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TikTok Marketing Strategies

17 Best TikTok Marketing Strategies & Growth Hacks for eCommerce Brands (2023)

I truly believe that TikTok is only going to get even more exciting for DTC and eCommerce brands, yet there are still many brands aren't making it as a priority as a channel, or leveraging it's full potential. Whether you're fairly 'green' to TikTok marketing, or perhaps you've been doing it for a while now, I've created this extensive guide on some of the top strategies that you be should be (or at least should be considering) implementing as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Dan Siepen
52
 min read
Updated on
January 22, 2023

TikTok is only going from strength to strength, and it’s ripe with opportunities that your eCommerce and DTC brand can take advantage of right now. Compared to other platforms, it’s still ‘relatively new’ in terms of what’s possible for both organic and paid.

However, competition is seriously heating up, and there’s a good chance you’ve see your competitors doing well (or starting to pick up momentum) and you’re here looking to get an edge. 

Don’t worry, that’s why I’m here - and that's why I’ve created this detailed TikTok strategies guide so you know what the key tactics and strategies are for you to focus on. 

Before we dive into the strategies, I just wanted to share some further context as to why DTC and eCommerce brands need to take TikTok seriously now.

For the many founders and brand owners who are sceptical over whether or not it’s worth the time, I’m going to share some key statistics that will shed some light in terms of the opportunity (and why you need to take this platform seriously). 

  • First, all of us have never seen any platform grow the way TikTok did. This social media platform just came out in 2016, and 6 years later it’s amassed over 3.5 billion downloads - yep, you’ve read that number correctly. 
  • As of this writing, it has over one billion global active users coming back to the app every month. 
  • It’s now the most engaging apps, which has an average session length of 10.85 minutes, which is double of Pinterest’s average session time of 5.06 minutes.
  • As a brand running ads, you have the ability to reach 1.023 billion users (of course, you’ll never actually reach this total number, but it’s great to know the potential).
  • Even 40% of Gen-Z audiences are now choosing TikTok to search for information over Google itself - this actually blows my mind. 
  • Content creators can have over 100 million followers (just check out Khaby’s account which has 153 million followers as I write this - insane numbers). Some creators are even earning up to $5 million a year.

Okay, so I’ve thrown enough stats at you (there are plenty more stats out there by the way if you do your research) to hopefully get you to see the potential of this channel and why it needs more attention as part of your marketing mix than ever before. 

If you’re fairly new to the world of TikTok, the strategies outlined in this article can be your first steps in testing and experimenting in reaching TikTok’s massive content-hungry, younger-generation audience.

If you’ve been using Tiktok for a while now and looking for some new ideas and inspiration, I’m sure you’re going to get some solid takeaways or ideas that you may have not thought about before. Even if not many that many new ideas or lessons, there will be a golden nugget somewhere in this guide that will hopefully spark something that you can takeaway and implement as part of your TikTok strategy. 

Now we’ve set the scene, I hope you’re amped up and excited to see the strategies and what takeaways you can use to help with your marketing strategy.

Okay fam, without further a do, let’s tuck into this guide. 

1. Leverage TikTok Shopify Integration & Ads Shopping Tools - Take advantage of TikTok Ads as they are hot right now

Like other social media platforms, TikTok has created its own ad network and specialised ad-format content tools for eCommerce marketers and brands to reach their user base. They have a great suite of ads services and placements for marketers/advertisers and have done a great job UX-wise with incorporating ad shopping features. Thanks to TikTok's integration of online stores (like those from Shopify or Square), users can shop directly through videos and profiles, where the buying experience for users all happens in-app. You'll also be able to set up a "storefront" through your business TikTok profile, allowing users to browse and buy your products.

(image credit: TikTok Shopping Ads)

How TikTok shoppable ads and tools operate 

  • For the Shopify lovers out there, yes, you can integrate your store’s products on TikTok to promote and sell your products within the platform, which enables a frictionless experience for consumers to checkout. 

(image credit: Shopify News)

  • Once you’ve connected the integration, you can now add a “shop tab” to your profile and display your products synced from your eCommerce website. Users can now browse your catalogue without leaving the app, which, as we know, is normally a better UX and is faster for users to make purchasing decisions.

You’ll leverage a plethora of valuable tools, placements and formats, including; 

  • Product tags - lets you tag products on your videos so that users can visit their product details on your profile. 
  • Live shopping ads - this format allows you to showcase products in your live sessions. 
  • Video shopping ads - lets you run video ads with an in-ad popup CTA that is related to the product. 
  • Catalogue listing ads -  similar experience to the likes of Facebook and Instagram ads catalogue UX. 

Of course, like other social platforms, as part of their ads suite, you can use track ad performance using TikTok Pixels, which is usually straightforward to install. Additionally, you can easily set up conversion goals through specific event tracking that you can set up on your store’s CMS.

Benefits of using TikTok shopping & ads promotion

  • Compel customers to buy on the platform through a frictionless experience

TikTok claims its users are 1.7 times more likely to purchase products discovered through its app than other social media channels, which is no surprise given the engaging stats we labelled at the start of this guide. 

The shopping features themselves are quite seamless in terms of UX, and in conjunction with robust audience targeting options that are available, it helps and enables marketers like me to create highly-targeted and engaging content that can drive purchase activity.

  • Huge audience base (100+ million) which are actively engaged

With an engaged audience and a gigantic user base, the opportunity for brands is massive - even just some select ‘top performance ads’ that you run, which are part of a solid promotional strategy, could lead to massive reach, engagement and, ultimately, more purchases. 

Note: read the next strategy in terms of cheaper CPMs compared to other ad networks for DTC audiences.

  • The tools as part of the ads suite are easy for marketers to promote your products

TikTok has done a great job of guiding marketers/advertisers to upload video content and what dimensions to use. However, the best part is that it doesn’t stop there - they’ve also added some basic editing features (e.g. filters and music) that are available within the ads platform for marketers to either edit their organic videos directly, easily enhance existing creative that is uploaded, or even have the opportunity to spin out more ad variants for testing. This is really awesome for advertisers like myself, where we can quickly repurpose and test more variants until we get some winning ad combinations that we can back with more budget. 

Why Ads on TikTok are hot right now - big opportunity for eCommerce & DTC marketers

As we’ve touched on already, TikTok’s user base is growing really fast and is super engaged. 

Even searches on TikTok surpassed Google as the most popular site of the year in 2021 (which is pretty wild to think about), and it shows no sign of slowing down. 

For those starting out, as well as experienced advertisers reading this, TikTok Ads are super hot right now for four primary reasons: 

  • It’s cheaper to reach audiences, with CPM costs being lower than most other popular ad networks such as Facebook/Instagram Ads and Google Ads. If you’ve been doing paid media for a while/years now, you know the pain points of other ad networks becoming more competitive and more expensive.
  • The tracking/analytics has really improved since starting to do ads on the platform regularly. It was a bit off at first, but just over the past year, I’ve seen a lot of improvements.
  • The shoppable ad features are simple to set up and look really awesome, and there’s no doubt that the Shoppable features will only get better over time as social commerce becomes the norm.
  • And finally, as mentioned above, they’ve done a great job building internal tools for spinning out more creatives, which means you don’t always need to tap a graphic designer or video editor on the shoulder. 

2. Use ‘Creator Tools’ to boost top-performing organic posts, or use the Ads manager to promote your organic content

In relation to shoppable ad experiences, there are also other ad formats that eCommerce and DTC brands can utilise and run on TikTok. For this particular strategy, we’re talking about putting ‘gas to the fire’ (so to speak) to your existing organic video posts and how it can lead to more followers, engagement, and purchases. 

