Contributed by Evan Horowitz, member of EO Los Angeles and a recent guest on the EO Wonder podcast. Evan is CEO and co-founder of Movers + Shakers, a creative agency whose mission is to “spread happiness by connecting brands with culture.” We asked Evan how brands can benefit from the TikTok platform. Here’s what he shared:
There is no denying that TikTok is one of the fastest growing and most used apps today. In fact, TikTok was the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021. What’s exciting for brands is that there is no one right way to approach TikTok, and as TikTok expands its capabilities and offerings, brands have more Options to help her grow online.
Here are five primary ways brands can play on TikTok today.
1. Create your own brand channel
Creating a branding channel is a great way to establish your presence on TikTok. We understand that creating content for TikTok can seem intimidating at first, since the raw and unpolished nature of the platform is very different from the highly curated and polished content brands you typically create.
One way to “get into the flow” of TikTok (and quickly grow your brand channel) is to participate in trends. Every week, new trends erupt through TikTok – music, skits, jokes, dances. The joining value is twofold. First, the TikTok algorithm boosts the display of the videos involved in what’s popular, giving you an increase in viewership. And second, your brand benefits from the “wow factor” of trend, which shows that you are attentive.
Brands that are serious about TikTok post content daily, while others choose to test the waters with fewer posts. While most posts might not get much traction, an occasional post can go viral. The more content you publish, the higher the chances of it spreading far and wide.
Skeptical of TikTok’s branding power? is reading 3 Reasons to Reconsider TikTok’s Brand Strength, From a Gen-X Skeptic On the EO Inc.com platform.
2. Collaborate with TikTok Influencers
Influencers are an essential part of the puzzle of popularity on TikTok. Running an influencer campaign on TikTok can be very similar to running influencer campaigns on other platforms. One of the biggest differences? Work with the original creators of TikTok. They understand how to create specifically for TikTok and generally have a better handling of engaging viral content. A good starting point for locating creators is TikTok’s Creator Marketplace.
3. Boost your presence with TikTok ads
The most popular type of ads on TikTok is “In-Feed Ad,” which mirrors Snapchat ads or Instagram and Facebook Stories ads. These in-feed ads run among the organic content on the For You page, TikTok’s single homepage.
TikTok ads are the best way to get started on the platform if you are performance driven and focused on low-pass marketing, as they allow you to direct users to landing pages or the app store.
The high-performance TikTok ads look like organic TikTok content. Great ads stick to popular TikTok storytelling styles, capitalize on popular trends, and include relevant music and sounds. The last thing you want to do is create an ad that screams “Advertisement!”
4. Unlock the viral challenge
Viral Challenges – what TikTok calls Hashtag Challenges – made TikTok popular. These challenges create an opportunity for unprecedented outreach, allowing brands to create a truly cultural moment. Top-performing challenges get billions of views and attract millions of users to create campaign videos!
This is what happened with the #eyeslipsface TikTok challenge created by our agency using elf Cosmetics. The challenge has become the most popular campaign on TikTok US. It produced 5 million video contributions from TikTok users, including celebrities like Ellen, Lizzo and Reese Witherspoon, who joined in organically and created challenge videos.
Aside from generating massive engagement and exposure on TikTok, Elf Cosmetics has generated 1.5 billion media impressions from outlets including Vogue magazineAnd rolling rockAnd BuzzFeedAnd AdWeek And Forbes.
Despite their power, viral challenges can be tricky to organize and manage. The structure is very different from any other campaign: when did you rely on the general audience to craft your ads? You’ll want to design a challenging concept that sets the pace and the music perfectly coordinates (second by second).
5. Invitation to participate through disruptive activations
Interested in standing out from the herd? Do something disruptive and take advantage of the participatory nature of TikTok to create a truly cultural moment for your brand. Rarely does a platform allow brands to overcome clutter and engage consumers dynamically. There is a great opportunity to increase audience engagement and love for the brand.
Some of our favorite projects include an open invitation to the TikTok community to find a TikTok Chief Executive at Nerf and the first-ever TikTok reality show with Elf Cosmetics.
If you want more ideas or help winning over TikTok, download our TikTok eBook that delves more into these strategies or sign up for one of our TikTok webinars. Happy learning!