Trending seems to be, well, the trend. Going viral appears to be the name of the game, especially in the ever-growing and constantly changing world of TikTok. 

So why even try to keep up on a platform that seems impossible to master or has an elusive formula for viral marketing? Even if the algorithms feel stacked against you, these five tips will help you create a strategic plan to enter the realm of TikTok and set you up for success on one of the fastest growing social media platforms. 

Why should businesses use TikTok campaigns? 

Let’s look at the numbers. In 2020, TikTok had more than 2.6 billion downloads with a notable uptick at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform continues to grow with 1 billion annual users in 2022, steadily joining other social media giants to become thesixth most used social media channel in the world. While Facebook still holds the lead with 2.8 billion annual users, TikTok’s usage is beating out other popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter. 

Graphic with a statistic: In 2020, TikTok had more than 2.6 billion downloads with a notable uptick at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beyond the sheer growth and popularity of the app, it generates significant revenue for companies across the globe. In 2020, TikTok was the
highest grossing app earner in the world with $540 million, beating out both Tinder and Youtube. That same year, the app generated an estimated $1.9 billion in revenue

Approximately 63% of TikTok users are younger than  30, and 28% are younger than 18, making this a key platform for campaigns targeting a younger audience. 

What types of strategies can I use on TikTok? 

Without a doubt, your best bet is to focus on organic videos. Forget the theory that social media is for placing paid ads in front of your users. Instead, find your audience, and engage and interact with highly-involved users via organic, natural videos. 

Other tactics include promoting paid ads through scaled opportunities in TikTok’s ad center and building an influencer network to create paid and sponsored partnerships with popular creators. 

5 Ways to Use TikTok Effectively 

So, you’ve done your research. You have your budget. Now what?

1. Define Your Audience and KPIs 

When joining any new social media platform, your first question should be: “why?” If you believe your audience is on the platform, do some digging to find the demographic and determine how engaged they may be. 

The biggest factor, and easiest target to miss, is being intentional. If you join the platform solely for its hype, you will lose time and resources trying to engage with an audience that isn’t there, or without purpose and tracking. 

The platform’s most powerful strategy is brand awareness. The sheer amount of users and time spent on the app are major driving factors in getting your brand name out there. The actual user interface of the platform does not align well with lead generation or transaction stages, particularly in the ad spaces or for new accounts. 

Define key performance indicators (KPIs) and determine your intentions for the platform, including how you plan to engage with your audience. Otherwise, your goals will be missed and your resources wasted in a failure to align with the app’s use and algorithms. 

2. Build a Strategy 

Two women looking at a phone.

Every strategy, particularly those that relate to videos, is successful due to three core factors: scalability, replicability, and flexibility. Imagine creating a video, seeing it gain 100,000 impressions, and never knowing why. You’d miss the opportunity to learn how to create that same level of reach again and again. 

Just as you have to be intentional with your KPIs, audience, and purpose on the platform, TikTok is still just that: a social media platform. And like any goodsocial media manager will tell you, you must have a plan. 

For the ever expanding universe of TikTok, the ability to scale your video content up—or down—depending on resources and engagement is crucial to sustainability. The alignment of the content to your brand guidelines and voice will promote replicability, and adjusting to trends will help your content stay fresh and current (but more on that later). 

3. Create Content, Not Ads 

Even TikTok itself says it all for you: “Don’t Make Ads. Make TikTok Videos.” 

Authentic, organic content is your best tool for using the platform to share your brand’s personality with your audiences. Ads are still ads. They look, sound, feel, and act like ads in the feeds, just as any ad does on a social media platform. Organic content is your ticket to ride without standing out. 

Try creating a video strategy roadmap, outlining what topics each month’s or quarter’s videos will address and why. Remember to use this as an opportunity not only to put into practice the three qualities of successful video strategies—scalability, replicability, and flexibility—but as a chance to align the topics with the KPIs and audiences at the core of your strategy. 

If you still see value in creating paid ads for the platform, use it as an opportunity to showcase the most important aspects of your brand in a short period of time. Always make sure ads align with TikTok’s guidelines, specifically around text and landing pages.

4. Try Different Variables 

So you’ve got your video strategy roadmap outlined with what topics you’d like to focus on. But how many videos should you make? And how often should you upload new videos? 

A strong strategy is to use the platform as an experiment, testing a new variable for each batch of videos you create, regardless of topic. Running an A / B / C test on a video factor, related to the topic for the month, builds a pathway to success by better understanding your audience on the platform. 

For example, say your topic for the month is your favorite product. Each video ad could include the same B roll footage, text, and landing page but the music varies for each. This variation will help you test and determine which music and sounds resonate best with your audience. 

Using this strategy every month will help consolidate resources for the actual video creation while also learning about how to best reach your audiences. The best rules of thumb for testing variables and refreshing video ad content is analyze, assess, adjust, and apply. 

  • Analyze: Dig into the data from the previous month’s A / B / C test of videos. 
  • Assess: Understand the narrative of the data, including what it means and how it could have been impacted by factors both from the video itself and the external environment. 
  • Adjust: Know what variables were successful, and adjust those that weren’t, finding new variables to test for the next run. 
  • Apply: Implement the new variables while keeping successful factors static. 
  • Rinse and repeat! 

5. Stay Nimble 

Close up of someone taking a video on a phone of a woman throwing confetti in the air.

The only constant about TikTok is that it, well, isn’t constant. Ever-changing trends and topics make it impossible to predict exactly what will be successful in the future. Reactionary tactics are possible but difficult to implement. To align with immediate trends, be prepared to create content or ads at the drop of a hat, only for the topics to be different the following week. 

As a growing platform, audience sizes, interests, and spaces are inevitably going to evolve along with the growth.

 Some industries that have major engagement on the platform today may have completely different engagement one year or even ten years from now. Finding a way to establish your brand and differentiate yourself through consistent voice and fresh content is the key to preparing for constant platform changes. 

But don’t forget to be flexible, using this as a creative and experimental space to play with new trends and strategies. TikTok is the ultimate space for brand expression and creativity! Don’t just take it from us. Even Duolingo has gone viral multiple times on the platform by doing a combination of trend alignment and fresh, unique content.

Gaining Success on TikTok

Expanding into a new platform, especially in the flighty world of social media, can seem daunting for any company or marketer. Some industries, such as beauty, fashion, jewelry, food, and a variety of accessories, are most popular and continue to hold significant engagement

But the ability for the platform to capture anything engaging via video—whether visually, humor-wise, auditorily, or in a totally new way—is the crux of its value. 

Feel intimidated about starting a TikTok strategy? Wanting to grow your marketing in social media or in general? Mad Fish Digital has the experts and resources to guarantee successful strategies to grow your marketing efforts and brand. Contact us today to get started!

Graphic with 5 ways to use TikTok effectively.