How To Develop a TikTok Marketing Strategy (And Why You Need One)

Josh Viner
Apr 7, 2019 · 11 min read
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Via Unsplash (Credit: Bruno Gomiero)

With creative teens as its fuel, TikTok is an engine that’s driving hit songs, products, and marketing campaigns.

When Ke$ha released her song “Tik Tok” it quickly climbed the charts, becoming the best selling-single in 2010, especially popular among teens. Today, Tik Tok, the app, has risen to the charts of the App Store, becoming the fourth most downloaded non-game app of 2018 (ahead of Instagram), especially popular among teens. With creative teens as its fuel, TikTok is an engine that’s driving hit songs, products, and marketing campaigns. Soo…what’s with the words “Tik Tok” and teens? Better yet, how do you develop your own “Tik Tok” strategy?

What Is TikTok

TikTok was originally called Musical.ly and used to mostly feature teens doing karaoke overtop their favourite songs. The Chinese company ByteDance bought Musical.ly and absorbed it into its own TikTok app, creating a global powerhouse of an app. Open up the app and you have bite-sized pieces of sheer creativity. It allows users to create 15-second videos (which can be combined to make longer videos), utilizing filters, effects, music, editing tools and more all within the app. No longer is it a karaoke app, but it’s a self-expression app. Driven by creativity and community, it’s an app where teens feel comfortable to display their creativity in unique manners.

“If I go as a marketer to another platform I get likes, shares or comments. If I get a video on TikTok, I get 20 to 30 minutes of a person’s time to create and share.” — Stefan Heinrich [TikTok’s Head of Global Marketing]

Why You Need To Know About TikTok

Some quick facts:

How to Use TikTok

There are many articles on how to use the app so I won’t review it in this article. Here’s a great example from Wired.

How Brands, Artists, and Celebrities Are Utilizing TikTok

Ok, this is the good stuff. In order to think about how to use TikTok for your product/service/brand, let’s dive into what others are doing…

“These digital natives’ tastes and desires govern the future of social media and culture. A cluttered brand space demands unique, engaging content and integrated participation.” — Edward Park, SVP of Retail and Digital at GUESS

“We’re looking for things that really engage people, and TikTok is a place where you can let your creativity shine. […] It has that short-form mobile energy.” — Julie Harrison-Harney [Director of Digital for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”]

Google

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“What I love about TikTok is that people show their real side.” — Stefan Heinrich [TikTok’s Head of Global Marketing]

Return on Investment

“When TikTok hit it, almost every day since that, the streams have been up. I credit them a lot.” — Lil Nas X on “Old Town Road”

Similar to other social media apps, the ROI on TikTok will be fan awareness and engagement, rather than sales/direct revenue. The app will also help you reach a younger demographic, and perhaps one that you’re not reaching on other social platforms. Lil Nas X stated, “TikTok brought my song to several different audiences at once.” However, the main metrics behind TikTok are awareness and engagement — which should be important to you, as those metrics can be indicators of brand loyalty and therefore, eventual sales.

Developing Your Own Strategy

Time to start devising your TikTok presence. There are six components you could consider when devising a TikTok strategy:

  1. Creativity: Allow some flexibility in the challenge — people enjoy guidelines but not being told exactly what to do. Enable users to put their own spin on the challenge. GUESS and Google did this beautifully with their hashtag campaign’s. With GUESS, jeans are a very personal item and allowing users to show off how they wear them (especially using all the effects, filters, and stickers that TikTok provides) was a great way to encourage creativity. With Google, the Google Assistant is nearly infinite in what you can ask it — allowing users that freedom, rather than a campaign that invited users to ask their Google Assistant a specific question, enables more creativity and thereby, more participation.

So…How Do You Get Started?

Ok, cool. All of this is good to know but how do you get started? Download the app, create an account, spend at least half an hour browsing through videos to see how people are using the platform and create your first video. Experiment. Get a feel for the app. It will take a lot of time to get used to. But most importantly, start to develop a presence on the app. Rather than simply trying to start a campaign out of nowhere once you want to do so, create a community around your product/service/brand and that way, when you do when to make a stronger push on the platform, you will already have a base with which you can start. As I encourage with any app, get creative, experiment, play around, and have fun.


The Dopamine Effect

Discussing the intersection of technology, consumer…

Josh Viner

Written by

Music | Tech | Marketing. I write about the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and consumer behavior in the music industry.

The Dopamine Effect

Discussing the intersection of technology, consumer behavior, and digital marketing in the music industry.

Josh Viner

Written by

Music | Tech | Marketing. I write about the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and consumer behavior in the music industry.

The Dopamine Effect

Discussing the intersection of technology, consumer behavior, and digital marketing in the music industry.

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