directing your Instagram and Facebook followers to follow you on TikTok.

Post videos at the right time

If you want to improve the performance of your TikTok content and also increase the number of interactions on your videos, you need to post content when your audience is most active.

There are several studies and articles online that offer benchmarks on the best times to post on TikTok. While these studies are helpful, the reality is that your audience will determine the best time for your brand to post on TikTok. Every brand has a unique audience and factors like location, interests, age, and gender will determine the right time to post.

To help you identify the right time for your brand to post videos on TikTok, we have written this in-depth guide on the best time to post on TikTok.

Taking advantage of TikTok Ads

TikTok also offers advertising opportunities that brands can explore. Brands that are looking for a fast way to increase their brand awareness should check out the advertising options offered by TikTok.

Here are the advertising options brands and businesses to explore:

  • In-Feed Ads: These ads appear while TikTokers are scrolling through the For You section on TikTok’s homepage. In-Feed Ads have a “Sponsored” label when they appear on the homepage. The videos can be 9 – 15 seconds long. To increase your ad conversion rate, you can add a pop-up call-to-action button.

TikTok Ads

  • Branded Takeover Ads: These ads appear immediately after the user opens the app. The ad appears as a full-screen video and is the first thing the user will see when they open the app. A benefit of this ad format is that they can appear as videos, GIFs, or still images on the ‘For You’ page.
  • TopView Ads: These ads are similar to Brand Takeover Ads.  The key difference is that TopView Ads pop up 5 seconds after the user opens the TikTok app. Unlike the other ad formats, TopView Ads can be as long as 60 seconds. It is the longest video ad option.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges: These are sponsored hashtag challenges that are featured in TikTok’s Discover Page. In this ad format, brands partner with TikTok teams to roll out sponsored hashtag challenges. The ads usually last 6 days.

To understand better how TikTok Ads work, check out this in-depth guide to TikTok Ads.

Using TikTok analytics

To achieve success on TikTok, you need to consistently measure the performance of your content.

Looking at your analytics will help you identify the kind of videos your audience loves. With analytics, you will be able to measure important metrics like average engagement rate. You also get access to your audience demographics.

Note that users won’t have access to TikTok’s analytics on the normal account. To use analytics, you will need to upgrade to the Pro account. Upgrading to the Pro account is also very easy.

To find out how to upgrade to the Pro account and how to properly use TikTok’s analytics features, check out this in-depth guide to TikTok analytics.

For monitoring analytics on multiple profiles and checking out the current trends as well, head over to Tiklytics.

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Conclusion

In this article, we have seen how to use TikTok as a brand. We covered important topics like how the TikTok algorithm works, strategies you can use in promoting your brand on TikTok, and how to get started with TikTok ads and analytics.

One thing to note is that content is key on TikTok. The more creative your videos are, the more engagement they will receive from your audience. Remember that TikTok’s algorithm gives preference to videos that receive high user engagement. So if you want to consistently appear on the ‘For You’, page, create awesome content.

Hope you enjoyed reading this article? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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