By Alexandra Kazakova | 15 min read
TikTok Influencer Marketing | An Overview
TikTok Influencer marketing is becoming the next big thing for brands looking for new niche markets.
So why is it important for you?
Imagine 1 billion people in 155 countries falling in love with your product. Sounds too good to be true?
This article will show you how to master the craft of TikTok influencer marketing and succeed on this addictive social media platform.
As an agency with TikTok influencer marketing services, we’ll include actionable advice, influencer marketing examples that move the needle, and behind-the-scenes stories.
How TikTok Influencer Marketing Works
TikTok influencer marketing entails finding the right content creators to promote your brand on this social channel.
These influencers can create:
- TikTok video clips about your brand that they publish on their accounts
- Content about your company and products that you post on your account, following your brief
- A blend of both
The advantages relate to creating social proof, awareness, and trust.
TikTok vs. Instagram Influencer Marketing
To understand the intricacies of TikTok vs. Instagram influencer marketing, you should first understand the channel’s unique features:
- TikTok rewards quality content above everything else.
- Its advanced AI algorithms learn the user’s behavior and preferences and then offer highly personalized video feeds.
- Customized feeds and authentic content make TikTok addictive.
- Onboarding of the app is very different from the other apps too. It takes you straight to the content without sign-up and hooks you immediately.
- TikTok enables anyone to become a creator, regardless of their technical skills.
- Compared to Instagram or Snapchat, TikTok is much easier to use for editing and uploading content. Users can layer context by remixing and adding text, special effects, and music to their videos.
- People can share their TikToks on other social media channels. That means TikTok influencers can do the same thing to get more visibility for your brand.
Side note: Unlike Instagram, where everyone seems to capture their “picture-perfect” life, on TikTok, users love and support real and authentic content that relates to their everyday lives.
Choose content creators who live by this principle.
Here’s an example of how one of our clients, New Balance, uses relevant influencers that produce raw content:
Now here’s what makes TikTok influencer marketing different than Instagram:
TikTok vs. Instagram Format
- TikTok is a video-only platform. On Instagram, brands leverage various content forms, including photos, stories, feeds, and IGTV channels.
- TikTok allows users to create videos four times longer than Instagram stories’ 15-second limit. Even though IGTV enables users to create longer videos, Instagram influencers did not widely embrace this feature.
Pro tip: Short-form videos may perform better in certain cases because they maintain people’s attention.
TikTok vs. Instagram Algorithm
- TikTok’s algorithm can make viral videos overnight. On Instagram, it takes months, if not years, for influencers to build their presence.
- The success of an influencer marketing campaign on Instagram largely depends on the popularity of the influencer. Consequently, getting popular on TikTok with challenges and original content is easier than on Instagram.
TikTok vs. Instagram Content Type
- TikTok is popular because of its fun content that focuses on originality and humor. The hashtag challenges are unique to TikTok and allow influencers to grow their following exponentially in a matter of days.
- Instagram influencers put more effort into style and imagery than into everyday content. When working with them, brands focus on product image and presentation. On TikTok, users expect original content without branding or marketing.
TikTok vs. Instagram on Sponsored Content
- Instagram users react well and engage with sponsored posts on Instagram.
- When working with TikTok influencers, your marketing message has to be subtle.
- Focus on product usage rather than the product image.
Here’s a neat example from Nordstrom.
Side note: We worked with Nordstrom and Wildfang when they added a non-binary clothing line to their e-commerce. Our 160+ content assets produced 4.1 million impressions.
In the clip below, you can see that Nordstrom uses its employees as influencers. Alice Dehghanzadeh barely has 249 followers at the time of this writing, but she is the perfect creator to produce raw content about Nordstrom products:
More importantly, notice the comments:
As you can see, TikTok users interact well with branded content.
TikTok vs. Instagram Trends
- On TikTok, new trends emerge every week, but some content formats remain consistently popular. These formats include dance videos, lip-syncing videos, and trending hashtag challenges.
