TikTok is the fastest growing social channel, even recently surpassing YouTube in average watch time on Android devices. It has also become the first non-Facebook app on the app store to reach 3 billion downloads.
TikTok presents a game-changing opportunity for the digital marketing landscape. The main challenges are that there is much to learn about the short-form, lo-fi video format, and many of the best practices marketers are familiar with from other social channels do not apply.
While each may have similar interfaces—short-form video, sound-on, customized discoverability—it’s important to understand that to truly succeed you need to build different strategies for Instagram and TikTok. These tips will set you on the right track to craft an impactful approach for growing your brand awareness on each channel.
As we’ve discussed, TikTok is growing rapidly in the social space. Just like every other social channel, TikTok can be used as a marketing tool for influencers, creators and brands. In short, TikTok marketing is a perfect tool for promoting your brand. This can be done through paid, organic and influencer efforts, all with the goal to increase brand awareness on the platform.
Looking for a good starting point? Dash Hudson offers a TikTok Insights solution that houses a suite of features to make marketing on TikTok simple.
TikTok is a unique social channel in that it is wildly used by a range of generations with over 1 billion monthly active users. While Gen Z is the most active on TikTok and makes up almost half of the user base, there are opportunities for brands to interact with all types of users on this app. In terms of gender statistics, over half of TikTok users are female at 57%.
While it can be scary to jump onto yet another social channel as a brand, TikTok isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The fast-paced, entertainment-focused content that comes from TikTok is redefining what users want to see from brands. Brands have the opportunity to showcase a different side of themselves on TikTok in comparison to how they are portrayed on other socials like Instagram. Take Duolingo for example. This brand has built an entirely new reputation for themselves by using TikTok. They stepped outside of the corporate box that many brands fall into, by participating in popular trends and even pushing the envelope from time to time. Does this sound like something your brand is ready to do? Let’s start with setting up a business account.
Setting up your TikTok business account is one of the easiest parts of the process. All you have to do is select the menu option in the upper right-hand corner of your profile. Next, click on ‘Manage Account’, and then ‘Account Control’, here you will see the option to switch to a business account. Now your brand is ready to execute the perfect marketing strategy.
How can brands use TikTok and Instagram Reels to grow their engagement? There are a couple of ways brands starting from scratch can build a fruitful and successful marketing strategy for TikTok.
First and foremost, think about your “why” for showing up on these channels. Audiences are flocking to short-form video to see their favorite creators' showcase content that is authentic, inspiring, educational, and funny. Leverage this channel to grow your brand voice through product reviews and user-generated content (UGC).
This is your opportunity to show your audience what goes into building your brand. Offer behind-the-scenes impressions of what it’s like to be a part of your brand, whether it's from influencers or employees.
Top performing content includes footage of campaign shoots, influencers unboxing products, lip-syncing to relatable sounds, and employees having fun on the job. People come to TikTok for lighthearted entertainment, not produced video. Luckily, lo-fi short video is easy to film—all you need is your phone.
Influencer marketing has evolved into a creator-driven space, and consumers are now looking for content on TikTok that entertains and educates. Your brand should look to reinvigorate your influencer strategy on both TikTok and Instagram by working with creators who are able to bring your brand message to life in meaningful ways. On Instagram, you are able to make use of the unified suite of tools to feature creators in a number of different ways, including your feed, Stories, video, and Instagram Reels.
“We started contracting TikTok influencers to create content for us and then add it into our own team’s content plans.”
— Dana Nolan, Vital Proteins, Social Media Coordinator
Just as you would with any other channel, segment your content to see which creators drive results for your brand.
Jumping on trends and contributing to the conversation is one of the most important things to pay attention to when figuring out how to go viral on TikTok or Instagram and when building out your strategy. Pay attention to what’s trending on the For You and Discovery pages to tailor content to fit your own brand voice. Develop a habit of watching the first ten videos on each platform and pay attention to consistencies among hashtags, sounds, special effects, and transitions.
There’s always something that your brand can take advantage of to grow reach. Figure out creative ways to include your brand in ongoing TikTok trends and stand out from the crowd.
