How to Get Comfortable Marketing on TikTok
With over one billion active monthly users, TikTok has quickly surpassed competitors such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest to become one of the most popular social media applications on the planet. Fueled by established internet personalities and budding content creators, TikTok and its impressive algorithm continue to boast skyrocketing engagement and an international userbase that makes it almost irresistible to brands and users alike.
As the social juggernaut continues to expand, marketers should be asking themselves if the time has come to explore opportunities on the channel – is TikTok the appropriate space to capture the attention of your target audience? Getting your business started on an unfamiliar network may seem daunting, especially on a public medium like social media, but a little preparation can go a long way on the road to success.
If your knowledge of TikTok comes from industry articles or forwarded clips from your nieces or nephews, it may be time to take the plunge and do some first-hand research of your own. Starting small with a personal profile will help you explore the basic functionality of the app and assist with understanding how users interact with content from a personal lens. A small checklist of basics including setting up a profile, following a handful of popular content creators, and walking through the process of creating a post, all of which will help you understand the fundamentals before diving into more complex branded content.
Scoping out the competition
Once you’ve got the basics under control, it’s time to do some digging into how competitors and other brands are using this space to their advantage. Take note of the essentials: How large is the size of their audience? How frequently do they post? What does user engagement look like? Do they even have a TikTok profile? Answering questions like this will not only help you understand what competitors are doing right but also what mistakes your brand should avoid. Context is key on social media, and it never hurts to gather a basic understanding of how like-minded brands are being received before following suit with a similar plan.
If your competitors’ presence on TikTok is more robust than you were expecting, it may be beneficial to gather a more comprehensive look at their strategy. Reports such as a competitive audit can help you dissect other brands’ approaches in greater detail, saving you the hassle of digging through months of content or potentially missing out on opportunities or consumer trends you can leverage on your own.
Building a plan that matters
Like any other social channel, TikTok requires a well-thought-out strategy that includes more than just an occasional post. If you decide that this network is the right space for your brand, it is important to define what your goals are and how they can be achieved in the short and long term. Having the basics outlined upfront will not only save your team from the dreaded “what are we posting today?” conversation but will also inform future strategies and allow your brand to build a more comprehensive social plan that can exist across multiple channels.
To make this a reality, you must create a detailed calendar that outlines elements such as post frequency, content objectives, creative assets, and timing. Finding space for a new social network in your brand’s marketing calendar does not mean that your team has to start from scratch, but it does mean that additional considerations must be made to understand how new material will align with existing channels.
Consider the following: What resources will your team need to produce the edited video content that TikTok requires? Do you have any existing content from channels such as Instagram Reels or YouTube that can be repurposed? How are you currently maintaining consistency across your branded channels, and how can you apply those same standards to a new account? Answering questions like these will not only help you get your foot in the door on TikTok, but will also help maintain high standards and consistency across your entire social media content calendar.
Test, test, and test again
You’ve got the basics covered and you are ready to execute your content – what comes next? On a medium that’s as ever-changing as social media, it is important to remember that the work does not stop once a post has been published. Whether it’s something as minor as trying out the latest dance trend or more high stakes like exploring a new promotional strategy, there will always be ways to refine and improve how you’re approaching the craft.
One of the biggest takeaways that marketers should embrace on any channel – including TikTok – is that testing is a permanent and crucial part of the strategic process. Testing frequently, and with intention, is one of the best ways to understand the effectiveness of your current approach and identify future opportunities for iteration or expansion.
Key takeaways for marketers
Getting familiar with a new social channel isn’t always easy, but mastering the fundamentals is one of the quickest ways to determine if a new opportunity is right for your brand. As TikTok continues to grow and expand its presence into pop culture and beyond, now more than ever, it is time to assess its place in your brand’s marketing strategy.
To get comfortable marketing on TikTok, be sure to:
- Increase your personal understanding of the app and its functionality
- Audit the competition to identify potential strategies and weaknesses
- Build a content calendar to help your brand post with intention
- Continue testing new opportunities to refine your approach