Everything You Need to Know About Tiktok Influencer Marketing
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Of all the social media apps online today, TikTok continues to make the biggest splash. It is not just a robust platform for creators, but it’s quickly turning into a vibrant social commerce marketplace for brands and consumers.
“ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok is working with brands including streetwear label Hype to test in-app sales in Europe, a move that will intensify its competition with Facebook Inc. and further blur the line between social media and online shopping.” – Bloomberg, 2021
For many ecommerce brands, TikTok is unexplored territory. But for those that have taken the time to feel comfortable with the app, authentic brand-consumer relationships are easy to achieve using various types of short-form videos, duets, challenges, and stitches.
TikTok influencer marketing – An overview
Experts estimate that TikTok has between 500 million and 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. Statista found that on Android devices alone (the most popular global smartphone OS), there are as many as 15 million users every day.
TikTok is currently the leading platform for short-form, vertical-view videos. These social videos last from 15 seconds to 3 minutes and offer some of the most addicting engagement features, including:
- Creator FAQs
- Video comment replies
- Duets (users add split screens to create an indefinite number of side-by-side or top-on-bottom reactions)
- Challenges (usually accompanied by a hashtag)
- Stitches (videos featuring a few seconds from another’s video followed by a response)
- Audio lip dubs clips
TikTok remains most popular among younger users, particularly those under 25 years of age.
That said, some of the leading creators are over 30 years old, and many older users appear to be closing the gap on TikTok’s younger audience.
What you need to know about TikTok creators
Many of the leading influencers on TikTok are young early adopters (among the first to create an active account), particularly among those in the United States. They sometimes have strong video shooting and editing skills, but many of them are creators with very little photography/video experience.
But what many TikTokers lack in formal media experience they make up for in being highly proficient at TikTok’s many app features. Using the app’s cuts, splices, effects, and more, these creators can do surprising things in their short video clips.
What content works/doesn’t work on TikTok?
While many brands and users upload horizontal videos, the best footage belongs to vertically-formatted content. This trend encourages smartphone footage and a primarily mobile experience.
One great advantage of TikTok is that strong videography skills to create amazing content is not required. The app includes various user-friendly editing and filtering options, as well as voiceovers and closed captions.
For long-form videos or horizontally-formatted content, creators fare much better on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Setting up your brand on TikTok
Creating a business account is slightly different than launching a creator account. However, there is an option to convert a personal account to a business account using the following steps:
- Open the TikTok app on your mobile device.
- Select your profile page on the far right.
- Click the hamburger icon on the top right corner of your screen.
- Select Manage account, then “Switch to Business Account.”
If you’re creating a business account from scratch, you can follow the instructions below.
Creating a business account
TikTok Business is a separate page from which to launch your account. You do not need a personal account before you create a business account, though having some personal use experience prior to posting is ideal.
1. Sign up.
After you click “Get Started” on the TikTok Business page, you can sign up using an email address or phone number. Select your preference and follow the instructions.
2. Create an account.
After signing up, you’ll be directed to create an account and add your business information. Completing this step will allow you to register your business account officially.
3. Customize your account.
The final step is to customize your account with descriptions, links, icons, and more. Once your account is complete, you can begin creating content and/or advertising on TikTok.
Launching an influencer program on TikTok for the first time
Whether you’re new to TikTok influencer marketing or new to TikTok altogether, it can feel overwhelming initially. The first step is ensuring that you have a presentable TikTok presence before you launch your first campaign.
Which means customizing your brand profile page and publishing a handful of informative, compelling videos that inform people about your products. When you’re ready to launch a campaign, audiences are likely to go to your TikTok page to get a feel for who your brand is and how you can help them.
The second step is to identify existing influencers in your roster who have an active TikTok account. For example, many of your Instagram creators may have a thriving TikTok presence and can help you expand strategically onto that channel.
Types of TikTok posts & features
The primary TikTok post is a 15-second to 3-minute video. Some of the best videos look and feel home-made because they are shot from a smartphone.
Shooting a TikTok video is as simple as clicking the plus sign (+) in the bottom center of your screen. You can shoot, reshoot, and add any of the effects described below.
For accounts with 1,000 or more followers, you can select the option to Go Live on TikTok. These streams are great for hosting virtual events with an influencer (yes, you can go live with another user), or moderate contests, FAQs, product launches, and more.
TikTok also allows you to upload videos shot and edited from your phone or computer. If you download the desktop app (from Google Play or Apple Store), you can upload your videos and schedule them to post instantly or at a later time.
When uploading videos, remember that the best TikTok videos are vertically-formatted (9:16 ratio) and under 3 minutes long.
There are literally hundreds of video effects to choose from because TikTok adds and removes AR filters and green screens regularly. And the best way to improve your video effects skills is to test them out for yourself.
If you want TikTok to do something special to your photo gallery, you can choose from several video templates. These templates will showcase your images in a professional-looking video slideshow.
