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By Alexandra Kazakova | 10 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 800 million 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.

What is TikTok? 

Chinese company ByteDance launched TikTok in 2016. In 2017 they acquired Musical.ly, and the popularity of TikTok skyrocketed thanks to the novel features and functionalities. ByteDance’s CEO, Zhang Yiming, is the 13th richest person in China and is worth over $16 billion. 

What makes TikTok unique is that it 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 with no sign-up and hooks you straight away. 

Another advantage of TikTok is that it enables anyone to become a creator, regardless of the technical skills. Compared to Instagram or Snapchat, TikTok is much easier to use for editing and uploading content. Users can layer context by remixing, adding text, special effects, music to their videos, and share them on other social media channels. For example, the connection with Instagram played a significant role in TikTok’s popularity as thousands of users are sharing TikTok videos on Instagram stories. 

TikTok is a place where Gen Z can express themselves, create content they love, collaborate, and connect with others. 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.

Gen Z are the people born between 1995 and 2010. They make 40% of the global population. On the other hand, the number of adult US TikTok users born before 1995 grew from 2,6 mln in October 2017 to 14,3 mln in March 2019. 

On TikTok, you always have something new to discover. Every minute someone posts a new joke, a new dance, a new challenge, a new meme. Creators fill the app with original content, which can be anything from lip syncs to goofy videos. So it is no surprise that 90% of users log in to TikTok daily and spend, on average, 52 minutes per day on the platform.

What Makes TikTok Influencer Marketing Different?  

Instagram is a tried and tested way for marketers to reach their audiences through influencer marketing. As a result,  79% of brands still use Instagram influencers to promote their products and services. Working with TikTok influencers differs significantly from Instagram. The content which works on Instagram may barely get any engagement on TikTok. Building a successful TikTok influencer campaign requires a high-level strategy, which will encompass your implementation. 

Here is what you need to know about the differences between TikTok and Instagram Influencer marketing: 

  • TikTok is a video-only platform. On Instagram, brands leverage various content forms, including photos, stories, feeds, and IGTV channels. On the other hand, 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. 

 

  • 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 in a matter of days exponentially. TikTok’s algorithm can make an influencer’s campaign viral 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. 
@keeoh

yo but where did the Redbull go😳🤷🏼‍♂️🤷🏼‍♂️ ##sponsored

♬ original sound - keeoh
  • Instagram influencers put more effort into style and imagery than into everyday content. When working with them, brands focus on product image and presentation. Instagram users react well and engage with sponsored posts on Instagram. On TikTok, users expect original content without branding or marketing. So when working with TikTok influencers, your marketing message has to be subtle. Focus on product usage rather than the product image. On TikTok, new trends emerge every week, but some content formats stay 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 audiences that expect consistent content. Because of ever-changing trends, TikTok creators post several pieces of content a day. However, on Instagram, posting too much is a sure way to get unfollowed. 

Now that you understand 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. So marketers lack best practices or tried and tested methods to build a winning strategy. 

We looked at several success stories of brands we worked with and compiled the following tips to help you build a TikTok influencer marketing strategy: 

  • Study the platform and decide whether you will reach a relevant audience through marketing on Tiktok. Research and decide whether your brand is ready for a campaign on TikTok and whether the platform is a good fit for your brand image. 
  • Determine your campaign KPIs to measure the ROI. KPIs can include engagement, brand awareness, sales (you can track them using a unique promo code or a shoppable hashtag), launching a new product, etc. 
  • Choose your campaign type and decide which formats suit your brand best. While hashtag challenges can become viral overnight, consider including dances, duets, or lip-syncing videos if they fit your product. It is crucial to develop a content strategy consistent with your influencer’s profile. 

For example, P&G partnered with Charlie D’Amelio. They launched a #DistanceDance challenge to inspire teens to practice social distancing. For the first 3 million videos posted, P&G is donating to Feeding America & Matthew 25: Ministries to help families in need.

Charli D’Amelio is the most followed influencer on TikTok, famous for her dance videos. The Distance Dance challenge started by Charlie has reached over 300 million views on TikTok. This campaign proves the importance of choosing the content that fits the influencer’s profile. 

@charlidamelio

Stay home & do the ##distancedance. Tag me & the hashtag in your video. P&G will donate to Feeding America & Matthew 25 for first 3M videos ##PGPartner

♬ Big Up's (feat. Yung Nnelg) - Jordyn, Nic Da Kid

How to Launch a TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign 

Once you set your initial content strategy, you need to search for the right TikTok influencers to launch your marketing campaign. Here are the tips for finding TikTok influencers:

  • Go to TikTok Creator Marketplace and request access to the platform. 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.  Note: if you are looking to partner with micro-influencers, Creator Marketplace may not be the solution for you as it features only the most popular influencers on TikTok. Another important point to keep in mind is that it will cost you more to recruit influencers on the Marketplace than contacting them directly. 

Consider other tools, such as inBeat.co, to find micro-influencers on TikTok. Or use Google Search or 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. 

  • Once you found and shortlisted TikTok influencers for your campaign, invest time into researching them. The number of followers alone will not give you enough insight to decide whether the influencer is a good fit for your campaign, so go further than vanity metrics and explore the influencer’s content and history. Check their previous brand partnerships, quality of their content, and engagement rates. Study their audience to make sure it is in line with yours.

  • Pitch selected influencers to collaborate with your brand. Personalize your message and outline the benefits of this collaboration to the influencer. If you followed previous steps and conducted thorough research, it will be easy for you to connect with the influencers that relate to your brand. 

  • Define the partnership terms with the influencer. It is vital to agree on specific deliverables and permission to repurpose influencer’s content. You must outline the campaign’s goal and the message you want the influencer to convey. Write a concise but clear influencer brief to describe your expectations from the marketing campaign. 

  • Last but not least, 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. 

Strategies to Boost ROI of TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign 

Much like with 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. 

This platform can bring your product to diverse audiences in multiple countries at once and help you reach younger demographics. 

We understand that you need a bit of both: dollars and brand loyalty, so here are the strategies to amplify the monetary ROI of your TikTok influencer marketing campaign: 

  • Incorporate shopping links into the influencer content. Leverage TikTok’s new monetization feature to allow your 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. Read Kroger’s success story on using shoppable hashtags. 

  • Get permission from the influencer to repurpose the content and take advantage of the engagement UGC creates. Above all, social media users value authenticity, so repurpose and repost influencers’ content on your brand social media channels and use it in your paid media. Measure the campaign’s ROI based on your usual ad metrics.

Final Words 

After launching multiple successful campaigns on TikTok, we discovered the key factors behind their success. First, find the right influencer that can relate to your brand, influence their follower base, and promote your product authentically. Second, give influencers the freedom to drive the creative process. Third, when measuring a campaign’s ROI, use non-monetary and monetary KPIs to see the bigger picture. Lastly, repurpose influencer generated content to maximize its impact and drive engagement on your brand’s social channels.

Not every strategy will work on every social media platform. For TikTok, you need to collaborate with the influencer to create entertaining, relevant, and quick content that users will enjoy. Thanks to TikTok’s algorithms, any content can become viral overnight as long as it is original and creative. So choose TikTok influencers who are innovative, think outside the box, and create content that users love and make their own.