Let’s take a blast to the past. Not too far, just around the time of March 2020, and maybe even the few months before it. It was a rather normal time for anyone wanting to market their business or product. For instance, we were all utilizing similar social media channels and hoping that word-of-mouth would be successful among our audience.
A lot has changed since then. Now, we live a completely new normal, off-line, and online, and are faced with the most fully-functioning, yet most competitive marketing channel to emerge: TikTok.
TikTok was not always the key to every marketer’s dream; in fact, TikTok used to just be a place for dancing tutorials and mostly bland humor. Of course, those kinds of videos trickle onto one’s For You Page (FYP) every now and then, but I'd guess that for at least every 3-5 minutes spent on TikTok, you will come across at least one ad or video that markets a business or product in a unique way.
Usually, we are told to take the road less traveled, but this time I suggest taking this highly traveled “TikTok Road” and absolutely flooring it. Before you take off, I have got 4 TikTok tactics for you to incorporate into your marketing strategy to guarantee you reach your destination successfully.
If you are an avid TikTok user, you know that influencers are going to be your best friend when it comes to reaching new audiences. Before you take the next steps into securing a partnership, there are a couple of things you will want to do first:
- Do Your Research. This is crucial and the absolute right time to be fussy. Scroll through TikTok and look for personalities and overall personas of influencers that resonate with your brand and its values. Remember that these influencers will likely be at the very forefront of your brand for the weeks, even months, to come.
- Develop a Budget. (And be ready to adjust!) Although there may be an off chance that an influencer was raving about your brand or product to their followers before you officially partnered with them, influencers are going to seek commission or set rates at which they wish to be compensated. Their follower count, video views and average likes per video are going to play a huge role in their rates.
- Know What You Want. Yes, we all know you want every single video to go viral and your product to sell out tomorrow. Honestly, with TikTok you never know what could happen! But especially if you are just getting started, focus on getting the right messaging and guidelines to give your influencer. Understand your brand’s selling points and think of the type of verbiage that could take that one step further.
So, what does a successful influencer look like?
Let’s take a look at Darcy McQueeny (@darcymcqueenyyy), a student at University of Alabama, who boasts over 653K followers and 46.8M likes on all of her videos. She has a rather bubbly and relatable personality that not only keeps her followers intrigued but also has helped land her sponsorships with big name brands such as Lululemon, Nike and Amazon. Take this TikTok as an example of the kind of guidelines Nike had sent her and how nonchalant these videos can be:
@darcymcqueenyyy my go to comfy outfit recently! shop nike back-to-school🏻 @nike #teamnike ♬ Aesthetic Girl - Yusei
P.S. This matching set sold out within a day. Trust me, I was influenced, and was about to purchase it myself.
2. Keep Up with Recent Trends and Sounds
This will likely be your best free option in marketing your brand. As trends and sounds are staying relevant for just days, weeks, and some even months, it is important to act fast when they do surface.
How do I know what is trending?
Watch TikTok yourself, duh! No really, everyone’s FYP is going to be different based on the content that you like and engage with, therefore it is important that you, as well as the members of your marketing team, are all scrolling through TikTok and sharing any common themes or sounds.
Additionally, you can consider paying close attention to trending hashtags and utilizing them in your captions. This will never put you at a disadvantage but remember that most of these hashtags will not affiliate with your content and can become overpopulated.
Okay… Examples, please?
You got it! Here is a glimpse of a sound from Dance Moms that users have utilized in showing rankings, or in these two examples, more so an opportunity to display all their products.
@lhart45 On top of the pyramid #jamesavery #charms #jamesaverycharms #jamesaverybracelet ♬ original sound - SendAFriend ✨
@mamamadsboutique Rating some of our Halloween Crewnecks! 🎃 #GenshinTeleport #PartyWithVMAs #embroideredsweatshirts #halloween #spookyseason #spookysweatshirt #embroideredcrewneck #embroiderymachine #smallbusiness #fypシ ♬ original sound - SendAFriend ✨
Again, I am giving you permission to absolutely hop on the bandwagon.
3. Stay Engaged with Your Followers and FYP
If you are not today years old in the World of social media, you knew about this Golden Rule. But if you need a bit of a refresher of what this may look like, keep this in mind:
- Like and Respond to Comments on Your Videos. Pretty self-explanatory, but this builds a solid relationship between you and your current or future customers. In fact, 80% of customers expect companies to interact with them on social.
- Engage with Content on Your FYP. This can be liking, sharing, or commenting on any video that you found relatable, funny, or entertaining. It is even more important to comment on trending videos that are garnering thousands, even millions of likes. When users see their favorite brands commenting on this kind of content, they are more inclined to like your comment, which boosts it to the top of the comment feed on the video. Check out some of these examples below.
- Have Fun With It! As you can see, brands are engaging with users with a much less serious tone on TikTok. This is the perfect time to crack a joke! If you ever are thinking of giving your brand a ‘personality’ and create a relationship outside of sales, marketing, advertising, etc., TikTok is the place to do it.
4. Align Your Content with TikTok’s Niche Editing
Every social media channel has their own set of editing tactics and guidelines that were created based on content that performed well. Although it may not be possible to check off every optimization every time you post a video, keep a couple of these tips in the back of your mind.
- Keep your videos around the 30-second mark. This will not necessarily be the case for talk-through or informational-based videos, but TikTok has stated the optimal length for a video is between 21 and 34 seconds.
- Text-To-Speech Voiceovers. I wish I could give you an extensive list of reasons why people love this, but they just do. You will likely see text-to-speech used for just the introduction of a video as users are interested in hearing actual voices to form a human connection. This will obviously vary from trend to trend, so utilize this strategy to where you see fit.
- Transitions. Now these can be tricky to master, but if you can figure out how to create seamless transitions throughout your videos, I guarantee you will catch more people’s attention. Let me just say… I have tried a few on my own and it truly will be a work in progress. One day.
- Effects and Filters. And I am talking filters beyond your typical saturation boost. TikTok offers a scrolling list of options that can give the illusion of being in a different setting, enhancing (or not) your distinctive features and the opportunity to participate in games or questions. Check out the ‘Trending’ effects to see what is popular; users can click on that effect and only view videos that use it.
I am certain that you will see countless examples of these editing options throughout your FYP, but I have included a popular vacation trend to reference as we begin to mourn the summer weather. *tear* This video is short, has a smooth transition and uses a trending sound and filter.
@ellimoore i made a lot of vacation tik toks #vacation #springbreak #transitionsounds #AFairShotWithBlock ♬ swing lynn - lovdfilmz
Finally, Be Patient
Let’s be real here, you will not become a TikTok star overnight. It is going to take time for you to gain momentum and a following.
But, if you get started by identifying and jumping on trends, engaging with as many relevant users in as many sorts of relevant places as you can, and consider working with an influencer who you align with, you will already be in the driver’s seat.
Consider this your first and only Driver Ed course. The TikTok Road is waiting for you.