Considering TikTok marketing for your business or organization? You’re not alone. We polled more than 800 professionals on LinkedIn, and the results reveal that many are still thinking about it.
The video app may not be a good fit for every brand, especially if your customers and TikTok user demographics don’t overlap. But many businesses have found success marketing on TikTok—from Nike to Universal Pictures to the San Diego Zoo.
A lot of the biggest brand moments on TikTok have been accidental. Ocean Spray sales and Fleetwood Mac plays skyrocketed after Nathan Apodaca kickstarted the #DreamsChallenge on a longboard ride to work. And now Arby’s is having a moment because someone purchased one of their menus thinking it was a flatscreen T.V.
The power of TikTok, especially with creator-led content, has even led some companies, including Walmart and Dunkin’ Donuts, to encourage employees to post videos while at work.
Don’t throw your TikTok marketing strategy out the window just yet. Learn how to set TikTok up for business and how to tackle TikTok influencer marketing and more.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
How to set up TikTok for Business
TikTok opened a TikTok for Business hub this summer, and rolled out pro accounts in October for businesses and creators. With a business account, you can add more information to your profile, and access real-time metrics and audience insights.
Here’s how to create a TikTok business account:
1. Download and open the TikTok app.
2. Login with your email, Google, Twitter or Facebook account. If multiple people will need to access the account, choose login credentials you are comfortable sharing.
3. Set up your account. Tap Me in the lower right corner, then click Edit Profile to add a profile picture and bio. You can add links to your Instagram and Video accounts, too.
4. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner, then Manage Account.
5. From there, switch to a pro account, then select Business or Creator.
6. Select the category that best fits your business, then tap Next.
7. You can now add a website and contact email to your profile.
Tip: TikTok launched Back to Business this summer to help support companies impacted by COVID closures. Small businesses can apply before Dec. 31, 2020, for one-time ad credit worth $300 or have a portion of ad spend matched by TikTok.
Create a TikTok Ad account
If you plan to run ads on TikTok, you’ll need to create an ad account for TikTok Ads Manager. Visit tiktok.com/business, click Get started and complete your information. Note: TikTok currently has a limit on registrations, so you may need to try again later.
Expect TikTok ads to become more widely available soon, especially since they’ve now teamed up with Shopify to create shoppable ads.
How to create a TikTok marketing strategy
TikTok trends can seem random, and there’s no such thing as a surefire marketing strategy, just ask TikTok’s Global Creative Strategist. Here’s how to develop a TikTok marketing strategy to start with and adapt along your TikTok journey.
Oh you like strategy? Name every insight.
— Taylor Cohen (@ttayl0r) October 24, 2019
Get familiar with TikTok
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) August 14, 2020
Spend some time getting sucked in by TikTok videos. Explore the different features available on the app, and note what filters, effects and songs are trending. Keep an eye out for Hashtag Challenges, which basically involve a song, dance moves, or a task that members are challenged to recreate. Don’t overlook TikTok’s duets feature either.
This thread is evidence of the way TikTok’s duet feature can result in the most hilarious and creative collaborations.
Pretty much a guy wrote a musical number about a grocery store and everyone is adding onto it and I am deceased.
Part 1 pic.twitter.com/4z5Mqbscgp
— mom friend™ (@emmaspacelynn) October 5, 2020
Read up on the TikTok algorithm, too. Understand how TikTok ranks and displays videos in the For You tab can inform your content, hashtag, and engagement strategy. Get the full lowdown on how the algorithm works here. You can also brush up on all things TikTok by taking courses in the TikTok Business Learning Center.
TikTok influencer marketing is another big part of the app’s ecosystem. Check out TikTok’s mega-stars, like Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and Zach King. And try to discover rising stars, or influencers in your niche.
we’re getting an absurd amount of out of state adoption applications today at my job so we asked our marketing team why and it turns out @charlidamelio posted a tiktok promoting adopting from us, super neat #adoptdontshop pic.twitter.com/V454XBP44a
— linear equation (@LinneaJuliet) October 26, 2020
Define your target audience
Who do you hope to reach on TikTok? Before you start creating content, learn about the TikTok demographics, and identify those who might be interested in your brand.
TikTok is most popular with teens, but it would be a mistake to write TikTok off as a teen app. The 20-29 year-old cohort follows close behind teenagers in the U.S., and in China, “glam-mas” are showing that fashion only gets better with age. Looking to expand your reach in India? You may want to reconsider. The app has been banned there since June.
Spend some time researching your audiences on other platforms and look for overlap on TikTok. But don’t rule out new or unexpected audiences. Your current audience may not be on TikTok, but maybe there are subgroups with related or slightly different interest on the platform. For example, a children’s books publisher’s audience could consist of authors on LinkedIn, readers on Instagram, and illustrators on TikTok.
Once you’ve zeroed in on a potential audience, research what types of content they like and engage with. Then start to brainstorm content ideas for your brand.
Perform a competitive audit
Are your competitors on TikTok? If they are you could be missing out on the action. If they aren’t, TikTok may be a way to gain a competitive advantage.
Whether or not your competitors are on the platform, find at least three to five similar brands or organizations and see what they’re up to on the app. Try to learn from what’s worked and what hasn’t worked for them. If it’s helpful, use the S.W.O.T. framework to identify each competitors strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Or find another competitor matrix that fits.
Because TikTok is a creator-led platform, don’t rule out including TikTok stars and influencers in this exercise. Find personalities that specialize in your area of expertise, from cosmetics to medicine or education and literature.
Align goals with business objectives
You can create TikToks just for the sake of it, but it’s better to have a goals in mind can be tied to your overall business objectives.
Whether you plan to reach a new audience, improve brand image, promote awareness for a product, or develop stronger customer relationships through engagement, it’s important to back your efforts with a rationale. Consider using the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework, or another template, to set goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Like most social platforms, TikTok provides analytics for pro accounts. From your profile page, click the three dots in the upper right. From there click Business then Analytics. Explore the dashboard and find the metrics you can use to measure your goals.
Create space to experiment
There’s no such thing as a formula for going viral on TikTok. Leave space in your TikTok marketing strategy to be creative, have fun, and go with the flow.
If something flops, learn from it and move on to the next experiment. If your brand ends up accidentally trending like Home Depot, Ocean Spray, or others, make the most of it. Be in on the joke. Don’t plan to be taken too seriously on TikTok.
Please don’t fire me.