Every up-and-coming brand today is going to have to master the newest frontier in the world of social media: TikTok. Since its launch in 2017, it’s become one of the most-used social media platforms with lightning speed, boasting over one billion active users.

To hammer home the influence of this social platform, let’s take a look at some more stats. Almost 70% of users are in the 10-29 age range, and the average user spends around 1.5 hours on the app per day. There’s no beating around the bush here: TikTok is where young people are spending their time. And importantly for your business, it’s also where they’re spending their money.

With such a vast user base, TikTok has mastered the art of ushering viewers into sub-communities (or CommunityToks) with its genius content suggestion algorithm. It quickly learns what viewers are interested in and shows them endless content of relevant videos to open them up to new online worlds. This is how we get spaces as diverse as Booktok, Foraging TikTok, Fitness TikTok, and Home Decor TikTok, all nestled into one app.

All this is to say: no matter the size of your brand, no matter the niche of your industry, you need to establish a brand presence on TikTok. Whatever your product, there is an engaged, custom audience out there waiting to be connected with it. And that audience is already on TikTok.

If you’re coming to the app completely fresh, understanding the interface and algorithm will take some time. Luckily for you, it’s designed to be used intuitively, so you can go from TikTok newbie to viral trendsetter in a matter of days. Still, it’s up to you to design your video content in a way that suits your brand image as well as the algorithm — starting with the basics like fitting your videos to the TikTok aspect ratio.

To help you in the process, we’ve collated everything you need to know about establishing yourself as a brand on TikTok, from the practical steps of setting up a business account, to creating marketing campaigns with TikTok Ads. We’ve also thrown in some tips, tricks, and inspiration for speeding up the growth process and turning your viewers into customers.

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Back to basics

Before we get into the weeds of how you can incorporate TikTok marketing videos into your business strategy, let’s start with the foundational stuff. TikTok officially launched to the international market in 2017, offering a platform for users to upload videos from 3 seconds to 10 minutes long. It’s become the internet’s main base for viral video content, which often involves trends like dance routines, popular music clips, and viral soundbites.

And while you could kick off your TikTok marketing strategy with dance videos and lip-syncing, that might not necessarily align with your brand identity. But fear not; there are plenty of ways to create viral content and engage with your target audience on TikTok, as we’ll explore later in this post.

A couple watching a funny video on their phone in their London apartment
Photo by Shingi Rice / Unsplash

The benefits of branding on TikTok

If TikTok being the fastest-growing social media platform on the planet right now isn’t enough of a reason to get your business on the app, maybe these other factors will give you a push.

Tap into the youth market

As we mentioned above, the vast majority of TikTok users are millennials or Gen Z. Social media is an integral part of these younger generations’ daily lives, and they display an unprecedented level of trust in what they see on social media apps. Did you know that young people are more likely to look for restaurant reviews on TikTok than on Google Maps? If any part of your target customer base is under the age of 30, TikTok is a channel you can’t afford to be passing up on.

Boost conversions

Another thing about the youth market: they’re very comfortable buying online. One look at the popular #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt tag should make it clear that the social content on this app has a very real impact on purchasing decisions. In fact, stats show that over 90% of users take further action to look into the products and brands they discover through TikTok, and nearly half make purchases based on the content they see.

Have your moment in the spotlight

TikTok is designed to push popular user-generated content to more viewers, and create viral moments of mass engagement. And while you can pay to promote your content, the truth of the matter is that absolutely anyone and anything can go viral. Creating social video content on TikTok massively increases your chances of reaching an audience base you couldn’t even have dreamed of with traditional media.

Hop on a new trend

Even if your own content isn’t sparking new trends quite yet, there are plenty of other crazes you’d be crazy to ignore. You can jump on existing TikTok trends in any way which aligns with your brand identity — creativity definitely encouraged. And it pays to have your finger on the pulse here, since you never know how long a trend might last (some lose their steam within a few days). It doesn’t hurt to try out trends as and when they crop up, which will help keep your engagement rates kicking.

Dance Group Chant
Photo by Rainier Ridao / Unsplash

Take the chance to be authentic

More than any other social media platform, TikTok prioritizes the authentic. The time of the overly-curated Instagram feed or aspirational Facebook post is coming to an end. In its place, users are drawn to genuine, relatable content, both from individual creators and from brands. TikTok offers a real chance to tap into your core brand identity and values to create more authentic and engaging content.

How to set up your brand presence on TikTok

By now, you should be chomping at the bit to set up some TikTok marketing strategies for your brand. Let’s go through a few steps you’ll need to take to get there.

