If you’re not sure you should create a TikTok social media marketing strategy, we’re here to prove to you that you absolutely should.
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform we’ve seen thus far, reaching 1 billion users in September 2021, a record four years since its worldwide launch. For comparison, it took eight years for both Facebook and Instagram to hit that milestone.
And while we don’t have more recent data on TikTok’s userbase numbers, there are other stats proving just how popular TikTok has become. For example, it was the most-downloaded app in Q1 of 2022 and the highest-grossing non-game app in both the Apple and Google Play stores. Find even more compelling TikTok stats in our 2023 roundup.
Throughout this article, we’re going to dig into what TikTok marketing is, how to create your own TikTok business account, provide six tips for ramping up your brand’s TikTok marketing strategy and more.
Table of contents
What is TikTok marketing?
TikTok marketing is the process of using TikTok and TikTok content to promote your brand and its products or services. Easily build up your own online presence through the use of short-form video content that engages your audience and helps show off your business offerings.
While social media marketing creates a cohesive strategy for all social media platforms—TikTok marketing focuses just on TikTok.
You’ll want to ensure your overall messaging on TikTok is similar to all other platforms your brand has a presence on, but as a rule, TikTok content tends to be much different than the content you’ll publish on other channels. (Though you may end up repurposing your TikTok videos for Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts to reach even more viewers.)
How to create a TikTok business account
Before you create a TikTok business account you first need to know the difference between a TikTok business vs. creator account.
Here are a few of the main differences:
- Business accounts get access to business tools like ads and analytics
- Business accounts get limited access to sound clips
- Business accounts get the ability to create an ecommerce storefront
- Business accounts can use third-party tools to schedule and manage TikTok content
- Business accounts can add a website link to their profile
TikTok business accounts don’t have access to the full sound library, but the additional tools far outweigh that. To create your TikTok business account follow along with these quick steps:
Step 1. Download the TikTok app and create a new account
Step 2. Go to your TikTok profile and tap the hamburger menu in the top right corner
Step 3. Tap Settings and privacy
Step 4. Tap Manage account
Step 5. Tap Switch to Business Account
Step 6. Choose the category that best corresponds with your business type
And voila! You now have a business profile and can get started optimizing your account to appeal to your target audience.
10 tips for building your TikTok marketing strategy
Ready to dive in and learn more about how to create a TikTok marketing strategy and build a large following on the platform? While you likely won’t be “TikTok famous” overnight, these ten tips will help you get on the best path to success. We’ve also summarized our best Tiktok marketing tips in this video.
1. Create and brand your TikTok account
We’ve walked through how to create your TikTok business account. The next step is to fully optimize and brand it so that it’s recognizable alongside the rest of your social media profiles.
To brand your TikTok account, tap Edit Profile, then fill out the following:
- Profile photo or video: TikTok lets you add a video for your profile avatar. Make sure this is a high-res version of your logo if you choose to add profile photo. If you want to do video, consider creating an animated version of your logo.
- Name: Your business name.
- Username: This should also be your business name (if possible) with no spaces.
- Pronouns: If you’re a sole proprietor you might want to input your pronouns.
- Bio: You have 80 characters to give a quick synopsis of what your business does.
- Email: Input your company’s contact email.
- Nonprofit: If your business works with or supports a nonprofit, you can tag them right in your profile.
- Category: You may have already done this when creating your business account, but if not, select the category that best represents your industry.
- Social: Connect your Instagram and/or YouTube accounts.
Other options are setting up an auto-message when users DM you. You can do this by tapping the hamburger menu, then Business suite, then Auto message. You’ll also be able to add your website URL to your profile once you hit your first 1,000 followers.
Here’s an example of a fully fleshed-out business profile from Starbucks. They even have two videos pinned to the top of their profile to showcase new products.
2. Define your TikTok audience
To be successful on TikTok, you have to know who you want to target with your content. Otherwise, you might get great reach and engagement, but it won’t translate into sales or subscriptions—which is fun but means nothing for your business’s bottom line.
TikTok skews towards a much younger audience, with nearly 7 in 10 18-19-year-olds having a presence on the app and around half of all 20-39-year-olds using TikTok.
So while TikTok is definitely for younger audiences, you still need to dig a bit deeper than that. Think about the demographics you want to target. Conduct some of your own social media market research, then consider putting together a customer persona that showcases exactly who your business’s target audience is.
3. Create quality TikTok videos
Your next step is to learn how to make a good TikTok video. First, start by doing a bit of hands-on research. Unless you’re already an avid TikTok watcher, spend some time getting to know the platform and looking at the types of videos that pop up on your “For You” page.
You might also want to look at the TikTok Discover page to see what’s trending and discover some of the more popular TikTokers.
