Great marketing strategy always comes back to the fundamentals – regardless of the platform. Knowing your brand, knowing your audience, knowing what you want to achieve. But with TikTok, there are certain idiosyncrasies to factor into your planning. Here’s a run through of the key things to consider for your own successful TikTok marketing strategy.
TikTok: a massive commercial opportunity
Welcome to TikTok – leave your prejudgements at the door. Having quickly outgrown its status as a platform for bored teenagers aping the latest dance craze, TikTok has become a fertile seedbed for expanding reach, making sales and growing business. With over one billion active monthly users, the commercial opportunities are huge.
Consider these stats.
- In 2021 TikTok was the number one mobile app for driving consumer spend.
- 73% of TikTok users report feeling a deeper connection to brands they interact with on the platform.
- TikTok users are twice as likely as users of traditional social platforms to recommend a product or service they’ve discovered on the app.
- 40% of Gen Z search for products and services through TikTok before turning to Google.
Bottom line: people who are interested in your product or service are on TikTok. The challenge is finding them, engaging them and converting them. That’s where a great marketing strategy comes in.
Before we dive in…
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Get to know the platform
If you are already a TikTok user, you will know all too well: the targeting powers of TikTok are seriously good. The algorithm knows what you are interested in. It knows what you want to see. And it knows how to suck you in.
That’s good news for marketers. In an age of advertising where audiences are sceptical and ambivalent, marketing on a platform where the audience is more engaged with the content in general is a great start. Indeed brain imaging studies have shown that people find TikTok ads more memorable and more engaging than TV ads.
But that doesn’t mean you should sit back as a marketer and enjoy the ride. It’s amazing how many social media marketers profess to be experts on a given platform, despite never using it. Be a user. Follow some of your favourite brands. Get an understanding of how advertising content disrupts the normal browsing experience. That knowledge can be the difference between good results, and great results.
Speaking of which…
What are you trying to achieve?
It’s hard to create a solid TikTok marketing strategy when you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Is it hashtag views, follower growth or likes? Is it an increase in traffic to your website, sales leads or telephone queries? Determine the result(s) you’re looking for and plot a roadmap backwards.
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Know your brand, know your audience
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to appeal to everyone. The people that matter are people who are likely to buy your product or service. (Or people who can influence the decision makers who hold the purse strings.) Forget about everyone else. Trying to please everyone can unfortunately tends to lead to insipid, uninspiring marketing ideas. Figure out what makes you unique. Get a deep understanding of what you’re good at. Then work out how to make the right people care.
Experiment with content strategy
As a marketer, you are probably accustomed to showcasing your product or service in the best possible light. So it might feel unusual to ditch the brand sheen in favour of something more lo-fi. Be brave. TikTok is unlike any other platform – and highly polished content is not the norm.
- TikTok users feel closer to brands that publish unpolished content featuring everyday people (source).
- 74% of Gen Z and 72% of audiences over the age of 26 say that they most want to see funny content from brands (source).
It’s a great opportunity to experiment, take risks and explore types of content you’ve never made before. Aim for candid authenticity and break down the traditional boundaries between company and customer.
We’ve written more about content strategy for TikTok below.
How often will you post, who will create it?
It’s maddening when ‘experts’ advise brands to bombard social media with content. Yes, it might boost your chances of your followers seeing your content. But brands that never shut up tend to be particularly annoying – howling into the ether with a torrent of white noise and uninspired drivel that nobody cares about. Nothing will inspire your followers to hit the unfollow button quicker than an unceasing stream of dreck. Dial back the frequency and you look far less desperate. Start with posting 3-7 times per week and see what works.
Aim for a mix of your own organic content, reactions to trending topics (if you can find a way to make it relevant to your brand) and user generated content (UGC). UGC is a key part of TikTok’s DNA – and there are several features that make it easy to reuse content that users have created about your brand.
- UGC posts on social media have a 28% higher engagement rate than branded content (source).
- 31% of consumers say that content containing UGC is more memorable than branded content (source).
- 84% of Gen Z tend to trust brands that have real customers in their advertisements (source).
Much like a testimonial or a review, marketing content can be far more persuasive and affecting when a customer is showcasing your brand on your behalf. It feels more authentic. More real. Less hammy. Some brands – such as Bloomscape – have made UGC the core part of their TikTok marketing strategy. Worth considering if you have a product or service that’s very visual.
Once you get the right balance of content, you can expand reach with TikTok ads.
What type of ads work best on TikTok?
There are six types of ad on TikTok.
- In-feed ads: In-feed ads appear as the user is scrolling through their For You Page. It’s the most organic way of displaying an ad, minimally disruptive and typically gets good engagement. Ads are skippable and can include a CTA button to a form or webpage.
- Spark ads: With a Spark ad you can reuse existing organic content as your ad creative – whether it’s your own or someone else’s (you’ll need permission from the creator). Again, these ads appear in the feed and can be skipped.
