Image credit: @jongmineyo, @supermaster0624, and @philwgreen
The entertainment marketing industry is changing. Content has never been easier to share, and pop culture moments are now interwoven across consumers’ social media feeds, garnering monumental numbers of impressions. At its time of release, Spider-Man: No Way Home generated over 50 billion video views on TikTok across an innumerable number of accounts. The film’s blockbuster multimedia campaign paid off, as it bucked the pandemic box office trend and skyrocketed to all-time box office charts.
In the case of Spider-Man’s marketing campaign, every single user that made a TikTok speculating about the events of the movie, stitched clips from the latest trailers, or hopped on the trend and made pop culture in-jokes about the film, contributed in some way to its success. It was not just a movie; it was a social media moment, driven to extreme heights by its audience participation.
The power that TikTok’s entertainment algorithm holds isn’t just limited to Hollywood and the entertainment industry. 61% of TikTokers like brands better when they create or participate in a trend on TikTok, and that goes for any brand, whether it’s a small beauty startup or a CPG powerhouse. If you offer a product or service of any kind, you are able to develop a TikTok marketing strategy that takes advantage of how content on the channel circulates in order to get your brand in front of a larger audience.
Community generated entertainment (CGE) is entertainment created or transformed by people, rather than brands. Just as brands are switching up their content strategies to prioritize entertainment, so too are social media users. In the era of social entertainment, when people talk about your brand, they do so in a way that entertains their own audience, and brings even more meaningful engagement to your brand.
#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, the evergreen hashtag where users celebrate products that they discovered on TikTok, has now achieved over 10 billion views and shows no signs of slowing down. Products such as Bissell's Little Green Machine carpet cleaning device have doubled in sales after #CleanTok fans used the short-form video format to film short demonstrations of how effective the product is.
As TikTok is an emerging social media platform, brands are continuing to innovate with brand-new ways of creating content that drives extraordinary reach. The brands that will find the most success on TikTok are the ones that are able to conceptualize UGC campaigns that have never been done before. There are several themes in how successful content is distributed on TikTok, including creator and influencer marketing. In many cases it involves taking advantage of TikTok features such as Stitching or Duets. The channel breaks community generated entertainment down into five categories:
TikTok users can embed your content into their own TikToks, turning your video footage into entertainment for their own audience, while also expanding your brand’s reach. Creating content, trailers, or sizzle reels that generate real-time hype will earn you blockbuster engagement.
TikTok is all about iteration, and users love to recreate dances, jokes, and skits that go viral on the channel. Each time your content is recreated, users are able to put a slightly different spin on your idea, which helps your content cross language or cultural barriers with your fans leading the charge. Once you get the ball rolling, you will be amazed at how far your idea can spread—and it’s far more cost effective than paid ads.
Social networks based on short-form video are great for light-hearted brand parodies as well. TikToker Emily Zugay went viral in the summer of 2021 by giving brands logo refreshes, and many brands went along with the gag by temporarily changing their logos to match. In this case, brands didn’t even have to do anything to go viral—the existence of their brand on the internet was enough, and the brands that hopped on the trend while it was popular were rewarded with engagement and headlines for doing very little.
TikTokers love to use the channel to theorycraft and speculate, whether it’s over the latest Spider-Man movie, or the release date of Taylor Swift’s next album. Brands that intentionally create a sense of mystery around upcoming launches are able to tap into users’ love of detective work and earn brand chatter in the lead-up to big announcements.
TikTok users are overwhelmingly positive. They love to celebrate everything that they find meaningful, and they aren’t afraid to give product reviews. 66% of users enjoy when brands sponsor creators to show off their products, because it doesn’t feel like an ad. Short-form entertainment feels truly authentic, and social proof is a powerful driver of brand awareness and purchasing decisions. Brands that create content worth celebrating will see a noticeably positive impact.
Stitching is when users take five-second clips of your video to incorporate into their own content. The Stitched content also includes a link to the original video for attribution. Encouraging your audience to Stitch your content is a popular method of creating UGC on TikTok.
Not all brands want their content to be shared by users, and TikTok has settings that allow you to turn the feature off.
To manage Stitch privacy settings for all of your videos:
TikTok Duets allow you to post your video side-by-side with a video from another public account on TikTok. They are very popular with users, and often very funny. Brands that are protective of their content have the ability to turn this feature off, but it’s a great driver of user generated entertainment for brands that keep the feature on.
There are definitely situations where you don’t want users to be able to make Duets with your content, and TikTok takes that into consideration as well. To manage Duet privacy settings for one of your videos:
To manage Duet privacy settings for all of your videos:
CGE is primarily entertainment-driven, with video content being the primary focus. UGC can be represented by all forms of content, including static imagery.
TikTok Duets and Stitches are the most prominent forms of CGE, as they only take a few taps to create and make a huge impact.