Here, you’ll be able to see trending hashtags, sound bytes, accounts and more. It’s a great way to get a bird’s-eye-view of what’s popular at the moment, helping you discover inspiration for your own TikTok content. Then, take a look at other brands that are killing it on TikTok to see what they’re doing well and how you can emulate some of those tactics for your videos.
When it comes to TikTok, you need to test a variety of different video types to discover what’s going to resonate with your audience. Diversity across your profile is key. Try filming your team creating the product. Showcase your product in action. Create funny videos using popular sound bytes. Here are some additional video ideas to help get you started.
And make sure you post consistently. If you want to make a splash, you need to pump out new content regularly. Start by publishing at least twice a week, more often if you can. (In fact, TikTok themselves recommend posting 1-4 times per day.)
4. Use ads in your TikTok marketing strategy
If you want to reach an even wider audience, allocate some of your social media advertising budget towards TikTok ads. The cost for these is based on bids, just like how you pay for Facebook and Instagram ads. You’ll choose your target audience, create a fun video ad then promote it based on your specified daily or lifetime budget.
5. Tap into TikTok influencer marketing
Another popular TikTok marketing tactic is to work with influencers. There are thousands of influencers and content creators that partner with brands on TikTok to create fun, engaging video content that both spreads the word about new brands and also provides said brand with user-generated content to share on their own social media channels.
A few TikTok influencer marketing tactics include:
- Sending your product to influencers. Brands with low budgets but tons of product can reach out to influencers and ask if they can send them free product. While this doesn’t guarantee a feature on their channel, if you reach out to enough influencers consistently, you might get a spotlight in an unboxing or merch video.
- Collaborate on a video. Collaboration on a video or series of videos that spotlight your brand exclusively. These are more expensive, but you can always partner with micro-influencers with a lower reach until you have more of an influencer marketing budget.
- Partner on a new product line. Partner with a mega influencer or celebrity and create a product line together that they’ll get a cut of and promote to their audience. This is a great win-win, but you’ll want to make sure you’re only working with influencers that are hyper-relevant to your niche. For example, beauty brands would only want to partner on a project like this with a highly well-known makeup artist.
6. Monitor TikTok analytics to track performance
Pay attention to your TikTok analytics. You only get access to this if you switch to a business account, and it can be a huge help in pinpointing your most popular videos and when the best time to post each day is.
Some of the best metrics to track include:
- Video views
- Growth rate
- Trending videos
- Average watch time
You can also connect your TikTok business account to your Sprout Social dashboard to access analytics right inside Sprout as you measure your other social media platforms.
7. Jump on popular TikTok trends
If you want to increase your chances of going viral, pay attention to trending audio clips, challenges and video types. If you can use a popular trend to create a video that’s relevant to your business, do so!
Here’s an example of a small jeweler that used a popular trending video type to go viral.
Most of their videos of original content generate anywhere from 100-600 views and 2-20 likes. But the above video took a well-known trend and generated over 275,000 views and over 12,000 likes.
As we mentioned, you can use TikTok’s Discover page to find some of these trends; however, your best bet is simply to consume a lot of TikTok content. This will help you organically find popular trends—and see how various users are incorporating them into their content. (So the next time your boss finds you scrolling, you can tell him it’s work-related.)
8. Take advantage of TikTok’s editing capabilities
The best videos tend to be the ones that are shot and edited right within the TikTok app itself. This is because the app has a ton of editing features built-in, making it easy to create engaging content with just a smartphone and a single app.
Some of these features include:
- Trimming video clips
- Text overlays
- Visual and special effects
- Audio editing
- Slow motion
There are so many different ways to film and edit your TikTok videos right inside the app that there’s no need for additional video editing tools. Especially since the TikTok algorithm seems to prefer pushing TikTok-edited videos more than others.
9. Keep your videos short and sweet
According to the most recent data, TikTok states that the optimal length for videos is 21-34 seconds long (up from 11-17 seconds in 2020).
Although TikTok is still testing longer videos, videos over 60 seconds in length stress viewers out. This means you want to keep your video content short and sweet. Stick to an average of 30-second video content for optimal results.
10. Incorporate live video into your strategy
TikTok is one of the many platforms that offer a live-streaming feature on its app. Brands should take advantage of this as live videos pop up in viewers’ For You pages so interested users can tune in. Plus, TikTok allows viewers to send stickers and other accolades through live videos as a monetization perk, so your brand can add TikTok Live as an additional revenue stream if your videos get popular enough.
What are the benefits of marketing on TikTok?
So why bother adding an additional social media platform to your overall strategy—especially one as time-consuming as TikTok? Let’s cover three of the major benefits of marketing on TikTok.
People are using TikTok to find products
49% of TikTok users have said they’ve purchased a product or service from a brand after seeing it featured on TikTok. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has also been extremely popular, with users showing off products they bought fully due to the fact that they discovered it on TikTok.
