TikTok is closing in on one billion monthly average users with no signs of slowing down. The app has become ground zero for new trends, future celebrities, and global movements. Conviva’s Social Insights data certainly backs this up, as we’ve seen more and more brands find success on TikTok. While TikTok’s sheer numbers are impressive, it’s really the audience that has marketers and brands investing more and more into the platform.

The highly engaged audience skews younger, so this is your chance to build lifetime value with people who could just be learning about your brand. So, is it time to fully embrace TikTok in your marketing strategy? Yes! But how do you get started and what are some best practices? During our TikTok Marketing: From Experiment to Strategy webinar, Mike Metzler, Senior Marketing Manager at Conviva talked to Dan Thorne, Senior Social Media Manager for Guinness World Records (#1 brand on TikTok); Tom Weingarten, Head of Social Media at Overtime (#1 sports media brand on TikTok); and Dimple Vijaykumar, Social Media Manager at UNHCR (#1 nonprofit on TikTok to share their best TikTok tips.   

Note: The brand rankings are according to Conviva’s 2021 TikTok Benchmarks and Strategy for Brands report. 

Start with a proper plan.

Consider your team’s capacity and resourcing with starting a new platform. TikTok is so optimized, and the tone and content are very different from other channels, so you can’t just repost content from other platforms to TikTok. You will need to create new content that is really tuned into the TikTok audience. But once you do create original content for TikTok, you can extend its life by reposting to Reels or Twitter.

You will also want clear goals. Do you want to explore untapped audiences, amplify the voices of your community, or build brand recognition? Define what you want to accomplish before you start creating any content.

Once you have a good plan in place, try it for a decent period of time. Measure against your goals and see if the investment in resources and time are worth it to your brand.

Post the right content.  

Some brands, like Overtime, post three or four videos per day, while others like Guinness World Records post once a day. While there isn’t a hard and fast rule regarding how often to post, don’t just post to post. Post things that you’re confident will work. Dimple from UNHCR and Dan from GWR advised that the type of content to post is short, less produced, interactive videos showing off the more positive, slightly quirky nature of humans. Couple your videos with trending music and the right hashtags (we’ll cover hashtags next) and most importantly, be authentic.

If you have multiple accounts, don’t post the same video in different accounts; that just doesn’t work on TikTok. So, this is only a good idea if you have enough niche content to support multiple accounts without overlap.

So, hashtags?  

To use hashtags or not to use hashtags? It’s always a great debate on social media. Hashtags are a signal to the community showing what your brand is passionate about, so the advice on TikTok is to definitely use hashtags, but don’t overuse them. Tie your content to trending hashtags only when it’s really relevant. Never use #FYP or #ForYouPage. Research passion groups and smaller communities to uncover niche hashtags that fit your brand. Dan with GWR shared that they have the best success with niche hashtags that are very relevant to that specific video. You can even create your own hashtag as a curation tool.

Find your community.

What is your brand’s unique thing? There’s something for everyone on TikTok. Truly. So, think about the communities you want to reach, the brand values you want to convey, and have fun with it.

Tap into your internal community too for ideas from other social media channels about what’s working and what’s not. For instance, Dan with GWR learned that TikTok content can be a great predictor of success on other platforms. If something does well on TikTok, they’ll typically use it on the GWR Snapchat Discover show or bundle a few top performing TikToks into a YouTube compilation.

Another tip is to use TikTok as prospecting tool. Dimple with UNHCR uses TikTok to identify influencers or brand ambassadors that are aligned with the goals of our agency or those who have unique audiences they want to reach.

Comments are real.

An interesting thing about the audience on TikTok is that they know the algorithm as well as brands do, so they will comment and interact with videos they connect with, more so than on other platforms. This is why commenting is a necessary part of any TikTok content strategy.

Tom with Overtime shared that they try to reply to every comment on the Overtime accounts. His strategy to treat the brand account with a personal voice means if he sees a funny video on the For You Page, he comments as Overtime but authentically as he found it funny himself. “People love this,” he said. Overtime also uses TikTok comments as Instagram captions and credits the commentor which creates a powerful engagement cycle. Another best practice from Overtime is to join less-watched Lives and comment; especially if you’re a bigger or well-followed account, as this can help encourage engagement and build even better brand affinity.

Understand the metrics.

Data is the ultimate tool when building and optimizing content on social media. For TikTok, watch time is the most important metric with 10 to 20 seconds being a good benchmark, especially as a new account. In addition to watch time, keep track of overall followers and video views to make sure your account keeps growing. UNHCR tracks shares to see how their content spreads into other groups and platforms. They also find device settings very useful because, as Dimple shared, so many of their stories are region and location specific, so it’s great to look into the analytics and see if the story is reaching a wider audience or resonating within certain countries. This enables UNHCR to make sure they are reaching the right people.

Nobody predicted the power of TikTok five years ago, so the best tip may be to embrace emerging social media platforms whenever possible. Be an early adopter but be authentic. Experiment, test, and most importantly, know your metrics. Having the right data is invaluable in finding success on new—and established—social media platforms.

To learn more, watch our TikTok Marketing: From Experiment to Strategy webinar and download our 2021 TikTok Benchmarks and Strategy for Brands report 

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