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Setting up your account

When making your brand profile, choose to set it up with a business account rather than a personal or standard creator account. With a business account, you can:

  • Get access to real-time video analytics
  • Easily link to your website, other social media channels, and app in the app store
  • Pin videos to the top of your profile
  • Access a library of licensed music and sounds
  • Use TikTok’s own content guide for businesses
  • Create an e-commerce storefront within your profile

With all those benefits, it’s a no-brainer to be making use of the TikTok For Business feature. Download the app and hit sign up to start your registration. Once you’re done, click the menu button, go to ‘manage account’, then select ‘switch to business account’. Choose the most suitable industry category so that you can receive tailored content and solutions right away. From there, you’re pretty much good to go! Start by exploring the creative suite to see what’s trending and find inspiration for your own profile.

One cool feature of a business account is the ability to pin videos to the top of your profile, so they appear before everything else. You might want to pin your most popular content, or some introductory videos to give a flavor of what your brand has to offer. You can only pin a few videos — the feature isn’t as wide-reaching as the highlights section on Instagram, for example — so choose wisely!

Using TikTok Ads

On top of your regular videos, you can choose to use TikTok Ads Manager to put out promoted content in your target audience’s feed. Paying to promote your videos guarantees to raise brand awareness among the relevant audience and, with the right strategy, will also lead to an increase in conversions and sales.

Create a TikTok Ads account to explore the different ad campaign formats you can choose from. As well as standard in-feed ads, you can try out TopView ads, which appear as the first thing a user sees when they open the app, among other placement options.

Then, set your target audience based on factors including their location, interests, age, and gender. Setting specific audience demographics ensures that you’re reaching the optimal customer base.

Start creating your ad video in TikTok’s creative suite, adding music, filters, and other effects to make them more engaging. You can decide what sort of call to action you'd like your ad to include based on your business objectives, like “sign up,” “download,” “book now,” and more.

Finally, set your ad budget according to your marketing needs. You can choose between a daily budget to steadily reach your audience over time, or a lifetime budget for maximum immediate impact.

Once it’s out there, measure your ad’s performance through TikTok’s analytics features, which show you metrics like impressions, clicks, and conversions.

The Tik Tok app 📹
Photo by Nik / Unsplash

Building a strong brand presence

When building up your brand’s presence on TikTok, there’s a sweet spot you want to hit of remaining in line with your overall brand identity, keeping up with current trends and industry standards, and standing out from competitor accounts. It’s no mean feat, but with the right technique, it’s certainly not impossible. Follow these marketing tips so you can use TikTok to improve your engagement rate and achieve your business goals.

Stay true to your brand…

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll keep giving this advice until the cows come home: if you want to create a strong brand, nothing is more important than consistency. You can’t build trust with your customer base if your brand identity is unreliable. And your visual content is an important communicator for your brand. If you’ve got a strong sense of brand identity and values (including a fixed brand style guide), you can’t go too wrong. Use your brand's established fonts, color schemes, and graphic elements in your TikTok content, and keep your tone and content strategy in line with your other social media platforms.

…But beware of over-curation

Yes, you want to uphold a strong sense of brand identity, but as we mentioned above, TikTok thrives on pared-back, authentic content. Experiment with a less slick design and editing style, and loosen up your content with some funny videos to let the true core of your brand shine through. The good news for marketers is that this type of laid-back content is much less resource-intensive to produce.

Repurpose videos

Although the types of content that do the best on TikTok are slightly different from other social platforms, don’t think you have to start from scratch here. With a bit of optimization, your existing brand content can be easily repurposed for TikTok. This is especially useful if you’re creating your content in-house and don’t have infinite resources to play around with. Make use of existing creative assets like animated social graphics, so you're starting with a base of content to get yourself going on TikTok. You can measure the performance of these videos to see if your content resonates with the broader audience on TikTok, then adjust from there.

Let your community in

On that note, try creating content which connects viewers to the inner workings of your business. Users love engaging with brand videos that give them a peek behind the curtain and give a face to the company. You might try capturing footage from the POV of your employees and giving viewers a taste of what it’s like to work at your company. Any organic content featuring your brand’s merch is a big plus too. Or, create videos from a customer perspective to show your product or service in action. Again, viewers are often after a sense of human connection to associate with their favorite brands, so down-to-earth content like this has a higher likelihood of engagement.

Remove the guesswork with A/B testing

Ultimately, the best way to boost your marketing performance is to base your content strategy on empirical data. TikTok Ads helpfully offers an A/B testing functionality so you can try and track two different types of ads alongside each other. The ads manager allows you to test three different variables: targeting, bidding and optimization, and creative. Nail down your hypothesis, choose a variable to test, and let the app’s advertising tools do the rest. It will split your audience, run the ads, and show you statistical conclusions about the two versions’ marketing performance. This way, you can quickly gather data and optimize your marketing strategy for the app.

Get creative with our ready-to-use templates.

Linearity Curve offers templates for every social media platform and various use case templates for posters, business cards, slides, app store screenshots, and more.

