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What is TikTok Marketing?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, chances are you’ve heard of the mega-popular video sharing app called TikTok. It’s the hottest thing in the social media world right now, which obviously means that marketers are looking to get in on it. Have you been looking to break in?

Back in September, TikTok formed a strategic partnership with Cohley to work together to generate cost effective and creative solutions for online marketers. Obviously, this is a partnership that Cohley is ecstatic about, and now that we’ve worked with TikTok for a few months and seen the results they’ve been producing for our brands, we know how crucial TikTok is to an active and conversion focused marketing strategy.

Is your brand feeling stale on social media? Are you looking to reach a more diverse audience? Do you have a message that you want to get out to as many users as possible in a cost efficient and effective way? Then you may be ready for TikTok marketing.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is the latest goliath to enter the social media landscape. It’s an app designed for creating, sharing, and viewing short-form videos on mobile devices. It was originally launched in China in September of 2016, but it didn’t start to gain real popularity until it joined forces with the lip-syncing app in August of 2018

Since then, TikTok has been one of (if not the) most popular apps available on the market. It’s been praised for its simplicity, as users can create a video and share it in a matter of seconds. Many of the videos are created using popular sounds and songs as the backdrop, but plenty use the app to create their own original content as well. 

It can be incredibly addicting for viewers as well, since videos play one-by-one automatically on an infinite scroll, making it easy to spend hours on the app scrolling down an endless page of videos.

Chances are, you’ve seen a TikTok by now just by scrolling through your social media feeds. 

Here are examples of some of the most popular TikToks in 2020, curated by Seventeen magazine.

You might be familiar with the following TikTok:

Although it’s the newest app on the market, don’t think that the big players in social media haven’t taken notice. In August, Instagram unveiled their newest “Instagram Reels” feature, which is nearly an identical clone of TikTok. Other companies have taken notice as well; plenty of new short-form video apps continue to pop up in app stores. However, despite these attempts, there’s always a novelty in being first, and TikTok is riding that wave all the way to the top of the charts and onto people’s smartphones everywhere.

How Does TikTok Work? 

TikTok is a vertical content feed served through an algorithm not dissimilar to Google’s personalization algorithm. It uses machine learning to determine which content users engage with and serve them more of that content. The first time you open your TikTok feed, you are shown 8 videos that have gathered popularity in different segments of users on TikTok. Depending on how you interact on those videos, TikTok will continuously shift and change which content you’re being exposed to based on similar or dissimilar videos and AI. And most importantly, TikTok makes money through advertising mostly and by accumulating user data.

The whole point of TikTok is for users to post 15-60 second videos set to music, sounds, original or audio using editing tools and other creative effects to land on the FYP. In addition to their AI generated feed - one of the most popular feeds on the internet - hashtags and sound groups are a popular way to get your content noticed.

Who Uses TikTok and What is TikTok used for?

TikTok is plenty popular, but who is it popular with? As of November 2019, it was reported that 60% of TikTok users were aged between 16-24. The app is almost universally loved throughout Gen Z, and that love has bled upwards into the millennial and even slightly up to some in Gen X. During 2020, the majority of TikTok growth in the US came from the millennial demographic. “According to Comscore...During that same time period, the share of 25- to 34-year-olds rose from 22.4% to 27.4%, and the 35-44 demographic grew from 13.9% to 17.1%.” (AdWeek). 

This fast growth rate during quarantine amongst millennials doesn’t discount the huge impact that younger people have on the app. Users aged 18-24 grew from 9 million to 14 million from January to April, whereas users aged 25-34 grew from fewer than 5 million to 11 million in the same time frame.

The TikTok age demographics expanded during the quarantine. More and more young adults downloaded the app, especially those who were now finding themselves with extra downtime due to working from home. Now, months after the initial shutdowns, virtually everyone in this age bracket either has TikTok or knows someone who has it. 

So what does this mean for you? TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app, which completely overshadows the average for other apps. With the average TikTok lasting around 15 seconds, think about how many different videos they consume in that time period. With how easy it is to make and share a TikTok and how many young eyeballs will see it, it’s an absolute marketing no-brainer to be using TikTok in 2020.

How Can Brands Use TikTok?

By now, we’ve determined that if you have an interest in reaching a younger audience, you should be using TikTok — but how should you be using it? There are three main ways that a brand can use TikTok to their advantage, and when done effectively, each of them can have positive effects on your business (you can also check out some real-world examples in this blog post).

User-Generated Content

At first, it can be daunting to try and come up with some TikTok content ideas. If you’re struggling to come up with original ideas at first, try scrolling through your “For You” page and see what the current trends are. There’s always some sort of running joke or popular song happening on TikTok, so take some time to learn what’s going on and think about how you can mold that trend to fit your brand.

Another way to create content is to use the help of others via the Stitch and Duet features of TikTok. With the Stitch and Duet features, you can create your own video alongside an existing video on TikTok. Is there someone asking a question about your brand or industry? Duet yourself answering their question? Is there some sort of fun challenge you can start? Try it out — maybe someone will Stitch themselves in and participate! There are so many opportunities for you to get people to interact with your brand — just don’t be afraid to try any and everything!