→ The challenges with TikTok organic - consistency

Whilst all of us know that producing organic videos to go viral is a key aim and goal for many brands on the platform, it’s not realistic for all organic videos to take off - no matter how good your content is (even with following best practices around intro ‘hooks’ and editing), or how much you spend/allocate resources to creating videos.

Sometimes you have videos that go wild with the view count (which sometimes you don’t even predict), and sometimes you just have some duds.  

In addition, some videos which may go organically viral may not necessarily be the right or ideal pieces of content you want when it comes to driving user intent (i.e. becoming customers).

So what’s the best way to guarantee views and desired actions from video pieces that you want audiences to engage with (and attract lots of eyeballs)? 

→ The solution for consistent TikTok organic growth

Yep, the answer is boosting your top-performing organic content pieces so that you can accelerate reach and impressions, as well as take advantage of riding the ‘organic train’. 

How you can create consistent TikTok organic growth by boosting

There are two primary ways you can boost and promote existing organic posts with ads spend from your profile:

  • Creator tools (access via the app directly)
  • Or via the ads platform (good for advertisers/marketers who want to create more advanced setups with tracking and goals)

If you want to set up a campaign with more targeting and tracking capabilities, you’ll need to go into the ads manager. If you don’t have an ads account, it’s fairly straightforward to set up. You just need to sign up for a TikTok for Business account and then follow the prompts via this signup process.

Benefits of doing boosting and promotion of organic posts

  • You can create a repeatable organic growth engine through minimal spend

As mentioned just above, not all posts are going to take off naturally, and that’s despite if you follow the exact same formula as other videos that you produce that may have taken off in terms of views and engagement. With some small spending experiments, you can increase view counts and try ‘spark’ some organic traction. Yes, I mean by just spending some budget on organic posts that you want to get more eyeballs on, you may experience further organic reach and engagement in addition to the boosted spend. For example, your content/profile may be picked up by an influential account. 

  • Cheaper CPMs compared to other channels - for the time being

If you were to allocate some boosted spend, I’d say it’s well worth allocating it to TikTok organic promotion. From my experience running TikTok ads for a while now, you have a good chance to get more ‘bang for your buck’ with views, engagement and reach. This does, however, depend on the niche/category you serve in.

3. Get inspiration from the TikTok Creative Centre (Ads Library) - learn from the best

If you run Facebook Ads, I’ve got something exciting to share that I know you’re going to love. 

Yep, I know what you’re probably thinking… does TikTok have an ads library? The answer is yes, they do, and it’s pretty damn awesome - it’s called the ‘TikTok Creative Centre’.

It’s just as comprehensive (if not even more so) as the Facebook Ads library, and it’s super valuable to get inspiration from for your paid campaigns. I’m pretty certain it come out with new features for filtering, sorting and analytics in the future.

What I really love about it compared to the Facebook Ads Library is this particular feature - sorting/ filtering of key attributes and metrics.

Yes, you have the ability to sort easily by; 

  • Country
  • Industry - many to choose from
  • Objectives - Conversions, lead gen, app installs, sales, traffic, and reach
  • Likes - segmented groups of percentiles - e.g. ‘Top 21-40%’, ‘Top 81-100%’, etc.
  • Duration - pick segments of time periods - e.g. ‘<10 seconds’, ‘30-40 seconds’, etc.
  • Last day it was seen live - by 7, 30 or 180 days

Industry sorting and options

Objective options

‘Likes’ percentile range options

Time period duration options

Last day seen live

In addition, at the very top, you can also go straight to “trending searches” which are located underneath the search bar, which includes other key terms that are being actively searched. You also have the option to refresh to see what others are searching for. 

What happens when you hover a video ad and press ‘see analytics’?

Yep, you can actually see the metrics of the ads themselves. You can see metrics such as;

  • CTR, Clicks, CVR, Conversions and ‘Remain’ - (remain means the number of users who lasted to a particular time period of a video). 

Here’s an ad for a financial services company, which I found based on my filtering at the time. 

As you can see, you’re able to see the metrics that I mentioned above. What I really love about this layout is that you can instantly see the amount of likes, comments (none for this particular example) and shares the video has. Also, it clearly states that the ad has the ‘conversion’ objective. 

It also states that this ad is in the top 90% industry average, which is really useful to know as a benchmark. So the main takeaway from this average is that the performance of this particular ad could be improved. 

Quick heads up: It’s good to keep track of these industry averages when you flick through the ads, so you can see which ones have better averages than others, which can help inform what you learn from potential competitors, and how it informs your creative ads strategy. 

As another nice feature, when you play the video, the chart also moves based on the time stamp of you viewing the video, which is awesome. This is really useful to see where users may drop off - great for seeing what other brands use as ‘hooks’ to engage and capture user attention. 

Helpful tip: In addition, when you select the various metrics that influence the chart, you can see a small description that explains where the data is developed from. 

Just as another quick example below, I found this ad that has some interesting metrics to view here. This product is in the beauty/skincare industry, and you can see this has a lot of engagement and is even in the top 17% industry average. 

We can also see that this creative also is used across 36 regions (countries) and is used across the objectives ‘traffic’ and ‘conversions’.

However, the above of what I stated is the main takeaway and learning. 

Check out that spike for ‘CTR’ at the 6-second mark. Now, that’s impressive as it means users are engaged with the video, with then a solid amount of them clicking through the CTA ‘shop’ button (or whatever the CTA is at the time). 

In fact, all the stats for this particular ad creative is impressive, including the conversion numbers. 

So, the main thing to remember here is to try find more ads like this example to learn from. 

What makes the creative centre even more powerful as a ‘spy’ and research tool to formulate your creative ads strategy?

As you can guess by what I just said, yes, you can even potentially spy or look up your competitors. 

As a quick example to show you, I typed in the brand name ‘Amazon’, and it came up with ‘50 results’ for this particular search at the time I wrote this guide. 

Pretty awesome insights, if you ask me, that costs nothing to get access to. 

The benefits of using the Creative Centre (and using it to your advantage)

  • I honestly would be checking and using it daily to keep on top of what’s trending with TikTok Ads. Not to mention, it’s completely free to access and get learnings from (you can easily become your own TikTok ads consultant if you really want to, just from visiting and checking out the creative centre alone). 
  • You can use the Centre to pick up trends, learnings, and key takeaways from your competitors (if you can find them). You can also see what others in your industry are producing and then, of course, be able to see what the best brands around the world are running. 
  • Just by learning from others that you find and explore through the Creative Centre will help you improve the creatives you produce. You’ll be able to identify certain editing styles, trending music, intro hooks (which are super important to continually experiment, test and refine on TikTok), CTA’s and just the nature of the videos being shared within your relevant vertical.

4. You Need to Post Often - Multiple Times A Day

If you want to grow your presence on TikTok faster, you’ll need to post content more than once per day. Post frequency on TikTok affects engagement and how fast you attract followers - it’s all about the volume game.

From what I’ve seen from what some of the top brands do across various verticals/industries (as well as even influencers), is that they play the volume game in terms of output.

I’ve seen and follow many top-rated brands and influencers on TikTok that post as many as 3+ per day.

However, if you’re just starting out or you're limited on resources/budget, aim to do 2 - 3 posts daily to start boosting engagement and follower count. 