Music & sound
Another fantastic feature on TikTok is its supply of sounds, music, and audio. Not only does the app add popular tracks to its collection, but TikTok users also contribute original audio for other users.
You can either navigate to the Sounds option within your video workspace or click on another creator’s audio and select the option to use that audio in your own video.
Top TikTok engagement metrics
Currently, TikTok offers a like button (shaped like a heart) for audiences to show appreciation.
Comments & Replies
Users can also make comments to videos and hope for either a written or video reply from the creator.
When a creator chooses to make a video reply to a comment, the user’s comment displays on the left of the screen during the video reply. The commenter also gets notified that the creator published a video reply.
Accounts with 1,000 or more followers may choose to enable the FAQ feature on their bio. Within the FAQ page, fans can ask questions for that creator (or brand). Creators may select from questions on their FAQ page to publish a video reply.
🚨New feature alert!🚨more ##Duet layouts are now available. Try them out now!♬ original sound – TikTok
One of the most popular TikTok features is the video duet. But far from being a simple 2-way, split-screen video, users can duet duets. One of the leading examples of how large TikTok duets can become is the #ryanreynolds challenge on TikTok, where the number of participants reached triple digits (and counting)!
Now Introducing: STITCH! Make the ultimate collab with your fav creators 🎬♬ original sound – TikTok
TikTok stitches take the first few seconds of a creator’s video and add it to the beginning of your video. This feature is great for completing a thought, responding to a comment/question, or performing a challenge.
Many creators will launch a challenge by asking users to stitch a reply to their original video for shares and ongoing user-generated content.
Like most leading social platforms, TikTok allows you to share a video on another channel, in a direct message, or by copying and pasting a video hyperlink. Technically, the duet and stitch features are also a type of post share.
Recruiting creators on TikTok
If you’ve already recruited influencers on Facebook or Instagram, TikTok works similarly. Creator accounts with 1,000 or more followers may add a link to their bio, which allows influencers to add a website, linktr.ee, or affiliate link. You also have the option to send direct messages to anyone on the app.
How do I know which TikToker is the right fit for my brand?
Before you start inviting TikTokers to join your campaign, you’ll need to think about what kind of creator will be a good fit for your brand.
Your influencer team – including those you partner with from TikTok – needs to match your brand’s tone and voice. You should also target creators who align with your values and target audience.
Lastly, your campaign goals matter when recruiting TikTok influencers. Some creators are great at driving sales while others will raise your brand awareness or nurture audience segments.
Can I DM a TikTok creator to partner with them?
Yes, you can direct message a creator on TikTok in an effort to recruit them for a campaign. That said, you’ll want to keep your DMs short and creator-focused to increase your chances for a reply.
Similar to Instagram, DMs can help you connect with a TikToker on a more personal level. But once you’ve made contact, it’s best to transition your business communication to email so that you can share docs, links, etc. more efficiently.
How much do TikTok influencers charge?
There is no set fee structure for TikTok influencers. Rates vary based on follower counts, audience engagement, average videos views, and more.
When bringing on a new TikTok influencer, you’ll most likely need to negotiate a price, as well as campaign terms and conditions. Many TikTokers will endorse brands that they love in exchange for product gifts, but once you’ve identified those high-performers that you want to partner with long-term, you’ll most likely need to negotiate a reasonable price per post, commission rate, or retainer fee.
Setting up your first TikTok campaign
1. Establish campaign goals & key performance indicators (KPIs).
Before launching any marketing campaign, you need to know what success looks like for your brand. Some of the best TikTok influencer marketing goals include:
- Driving sales
- Boosting brand awareness
- Creating user-generated content
It’s okay to have more than one goal, but you’ll be more effective in your campaigns if you pick 2-3 objectives, prioritize them, and define each clearly.
Next, work backwards from your goals and create a set of benchmarks – these will act as your key performance indicators (KPIs). For best results, think of a good performance metric (such as an impression, link click, or engagement) to attach to every KPI.
2. Decide what kinds of video content will help you meet your goals.
Now that you know your goals and KPIs, think carefully about the type of video content you feel will best help you reach your goals.
Some of the best performing TikToks are those that feature music, wit, action, or bite-sized information that can be conveyed in 90 seconds or less. By perusing creator content on the app, you’ll likely find a few ideas that inspire you.
3. Identify the right influencers & invite them to join your campaign.
Lists work great when deciding who is a good fit for your campaign. You can build a spreadsheet and add every TikToker that you like. From that master list, create a shortlist based on some of your creator preferences.
It’s best to start with your current active influencer community. Many Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook creators also nurture engaged audiences on TikTok.
From there, you can fill in the gaps of your influencer roster by testing new TikTokers that meet your ideal customer profile.
4. Set campaign parameters, deliverables, & agree on compensation.
The more you put in writing, the less ambiguity there is about your working relationship with creators. That’s not to say that your agreements and campaign briefs should be many pages long, but by concisely recording what you’ve agreed to by way of posts, compensation, and guidelines, you can keep your campaign running as smoothly as possible.