#Challenge yourself with a hashtag challenge

Here’s where things get fun. Hashtags group content together and help viewers find the videos they want to see. Using relevant hashtags increases your content’s visibility on users’ For You Page (FYP), making it more likely to be seen by a wider audience. You can go further by harnessing the power of the hashtag with a branded hashtag challenge. That might involve challenging viewers to take part in a trend, reinvent a video using a soundbite, or show off a specific skill. Fun videos like this massively increase engagement rates and build brand awareness.

Don’t underestimate the power of the influencer

We’ve saved one of the most important pieces of advice til last — community influencers are often the key to reaching your target audience. Influencer marketing has taken off on social networks as the preferred method of raising brand awareness, simply because it’s been proven to work, time and time again. Influencers, who can have followings from just a few thousand in an online niche to millions of people all over the world, have enormous sway on viewers’ buying decisions.

Handily, with a TikTok business account you can access the influencer marketing hub, which allows you to search for top creators with a niche in your industry. Alternatively, you can browse influencer marketing platforms like Aspire, Influencer.co, or GRIN to discover influencers. Find the trusted figures with influence over your desired demographic, and start collaborating with sponsored content, promotional vids, and brand deals.

Some inspo before you go

Here’s a few of our favorite TikTok campaigns to give you an idea of what can work well on the platform. We’ve gathered a mix of regular in-feed brand content, promoted ads, and creator collaborations to show you a full spectrum of what you can achieve.

1. Glossier

This makeup brand is hugely popular among millennial and Gen Z buyers, so TikTok has been a crucial platform for their marketing strategy. Videos like this which tease upcoming launches are a great way to get their loyal customers excited about new releases, while also leaning into the humorous content and behind-the-scenes peeks that tend to do well on the app. Their profile also features plenty of makeup tutorials and product reviews which stay in line with their overall brand image — pastel colors, laid-back energy, and aspirational aesthetics.

2. Chipotle

Chipotle has created a strong presence on TikTok by collaborating with popular influencers and prioritizing humorous content, like the video below. They’ve also recently used hashtag challenges to promote new dishes. They encourage customers to film their experience trying the new products, and offer prizes to the challenge winners (free Chipotle for a year? Don’t mind if we do). This approach has helped Chipotle engage with its audience and build a strong community of loyal followers.

@chipotle *Takes only one napkin* #chipotle #pov #firsttime ♬ original sound - Chipotle

3. Nike

Nike used TikTok to promote the 2022 UEFA European Women’s Championship and to highlight the achievements of female athletes. The brand collaborated with footballer and popular TikTok creator Emani (@emankassem79) to create the #NikeShesBallin challenge, which invited users to show off all the ways they ball on and off the pitch. This challenge received over 3.6 billion views, helping to build excitement about female athleticism ahead of the championship, while also allowing Nike to reach a wider audience.

@nike There’s no one way to be a baller. Every footballer looks different and loves different things. In the #NikeShesBallin challenge, show us how you’re a baller on and off the pitch. @emankassem79 #womensfootball #WEURO22 #nike ♬ Shake It To The Ground - Nike ft. DJ Blaqstarr & Rye Rye

4. L’Oreal

Making use of TikTok’s TopView and Top Feed Ads features to promote their new haircare products, L’Oreal partnered with top influencers to create on-trend beauty videos. They jumped on the popular ‘before and after’ trend to draw in a younger audience and showcase their products. This approach resulted in an increase in brand favorability and helped L’Oréal connect with its target base.

@cakefacekatherine Pink hair don’t care @lorealparis colorista #pinkhair #hairstyles #hairtransformation #beforeandafter ♬ Toxic - Britney Spears

5. Heinz

Nothing hits quite like satisfying food videos on TikTok (50 billion views in the #FoodTok community proves us right on this one). Heinz recognized this community potential and partnered with some beloved food accounts to promote its new line of condiments. Focussing on capturing that summer BBQ feeling, they incorporated an interactive element in their campaign with the voting sticker add-on feature, inviting viewers to vote on which condiment they wanted to see being used in a recipe. Not only did this increase engagement in the campaign, but it also provided a useful pool of data for the brand. Food TikTokers then used the winning products in their unique recipe videos. This campaign achieved an incredible 18% ad recall, and secured Heinz condiments as a must-have addition to every summer BBQ.

@.jack.cooks Heinz BBQ Pulled Pork Flatbreads 😍 @heinzuk heinzuk #ad #food #foodie #pulledpork #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #uk #british #scottishtiktok ♬ Summer Love - Sole Sole

Time for you to get creative

Now you’ve got the basics of what makes a good marketing strategy on TikTok, it’s time for you to jump right in and get your brand in on the app. You’ll be rewarded with more brand awareness, a broader and more loyal audience base, and increased conversion rates. Plus, we won't lie, it’s pretty fun.

Jumpstart your ideas with Linearity Curve

Take your designs to the next level.

The ultimate guide to brand marketing on TikTok | Linearity
The ultimate guide to brand marketing on TikTok