TikTok, a platform that was once considered complementary, now takes center stage in the marketing strategies of major brands. The reasons behind this are many. For starters, TikTok is a famously powerful space to engage with younger generations—especially Gen Z and Millennials—who flock to the platform for product recommendations, reviews and more.
It’s not a coincidence that the platform attracts these audiences and also humanizes brands by encouraging them to show a more genuine side. To put it simply, TikTok stands out among other platforms by not only connecting with younger audiences but also providing brands with unique opportunities to establish emotional connections, showcase their authenticity and effectively reach new potential customers in creative ways. Moreover, it serves as a fertile ground for creating trending content and attaining viral status within seconds—resulting in the highly sought-after “sold out” scenario that every brand aspires to achieve.
In a marketing landscape that is constantly evolving, having a presence on TikTok is not just an option, but a wise decision for brands aiming to differentiate themselves and stay relevant in the face of an increasingly demanding digital audience. Surprisingly, though, many have yet to fully tap into its potential. Worry not—whether you’ve tested the waters already or are just thinking about dipping your toes into the platform, this guide will help you succeed in your TikTok campaigns.
Stage 1: Initial Preparation
Before venturing into TikTok from a brand perspective, it is essential to actively engage on the platform as a user. Becoming familiar with the language and dynamics of TikTok is the first step toward achieving success. Whether you are a brand owner, employee or part of an agency, absorbing the essence of TikTok is crucial.
Success on TikTok requires synergizing a distinctive tone of voice with the unique social essence of the platform. The brand voice, which may be cautious and dependable elsewhere, can (and likely should) become inspiring, lighthearted and humorous on TikTok. That’s the only way to break down barriers and establish a relationship with consumers that’s built on trust. Ultimately, TikTok provides the ideal environment to unravel untapped aspects of the brand.
Some of the ways brands can actively participate on TikTok include:
- Creating an organic profile on TikTok:
This strategy involves building a brand profile on the platform and consistently sharing organic content. It requires meticulous planning, as the videos should resonate with TikTok’s audience and align with their interests.
While it demands a high level of dedication, the benefits outweigh the effort. By having an organic presence, the brand’s profile becomes a testing ground, enabling the brand to extract valuable insights from videos, explore topics that intersect with diverse niches within TikTok and receive real-time feedback from users. These learnings can then be applied to paid content, ensuring its effectiveness is maximized.
- Using TikTok ads:
Another alternative is to invest in paid ads on TikTok.These ads can appear in the discovery feed, just like organic videos, but there are also special formats that provide a prominent position on the homepage, as well as sponsored challenges. The lack of an organic account doesn’t necessarily affect the performance of these ads, making this a great choice for brands that want to test the platform without fully committing to it yet. It’s also an effective tactic to amplify seasonal campaigns.
- Partnering with TikTok creators:
Partnering with creators not only serves as an alternative for those unable to choose one of the previous options but also acts as a complementary strategy that can and should be combined with the others. Content creators on TikTok are native to the platform, meaning they possess expertise in producing content that truly resonates with audiences. By partnering with the right ones, you can gain an intermediary that effectively translates the brand’s message while also attracting potential customers from their trusted follower base.
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to collaborating with creators. Instead, it’s important to avoid a cookie-cutter style and focus on customizing strategies to accommodate individual differences and cater to specific needs. More often than not, creators complement brands’ strategies through dark posts, but increasingly, they are involved in the early stages of the campaign, helping to determine the best way to introduce it on the platform.
Stage 2: Beyond the Top of the Funnel
Recognizing that TikTok isn’t just restricted to the initial phase of the marketing funnel opens up space to plan a comprehensive strategy with videos that address all stages of the customer journey, which can be even more effective.
When we think about TikTok, it’s not uncommon to associate it with the awareness stage, in which brands can leverage the viral nature of the app to capture the attention of a wide audience. However, it doesn’t end there. In the conversion stage, brands can incorporate clear call-to-actions within the videos or in the captions, directing users to visit a website, make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter.
To drive ad communication, though, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of campaign objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). What is the core message we aim to convey? What will be the call to action (CTA)? These considerations will guide the development of an effective campaign.
Stage 3: Detailed Research
Research is a powerful ally in shaping a TikTok strategy. It is crucial to collect and save relevant references, templates and resources for future adaptations. Analyzing consumer-generated content, both from the brand and others in the industry, provides valuable insights into what resonates with the audience.
By exploring the different hashtags and trends that are closely related to the campaign theme, you can join the conversations that organically align with the strategy. Attentively listening to customer feedback, identifying recurring themes and evaluating overall brand perception will guide the path to success.
Stage 4: Key Considerations for Planning
During the planning phase, brainstorming with the team is key to selecting the best ideas. From there, it is necessary to identify the required resources—including roles such as store employees, content creators or celebrities—as well as materials such as sets, props and products. These resources will be used in filming, adapting existing content, or recording videos at home.
Not long ago, we successfully brought Kopenhagen’s Easter campaign to TikTok. The Topview announcement in particular had an impressive reach of 4.1 million people, exceeding expectations. In addition, the click-through rate (CTR) was 35% higher than the standard benchmark. The impact was even more remarkable as the proportion of new users visiting the brand’s website increased by over 60% during the period when this format was utilized. In short, this broad visibility, coupled with a significant CTR, resulted in a notable growth in the number of potential customers during one of the most important dates for the brand.
Another crucial aspect is the development of a well-defined timeline, encompassing the entire process from the initial creation to the launch of the TikTok campaign. In doing so, it’s necessary to dedicate enough time to each step, ensuring they are properly distributed within the available time frame. This helps avoid last-minute planning for seasonal campaigns.
Stage 5: Creating Impactful Content
When it comes to creating content for TikTok, every second counts. Unlike other platforms, where longer videos are favored, TikTok is all about agility and action, which means that the first three seconds are particularly crucial in capturing the user’s attention. That’s when you should be highlighting offers, promotions, coupons and even free shipping—maximizing efforts to attract and engage the audience effectively.
By understanding the language and trends, conducting comprehensive research, carefully planning and creating relevant content, brands can achieve outstanding results on TikTok. While harnessing its full potential may not be as easy as it seems, when executed effectively, it becomes a formidable marketing tool. The platform’s evolution has made it essential for successful campaigns. Let’s embrace creativity, innovation and strategy to fully unleash its power.
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