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7 Steps You Need to Take Before You Start Marketing on TikTok

5 min read
May 22, 2020

TikTok is getting bigger and bigger, and they have plans for further expansion. After TikTok launched in the United States in August 2018, it wasn’t long before it became the most popular app in the country in October of that year. Later, it turned out that it was the most-downloaded app in the App Store in 2018 and 2019.

More recent data tells us TikTok was downloaded over 300 million times in Q1 of this year, which is the best result to date of any app for a single quarter. When we look globally, TikTok has now been downloaded more than two billion times in total.

Since we switched to working from home, we have started downloading more apps and increased our screen time. I can imagine the idea of marketing on the platform has crossed the minds of fellow marketers. With a little more time on their hands, here are the seven steps that you need to take before you start marketing on TikTok. 

1. Decide if you need another channel for communicating with your audience

The reason why this is so important is that there are already quite a few social media outlets that you’re probably using for your business. It’s difficult to juggle them all, and adding TikTok into the mix could be a bad move. 

You don’t want to spread yourself too thin and undermine your established channels at the expense of mastering ways to engage with a new platform. Also, if you’re already successful with Instagram or Facebook, there might be no point in trying to excel with yet another medium.

2. Make sure this is the right medium for your business

It all depends on the product or service you sell. The distinction between B2C and B2B feels stronger on TikTok than anywhere else. While it’s not impossible for a B2B brand to succeed, this medium is geared more towards direct-to-consumer brands.

On top of that, do your market research and make sure your target audience is there. Even if TikTok is potentially the right medium for you, it won’t benefit your business if there’s no one to market to.

3. Stay true to your brand personality

Some brands will fit in better than others. It’s purely because of their brand personalities and the tone of voice they use. It’s perfectly fine if your content and messages are better suited for LinkedIn, for instance. 

As I mentioned before, TikTok marketing isn’t for everyone. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that you can present your brand from a different angle. Think of The Washington Post. They’re a brand that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with that medium. Yet, they are one of the most famous examples of brands posting engaging TikTok content.

4. Plan your content

Now that we know it’s viable for you to use TikTok for marketing, think of what you’re going to post there. Is it going to be purely product-oriented content? Or, maybe, you want to share the marketing tactics you use and their results? There are numerous ideas for what to post on TikTok. It’s all up to you and how you want to engage with your audience. A good idea would be to showcase how you solve your customers’ problems.

What I think would work best for a B2B brand is behind-the-scenes content. Consumers want to see the real people behind the brands. Those people help build a stronger connection, and TikTok seems to be a perfect place for that. 

5. Do your research on influencers

Influencer marketing has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, like most industries. People are purchasing fewer non-essential items, making it difficult for influencers to create promotional content and earn money in the process. As we mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 on the economy, influencer marketing will bounce back. 

TikTok has a strong community of influencers that rose to stardom exclusively on that platform. Levi’s is one of the biggest brands that has recently announced a partnership with TikTok influencers. Last month, they shared details about how they had partnered with Everett Williams, Cosette Rinab, Gabby Morrison, and Callen Schaub to promote its “Future Finish” customizable denim technology on the platform. 

6. Think about personal branding

Personal profiles are more trustworthy than business ones. It might be easier to communicate with your target audience using the former. Get your marketers on board and help them build their personal brands. 

You can laugh at me now, but, as time goes by, you or your marketers can become TikTok marketing influencers. Some of the twentysomethings that will form your initial audience will eventually move into decision-making positions. This is when they will be more likely to buy from you. It’s not like life after the 30s doesn’t exist on TikTok. The demographics are already shifting, with people in their 30s and 40s joining the platform. 

7. Start creating your content

Compared to other social media, TikTok is an extremely young platform. It’s difficult to predict how it’s going to influence marketing in the long run. The list of businesses to learn from is quite short, too. 

The best thing you can do, once you have your research figured out, is to jump on the platform and start experimenting. Play with different forms of content and see what sticks. This will take a lot of trial and error, but isn’t that the fun part of the whole experience?

If you have the resources to try out TikTok and it’s in line with your brand personality, go for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? If it turns out that you’re not cutting it, you can refocus on the other social media channels where you perform better.