- Compared to TikTok, Instagram trends are more steady. Instagram Influencers occupy their particular niche and have target audiences that expect consistent content.
- Because of ever-changing trends, TikTok creators post several pieces of content daily. However, on Instagram, posting too much is a sure way to get unfollowed.
Now that you understand the key differences between influencer marketing on TikTok and Instagram, it is time to design your TikTok influencer marketing strategy.
How To Build a TikTok Influencer Marketing Strategy
TikTok influencer marketing is still in its infancy compared to other social platforms. So marketers need better practices or tried and tested methods to build a winning strategy.
We’ll help you, starting with our clients’ success stories.
Follow the steps below to build a TikTok influencer marketing strategy that moves the needle:
Step 1: Research
- Study the platform and decide if marketing on TikTok reaches your target audience.
- Analyze whether your brand is ready for a campaign on TikTok.
- Ensure the platform is a good fit for your brand image.
- Look at what your competitors are doing to understand what works for them.
- Use this knowledge to identify opportunities for your own company.
Step 2: Set Goals and KPIs
After doing this research, write clear marketing goals. Your TikTok campaign should have a purpose; you shouldn’t create content just for content’s sake.
Then, set clear KPIs to measure those goals. KPIs can include:
- Engagement metrics: Likes, shares, and comments
- Awareness metrics: Video views
- Sales: App installs, sales
Step 3: Plan Your Strategies and Tools
At this step in the game, you choose your campaign type and decide which formats suit your brand best. Tactics can include:
- Hashtag challenges
- Lip-syncing videos
- And more
Remember: Developing a content strategy consistent with your influencer’s profile is crucial.
For example, we used relevant influencers in the TikTok NYC Votes campaign. We wanted to target Gen Z, so we chose creators with standing and credibility to address this audience:
Notice that the clip above leverages a lip-syncing trend with which TikTok active users are familiar.
How to Launch a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign
After building the campaign, it’s time to set things in motion:
Step 1: Find TikTok Influencers
At inBeat, we start by setting an initial content strategy, as explained above. Only after we search for the right TikTok influencers to fit that content.
We advise you to take the same steps when you launch your marketing campaign.
Here are the tips for finding potential influencers:
Use TikTok Creator Marketplace
Marketplace has many filters to help you find a TikTok influencer that fits your needs. The platform allows you to uncover data about the creator’s audience, such as demographics and location.
Warning: This platform features only the most popular influencers on the TikTok channel. Creator Marketplace may not be the best solution if you want to partner with micro-influencers.
And, it costs you more to recruit suitable influencers on the Marketplace than to contact them directly.
Inbeat Influencer Database is free software to find different types of influencers, such as nano- or micro – influencers for TikTok. Here are some advantages:
- It has plenty of filters that help you zero in on the right influencer partner.
- You even have a filter for excluding certain keywords from your search.
- Each profile has relevant stats, such as the average engagement rate and the number of comments per post.
If these options don’t seem appealing, you can use:
- Google Search
- Hashtag search on the platform itself to find influencers by relevant hashtags
For example, you can discover influencers that feature sponsored content by searching for the #ad tag.
Step 2: Shortlist and Vet Creators
Once you have found and shortlisted TikTok influencers for your campaign, invest time researching them.
Remember: You need more than the number of followers to give you enough insight to decide whether the influencer fits your campaign.
- Go further than vanity metrics and explore the influencer’s content and history.
- Check their previous brand partnerships, the quality of their content, and engagement rates.
- Study their audience to make sure it is in line with yours.
Step 3: Pitch Influencers
Pitch selected influencers to collaborate with your brand. But don’t just send them any random message.
To increase your success rates:
- Personalize your message.
- Outline the benefits of this collaboration to the influencer.
Following the previous steps and conducting thorough research, you can easily connect with same-minded influencers.