If you’re wanting to increase sales through your social media marketing, TikTok is a great channel to do so. The platform is on track to gain 9.6 million social buyers this year, making it the third most popular social commerce channel.
You have a higher chance of going viral
Due to TikTok’s algorithm, the brand focuses more on content discovery rather than showing you content from your friends. There’s a separate feed to see content from those you already follow—but the For You page wants to help users discover new content.
This means TikTok provides brands with a unique opportunity to reach a wider audience than you can on other platforms. Get discovered by those interested in your content, generate more followers and increase chances of making a sale.
Influencer marketing opportunities are abundant
Influencer marketing is huge on TikTok, making it even easier for your brand to get discovered by new people in your target audience. There are creators galore on the platform, many in your industry, so finding the right influencers to work with is a breeze.
Plus, even micro-influencers can generate a lot of reach due to the flexibility of the algorithm, so you can get more bang for your influencer budget, reaching even more customers and building solid influencer relationships.
TikTok marketing brand examples to inspire your strategy
Get inspired by real-world examples of how brands have seen success on the platform. Let’s dig into a couple of TikTok marketing examples you can learn from.
Fan favorite southwestern fast-food chain Chipotle has made quite a stir on TikTok. They got a bit of help from TikTok food influencers reviewing some of their menu “hacks,” but Chipotle’s response to the hubbub is what wins them a spot here.
If you see people talking about your business and menu items, products or services at length, respond accordingly—and that’s exactly what Chipotle did.
It all started when TikTokers Alexis Frost and Keith Lee reviewed an off-menu meal—and gave it full stars. Chipotle customers flocked to their local stores to try the meal, causing some locations to fully sell out of certain parts of the order.
In response, Chipotle ended up adding the actual meal to their menu:
The brand has also continued to work with Alexis and Keith, with the two almost becoming TikTok spokespeople for the brand. Take advantage of viral moments when you can, and create long-term partnerships with your advocates.
The Washington Post, as a well-known newspaper across the U.S., has an arsenal of rather dry content to share. However, the paper’s TikTok team has turned their account into a fun and engaging way for followers to keep up with the news.
Take this TikTok video about France raising the retirement age:
Working conditions in France have deteriorated significantly over the past decades, opponents to the new retirement age say. Unions argue that instead of raising the retirement age, the government should increase salaries and address precarious working conditions among many young and some elderly workers.
Or this video explaining the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank:
On Friday, Silicon Valley Bank went from being a key part of the tech ecosystem to collapsing in a matter of hours. Then on Sunday night, the Biden administration announced that all depositors at the failed Silicon Valley Bank would have access to all their money on Monday morning, approving an extraordinary intervention aimed at averting a crisis in the financial system. #SiliconValley #bankcrisis #useconomy
These bite-sized videos explain complex and dry topics in a fun and engaging way—it’s no wonder they’ve grown the account to 1.6M followers.
Even if your business is in a drier, less engaging industry doesn’t mean you can’t make engaging TikTok content. Take a lesson from WaPo for your own strategy.
Duolingo’s owl mascot is famous on the app. While its long had a reputation of being an evil, persistent presence for Duolingo language learners, the marketing team really leaned into that for its TikTok content. Their content features the owl mascot in nearly every video—and it’s chaotic.
Here’s one video showcasing the owl’s various threats to get its users to do their daily lesson:
Here’s an example of what some of their other content is like, taking advantage of trending sound clips and popular video types:
If your business gets a fun reputation, lean into it in your marketing content. Have fun with it and don’t take yourselves too seriously.
Get started with TikTok marketing today
Build up your TikTok presence using these six tactics. Start by creating your own TikTok business account, then create your own fun, engaging short-form video content. Learn even more about creating your own successful TikTok marketing campaigns so you can grow your audience and build your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does TikTok work?
TikTok is an app to create, share and watch short-form videos. Users have their home “For You” feed where they can swipe up to watch video after video. The app comes with its own editing features, filters and sound clips to utilize when creating your own video content. Overall, TikTok is a great one-stop shop for creating and consuming quick 10 to 60-second videos.
How to use TikTok for marketing?
TikTok is a unique marketing channel, creating viral potential that has never been there before. Use TikTok to show off product tutorials and use cases, join challenges, jump on trends, make your audience laugh and more. You can sell products through TikTok, generate leads and increase brand awareness.
What are tools on TikTok?
TikTok offers a number of business tools—video editing, analytics, ads and more. You can also connect your TikTok business account to your Sprout Social dashboard to access even more tools, like scheduling and engagement.
How has TikTok changed marketing?
TikTok has made marketing and marketing videos much more accessible to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Fancy camera equipment isn’t required—and in fact, it isn’t even preferred—to create engaging and viral video content.
How effective are influencers and affiliate marketing on TikTok?
TikTok influencers are extremely effective—they see a 15.86% engagement rate on the platform, more than triple the next highest platform’s engagement rate.