If you already have a system for approving influencer bids/proposals, be sure that you’ve supplied your TikTokers with everything they will need to be successful. That means offering best practices and keeping communication open.
5. Launch campaign & track results.
Once your campaign is underway, you should develop a process for tracking creator posts. Some examples include requiring your TikTokers to use branded hashtags or saving screenshots of posts to a drive.
Referring back to your KPIs, you’ll want to keep track of each performance metric you’ve established as critical to reaching your campaign goals. You can update these metrics in a spreadsheet or within your influencer platform reporting tool.
Tracking TikTok influencer marketing performance
Without proof that your TikTok influencer campaigns are working, it will be difficult to advocate for more budget. But the good news is that there are several ways to measure TikTok post performance.
Keeping goals & KPIs front-of-mind
Losing track of your goals and KPIs is the fastest way to render your TikTok campaigns ineffective. The strategy you choose from the beginning is the foundation for the whole campaign.
When deciding how to measure a campaign’s success, it is helpful to refer to your stated goals and KPIs regularly.
Creating links, tags, hashtags, discount codes, and clear post guidelines
Within your TikTok campaign brief, consider adding some tracking tools, such as:
- Links: These can be affiliate links or product pages with unique links or UTMs.
- Tags: Many brands have their creators tag the brand so that they receive notifications for each campaign post.
- Hashtag: By creating a branded or campaign-specific hashtag, you can search for your campaign post using that hashtag.
- Discount/coupon codes: If your objective is to drive sales, discount codes are ideal for attributing sales to the right creator.
- Post guidelines: By establishing clear parameters for what your creator posts should entail, you can more easily search and find those posts during and after a campaign.
Reporting influencer ROI
When adding up your campaign returns, consider all the ways that your TikTokers moved customers through the marketing funnel.
The performance metrics that you assigned to each KPI can help you measure your return on investment. For example, video views and engagements allow you to quantify your top-of-the-funnel marketing objectives.
When tracking sales from your TikTok campaign, the tools you use for attribution (affiliate links, coupon codes, etc.) will quickly show you how a campaign drove direct revenue for your brand.
Refining & relaunching
After each campaign, take a moment or two to reflect on what went well and how you can improve your next TikTok campaign.
Don’t be afraid to engage your internal and influencer teams on ways to refine your campaigns moving forward. As a marketer, you will always want to improve upon past performance metrics with each new campaign.
Using TikTok influencer content in your cross-platform social media strategy
Many creators have found that TikTok videos do well on other platforms and vice versa. The key is to do more than copy/paste a video. Each social media channel has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and by tailoring your TikTok content to the right channels the right way, you can expand your reach and get more “bang for your buck.”
Most TikTok videos work well as IG Reels or Stories. Don’t be afraid to include AR filters and stickers, as well as craft compelling captions to drive engagement.
Facebook allows you to upload videos across multiple dimensions. Because Facebook’s audience is notably older than TikTok’s audience, make sure that you’re using your TikTok videos for maximum effect, such as including page links, strong copy, and/or targeting relevant groups.
With the recent release of YouTube Shorts, many creators are uploading their TikToks directly to YouTube. Because this feature is new as of July 2021, there are no best practices in place (yet).
But if you’re interested in being an early adopter, you and your influencer team can start taking advantage of YouTube Shorts and tracking results.
While Pinterest usually caters to images, vertically-formatted videos are also performing well and are pinnable for fans. Similar to Shorts and Reels, TikTok video dimensions are just right for Pinterest video uploads.
Examples of great TikTok influencer campaigns
Kallmekris is an actor on TikTok and shoots hilarious skits using several original characters. Public, a social network investing app, partnered with Kallmekris to raise awareness and drive downloads.
Get started with Public using the l!nk in my b!o and get up to $50 in free stock🙌🏻📈##ad♬ Coffee Music – Cafe Music BGM channel
Public provided an affiliate link for Kallmekris and also offered her followers a discount code to incentivize subscriptions.
Charlidamelio is one of the most popular TikTokers online today. Dunkin Donuts partnered with her to promote their iced coffees and drive user-generated content.
The campaign even launched a challenge named after the influencer (who is a vocal lover of Dunkin Donuts beverages) using the hashtag #charlirunsondunkin.
Zach King is a talented YouTuber who expanded onto TikTok when the channel launched. As a gifted videographer, he partnered with Mercedes-Benz to promote their C Class 2022 model.
The video drove brand awareness and also provided the brand with production-quality content to repurpose on other channels.
Conclusion: Experience the power of short-form video content by partnering with TikTok creators.
There is a reason that every other major social media channel now offers the vertical-view, short-form video option, and that reason is TikTok. As the hottest, new platform online, people are consuming and creating content rapidly. More importantly, creative brands are leveraging the channel to inspire consumer shopping.
Expanding your influencer program onto TikTok could be one of the best ways to unlock greater returns for your marketing department. Additionally, TikTok creators will help you deliver quality content using short-form video across multiple social networks.
Recruiting top-performing TikTokers has never been easier.
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