Step 4: Define the Partnership Terms
Influencers are creative, but that doesn’t mean your partnership shouldn’t be governed by strategy.
It’s actually essential to:
- Agree on specific deliverables.
- Ask permission to repurpose the influencer’s content.
- Outline the campaign’s goal and the message you want the influencer to convey.
To do all that, write a concise but clear influencer brief to describe your expectations from the marketing campaign.
Pro tip: Refrain from controlling the creative process and limiting the influencer’s creativity. Be flexible and allow the influencer to do the storytelling.
Your sponsored content will resonate with the creator’s audience, and you will guard your brand against coming across as inauthentic.
4 Ways to Measure the Performance of Your TikTok Campaign
Now that your campaign is launched, you shouldn’t sit back and relax. You should lean in front and keep track of its performance.
From our experience at inBeat, only some marketers monitor their campaign performance correctly. But let’s focus on the solutions:
1. Choose the Right KPIs and Metrics
The metrics you choose should reflect your goals and objectives. For example, an engagement campaign should focus on video likes, comments, and shares.
What if you run a TikTok sales campaign?
In this case, video shares are less important. Reach, conversions, and paid ad metrics are more relevant in this case.
Similarly, if you run a mobile marketing strategy on TikTok, focus on installs rather than likes.
2. Get the Right Tools to Automate the Process
Certain software can help you keep track of your campaign results:
- TikTok Ads Manager keeps track of your budget and performance metrics.
- You can also benefit from a plain Google Sheet outlining your influencers’ results.
3. Create an Effective Workflow
Creating an effective workflow is paramount to measuring success on TikTok. Everyone should know their responsibilities in the campaign monitoring process.
- Facilitates feedback.
- Streamlines decision-making.
- Keeps everyone on the same page.
- Helps you reap opportunities as they arise.
A social communication tool like SocialPilot or even a platform like Slack can help you get started here.
4. Focus on ROI
Monitoring your ROI is a good way to measure the campaign’s success. You can do that by assigning UTM links and promo codes to your influencers, like so:
These creators promote your products, so their followers will click on them. Or even buy them.
But how do you know who sent them there?
These personalized links and codes help you sift your top performers and top-performing messages. That way, you can optimize the other content.
Pro tip: Sometimes, it’s as simple as adding a hook or changing the headline. But you must know what content your TikTok audience prefers first.
That brings us to the following point:
4 Strategies to Boost ROI of TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign
Like other marketing activities, the ROI on TikTok influencer marketing campaigns is not always measured in dollars.
Engagement and brand awareness can help you assess the real ROI of the TikTok influencer marketing campaign. These metrics often indicate brand loyalty that leads to eventual sales.
Here are the strategies to amplify the monetary ROI of your TikTok influencer marketing campaign:
1. Incorporate Shopping Links into the Influencer Content
TikTok’s new monetization feature allows customers to make purchases directly through the app.
TikTok’s shoppable link feature continues to evolve, so it will only become more effective in guiding your potential customers through the purchase process.
2. Repurpose TikTok Content on Other Platforms
Get permission from the influencer to repurpose the content they created for TikTok. This lets you take advantage of the engagement user-generated content (UGC) creates.
That’s because social media users value authenticity above all.
Repurpose and repost influencers’ content on:
- Your brand’s social media channels
- Your paid media
- Marketing emails
- Product pages
- Check-out page
Measure the campaign’s ROI based on your usual ad metrics.
3. Scale Up Your Campaign
Another way to increase your ROI is to scale up your TikTok campaign budget. Don’t get us wrong; we’ve seen plenty of small companies making it big on TikTok with a $500 budget.
But if you partner with the right agency, a larger budget helps you:
- Buy more ad space
- Partner with many influencers
As a result, you can get your products in front of a larger audience and drive more profit. So, if you have the financial means, tap into them wisely.