- TopView ads: These ads appear right at the top of a user’s feed, before they begin scrolling. They are full screen and autoplay with sound.
- Brand takeover ads: A five-second, full screen video displayed immediately after a user opens the app. Only one brand can be showcased in this space per day – meaning there is no competition. And your ad will be served to everyone who opens TikTok that day. Prime real estate, with a price tag to match.
- Branded effects: Create your own shareable stickers, filters and special effects for the TikTok masses to get creative with. Ideal for encouraging user generated content.
- Branded hashtag challenges: Create a hashtag, own it and challenge TikTokers to get creative. Clicking a branded hashtag will take the user to a page describing the rules of the challenge. Again, it’s a great way to build the noise around your brand and generate a stack of user generated content. However, branded hashtags can be hijacked by people creating unrelated content.
Short of a marketing budget that stretches into the tens of thousands, the most cost-effective way to promote your brand on TikTok is with In-Feed ads. These have a time limit of 60 seconds, though TikTok recommend a sweet spot of 9-15 seconds. You have a huge amount of creative freedom and can add a call to action that drives users to your website, a form or something else.
Consider influencers to expand your reach
Love or hate the influencer marketing culture, it gets results. 37% of social media users trust content creators over brands when discovering new products. But forget the perfectly preened mega influencers with their legions of followers. When it comes to lead generation on TikTok, we advocate working with micro-influencers – i.e. those with between 1,000 and 2,000 followers.
Research shows that influencers with fewer followers tend to get better engagement rates. Mostly because of their ability to engage personally with fans and to nurture a more authentic community. That contributes to an average micro-influencer engagement rate of 17.96%. That’s huge.
Whether it’s right for your brand or not is up to you.
Defining your audience(s)
Think about the way you engage with ads as a social media user. If you don’t feel it’s relevant to you, you probably ignore it. It’s why ads that resonate tend to be targeted at a very specific audience. And with TikTok ad campaigns, you can be hyper specific in terms of your targeting.
You can target users in a precise location – such as a certain part of a town or city. You can target users based on their age. Or their interests and hobbies. Or their app activity, profile type, language, household income, mobile device and more. The vast suite of options means you can make your ad spend work as hard as possible, targeting only those who are most likely to convert.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t experiment once in a while.
Some of the most eye-catching and disruptive advertising is born from imaginative audience targeting – and using hooks with benefits that speak directly to that audience’s pain points. Getting creative with your audience targeting can make for memorable ad campaigns and generate custom from people who never would have found your business otherwise.
Engage with your audience
Don’t forget the social side of social media. Remember to respond to comments. Contribute to trending topics. Engage with your followers’ content. Be part of a conversation. You can garner a lot of brand loyalty with seemingly small actions like responding to a comment in a timely manner and with a bit of your brand’s personality.
Know your numbers: dive in to your data
When you know which of your TikTok activity is getting the best results, you can double down on what works – and ditch what doesn’t. Regular reviews of your analytics should be baked in to your TikTok marketing strategy.
TikTok has an intuitive analytics dashboard that will tell you everything you need to know. The data you gather from lead generation campaigns can be synced directly with your marketing tech stack using tools like Zapier, or a custom API. (Here’s how.)
You can also use TikTok Pixel for remarketing efforts – gathering data on the TikTok users who are visiting your website and how they are engaging. You can then target these users with highly nuanced TikTok ads that nudge them towards conversion or enhance customer loyalty.
Know your numbers: monitor your money
Making sagacious use of your budget for TikTok is imperative. TikTok makes it easy to manage your ad spend – with numerous budgeting features including setting a maximum daily spend and pausing your campaign.
Yet there are many intangibles that can complicate your budgeting. Firstly there’s the cost of creating content and measuring its effectiveness. Then there’s the cost of hiring actors or influencers – either to appear in your content or to create it themselves. For a micro-influencer (see above) you’re probably looking at £10-100 per post.
Sit down and try to map out the intangible costs of using TikTok. Knowing where you stand with your budget can help to make sure you use it as effectively as possible.
Make someone accountable for your brand’s TikTok performance. Give someone ownership. Schedule regular check-ins to discuss performance. Without assigning ownership, social media activities can too quickly become an afterthought, rather than something that you are proactive about.
…or let us take care of it
Congrats (and thank you ) for making it this far. As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to creating a successful TikTok marketing strategy. But what if there was a short cut? Well, maybe there is. We help brands get big results from paid media. From strategy to sales reports, we are a one-stop shop for driving growth and ROI for your business. And that’s not just lip service. We only work with brands when we know we can generate positive results. Take a look at one of our case studies and tell us you wouldn’t like to work together.
“The Adbetter team are incredibly knowledgeable, very responsive and true partners. I was so impressed with their command of KPIs and statistics; they truly get the client’s POV. They are business-minded, which is oh-so-rare in this industry. They have designed (and implemented) an excellent digital marketing and lead generation strategy for us that is paying off in spades. Highly recommend!”Manya Klempner, Founder, The Boxing House