How and what you need to consider when posting multiple times per day (scaling production)

  • Posting once per day may be enough to get a decent organic growth curve. However, I say this is dependent on your existing brand equity/recognition in the market. Context matters here of where you’re currently at in terms of business growth. If you’re a larger brand with a decent size customer base, and already have a strong brand profile and follower base across your social channels, posting once per day is okay for you.
  • If you are just starting out, posting once per day (or even less) is probably not going to help you scale faster (unless you miraculously nail every single video you produce that produces thousands of views every single time you post). Realistically, if you’re a smaller brand, it’s going to be hard to achieve fast growth if you don’t post in volume. 
  • The reality is regardless of the growth stage of your business, if you want to grow your follower and engagement faster on TikTok (where you see brands go viral in just a short period of time), you need to produce more epic content in volume. Whilst many of us know the principle, “quality > quantity”, in the case of TikTok, quality still absolutely matters, but I’d argue that producing more quantity matters more. Remember, not every single video has to be incredibly amazing - just being ‘good enough’, such as being more raw and authentic, can lead to awesome results. In other words, don’t strive for perfection (unless you’re such a huge brand with millions of followers), but rather strive to create authentic content faster.
  • In terms of what to aim for in terms of the production of videos per day, ideally, you want to post content at least three times a day. The more content you dish out, the faster the audience growth curve you will achieve. Your followers will naturally engage and even share your content/profile with other friends, which the algorithm loves.
  • Consider timing when posting your content. Take into account where the bulk of your audience is located and what time they tend to go onto TikTok. 
  • In relation to the above, making sure to create a content schedule based on when your audience is most active is vital. A really good platform to help you schedule TikTok content is Later.com - been a very happy user for many years now (and they do scheduling for many other social channels too).

Benefits of Multi-Posts Per Day

  • Grow your following faster (and increase your reach and impressions faster, too) - the more content you produce, you increase your chances of growth success

As I explained above, the reason why volume matters is that when you post more content per day, you’ll have a much better chance of condensing the time it takes to amass a large following. 

Of course, there’s no guarantee with this method/approach (like anything with marketing), as there are multiple variables to take into account (i.e. nature of your content/business, the videos you produce, do you take advantage of trends, etc.). However, there’s definitely a correlation between the output of video content and increasing your chances of experiencing explosive growth when you post more often. I’ve certainly seen this first-hand with brands I’ve worked with and keeping tabs on other brands I get inspiration from in terms of video creative ideas.

  • Strengthen your relationship with your fan base

Posting quality content more than once a day shows your commitment to your fan base. And since they love your content and what you do as a brand, they’ll always have something to expect from your brand, and hopefully, they’ll often engage and share with their friends - and as we know, in turn, this will help get more reach/impressions. 

  • Keep being “top of mind” with your fan base - never miss out on providing updates (just by having an active calendar)

An active content calendar also means you’ll never miss out on keeping your followers in the loop about what’s happening - plus, it ensures you stay “top of mind” when they’re ready to make their next purchase. Think of it like you would be doing with remarketing ads across FB/IG or how you post on these other social channels. 

5. Cross-promote (and repurpose) your videos across your socials, and other primary marketing communication channels

Okay, so we’ve talked about how producing more content on TikTok leads to faster audience growth, but as we know, this can be a challenge when it comes to resourcing and budgeting (especially for smaller brands). 

However, it’s now about being smart and resourceful when it comes to production and scaling. 

And how can you be smart and resourceful when it comes to producing more epic videos from an initial piece of content? Yep, it all comes down to repurposing content, and cross-promotion across your other key channels and assets, such as your website, landing pages, email marketing, and of course, your other key social channels. 

How repurposing and cross-promotion works & example use case

This tactic is pretty self-explanatory, but I think it’s an important one to mention in terms of how it works because most brands and startups know that it’s something that they should be doing, yet find themselves not doing it as part of their regular social content process. 

This is on the basis of my experience working with numerous brands - they get it, but it tends not to be a priority when it comes to focus. However, whilst it may not be the highest priority, just some simple repurposing can mean that you get ‘more life’ out of your content and means less workload to come up with new ideas when you promote on other channels. 

So, how does repurposing work exactly?

There are many detailed guides showing you exactly how repurposing can be achieved with video-based content (as well as other content formats), but I’m going to keep it simple here. 

Whilst everyone has different opinions on this man, I’m a big fan of Gary Vee’s process when it comes to creating content and repurposing it for many channels. 

He has a great article and Slideshare on his content model, where he’s able to create more content from just 1 existing content piece. If going through the Slideshare doesn’t get you amped up and excited about what’s possible with repurposing with TikTok content (or just any content you’re producing), I don’t know what will. 

(image credit: Garry Vee medium article/Slideshare)

Okay, so what does an example of repurposing look like in action with TikTok content and another channel?

Here is a quick idea for repurposing and cross-promoting on a really great channel to gain organic views (which has a strong SEO-play attached to it) - Pinterest. 

In fact, this is actually something I spoke about in my eCommerce Pinterest growth hacks guide

  • I’ve seen a lot of success with TikTok videos being published on Pinterest. Many creators and eCommerce brands I’ve seen do this, and it’s certainly working.

Here’s a great example by a beauty brand called Kaja Beauty, which has posted a few of the same videos on both TikTok and Pinterest. They have huge view counts on both channels, respectively.

TikTok Kaja Beauty Profile - view here

Pinterest Kaja Beauty Profile - view here

Now, I can’t confirm which platform they posted on first, but you get the picture of what I’m trying to show off here. 

They’re smart in the way they approach their video content, as they kill ‘two birds with one stone’ (so to speak).

They are most likely following this simple process - create a TikTok-style video, save the video, and then upload them to the two separate platforms, and utilise their in-app editing options (or using 3rd-party video and social media editing tools).

The above example reference I’ve shared is just Pinterest I’m talking about in this specific scenario. You can easily replicate this process by downloading the videos you create and then share them across your other primary social channels. 

Plus, remember you can also share via email marketing, whether it be newsletters or via automated remarketing emails, where you can leverage videos for social proof (and education) with whatever products you’re promoting at the time (e.g. a ‘how-to’ video by an influencer about the specific product you’re promoting). 

Bonus: A tool I found that is made solely for repurposing

I also discovered not too long ago this awesome video editing and content repurposing platform called Repurpose. The tagline on the homepage pretty much says it all, which I love. 

They even have specific features to help you repurpose TikTok videos to Pinterest, which includes videos without the watermark. Really damn cool if you ask me to streamline the process (if you’re short on hiring video content editors). 

Benefits of sharing your videos on other channels

  • Extra views and extra reach with minimal effort (and save on costs)

You’ve already gone to the trouble of putting an awesome effort into your videos, so why not give it some more life by sharing it to your target audiences on your other channels. It requires no investment (if sharing organically) and is a good way to ‘squeeze’ / get more ‘life’ out of your content. 

6. Use these apps to take your editing skills to the level

In relation to both previous tactics around scaling up content production (multiple posts per day) and repurposing/cross-promoting videos, you need to make sure you have a solid foundation around editing. 

Within TikTok itself, the internal editing tools are already awesome as they are, which many big accounts anf influencers use often. There are a truckload of videos on TikTok itself with tutorials on how to better utilise the internal editing features. 

However, if you’re looking for more control and variety in editing options for your videos, which you can then use as part of your editing workflow, then I’ve got some tools and platforms you should check out in this big video editing tools guide I created (which includes 16 of my favourites that I’ve used for various projects). 

Mobile-first apps that I recommend to explore that are great for TikTok-style content

Whilst the guide I created has a lot of amazing platforms which you can use, there are actually a lot of mobile-first specific apps which are great for spinning out TikTok-style video content. 

Each of these below are free to signup and check out, and are pretty good for beginners whom may not have as much experience. I can say if you’re a beginner, you’ll get the hang of these apps pretty quickly. 

Just like with any software provider of course, to unlock more advanced/powerful features to take your video editing to the next level, you’ll have to upgrade and pay. 