TikTok is designed around scrolling from video to video, and you only have a few seconds to make a first impression on your viewer. If possible, you need to keep your content front-loaded on entertainment to stop people from scrolling, and keep them focused on your brand.
It’s natural to expect your Instagram and TikTok accounts to have some crossover in content. Be strategic when filming your content so that you can show up with original content in both places without spending a ton of extra time creating content for your cross-channel marketing strategy. Food52 shares the same recipes to each channel, but the team knows that on Reels, people will engage with visuals of food and recipes alone, while on TikTok, they can lean into their personalities a little more.
In order to continue to grow your following and engagement on each channel, you need to show up for Instagram and TikTok users with something (at least slightly) different in each social channel.
“We’ll do a couple different shots so that the Reel works for Reels and the TikTok works for TikTok. We don’t want each platform to feel the same.”
— Patrick Moynihan, Food52, Director of Social Media
Creating beautiful content that gets you noticed is the goal, but it’s the data that lets you know how it landed. With the launch of insights by Dash Hudson for TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Reels, brands now have all the metrics they need at their fingertips to output video that supports your holistic social entertainment strategy.
Use the same approach when planning out your marketing strategy, by opening up your TikTok analytics and paying attention to the posts that are generating the highest reach, video views, and shares. You have the option to switch to a business account (pro account) to see even more analytics for your brand.
Look for similarities of top-performing posts within each individual app to help inform your strategy on how to continue curating a high-performing and visually pleasing feed.
All things considered, short-form video is all about having fun. 74% of Gen Z and 72% of audiences over the age of 26 say that they most want to see funny content from brands. It’s a great opportunity to experiment, take risks, and have fun with types of content you’ve never made before, such as hashtag challenges or dance challenges. Take a look at what TikTok influencers are doing, and consider incorporating user-generated content into your strategy.
TikTok's video editing tool has a plethora of native effects that you can use to enhance your content and make it more interesting to audiences. Have fun with stickers or emojis to create videos that are fun and trendy, or describe what’s going on with text. Experiment with the effects that drive the most engagement for your brand.
One of the best ways a brand can optimize their TikTok marketing strategy is by utilizing TikTok advertising. Why is TikTok good for advertising? Because of reach. Since TikTok is so popular, the possibilities are endless. There are various types of ad types that allow brands to tailor their campaigns to exactly what they need.
Building a campaign consists of choosing an objective, setting a budget, selecting placements, targeting the correct audience and setting your bidding strategy. Once these requirements have been met, it’s time to create your ad. At this point you should already have your copy and creative ready to go, it’s just a matter of plugging it into the ad template.
As time goes on, TikTok is only going to grow in popularity. Social entertainment and short-form video need to be the focus of any marketing campaign moving forward.
That means it’s increasingly important for brands to start using and planning their long-term strategy for TikTok now.
To succeed in your Reels and TikTok strategy and create highly engaging ad campaigns, it is important to capitalize on the latest trends, tap into the power of TikTok creators, and leverage TikTok Analytics to guide your strategy. For an all-encompassing guide on how to get started with TikTok marketing, check out Dash Hudson’s TikTok Marketing Playbook.
TikTok videos can be between 1 second and 3 minutes long, however they should typically be between 10 to 15 seconds long for optimal performance. Ideally, you want your videos to get to the point quickly to stop viewers from moving on to the next.
TikTok recommends posting 3-5 times per week, similar to other social media platforms. Posting at a cadence less than that makes it difficult for your brand to be discovered in the TikTok algorithm, and on the other hand, posting more than 5 times per week may be too much for some of your followers. If you want your content to be seen by more people, consider investing in TikTok ads.
According to TikTok, sticking to 2-3 hashtags help your posts perform best—and no, using #fyp won’t up your chances of hitting the For You Page. The TikTok algorithm is difficult to predict, but you’re better off using hashtags that are more relevant to your post to find your ideal target audience.
Your TikTok videos should have 9:16 dimensions and a full-screen, vertical, 1920 x 1080 crop. You can play around with the size, but your video will either not take up the full screen, or the top and bottom will get cut off, so it’s best to stick with the aspect ratio that’s native to the channel while video editing.
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