Not feeling funny or creative? No worries — you don’t have to use humor in your TikToks! Take some time to think about what makes your brand or your business unique. Is there some sort of cool item, machine or process that an industry outsider wouldn’t know about? Highlight that! There’s something interesting in any industry, and if you can show it to a new audience, you never know who you might attract.

Also, if you ever need help creating content, reach out to our Cohley content creators — but more on that later.

Traditional Influencer Marketing

If you’re familiar with social media marketing, then you probably already know about how influencer marketing works (if not, you can learn all about it in this blog post). It’s a great way to naturally break into the flooded social landscape and into the conversation of your consumers.

TikTok has a wide range of influencers. There are plenty of users with millions of followers, and there’s a wide spectrum in terms of the type of content they create. Plus, many Instagram influencers are starting to migrate their content to TikTok, which will only lead to more creator opportunities. You can find skilled dancers, family-friendly comedy, artists, musicians, comedians and so much more on TikTok — there is a creator that will work well with your brand. 

Spend some time researching influencers and then shoot them an offer — the result could be beneficial to both the influencer and your brand. 

How to engage with influencers on TikTok

Influencers on TikTok are everywhere - the majority of users on your For You Page (FYP) feed have a following of some kind, but like many other social media platforms, influencers are identifiable by a verified tick - You know the one - blue and official looking. 

TikTok is also an official partner with Cohley, so we have TikTok creators in our platform ready to go! Find the influencer that suits your needs and partner with them to create engaging content.

Read more about TikTok marketing here.

TikTok Advertising

If you want to guarantee that your brand is seen by TikTok users, then you want to go with TikTok advertising. In the past year, TikTok has made a concerted effort toward making the platform more marketer-friendly, starting with the TikTok for Business page. Not only does the site provide you with a self-serving ad platform, but it also gives you access to tons of educational content that you can use to teach yourself the ins and outs of TikTok advertising.

You can use these educational platforms to answer any questions that you may have about advertising on TikTok, including TikTok advertising costs, best content practices and more. However, if you really want to see what messaging works, just scroll through the app and look at some TikTok ad examples. There, you can take stock in what ads speak to you as a consumer and the different things they have in common — that will help you tremendously when it comes to cooking up the creative for your ads.

Learn more about the best practices of running ads on TikTok by reading this blog post.

Examples of brands doing awesome TikTok work

There are so many brands out there doing awesome TikTok work, that we just had to show you some examples of the brands putting in the work.

  • Adore Me

Why we love them:

Adore Me is one of our success stories and have taken TikTok with both hands and shook up the game. Adore Me’s fun brand, coupled with their empowerment message gave them the flexibility to give content creators the creative freedom to express themselves with their Adore Me lingerie authentically on the platform without giving up complete creative control. They’re truly the queens of UGC!

  • Ryan Air

Why we love them:

Ryan Air is a budget airline in Europe who frequently offers € 9.99 deals on flight in Europe. It’s core demographic is young people and people studying abroad. We love their TikToks because they:

  1. Engage with trends and use trending sounds and features

  2. Always hit the message home of cheap, reliable air travel

  3. Personify the brand by using relatable experiences in creative settings

  4. Build a storyline with the main character - yes it’s a plane

  • The Washington Post

Why we love them:

The Washington Post is an American newspaper that covers politics, pop culture, and trending news. We love their TikToks because they present the news in digestible ways that stick by their “democracy dies in darkness” mantra. By using trending sounds and techniques, the Washington Post creates bite-size pieces of news that are shaping our world today to disseminate important information to a new, younger audience. 

  • Now This Politics

Why we love them:

Unlike the other profiles on this list, NowThis Politics doesn’t try to make their content more relatable to a younger audience. This is absolutely in line with their brand guides. They share snippets of content, mostly unedited save some text overlays and captions, that relate to the news we see every day. We love this TikTok channel because they really stick to their guns and produce informative, conversation-starting content that helps keep us educated.

  • Brumate

Why we love them:

A classic party brand, Brumate is a B2C e-commerce site that is made for the audience on TikTok. With their cool, summer-y vibes, Brumate does a good job of pushing the boundaries of their brand vision and integrating a great product with trending sounds, visuals, and memes.

TikTok with Cohley

If you find yourself looking for a partner in the world of TikTok marketing, then look no further than Cohley. Our team of experts can help you put together a TikTok marketing strategy that is best suited for your business and brand. We are a preferred partner of TikTok, meaning we have unprecedented and unparalleled access to their team and resources.

We have also partnered with a library of content creators that are willing to help you stand out on TikTok. We use our proprietary algorithm to hook you up with up-and-coming influencers that are starting to attract eyeballs. This helps you get cost-efficient content that will drive results.

If you’re getting more curious about the world of TikTok or social media marketing in general, be sure to check out our blog — it’s your one-stop resource for all sorts of informational articles regarding what you and your brand can do to make an impact on social media and in the digital world at large.

In the game that is social media, it’s all about getting attention. We live in an age where attention is the main currency in our social landscape, and right now, TikTok is where the attention is at. If you want your brand to stand out and make an impact amongst present and future consumers, you should reach out to us at Cohley — we would love to help you stand out and get your business better results.