Here are some of the mobile video editing apps I’ve tried out, tested and I’ve personally had some good success with. By the way, just sharing the website links and homepages here, but each of them are at least on either the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

  • Inshot - My favourite in terms of user experience on mobile. You can easily do splitting, trimming, merging and adjust speeds. You can also add various filters, voice overs and sounds effects (just be mindful of music and sounds in relation to copyright). There’s also the option to add stickers as well (although I typically leave this within TikTok itself). 

Just on the Apple Store itself, it has over 1.7mil+ ratings, averaging 4.9 stars, which is pretty impressive. 

  • Promeo - Made for story formats (so good for IG Reels/Stories as well), where you can easily add customised branded text, stickers, filters, and has a range of templates that you can use for scaling.

As you can see on the Google Play Store, it has over 100k+ downloads and 4.5 avg. star rating - no doubt as more people discover this amazing app that this will rise. 

  • Funimate - The final quick recommendation that I suggest you check out is Funimate, which is a really powerful mobile app for editing mobile video content. It’s packed with epic features including the likes of sleek transitions, trimming, merging, backgrounds, 3D effects (which is pretty neat), filters/frames, and even multi-layer editing (which is normally what you do with desktop platforms). 

In case you need more reason to check it out, it has over 10million+ downloads and 1million+ reviews on the Google Play Store alone - quite incredible. 

7. Get involved with hashtag challenges - or create your own branded hashtag challenge

A solid strategy to get something ‘viral’, or joining/taking advantage of a ‘viral train’ with something that is trending on the platform, is TikTok challenges. 

Challenges are a big thing on TikTok, and I’ve seen some brands do exceptionally well with virality and awareness, just by jumping on the bandwagon when something is “trending” - that’s even when they didn’t create the initial challenge/trend themselves. 

As we all know, TikTok has a ‘viral nature’ built into it (due to the way users engage with content, and how the algorithm thrives off engagement), and what I mean by this is that trends, such as challenges, can take off fast… and I mean, really fast.  

The great thing is that you can easily join and identify the organic trends that are happening by simply exploring hashtags in videos on your feed, which I speak more about below. 

As for creating your own challenge, it can be a really fruitful strategy if it works out and goes viral, however, it requires a lot more effort and resources/investment.

How challenges work and effective ways that your brand can get involved to skyrocket reach and awareness (and achieve solid follower growth)

  • The good thing about this tactic is that getting involved with an ‘already trending challenge’ is low-hanging fruit. Why exactly? Well as we all know, a big thing with TikTok is that creating good content from scratch does take time - not to mention, creating campaigns alongside content takes time. Plus, there’s no guarantee in terms of ROI for your budget/resources, in order to increase your chances of actually going viral. 
  • So, the best part about getting involved with these ‘already trending challenges’ is that the ‘standard/formula’ of what you need to do and produce in these videos is already set. All you need to do is see what other influencers and brands are doing as part of the challenge, and you produce something similar - and where you stand out and can go viral in terms of reach and engagement is by adding your own ‘flavour’ to your videos as part of the challenge.
  • The best way to find these opportunities for free is with the branded hashtags at the bottom of videos. To identify a trend that you may not know of yet, you will naturally see the word “challenge” as part of a hashtag, or you may start to see similar videos being recommended to you on your feed. When you do see new content which is similar in nature and style (and music/sounds can indicate this as well), this means that a trend is starting to get traction. To see if it is indeed a challenge, all you need to do is simply click on the hashtags, you will see the volume of videos and the various types, view counts and what type of accounts are getting involved based on that hashtag. 

Are there tools that can help keep track of hashtags and trends?

The simple answer is yes, and they’re pretty decent as well to use. 

The first one I recommend to check out, which has a truckload of positive reviews and is used by many top creators, is TrendTok. It’s part of the ‘Forusapps’ group, where they have a couple of other successful social analytics/trend apps. It has built-in AI features to identify trends, as well as other awesome features.

The good news is that it’s actually free to download, but to unlock more awesome stuff, you’ll need to upgrade. 

The other recommendation to explore larger brands and for those serious about keeping on top of trends, is Exolyt. You do have to pay a decent subscription fee (and there’s an enterprise version as well), but the features are really impressive and powerful. 

How creating your own challenge can work (and important tips to keep in mind)

  • Now, this takes more time, prep, coordination, and of course, resources to make a branded hashtag challenge work for your brand. The first thing you need to establish is the campaign's goal, whether it be driving sales, awareness/engagement, building your follower count (etc.). Yes, these goals are certainly intertwined, but the types of videos and challenges you do will depend on what you’re trying to push. 
  • A big component of making branded challenges actually work is making sure you have a promotion and distribution plan in place. Influencers and creators with great engagement no doubt play a big role when it comes to getting the ‘spark’ of organic traction going. So, working with creators is going to be something you will need to focus on as part of your preparation.

Here are some key things to think about when it comes to promotion and making a campaign successful: 

  • → Definitely do your research and break down what some of the top brands have done that have gone viral. Lots to learn when you reverse-engineer and observe what strategies they undertook to become successful. 
  • → You need to have a great prize that people want to actually win. You will see this as a key thing amongst some of the most viral campaigns. 
  • → Another key factor to keep in mind is ensuring you set some rules. This is certainly important to focus on in the early stages. 
  • → To really maximise eyeballs and get the ‘spark’ going, you’ll need to have a decent budget for ads promotion.
  • → You can actually work with TikTok directly if you have the budget. They would certainly be able to provide a lot of insights, strategies and probably benchmarks of what makes a campaign successful. 

If you’re interested in working with TikTok directly for a branded challenge, you can actually reach out to them via the TikTok business contact form, where they can support you end-to-end, which is pretty awesome. 

I mean, they naturally would have some incredible insights and data to support and craft a challenge campaign that has a good chance of performing really well. 

Who’s done some successful branded hashtag challenges (case studies)?

They actually have some case studies available that you can access to see and learn from the success of other brands, which you can access as part of the inspiration library they have. This is actually where you can access case studies for other advertising formats, such as conversion and brand awareness campaigns. 

To find the branded hashtag challenge case studies, just select the “solution” dropdown, where you will find the “Branded Hashtag Challenge” option. When you click it, it will automatically populate all the related case studies. You can even add more filters such as regions and industry to narrow down further. 

A couple of awesome case studies that I recommend to check out and read are: 

→ ASUS #createwithasus campaign - they managed to achieve over 226+ million views (insane), with 82k entries and an awesome click-through rate of 23.83%. 

→ Very #ourhouse2021 campaign - And another really good one is by Very, where they managed to get 1+ million creators to create 1.7+ million videos - insane numbers for UGC content. 

The summary of benefits of participating in branded hashtag challenges and/or creating your own

Benefits of participating

  • You can ‘jump’ onto trends without having to come up with something completely original (just take a look at the top videos people arte loving)
  • It’s usually cost-effective to join in - i.e. you don’t need much in order to get involved and jump on the ‘viral train’
  • Great way to get organic reach and views really fast - which ultimately helps with follower count and sales

For creating your own branded challenge

  • You can seriously put your brand in front of the right people, and stamp your brand against a challenge that has the potential to reach millions is realistic if you coordinate a good plan - I mean, just look at the case studies I shared above

8. Run Contests and Giveaways

We’ve talked branded hashtag challenges, and now it’s time to talk about contest and giveaways. 

There’s actually a lot of similarity between the two, as both still leverage hashtags for UGC engagement, reach and awareness, but can have some variations in terms of what brands are trying to achieve. 

