Marketing consultant Alexis Alvich Rodriguez, founder of Harper Grey Consulting, has many of her clients asking how to win on TikTok. While several brands have mastered the algorithm, many still need help, so Alexis wanted to share what she’s learned from insiders and creators as a three-pronged winning approach. Some immediate tips include building internal capabilities, investing in creators and post, post, post. Like all of social media, TikTok is ever evolving. What works for one brand may not work for another, even if they play in the same space. Here, some strategies Alexis said can help a brand win on the social platform for brand discovery.
Invest in Creators
If brands do not invest in creators, they will not win. To be honest, brands are better off investing in TikTok creators and users vs building brand-dedicated channels. First, work on building an inner circle of Creators who can create content on behalf of your brand consistently and almost overnight if needed. This group of creators should be able to turn around this content on a dime to flood the platform. You want a good mix of nano, micro, and mid-tier active users, in addition to top performers who can break through. Make sure to also include creators outside beauty across four common TikTok themes: ASMR, music, education, and comedy. And remember, always-on seeding with TikTok dedicated collateral/messaging is necessary when creators are not being paid.
Know the Trends…and Create Them in Real Time
Brands should have dedicated TikTok team members who live, breathe, eat, and sleep TikTok and the trends, which are ever-changing and over before they even began. Brands can set themselves up for success by ensuring that this dedicated team member is a native user who can identify trends in real time as they are becoming trends – for when they are full-blown trends, it is already late. This person can then activate the brand’s circle of creators to play into those trends immediately, so you are part of the relevant conversations on the platform.
Pay creators a fee to create higher volume of videos, and if they do well, pay additional money for them to boost on their own channels (aka “whitelabeling.”) This tactic performs well very on TikTok coupled with banner ads on discover pages and/or in feed ads (scrolling ads).
Winning TikTik Accounts
Focus on expert and people accounts vs brand accounts. TikTok does not prioritize brands in the algorithm, so brand accounts do not perform as well as accounts of real people. That said, if you are building a brand channel, you should have a content series with a consistent intro/outro so content becomes recognizable and starts to break through.
Tip and Tricks
With TikTok still being largely unregulated compared to Facebook or Twitter, now is the time to show up actively and try everything with the goal of building a meaningful brand presence. You have to start somewhere.
- TikTok prioritizes “clean videos” on the platform – these are videos native to TikTok and created for the platform specifically. If you repost or share content from other platforms, the app knows and makes the content invisible.
- Music is everything. Use original audio (in app audio jingles) to help drive brand visibility. TikTok offers connections to Custom Sound Partners like Music and Strategy who can help your brand create original music for the platform. Brands like e.l.f. have seen great success in doing this. TikTok hack: leverage trending songs and put behind video – even if volume is zero, it will tag the song and video will perform better. (For creators, not brands)
- Use TikTok fonts only on Tik Tok videos, which should appear in first three seconds.
- This is a quantity over quality platform and the grittier and less produced, the better.
Alexis Alvis Rodriguez is an industry-recognized communications leader and brand marketer with 20-plus years of experience in Public Relations and Marketing within the beauty, lifestyle, and fashion industries.