Ultimate Guide to TikTok Influencer Marketing

April 10, 2022

What started as the next generation of short-form video sharing (does anyone remember Vines?) has become the fastest growing and most established form of social media all over the world. The growth of TikTok has taken many marketers by surprise, since it’s subverting the previous standards of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in quite a few markets. As the popularity of the short-form video app has grown, marketers have the opportunity to swiftly expand their brand awareness and reach new audiences by using it. Social media platforms are spawning new social content stars virtually every day. These social stars are showing us the best ways to do TikTok marketing…and working with them can create a massive impact on your brand’s growth.

If you’ve never used TikTok before, it can be hard to know where to even start creating videos let alone doing TikTok influencer marketing. We’ve created this ultimate guide not only to get you started, but to master the art of TikTok marketing. Below you’ll find the most important lessons and tips so you can take advantage of this powerful and popular platform.

What is TikTok?

Lots of people and quite a few brands have avoided getting into TikTok because it’s a newer platform. TikTok is a video-sharing app and social media network with over a billion monthly users. So, if you haven’t gotten on yet, you’re not alone, but now is the time. Download the app and make an account, then scroll for a while or search some of your favorite topics. The interface is intuitive so it’s easy to see why so many people prefer TikTok for their go-to social media platform. At the end of 2017, TikTok purchased Musical.ly, a popular lip-syncing software. It wasn't until 2020 that TikTok became a social media force to be reckoned with as more people went to their small screens in search of community and human connection. Today, TikTok is a one-stop shop for everything—from breaking news to the hottest dance moves, adorable animals to wild adventures.

How are brands using TikTok influencer marketing?

If you take the biggest names on TikTok and look at their following on other platforms like YouTube and Instagram, you’ll find that they have a very small audience elsewhere and often no audience at all. This means that TikTok presents a unique opportunity for creators to gain a respectable following and for brands to partner with them to generate awareness around their products. TikTok is being used not only as a social platform, but also as a search engine by many users, so it’s like a back-door way to help potential customers discover your brand.

Who is using TikTok?

According to Forrester Research, 63% of Gen Z use TikTok every day, compared to just 57% of Instagram users in the same age group. With Instagram at 61% and TikTok at 50% in 2020, this is a noticeable shift that should compel marketers across all industries to pay attention. A fundamental driver of this spectacular growth has been TikTok influencer marketing, much like influencers on Instagram and YouTube before it. Businesses that don't get on board now risk being left behind, which means leaving a lot of money on the table and the potential for the death of their brand.

TikTok Brand Best Practices

Because of its unique content format and user demographics, brands using TikTok will need to develop a TikTok marketing strategy distinct from those used on Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms. The best way to find what works is to test a variety of approaches and track your results to see what your customers respond to best. If you want to get the most out of your TikTok marketing, you need to design, implement, and analyze your campaigns quickly, so be prepared to shift gears multiple times. If your brand is planning multi-pronged, months-long campaigns on a larger budget for Instagram, you should consider TikTok as a testing ground for new ideas. Design a few short, fun, and low-budget campaign concepts, and then implement to figure out what campaigns your audience loves, and repeat. Make sure to follow the trends and be creative to take advantage of the built-in algorithm that shows new and popular content to users.

What kinds of videos are popular on TikTok?

Is there some kind of black magic involved in creating viral content? Listen, we’re not really sure, and no one else is either. But if you’re going to use magic in your marketing, TikTok is the place to do it. It’s impossible to predict what will be popular and what will flop. It's possible for a post to be technically awesome, and still fall flat. It's also possible that your 30-second junk post could become the next hot thing. While this makes it more difficult for a marketer to plan, the app's appeal is based on the idea of unpredictability. Use this as a chance to explore creative ideas, and to let the influencers you partner with try new approaches.

TikTok influencer marketing plans can follow a few broad guidelines to improve the chances of success:

  • The content on TikTok is short, fun, and funny. TikTok aims to "inspire creativity and deliver joy" to both its content creators and the broader audience.
  • The most successful Tikitok videos rely on the platform's sound effects, as well as numerous video editing effects, to create fun, joy-filled, and inspiring content.
  • TikTok videos can be up to 60 seconds long and are shot vertically. The most popular TikTok videos are typically between 11 and 17 seconds long.
  • Videos made in the TikTok app, rather than with external equipment or software and later uploaded to TikTok, get higher engagement and traction on the platform, according to TikTok stats.
  • Content creators frequently begin their TikTok videos with a distinct intro sound and create the rest of the content from there. Popular songs, movie audio snippets, and user-generated voice-overs are all represented in the app's sound library.
  • Some TikTok artists use storytelling elements to have viewers follow a plot, which viewers can then continue by making their own response TikToks. This is one way influencers create their own following, and these takes quickly become viral TikTok trends.

Why would a brand use TikTok influencer marketing?

If you want more brand visibility, especially with Millennials and Gen Z, you need to be on TikTok. To grow your brand and your revenue, TikTok influencer marketing is more than a trend: it’s a strategy. Brands who use TikTok marketing have gained significant revenue and raving fans by carving out a distinct identity on the platform. E.L.F., for example, partnered with Movers + Shakers, a creative agency, to develop a song titled "Eyes. Lips. Face." for its first #eyeslipsface campaign, which the drugstore makeup brand marketed by working with popular TikTok creators. ELF's ad became viral on the site, and since then, they've only grown more.

As a result of the COVID-19 retail shutdowns, Aerie's #AerieRealPositivity campaign quickly gathered a large following on the social media platform. To kick off the campaign, the brand worked with Charli D'Amelio, a TikTok powerhouse, to challenge users to share what they were grateful for and what they were doing to keep positive while at home. The hashtag challenge, paired to the song "100% Real Love" by PopUpGirl, has received over 2 billion views as a result of these influencer postings.

"Collab houses," which are often big multi-room mansions where multiple TikTok stars reside and collaborate on content, have been adopted by Fenty Beauty, the cosmetics powerhouse. An alternating group of TikTok makeup artists is housed at the Fenty Beauty House to show the brand's understanding of how important it is to let content creators do what they do best. "I just wanted to build a platform for the future wave of video makers," Fenty Beauty founder Rihanna said in a statement explaining the reasoning for the project. “I think our generation is the sickest, the illest, the most creative. I can’t do it alone, so to join in with the people who are influencing the world and my community and my generation, this is a hub.”

What’s the easiest way to partner with influencers on TikTok to grow your brand?

As a user, TikTok is fun. As a marketer, it can be overwhelming. Instead of getting lost in the noise, check out your Hubble dashboard, where all your influencers from all platforms are gathered in one place. You can find influencers to work with based on brand keywords, tags, audience demographics, and so much more. DM directly from the Hubble app, discuss your campaigns, send products and payments, and increase your revenue with only a few clicks.