4. Use Hooks
At inBeat, we noticed that hooks are directly connected to variables such as CPA (Cost per Acquisition) and CPI (Cost per Install) in TikTok ad creatives.
But the same can be true for influencer marketing posts.
A hook is a phrase your influencers use in the first few seconds of a post to maintain their audience’s attention. Look at the example below:
And you need to keep your potential customers interested.
So, if you find that some influencer content isn’t performing well, ask them to use hooks throughout their post. Monitor the results to see if there’s any notable difference.
3 Examples of Winning TikTok Influencer Campaigns
You now know the steps to build, launch, monitor, and increase your campaign’s performance. Let’s see if we can find some practical examples to inspire you further.
We’ll discuss three different campaigns with different goals:
- Increasing sales
- Reaching an impossible market
- Building awareness for a new product
1. Brook Linen: Sales Campaign
Doctor Jess is a pediatric and sports doctor with 1.4 million TikTok followers at the time of this writing. This qualifies her as a macro-influencer.
But her profile is about more than just her follower count. Her engagement rates are pretty good, too:
In the campaign below, Doctor Jess discusses sheets from Brook Linen. The post looks like a conventional sponsored ad, though you can see elements of raw, organic content.
This ad performs well because:
- People trust Doctor Jess.
- She explains why these sheets facilitate restful sleep for her and why more people should get them.
- People have a clear incentive to buy thanks to the personalized discount code for $20 off. Besides, this code allows Brook Linen to keep track of the sales via her profile.
2. PlayStation Plus
PlayStation Plus partnered with the famous gaming influencer @Legendaley, who has a large following on TikTok, Twitch, and other channels.
The interesting aspect of this promotion is the starting hook:
Legendaley notes that as a PC gamer, he did something he never thought he’d do. And that’s getting a PlayStation, which is deemed as not real gaming in the PC gamer community.
Side note: Notice the conniving eyebrow raise that creates a sense of complicity.
Legendaley doesn’t stop there. He reviews three games he’s played on the PlayStation Plus to create social proof.
Note: This strategy shows that an influencer can help you reach an audience that would otherwise not heed your marketing messages.
3. Phone Loops
Phone Loops is one of inBeat’s clients. We helped the brand gain social traction and visibility using several marketing platforms, including TikTok.
We decided on using influencer marketing because these phone loops are a new product. And new products can easily be perceived as cool or uncool when first launched.
It all depends on who recommends them.
Here’s a neat post from one of their influencers, Adria Barich:
This post works well because:
- It starts with a hook: “unpopular opinion.”
- Adria further raises curiosity by mentioning why she dislikes Pop Sockets.
- Phone Loops is presented in stark contrast and as a better choice than Pop Sockets.
- The content qualifies as raw and genuine. Adria makes an honest, in-depth review, though she mentions the product being gifted to her.
- This post has effective hashtags that help high-quality prospects find this content: #popsocketkdrama #techfinds.
- The brand hashtags #phoneloops also appear there.
How to Start Your Own TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign
After launching multiple successful campaigns on TikTok, we discovered the key factors behind their success. Use these tips to start a successful influencer marketing campaign on TikTok:
- Find the right influencer that can relate to your brand, influence their follower base, and promote your product authentically.
- Give influencers creative freedom to drive the creative process.
- When measuring a campaign’s ROI, use non-monetary and monetary KPIs to see the bigger picture.
- Repurpose influencer-generated content to maximize its impact and drive engagement on your brand’s social channels.
Remember: Only some strategies will work on some social media platforms.
And TikTok’s algorithm is not as predictable as other social platforms. Any content can become viral overnight as long as it is original and creative.
A full-service TikTok influencer marketing agency can help you get started.
At inBeat, our strategy is based on numbers, and we partner with the top 1% of creators. We can help you from the first stages of goal setting to finding the right creators and optimizing your campaign.
Set a free strategy call, and we’ll discuss all that to kickstart your campaign today.