As you would have noticed by now if you’re on TikTok, is that brands and influencers run contests and giveaways on TikTok all the time, and there’s a very good reason as to why.  

To make something viral on TikTok, it has to have a natural ‘sharing and engagement’ mechanism as part of the process - for example, UGC content where users have to create videos to participate.

Organising contests is one of the fastest ways to attract engagement as it gets your audience to create user-generated content around your brand, which you can then leverage for so many other marketing initiatives (and is great for social proof). 

How and what’s involved in creating contest and giveaways

  • The end goal of these contests is typically to generate brand awareness and engagement, with the aim of helping to grow/build a large following over a short period. Naturally, how many followers you do gain is dependent on the ‘entry’ mechanism of the contest/giveaway.
  • You need to figure out the kind of contest you’d like to organise - it could be anything that involves a little bit of creativity, but I’d say the primary aim is to get your audience to create videos/UGC content that adheres to specific guidelines. 
  • As examples, you may want users to show off some skills or do creative things using your products - there are so many things you can come up with that you want to achieve, it just needs to make sense for your business and product offerings.

Quick reminder: when something does go viral, you can’t really control how people react or share (once it’s out in the wilderness, it’s tough to keep control of the narrative), so you need to make sure you clearly think through the brief and contest/giveaway in it’s entirety end-to-end - you need to plan and consider all edge cases, otherwise it could backfire.

  • Another key success factor which many do overlook is that you need to make sure that your prize can entice your target audience to participate. In other words, the prizes that are part of the contest/giveaway need to be actually good. The more valuable your prize you have on offer, the more you’ll attract audiences to participate and spur engagement targets that you want to achieve. 
  • Of course, make sure you also announce the contest on TikTok AND every other media platform you’re on - it doesn’t just need to be heard through TikTok (if it goes well, it won’t anyway). Your followers will be the first ones to take notice when you announce it, and even encourage them to spread the word with their friends, which in turn will naturally be spread through the other social channels.  
  • By the way, not all contest have to run just on the social media solely - you can even drive traffic by creating a landing page about the contest. Or potentially create a viral contest by using a tool such as Gleam, which enables users to receive more entries if they do other actions, such as sharing with friends, or sharing on other channels. Also, another good option is Sweep widget, which lets you even setup TikTok-specific social actions for users to do in order to get more entries - check out the image here to see it.  

(image credit: Sweep Widget)

Which brands have done well with contests?

A really amazing success with contest was Goldish.

→ Goldish - I mean, check out these stats/numbers - 12.8 billion views. Yes, billion haha - you can view the hashtag directly on TikTok itself

What is important to state here though, is that they did run TV ads, and got influencers and celebrities involved. So it’s no surprise that they managed to go viral and get reach some serious numbers in a short period of time. Nonetheless though, the numbers are seriously impressive for brands to consider - just imagine achieving results like this. 

To read more about the detail of this case study, check it out here

Benefits of running contests & giveaways

  • Go viral for brand engagement - you don’t need to be a massive brand

One thing I will say about TikTok is that you don’t need a huge following to go viral. Sometimes, a well-planned contest/giveaway can be all it takes to boost brand engagement, grow your following base awesome numbers, and ultimately help boost sales. The algorithm will work in your favour if people are actively sharing and engaging with your contests.

  • Let your audience promote your brand (enable them to ‘do the work’)

A contest typically involves user-generated content, or some sort of sharing mechanism. Running UGC content can influence buying decisions, and with virality on your side, you get a lot of new audiences coming across your brand, which in turn will help with generating new customers. 

  • Reinforce brand awareness and collect UGC content on speed dial

A contest not only gets those likes and shares, but it also solidifies you as a reliable brand that people will follow/want to find out more about, and it also is creating all this ‘free’ content that you can leverage for other marketing activity - how cool is that?!. 

9. Hire Influencers for Special Paid Campaign Promotions 

This strategy works with every other platform, and TikTok is no different. We all know that influencer marketing is taking the world by storm, and it’s a battle-tested strategy that we’ve seen work time and time again for large and even smaller brands.  

Many dedicated influencers and creators on TikTok have already amassed millions of followers with a really loyal and engaged fan base - and you can expect to see a successful influencer in almost every niche you can think of. So the good news is, regardless of the niche/vertical you’re in, there’s an influencer who would love to work with your brand. 

How working with influencers can ‘influence’ awareness and/or sales

  • First things first, the success of your influencer promotion campaigns comes down to what your primary objective is - are you aiming for brand awareness or boosting sales as the primary objective? You need to be clear on the goal, as it influencers the variables you need to take into account when working with influencers, such as KPIs, budget, and the content that is produced - yes, aiming for reach/awareness and what’s involved, is very different to how you approach a conversion-focused (sales) campaign.
  • Once you have a clear goal in mind, it’s then about starting to scout potential influencer candidates that cater to your target audience, and produce good content that you feel confident is going to produce a good result. Just below, I talk about some solutions for finding and sourcing great TikTok influencers that you can work with.
  • TikTok influencer rates can get pricey - this is a good guide on influencer marketing rates by Shopify (which includes TikTok influencer rates).  Expect rates to go up by follower count and engagement rates. You can also find various estimates of influencer rates using the tools/platforms I mention below
  • The main thing to keep in mind is that you want to form a positive relationship that is aligned to help each other out. Don’t go into a new influencer relationship with strong agenda, but rather develop a relationship where both parties can benefit. 

How to find great TikTok influencers for either small or large brands

For finding great influencers on the platform, there are three primary methods. 

First option

First, you can find influencers organically via the platform and contact them. 

  • Many profiles have a website link or email address on their profile. If there’s no email, try their website. 
  • For some profiles, especially if they don’t have a huge following, they may not have their contact details on display. You’ll need to jump on your preferred search engine and scour the web to find a point of contact. 

Second option

Unfortunately, with TikTok, it can be hard to get in contact with the right people that you prefer to work with, so as second option, you can use an influencer marketing platform that has a decent database of influencers actively posting content. 

I recommend checking out Heepsy or Upfluence.

→ Heepsy - the platform is affordable and really easy to use, and the quality of the database of contacts is good. I definitely recommend this as a platform for smaller brands. 

→ Upfluence - the other really good platform I recommend is Upfluence, which has an impressive suite of powerful tools and advanced features. It’s catered more towards larger brands who want to scale their influencer campaigns. 

Third option

The other option which I’ve had some good success with is the “Creator Marketplace”, which helps you discover, manage relationships, and report on performance, all within the TikTok platform. 

They also have some great Creative Marketplace-specific case studies for you to check out. 

Fourth option

There is a fourth option, which is working with an agency that can do all this work for you end-to-end. 

However, I recommend that even before hiring an agency, it’s worth going through the process of finding them yourself (which I recommend you should do anyway to understand the process in its entirety - plus, it’s more cost-effective). If you then decide to engage with an agency to help scale (as it can be time intensive), then you’ll have a greater understanding of what to expect and what works/doesn’t work. 

Benefits of TikTok influencer marketing for promotions

  • Reach a targeted audience organically

Working with an influencer whose audience matches your ideal audience profile allows you to grab a lot of those eyeballs. 

  • Boost trust and authority organically - they know how to speak to their audience, and ‘pitch’ / ‘introduce’ you in the right way

Influencer marketing is one of the fastest ways to boost credibility, and your influencer has already won the hearts of the target audience you’re wanting to get in front of. 

  • Leverage the influencer’s experience with creating high-quality content (and give them freedom)

Influencers have honed their skill of providing content that creates engagement for their audience, which they know better than most. So, ensure you give them the creative freedom to decide on what the brief looks like. Plus as we spoke about, you’ll then have awesome content which you can repurpose into mashups (which I talk about soon), and promote on other channels.

