TikTok Marketing Strategy: How To Use TikTok Influencers Effectively

February 9, 2021

Successful marketing comes down to one simple principle - be where your audience is.

And your audience is on TikTok.

Every few years, a new app redefines how social media is used and as the newest trend in social media, TikTok is that app. With over 2 billion downloads across Google Play and the App Store and an estimated 689 million monthly active users, you’ve got one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the palm of your hand (literally).

However, it’s a mistake to think TikTok is just a way for users to share video content. TikTok has become a viable marketing tool for Australian brands of all sizes looking to reach and influencer a growing audience. With 63% of TikTok users aged between 10 and 29, you have the potential to connect with an impressionable Gen Z audience and create long-term brand advocates.

But what exactly *is* TikTok? And is a TikTok marketing strategy right for you?

We’ll answer those questions (and plenty more) so you can decide if partnering with a TikTok influencer is beneficial for your brand.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app, and while many of the videos tend to be music-focused (thanks to TikTok’s catalogue of music, sound effects, and filters), the platform offers a wide array of video themes.

Comedy. DIY tips. Recipes. Beauty hacks. Product recommendations - if there’s a niche, there’s a TikTok audience hungry to consume it.

Launched in 2016 by Chinese start-up company ByteDance, TikTok is known as ‘Douyin’ in China. Its spike in popularity and usage began in 2017 when ByteDance acquired rival music app Musical.ly and brought its 200 million accounts into the new combined, international TikTok brand (while Douyin remains the exclusive Chinese version of TikTok).

Following this merger, TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in monthly installs. But enough about what TikTok is, let’s talk about how it can help your brand.

Who Uses TikTok?

9 out of 10 TikTok users open the app multiple times a day, which offers excellent opportunities for exposure, but it’s important to know who is using TikTok. 

TikTok may be a head-scratcher for older generations, but it’s hit the nail on the head for younger demographics - and this is entirely by design. From its inception, TikTok chose to target a younger audience, resulting in a social media platform that’s become the preferred method for watching, sharing, and creating video content.

While Gen Z youngsters may still have Facebook accounts, usage is shrinking. A primary reason for this is the growth of Baby Boomers using Facebook, which has led younger generations to look for a platform they can truly make their own. Although Gen Z may be prepared to share Facebook and Instagram with their parents, they still desired their own social space. Enter TikTok.

TikTok Marketing Statistics

✔ The average TikTok user spends 52 minutes a day on the platform.

✔ 1 out of every 2 TikTok users will comment on videos they see (creating a high level of engagement).

✔ The average engagement rate on TikTok is 29% (it’s just 0.27% on Facebook).

✔ Users between 16 and 24 make up the largest TikTok user base (41% of total users).

✔ TikTok generated over $1 billion in revenue in 2020.

Source: Hootsuite

Is a TikTok marketing strategy right for your brand?

With the rising popularity and strong penetration across younger demographics (50% of TikTok’s global user base is aged under 34), it’s natural for marketers and brands to wonder whether it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.

More than the sheer number of active users on TikTok, engagement rates comfortably surpass those on Instagram and Facebook (300% to 1000% higher) and a greater chance for content on TikTok to go viral than on other social media channels.

If your brand is targeting the Gen Z demographic and isn’t on TikTok yet, you’re missing out (don’t worry, you haven’t missed the boat). Gen Z - representing the majority of TikTok users - are trendsetters and represent a valuable market, able to create priceless buzz for your brand. That’s why, more than vanity metrics, the right TikTok marketing strategy can drive real-world growth.

How to implement a TikTok marketing strategy

Like any social media marketing strategy, you’ll need to start by identifying your objectives. A TikTok marketing strategy may be used to:

  • Increase engagement rate
  • Reach a younger audience
  • Grow your follower count
  • Boost brand awareness

Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s time to implement your strategy. Here’s how you do it.

Avoid a 'brand first' marketing push

As with any social media and influencer marketing, it’s important you don’t come across as too ‘salesy’ on TikTok. Once you’ve identified your goals, you’ll need to find the most authentic way to work towards them - and a TikTok influencer campaign offers that authentic connection.

Traditional advertising doesn’t resonate with TikTok users, mainly because of its highly youthful demographic. Gen Z is known for its distrust and dislike of traditional advertising. Instead, they’re seeking content that entertains, delights, informs, or educates them – so branded content can perform well on TikTok if done in a manner that takes the user on an inclusive journey.

Strive for authentic relationships

For your TikTok influencer marketing to be successful, you need to identify and work with influencers whose following match the target audience you’re after.  TikTok’s Gen Z audience is savvy and cynical of brands looking to capitalise on their favourite app. So your target audience will quickly see through a forced partnership between influencer and brand.

If a TikTok influencer wouldn’t likely use your product, the resulting partnership will fall flat and may do more harm than good. Finding an authentic TikTok influencer will allow you to trust that they know best how to speak to their audience in a way that resonates.

Skip the script

The simplest way to avoid a bad fit is to partner with influencers who resonate with your brand and avoid giving them a script. TikTok influencers need to be given the flexibility to tell your story to their followers in an authentic manner, not using a pre-written script that feels forced or fake.  Remember, TikTok influencers have spent enormous time, energy, and resources building trust and authority with their followers - so take advantage of that authority by letting go of complete creative control.

TikTok Marketing Strategy: Ocean Spray case study

If you haven’t heard of Ocean Spray, then you didn’t have a phone during 2020. As a 90-year old beverage company, Ocean Spray received 15 BILLION impressions on TikTok in just 30 days.


When a TikTok user, Nathan Apodaca, featured the cran-raspberry drink on his skateboard to work (set to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’), the video went viral. And then some. The instant spike the brand received in exposure translated to an explosion in reach and sales.

The data below shows the interest over time in ‘Ocean Spray’ and it’s no coincidence the all-time high occurred following the TikTok campaign.

Google Trends search interest for 'Ocean Spray'

Although not a traditional TikTok influencer marketing strategy, the lessons are the same. 

When you connect your brand with an authentic TikTok influencer, the opportunities for exposure and growth are virtually limitless (and if you’re looking to use TikTok to grow your brand, scroll to the bottom to find out how).

Keen to make TikTok marketing work for you? Here’s what to do next…

More than a video-sharing app, TikTok has evolved into an advertising and marketing haven for those looking to target Gen Z and Millenials. 

Major brands like Fenty Beauty, Apple Music, Nike, and Chipotle are using TikTok to show off lighter sides of themselves and engage more users - will your brand be next?

There are endless opportunities on TikTok for brands willing to release control of their (sometimes) firmly held brand messages. If you’re ready to allow young, dynamic influencers and creators to bring a new breath of life to your advertising methods, TikTok’s growth rate can provide a diverse audience which means more reach and opportunities for your brand.

Looking to ignite your TikTok marketing strategy with an authentic TikTok influencer? Click here to learn how easy it is to partner with an authentic TikTok influencer.

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