5 TikTok Marketing Tips for Brands and Agencies

Discover how TikTok marketing can be effective for brands of all sizes and why now is the time to get involved.

By Will Blunt ・5 min read
Agency Tips
Business & Marketing Strategy
Social Media

Will TikTok marketing work for your brand?Good question…While this addictive video-sharing platform was once reserved for teenagers, things are changing in 2021.Big brands, celebrities, multi-channel influencers, and your customers are all signing up and getting lost in hour-long TikTok vortexes. There are now over 800 million active users on the platform.So, to answer the question I posed at the start of this introduction, yes. TikTok marketing can be effective for brands of all shapes and sizes. If you’re not active on TikTok, your competitors will have an advantage, and with only 5% of marketers using TikTok, now is the time to pounce.

TikTok Overview - What is TikTok?

Simply put, TikTok is a bite-sized video-sharing social media platform. Users share funny, entertaining, and creative videos that are backed by music and tap into trends.TikTok is available in over 150 countries and 75 languages. It is the most downloaded app in the Apple app store and is widely considered the fastest growing social media platform in the world.While 66% of TikTok users are under the age of 30, almost 17% of the user base is in their 40s - so it’s not all about the younger generation. But one thing is for sure, people that use TikTok get addicted, with the average user on the app for 52 minutes a day.

TikTok Marketing Tips

As with any other social media platform, marketing your brand on TikTok has its nuances. It’s not as easy as rehashing the content you’ve already created, but instead, taking a fresh approach that accesses the power of this viral phenomenon.Here are five TikTok marketing tips to get you on the right track.

#1. Create Killer TikTok Videos

Effective TikTok marketing starts with your content. Without great video content, your brand will get lost in the noise.TikTok videos are very different from ones you would release on Facebook or Instagram. While they are heavily edited, layered with music, and well-thought-out concepts, they have a more down-to-earth feel. A “TV-style” production video is unnecessary and unlikely to perform well.The trick with TikTok is creating video content that appears off-the-cuff and raw, even if there have been hours of preparation put into it. Successful TikTok videos tend to have a “wow” moment that shocks or surprises watchers.I’d recommend looking at TikTok’s Discover Page to see the style of videos that gain traction. It will help you identify trends in video creation that will aid your marketing efforts.In terms of creating the video content itself, the TikTok app is extremely helpful. It allows you to combine videos, add visual effects or animations, change voices, include music, and a range of other customization features.For example, check out this video from National Geographic, a brand that typically creates professionally edited, fine-tuned, and perfect on the eye content. This video has more of a behind-the-scenes and relatable vibe:[embed][/embed]

#2. Choose the Right Hashtags

Hashtags are HUGE on TikTok. In fact, I’d almost say they are more important on this platform than any other social network.Users discover content using hashtags, and the TikTok Discover Page is curated based on trending hashtags. To get found on TikTok, you need to use the right hashtags.There are three types of hashtags you should be aware of.

  • Topic-based hashtags - These hashtags categorize your content and are descriptive, such as #tiktokrecipe.
  • Hashtag challenges - 35% of TikTok users have participated in a hashtag challenge. At any one time, there are hundreds of trending TikTok challenges, such as dances or creative projects, that users participate in. These challenges are often associated with a popular song, such as the #ToosieSlide challenge where users posted videos of themselves replicating Drake’s dance.
  • Branded hashtags - These hashtags are unique to your brand but follow a similar concept to a hashtag challenge. You are inviting people to create user-generated content while subtly promoting your brand at the same time. Guess, for example, created the branded hashtag #InMyDenim to promote a new product collection with great success.

Branded Hashtag Campaign by GuessBe sure to research and include various topic-based hashtags with all of your content and consider running a branded hashtag campaign or riding the coattails of a trending hashtag challenge.

#3. Run TikTok Contests

TikTok contests are similar in many ways to other social media giveaways, but there are a few significant differences to be aware of.Firstly, TikTok contests and TikTok challenges are not the same things, necessarily.A single brand or brand collaboration starts a TikTok contest, and they offer a prize, have a start and end date, and collect user-generated entries. A TikTok challenge is not controlled by any single brand - they are trends, such as #ThePushUpChallenge, that take a mind of their own.In saying that, brands will often use branded hashtags to run a TikTok contest and use the term “challenge” for familiarity with users.Chipotle, for example, runs a yearly Halloween #Boorito contest, with the top five posts getting a year’s supply of burritos from its restaurants. All participants need to enter a TikTok video showing a before and after Halloween dress-up transformation using the Chipotle campaign custom music. This hashtag has over 4.2 billion views!


Chipotle TikTok ContestGet started with ShortStack’s TikTok video contest template here.


ShortStack TikTok Video Contest TemplateView and Create Your Own

#4. Work With TikTok Influencers

Whether you’re running a TikTok contest, branded hashtag campaign, or want to increase your exposure on this social network, influencers can significantly accelerate the reach of your efforts.It’s important to give influencers creative license when it comes to creating videos for your TikTok campaigns. They will have a specific color palette, music style, and personality that must be upheld for authenticity.When working with influencers, be sure to analyze your efforts. Monitor the videos they share, track your campaign hashtag, and consider creating unique coupon codes or custom links to determine an influencer’s effectiveness.Not sure where to start? Well, TikTok makes running an influencer campaign easier than any other social network. They have a “TikTok Creator Marketplace.” In this marketplace, you can choose the best partners to collaborate with based on real engagement data.


TikTok Creator Marketplace

#5. Amplify Your Reach With Ads

Just like the platform itself, TikTok ads err on the side of creativity. They’re more about brand personality than they are “selling” a product.The real value of TikTok ads is pure amplification. If you’re already creating great TikTok videos and running branded campaigns, ads will help you find interested users more quickly and expand your reach.TikTok provides an enormous amount of free resources for advertisers to create the best campaigns they can. For example, the TikTok Creative Center has a library of popular trends and top-performing ads as inspiration:


TikTok Creative CenterThere is also a range of free tools to help you create better TikTok ads. There are video ad templates for speeding up the creation process and even an AI tool called “Smart Video” that automatically merges multiple videos or photos with other video elements.Of course, you’ll need to test TikTok ads to be sure they will work for you, but several brands are already seeing great success. For example, personalized jewelry brand Slate & Tell reached over 4 million TikTok users and had a ROAS of 2x, according to its TikTok case study.While there are mixed reports about TikTok ads' cost, its advertising case studies suggest that smaller brands can get a positive return on investment.


It's getting harder and harder for brands to ignore TikTok. As the user demographics diversify and a broader range of brands interact on the social network, the expectation of having a presence will only grow.As with any new channel, the earlier you get involved, the better results you’ll have.So start now. Familiarize yourself with TikTok by exploring trending content and relevant hashtags. Then apply your learnings to the video creation process. Once you’re comfortable and have a rhythm of content creation, branch out with influencer campaigns, contests, branded hashtags, and ads for amplification.

Create your first TikTok contest now

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About the author

By Will Blunt ・5 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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