10. Team up with influencers on TikTok and work out a win-win 

In relation to the above, working with influencers to do paid promotions is one thing, and then doing win-win collabs with them, receiving free products/rewards, or offering them exposure, is another approach. 

We all love a win-win, and I can say many influencers love it too. That’s why doing collabs can benefit both parties if approached and planned well.

Now, there’s still a cost associated to this particular tactic, but you can negotiate and find ways of working together that mutually means that both parties benefit that doesn’t require a significant outlay in costs. 

In terms of what you can offer, provide and send them free products, or some sort of free rewards. This can work really well if influencers love what you have to offer. I’ve come across many situations where influencers will be happy to produce content in exchange for free product.

By the way, it doesn’t just have to be free product, if you have a great audience that could lead them with some nice exposure, you could offer this instead. I would recommend, however, to do offer both. 

How a win-win relationship could work (and what to keep in mind)

  • Firstly, it’s good to have a goal of what you expect for yourself to have from the collaboration. You also need to consider the goals of the person you want to collaborate with. What could be shared goals you can work towards together? Can you both achieve your personal goals faster if you were to produce content? The main thing is that you need to make sure it’s a win-win.
  • Normally this process works well if you already have built a relationship with the creator. Or at the very least, you know that they’re an existing user or customer of your service/product. If you want to reach out to them ‘cold’, then you need to make sure you come with a compelling case. Focus on adding value and sharing the idea without a strict agenda and see if they’re receptive to the idea. Then, you can jump on an intro call to discuss ideas of how the collab could work. 
  • You can do videos together, such as giveaways, doing a “how to” series, to doing a joint podcast, and many other possibilities. 

Benefits of doing collabs

  • A cheaper alternative to pure paid promotions

Working out win-win deals means that you can get more for your allocated budget. 

  • Get more creative with new content types and formats

Always coming up with new content ideas is hard, especially when the aim of the TikTok game is to post often if you want to keep the growth momentum up. Collabs can really help produce more content faster to feed the engine which is not always the same types of influencer video types (e.g. product unboxing videos) - work out ways to do podcasts, joint “how-to” videos, etc.

11. Create Mashup Videos Of Influencers You’ve Hired

For the last two strategies, I’ve talked about influencer marketing for paid promotions and collabs. 

In addition, earlier in this guide, I also talked a lot about being smart and resourceful with repurposing. 

So, the question is - if you’ve already collaborated with many influencers, and have a lot of content available, why not double down on using existing content and repurposing it to offer something fresh to your audience across a variety of channels? 

To answer this question, it’s time to marry each of the strategies I just mentioned together to create “mashup” influencer videos. 

What are “mashup videos” exactly? Simply put, it when two or more videos (can be related or unrelated), are combined into one unified piece of content. 

The results of mashups are awesome, and means you get more ‘life’ out of your influencer marketing content.

How mashups videos can be easy to produce and the benefits

  • Repurpose existing content into another eye-catcher

Your influencer videos might’ve gained a lot of attention as single pieces of content, which is great. Now, go back and mash them all together to create further interest and social proof for your brand once again. 

  • Solidify brand reputation

On their own, influencer promotional videos already boost credibility. Mashing them up together in another promotional vid will remind your fan base they’ve made the right choice supporting your brand.

12. Run ‘How To’ and ‘Product Tip’ Videos About Your Product

Educational and instructional videos when produced and edited write can work really well on the TikTok platform. 

Whether it be “product hacks” or highlighting some sort cool way to use something, it always catches eyeballs. 

People on the platform, as well as your fan base, are always hungry to learn something that can add value to their lives - and that’s where your brand and product(s) can slide right on in.

How you can awesome how-to and tip videos

  • Before you can convince new audiences and users to visit your store and spend money on your product, they’ll need to be captivated and know what it’s about. So, you’ll need to create awesome “how-to’s” or “product tip” videos to stack value to your product.
  • When it comes to captivating audiences from the very first second (and standing out from other videos they see in your feed), it’s all about creating a great ‘hook’. What is exactly a ‘hook’? In layman terms, it means that you’ve developed an eye-catching intro which engages the users to watch more. In a growth marketer and advertiser’s world, we typically call these experiences ‘pattern interrupts’. The goal again is simple - how you can ensure people don’t continuously scroll past your video. You can create the best video in the world that you’ve spend time, money and resources on, but if you don’t nail the initial ‘hook’, you’re not giving yourself the best chance of capturing engagement. 

I can talk about how to create hooks and share examples of some hooks, but I came across two really good videos that can spur some hook ideas for your videos.

Video 1 - Viral Hooks - Go viral everytime by Joseph Tood

(image credit: YouTube)

Video 2 - Viral Hooks that work by Rachel Pedersen

(image credit: YouTube)

There are also plenty of other videos on YouTube you can check out - plus, you guessed it! There are even tutorials by creators on TikTok itself (just go to search to find them). 

  • When it comes to your script, it must include all the good things about your product, like solving a problem - but it needs to be done in a fun and entertaining way. Normally it comes down to the content itself and how creative you can be, but you can also really jazz up a video and script with just really good editing. 
  • Keep your tutorial videos short preferably (although you can do longer videos now on TikTok if it makes sense as part of your strategy), and always include some sort of call to action. Although, not every CTA needs to be “buy now”, as doing that too much can get annoying and too ‘pushy’. Use softer CTA’s such as ‘follow for more helpful content like this’, or ‘leave me a question below in the comments’ - you get where I’m going. Additionally, your how-to’s don’t necessarily have to be about your product all the time. In fact, you don’t want to fatigue your audience with just product-related videos. Switch up content strategy by creating instructional content that is about any relevant stuff in your industry/niche, but is aligned with how-to and tip-based content (e.g. doing a Q&A about top tips on a certain ‘hot’ topic with someone influential in your industry). 

Benefits of running how-to/tip-based instructional content

  • Accelerate the process of customers understanding the value of your product(s) 

A great product video lets you build awareness around your product(s) faster, and also for them to quickly see the value of your solution. Product tips and how-to videos also let’s you guide viewers into realising why they need your product, even if they haven’t thought about it as a priority - just like when they’ve discovered something awesome for the first time.

  • When you inspire viewers with something knew that they learn from your videos, they’re bound to share with friends

If you create something worthy of attention, and you have a great hook, it’s bound to get some good views. 

13. Use Trending Music and Specific Hashtags

I’ve talked about hooks before as part of the previous tactic with how-to/tip videos, but that’s just one of the key ingredients required that are part of the formula when it comes to creating engaging TikTok videos. 

The two most important ingredients in my opinion, on top of great hooks, is trending music and hashtags. 

Trending music and hashtags are powerful ‘features’ that you need to incorporate into your video content. Using both together is a fantastic way of being discovered organically through the platform. 

Some brands even tailor their content to what’s trending in music and hashtags. It’s pretty apparent why overlaying these elements to your videos can expand your reach beyond your followers. I share a couple of stats and key articles just below. 

How trending music and hashtag discoverability works

  • We’ve talked a lot about hashtags already (with branded challenges), and I don’t need to tell you how they necessarily work, but you should definitely use them to easily discover particular topics and searches, and take part in specific conversations happening. If you can get your content to match with popular hashtags like #foryoupage or #tiktoktrend (just basic examples - you get the point), you’re more likely to appear on feeds that don’t follow you. Just remember that including hashtags because they’re trending shouldn’t be the primary goal per se as you still want to ensure you’re being discovered by relevant people, so therefore, use relevant hashtags. 
  • Earlier in this guide under strategy number 9 (hiring influencers for promotions), I highlighted a few tools that can help with analysing and quickly discovering trending hashtags and music, which can save a lot of time rather than sifting through organically. TrendTok in my opinion is a great platform if you’re fairly new.

