Winning Strategies: Three Key Brand Opportunities on TikTok

March 28th, 2023 | Marisa Frys

Deemed a pandemic staple, TikTok has quickly risen to become a global social media powerhouse. Boasting over 1bn monthly active users, TikTok’s popularity stems from its engaging, user-friendly features. As a video forward tool, the app effectively repositioned the value of short-form video content. Its accurately measured algorithm, or “For You” page, leverages unique features such as sound, filters, and effects to reach and relate to consumers.Not only is TikTok consistent in delivering entertaining content, but younger generations are beginning to use the platform as a search engine—competing with the likes of Google—which has aided in maximizing the potential reach for active brands. The platform’s global success has pushed other channels, like Instagram and Spotify, to rethink their feed strategies to mirror TikTok’s approach.

What a potential ban on TikTok means for brands.

The news of TikTok’s potential mishandling of user data and the possibility of a governmental ban on the platform has left many brands wondering whether they should stay or leave the space. The US government has already banned officials from having TikTok on their phones, so if a wider ban were to become a reality, what should brands do?

This potential demise of TikTok serves as a reminder for brands to diversify their marketing efforts using an omnichannel approach. Yet, TikTok’s cultural pull has uncovered notable opportunities to rethink marketing approaches and strengthen brands’ omnichannel strategies. These valuable lessons can be transcended across other social media platforms to continue to reach and engage consumers in new meaningful ways.

TikTok’s emergence as a social media powerhouse has created nuanced opportunities for brands to leverage and achieve high levels of organic audience engagement. In this blog, we outline three key advertising opportunities for brands on TikTok.

1. Leverage Translated Trust

TikTok is a platform where connection and trust are linked, resulting in a high level of user engagement and attention. Users who are positively engaged and connected to a piece of content that doesn’t feel like a typical run-of-the-mill ad may begin to trust the messaging and the brand associated with it. Brands can capitalize on this robust transferable trust by crafting content that is both relatable and engaging on the platform, leading to more fruitful and loyal relationships.

With 35% of consumers being motivated to act if someone they trust recommends it, brands are tasked to craft content that resonates with their audiences in order to build and establish trust. For brands to form relationships with Gen Z and Millennials, they must leverage their desire for relatable yet authentic messaging.

Brands can do this by humanizing themselves and presenting their brand in real situations with real people, adding an overall sense of relatability and credibility on an emotional level. The key is to show that the brand’s main purpose is not to sell the audience something but to create content that connects with consumers. To achieve this brands must leverage the platform to amplify their voices and earn trust through relevancy, which involves tapping into trends and actively listening to the audience’s wants, needs, and desires. Carnival’s successful use of humanized experiences highlights the importance of using diverse yet relatable content to drive trust.

Source: Mintel social media monitoring [01/01/22-12/31/22] as of 03/10/23
Carnival’s TikTok – Eng. Rate: 5.26% | Average: 5.63%

2. Develop a Sense of Community

TikTok has become a virtual home for many users, as they have been able to engrain themselves into niche communities, making them feel a part of something more than a mere video-sharing app. By playing into the idea that TikTok is a safe space for consumers, brands have the unique opportunity to connect with these passionate and hyper-engaged audiences to win over their stamp of approval. From seeking recommendations to reviewing products or services, consumers’ trust in their TikTok communities is booming. Brands must not intrude on this safe space, but instead, add value by contributing to the nature of how the community engages with each other.

TikTokers don’t gatekeep; users and creators are open to sharing new discoveries and products that have impacted their lives and are encouraged to collaborate on thoughts and ideas. Brands should nurture this relationship by providing consistent updates, educational resources, and entertaining content, while also embracing the de-influencing movement by prioritizing authenticity and reliability.

By doing so, they can build a community of engaged followers who are eager to share their content with others—helping spread brand awareness. By identifying and catering to the unique interests of their audiences, brands can transcend the traditional level of engagement by actively infusing themselves as a welcome part of ongoing conversations. Netflix effectively amplified its presence among notable TikTok communities by capitalizing on a user-generated trend over #dancetok by posting the most popular scene from its show Wednesday.

Source: Mintel social media monitoring [01/01/22-12/31/22] as of 03/10/23
Netflix’s TikTok – Eng. Rate: 11.3% | Average: 8.83%

3. Innovate Approach to Customer Engagement

Trends on TikTok rapidly change as new features, sounds, and duets are constantly debuting on the platform, which is a core component in continually bringing consumers back to engage with fresh ideas. These highly engaged consumers present an opportunity to brands to extend and amplify their brand presence in a meaningful way. Brands can and should leverage TikTok’s unique range of features and trending topics to bring their brand identities, products, and services to light in a new way—communicating in the language of the platform. By tapping into TikTok’s innovative and engaging features, brands can create a fun and interactive experience that educates and entertains their customers, ultimately resulting in a more positive customer experience.

TikTok is a valuable addition to the marketer’s toolkit, providing short-form, attention-grabbing content that reaches audiences when they are most receptive. This presents a golden opportunity for brands to take advantage of TikTok’s popularity and unique features to expand overall customer service efforts.

Brands can use the short-form, sound-on video format on TikTok while embracing the platform’s new and exciting filters to generate audience interest while providing valuable teaching moments. Brands additionally have the opportunity to tap into current trends and popular culture by utilizing hashtags and hashtag challenges, to cleverly blend storylines and marketing efforts without expending large resources. Delta utilized the power of TikTok’s features by fluently speaking to its audiences in a culturally relevant language. For Women’s History Month, the brand seamlessly transitioned its female employees over viral sound with the caption “another day, another slay” to bring its airline to life in a new way.

Source: Mintel social media monitoring [01/01/22-12/31/22] as of 03/10/23
Delta’s TikTok – Eng. Rate: 27.4% | Average: 10.9%

What we think

  • Relevancy is key: In order to remain relevant to users, brands must keep a pulse on current trends and sounds. As a trend-driven platform, the most successful brands are those that proactively seek out newer trends and create content that feels natural and unobtrusive.
  • Aspirational content connection: To create aspirational content that drives customers to seek a brand beyond TikTok, brands should highlight the customer experience. To do this they can showcase users’ desires and something they strive for, creating a sense of exclusivity.
  • Naturally humorous: Humor, which can take many forms, is a powerful tool that can help brands capture audiences’ attention and increase engagement. When used in TikTok videos, humor can make content more memorable, create a sense of relatability, and break the tension.
  • Promotional but not pushy: To stand out, brands should create unique, non-repetitive content with text overlay that allows their experiences to speak for themselves. However, it’s also crucial to make the brand feel approachable, human, and relatable by using a personal touch.

For more information on how our experts can help strengthen your brand’s next marketing campaign, please reach out today!

Marisa Frys

Marisa Frys

Marisa Frys is a digital marketing analyst, specializing in omnichannel insights and digital marketing strategies with a focus on mortgages and loans.