How can users discover you through music and hashtags? There are two primary ways:

Mobile

You can find them through the mobile search bar, your discovery feed, and just by scrolling through the normal feed experience. There’s also a great guide on the TikTok newsroom about how to discover more. 

(image credit: TikTok newsroom)

Desktop

You can find on the left-hand side, where you can select either hashtags or music. 

(these suggestions are based from my personal account at the time I wrote this - it changes frequently depending on what you engage with, as well as your location).

Key takeaways of the benefits with using trending music and hashtags

  • ‘Ride’ addictive trends for exposure

I’ve talked about the ‘viral train’, and it’s easy for popular trends to gain momentum on TikTok, so you need to become a master at quickly identifying and taking advantage fast. The brands who are fast on the pulse to take advantage of these trends, increase their chances to be ‘first-movers’ and get the spotlight. 

  • Increase visibility and brand recall/uplift

I’ve talked a lot about success with videos getting traction, but even if your videos don’t go viral (to your expectations), just by posting regularly and using trendy tunes and hashtags related to your target topics will help you naturally get an increase in visibility. It may not always be huge view count numbers for all the videos you do, but it can add up overtime. Plus the more you post, the greater chances that you’ll get a few winners.

  • ‘Help’ TikTok’s Algorithm

Using appropriate hashtags related to your brand/product(s) also helps TikTok’s algorithm determine who’d be interested in your content. Use the proper tagging to get in front of as many of your target audience

14. Create and Use Branded Stickers, Plus Special Effects in Your Videos

Another key ingredient (not as important in terms of emphasis as compared to ‘hooks’ and trending music/hashtags, but still has an important role to play) is stickers and special effects. 

TikTok allows users and brands like you to get creative and artistic with in-app tools like stickers, filters, and special effects. 

And the best part is that you can even upload and add your own branded stickers. 

It’s also not just only for the organic game, but also for ads. So if you’re running ads, you can take add some ‘splash’ to your creatives with gamified branded effects.

How you can easily add branded stickers and special effects

Stickers directly in the app

  • TikTok lets you pick from a variety of ‘default’ stickers, which are split into various categories - Decorative, Text, Mood, Lifestyle, and Nature, and all of these are accessible directly in the app when you’re editing your video. There are also emoticons and gifs which you can easily add (like IG stories). Whether you choose stickers, emoticons, or gifs (or even all of them), you can easily pin these on your videos - the UX is pretty slick.
  • There is also the ability to choose polls, ‘ask’ (questions), ‘replies’, location, mention, hashtag and other engagement-based stickers - similar to the likes of IG stories. 

Upload your own stickers

  • Whilst the default stickers are great, you can take it to the next level by using your own branded stickers, which you can upload from your phone into the app. 
  • If you’re lacking design resources, create your own branded stickers using tools like Canva, or you can even consider buying sticker templates on the likes of Etsy (or somewhere through searching), and then edit further either on your phone, or using an editing program from the likes of Adobe. Once you’ve finished, you can then upload and then add your new sticker creations into your videos. 

How to use filters and special effects

  • Filters and special effects let you add a bit of life and colour to your TikTok content, which is also easily accessible directly in the app. There are many filters/special effects to choose from in different categories, and new fresh ones get added pretty often. 
  • Earlier in the guide, I touched on other 3rd-party tools like Inshot, which can give you more options for special effects/filters that are worth exploring and playing around. Canva is also another good option that has some good templates and features around effects/filters. Great for frames too actually for more branded content (like ads). 

Benefits of using branded stickers and special effects

  • Add your brand ‘flavour’ to your videos

Just by adding your own branded stickers can help with brand recognition and awareness. They looks awesome (just like the examples I shared above). 

  • Your content will stand out as it’s customised around your brand

Just going that extra mile with customisation makes your content stand out more. With so many videos users are watching, you want to ensure you get brand cut-through. 

15. Use the ‘Stitch’ feature on TikTok and “Duets” to create viral content (great for reactions)

Stitch is a popular feature used by a lot of creators to come up with some fantastic, and often funny, videos that are actually really engaging.

Why should you pay attention to this tactic? It’s because you can get some serious virality by letting people use snippets of your videos which they can add to their videos - for example, reactions-based, comments, answering questions, etc.  

How the stitch feature works (and how duets play a role)

  • To see instructions (with some examples) on how Stitch videos work, check out this epic guide by Later. They’ve done a great breakdown from end-to-end of how they work, and settings you need to enable in order for others to stitch your videos (if you want this to happen). 

You can find the Stitch feature within the ‘share’ section.

(image credit: Later)

  • Here are some really great examples of Stitch videos in action, which you can easily find under the tag called ‘stitch’. There is some pretty great content you will find (haha). 

Benefits of using the Stitch feature

  • Getting your target audience to be engaged
  • When audiences go to the effort of “duets” and making stitches from your video, you know they’re engaged. 
  • The great thing about your audience’s reactions to your videos is that they’re genuine, which helps increase your awareness and reach of your original video. 
  • It’s been a ‘trending’ video format for a while that so many creators use (just look at the totla view count of videos under the tag ‘stitch’ alone in the above screenshot).

Considerations: 

  • With this particular format, you do lose some ‘control’ over what people produce with videos that they can ‘stitch’ into their own creations. There’s no real way around this when it comes to controlling how people react with their videos, but you do have the option of simply turning off the ability for other people to ‘stitch’ your videos. You do have the option also to let people have the ability to stitch on some videos, and turn off for specific videos that you don’t want to be ‘stitched’.

16. TikTok Live - get on it!

I’ve always believed with features that are native to a social platform that aren’t as frequently used by most users, is an opportunity that you should jump on and take advantage of. 

In the case for TikTok, it’s taking advantage of TikTok Live. 

TikTok naturally wants more users to take up the live feature, as it means more engagement, and people spending even longer on their platform. As we know, the longer that people stay on the platform, the better for advertising revenue. 

For context as to why I think it’s a great thing you need to consider as a brand and marketers, comes back to Instagram’s push for using their live feature. In Instagram’s case, we see them as well do similar pushes, where they make it very obvious something has gone live in the “stories” section at the top of the app. 

The same goes for TikTok - you get notified when someone you follow starts a live stream, and you can also get discovered in their ‘weekly’ rankings section (if you have a live that goes well). It’s in many like you’re being ‘rewarded’ for using a feature that they know will help everyone involved - you, your followers, and ultimately, the platform itself. 

So, leveraging live is a great way to get attention fairly quickly, rather than just waiting for people to hopefully view your videos. 

How TikTok Live works and tips to create good Live streams

  • Going live is pretty simple. You’ll find it through the “+” icon at the bottom with the option saying ‘Go Live”. Again, they make it obvious in the app for a good reason (they want you to use it more). 

What are some key things to remember when going live? Get a notepad out. 

  • Have good lighting
  • Test your sound and make sure there’s no echo - it’s a challenge to remove echoes
  • Get the angle of the camera right
  • A good range is between 15 - 30 mins long
  • You have to make it engaging - get people to comment and ask questions
  • Keep in mind where the majority of your followers are based, so choose the right time you’re most likely going to have people tune in

A cool thing about doing live streams is that you can do so with friends and creators. 

There is also analytics available, which help you see metrics such as total view counts, new followers, total time people tuned in, unique people who watched, and others. Pretty awesome for brands wanting to improve and optimise their livestreams.

Benefits of doing TikTok Live Videos

  • An engaging feature that notifies your audience and followers

It’s a great format for brands to notify their followers faster at scale. You just have to make sure the content is epic. 

  • Great way to scale your engagement and relationships with your followers

Doing the usual video formats like we’ve talked about in this guide is great, but you can take it to the next level by genuinely building relationships with your followers and even customers. It’s a great opportunity to show off a new product for research and feedback, or hear customers what they love about the brand, or even asking them questions to hear what future products thet would love to have - the possibilities are endless in terms of what you can ask. 

  • A new opportunity to explore monestisation

Leveraging TikTok Live could present new monestisation opportunities. What this actually looks like is dependent on what you sell or offer, but some ideas include: 

  • Being rewarded with live gifts (works like twitch streaming in many ways if you’ve seen that before)
  • Do sponsored live videos 
  • You could even sell limited-edition products
  • Or, there’s even potentially selling merch (if that makes sense for your brand)
  • Take it to the next level with combined collabs

Huge opportunity for brands to run some great content pieces alongside other top creators. Some quick ideas could include doing live events or “How-to” videos - i.e. a food brand can host a cooking class with a top food recipe creator. Plenty of ideas I’m sure your brand can explore. 

17. Embed your TikTok videos on your website

A great way to get extra views and followers is letting your existing customers, users, and visitors know you post awesome content on TikTok. 

One of the cheapest ways of acquiring relevant followers which are already engaged with your business, is by embedding videos from the platform onto your eCommerce website. 

This is actually a big recommendation for eCommerce brands if they have UGC content available (e.g. “How-to” videos by influencers) as it can help boost social proof, which can help with conversions. 

What does a TikTok embed look like in action?

I found this great example of a company called French Pharmacy, who are using an app called TikShop for Shopify. 

Once you click on a video, you can flick through either TikTok or Instagram videos. 

Here’s another example in action by a store called REAL Accessories, which are using this app

How to do embeds

There are two main methods to do embeds:

Use the embed snippet from videos you want onto your store

  • I love what TikTok has done (and think it’s quite smart), and that is the ability for people to easily embed videos onto their site using the ‘embed code’, which is situated next to the social share icons. 

Using a 3rd-party app

  • If you’re on Shopify, there are quite a few apps that can help you that you can find on the store. Many of them are free too which is super handy.

Benefits of embedding TikTok feeds on your site (or select videos)

  • Can help show off your content to new audiences who visit your site (and can help with conversions)

Consumers love buying from brands that share helpful and fun content. On top of that, you can use embeds from influencers who talk about your products or services, which is epic for social proof. 

Plus, you can select specific videos related to certain products on your site. So, you don’t just have to add embeds to your homepage, you should also consider adding them to key product pages. 

  • Build followers and views from the right people 

Nothing beats gaining followers and views organically from the right targeted audience. Make it obvious to new and returning visitors that are coming from alternative sources that they can check out your profile by seeing your content on the site.

Table of contents:

⚡ Frequently Asked Questions ⚡

What are some key things eCommerce brands should consider when wanting to build a successful TikTok marketing strategy?

We all know how hot this channel is right now compared to other social media channels, but it almost feels like the ‘wild west’ sometimes when it comes to working out what goes into an effective TikTok strategy. With the amount of content you come across, it is hard to work out what’s a winning combination that you can apply to your brand to increase the chances of making your video(s) go viral. The major things I say to clients and startups I work with is to focus on getting the right processes and focuses in place to make the strategy work efficiently. Those processes and focuses include; firstly, having a workflow for identifying trends, dance challenges and types of videos that are getting attention. Secondly, keep track of hashtags and save links of competitors and/or your favourite brands to see what content they’re posting. Thirdly, have a process for measuring video success, so you can iterate and formulate templates for how you do content. Then finally, pick your winning videos that get decent views, and amplify them through ads with a CTA to applicable product pages/landing pages.

Are there any TikTok analytics tools you recommend to look into?

What’s the best way to create content on TikTok that can help you increase your likelihood of getting a good amount of views or your chances of going viral? The answer is getting analytics sorted as part of your content creation process. If you’re a marketer, you know the power of understanding insights and data, which helps uncover areas of improvement as well as opportunities to then build on. So, the same principles for analytics applies for TikTok. In regards to tools that make it easy for you to see the insights you need, they are Tikbuddy, Tikrank, Exolyt, and Analisa. All of them have great capabilities that are suitable for those who are starting out, and those who are veterans in the TikTok world.

What makes TikTok advertising different compared to other social media platforms?

When it comes to advertising on TikTok, it’s certainly quite different when it comes to creating the content. The biggest difference you will find is that ads can’t feel too “direct response”. What I mean by too “direct response” is when brands get sucked into creating ads so focused on selling the product and trying too hard to convert a sale with copy and even in the the video creative. Yes, these sorts of ads work on the likes of Facebook and Instagram, but TikTok ads are different. The content needs to feel like UGC content that you would receive from an influencer focused on them getting value from the product. Why do these UGC videos work with TikTok users? There are few reasons why - it’s authentic, they’re normally engaging (especially how-to videos), it doesn’t feel like they’re getting sold to, and it mimics similar content that TikTok users engage with organically every single day. In other words if I had to summarise, you need to create ads that don’t feel like ads on this platform. That’s how you can succeed and generate positive ROI from your Tik Tok marketing efforts.

What's the best way to keep up with TikTok trends that your brand can capitalise on?

There are a few ways you can keep up with trends, and the good news is that most of them are free methods. I’m going to share three of my favourite ways I find content that is getting attention on the platform. The first way you can find trends is through branded hashtag challenges, which is when normally a brand starts a particular hashtag for a challenge. The most famous one that most of you probably already know is what Cash App did their song challenge. The second way is finding trending hashtags, which you can find natively do within the TikTok app by visiting the discovery section. Yep, it’s that easy, it’s free, and accessible for all users. The third way I wanted to share that does have paid options to unlock more features, and also has over 16k+ reviews on the Apple Store, is TrendTok. It’s got really cool, built-in AI technology to find trends that are starting to get some attention which you and your brand can take advantage of. In other words, you can be a step ahead of the curve before competitor brands jump on board. Another awesome part of the app is seeing trending music, which is really good as we know how important the music is with videos that get attention and high-view counts. If you use these three methods as I suggested, you’ve got a great baseline to keep track of what’s about to go perform well.

Which TikTok creators and accounts are the best examples that other startups and brands can learn from?

Probably one of the best things that have come out TikTok are the brands and creators you’ve never heard of not long ago, become big successes in a short period of time. Personally, my favourite creator has to be “Chief Excel Officer” Kat Norton. Her videos are awesome and super engaging. She’s done an incredible job making something which is normally fairly boring, into something fun to learn. Even if you’re not in the niche of promoting excel spreadsheets (which most of us aren’t, haha), there’s so much you can learn from Kat and how she does her videos. Not just her videos being engaging, but the fact she’s selling her courses like crazy. Then when it comes to startups, a company that I actually know one of the founders quite well here in Australia is Tactiq. They’ve done such a good job with their TikTok growth, which was largely due to running an influencer marketing campaign where they got creators in the design and tech space to create “how-to” videos on how to use their chrome extension. They managed to acquire over 150k+ users with this campaign from around $2000 spend (with no paid ads by the way). Absolutely insane numbers which just shows the potential of this channel as an organic marketing tool for brand awareness. Other brands which have done a superb job with their videos that you should check out include Cash App, NBA, ASOS, Gymshark, Netflix (awesome edits and snippets from shows), Starbucks, and Duolingo. There are many others doing a wonderful job, but these have to be my favourites I’ve enjoyed so far.
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