TikTok Marketing: How and Why You Should Use it for Business

Maria Domenica Baquilod

Author & Editor

Social Media Team Lead

Published on: Jul 6, 2021 Updated on: May 17, 2024

With its rapid growth since launching internationally in 2017, TikTok has seen over 2 billion downloads across the world. Because of that, digital marketers are now eyeing the inclusion of a TikTok marketing strategy as part of their digital efforts.

With its widespread popularity and innovative features, TikTok proves to be more than just a video-sharing platform. Many global brands and social media management companies are integrating the platform into their marketing channels after recognizing the massive potential of TikTok marketing.

If you’re one of them, make sure to study this in-depth guide. Below, you’ll learn all about:

What is TikTok?

First things, first. What is TikTok, even?

TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to share short videos that vary in length from anywhere between 15 seconds and three minutes; although it would be unlikely for you to find videos that exceed 60 seconds.

Despite – or even perhaps because of the relatively short duration for videos, TikTok’s users are eager to create an exciting variety of content. And given a variety of video editing tools that are user-friendly, users are then empowered to create more content, too.

With TikTok, users can quickly add background music, filters, special effects, and other adjustments to their videos. On it, anyone can get creative and publish content for an audience – be it comedic skits to lip sync performances of popular songs.

TikTok makes it possible for everyone to be a creator on the platform and is possibly the reason why it has garnered widespread popularity.

A brief history of TikTok

That said, you would think that TikTok was a well-conceived app even before it hit the market. But a look into its history will inform you otherwise. In truth, many have been creating content similar to TikToks, even before it was called that.

Do you remember Musical.ly?

TikTok wasn’t always known that way. Before it launched with its new name, it was known as Douyin to the Chinese market in September 2016. It then became available worldwide in August 2018 after merging with another social media service Musical.ly. This merger would propel TikTok to global fame, catering to 150 markets speaking 75 different languages, and boasting the most engaged audience on social media.

That fact comes as no surprise to many marketers now, given how its users avidly create and consume content on the platform, and share it in channels outside of TikTok. From a marketing point of view, TikTok is more than just a place to create and share on-brand video content.

To modern marketers, TikTok and its unique algorithm provide the opportunity to collaborate with influencers and their loyal customers, build a solid online community, and target customers who are waiting to discover their products and services.

What audiences are using TikTok?

To better understand the value of TikTok in your digital marketing efforts, you’ll need to understand who exactly are the two billion people you’re talking to on the platform. Below, you can get a quick picture of TikTok audiences in numbers:

  • 53% male and 47% are female.
  • Around 50% of TikTok’s global audience are younger than 34 years old.
  • 32.5% of its younger audiences are 10- to 19-year-olds.
  • 41% of total TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24.
  • Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app.
  • 90% of users visit the app more than once a day.

With such impressive figures, you can’t really argue that a lot of opportunities await brands and businesses that have yet to explore marketing on TikTok.

TikTok for business and branding

To help you better understand how TikTok benefits your business, let’s veer away from TikTok’s numbers for a bit and look at numbers from brands themselves.

Aside from its meteoric rise and monumental user-base, more brands are venturing into TikTok, seeing it as the next big thing in digital marketing. Levi’s was one of the first. Let’s take a look at how TikTok marketing benefited their business below.

Levi’s doubles video and product views with TikTok’s Shop Now feature

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Levi’s was faced with a massive shuttering of their physical stores. To keep the business running and offset their losses offline, they wanted to reach more online shoppers and boost sales.

The solution they resorted to was an example of leveraging the rising uptake of social commerce. Using TikTok’s Shop Now feature, Levi’s allowed users to buy their products without closing the TikTok. This approach would simplify and provide a seamless shopping experience.

To spread word about their campaign, Levi’s collaborated with popular TikTok influencers Gabby Morrison, Everett Williams, Callen Schnaub and Cosette Rinab. These influencers created a pair of customized Levi’s jeans which they featured in their own TikTok channel.

Followers who viewed the influencers’ channels could purchase the jeans by tapping the Shop Now button which re-directed them to a dedicated landing page on the Levi’s website. As per reports from Levi’s, the campaign resulted in doubled watch time for videos and increased product for Levis.com’s ‘Future Finish’ pages.

But the story doesn’t end there. If Levi’s results sound just as good to you as it was for them, then you’ll be overjoyed to know that TikTok can benefit your business in other ways. Let’s move on to discussing how else you can leverage a strong TikTok presence for your brand.

How your brand benefits from TikTok marketing

Apart from double product and video views, there are plenty of other ways TikTok can help you attain social media marketing success. Here are some effective applications in today’s rapidly-changing business landscape.

  1. Enhance engagement with your existing customers
  2. Boost brand awareness and widen your reach
  3. Build trust with your audience
  4. Humanize your brand

1. Enhance engagement with your existing customers

Although TikTok is a global app, you can use it for more localized marketing campaigns in a number of ways.

First, you can make your TikTok content available in different languages depending on the location of your target audience. This makes your brand more relatable and appealing to users who do not speak the same language as you.

Similarly, you can collaborate with local TikTok creators who are popular in your city. These creators offer insight into what type of content your target market finds engaging.

Your local influencers can also boost your brand’s social media presence by creating entertaining TikTok content featuring your brand. They can also work with you in person and thus make the collaboration more effective and personal.

2. Boost brand awareness and widen your reach

TikTok has more than 100 million active users on the app. A whopping 90% use the app multiple times every day, posting and engaging with various content. This gives you a significant window of opportunity to boost your social media presence with TikTok.

Aside from its already sizable user base, TikTok’s unique algorithm makes it perfect for increasing brand awareness. TikTok uses a sophisticated artificial intelligence that recommends content to users. It bases its recommendations on their activity, and topics users express interest in.

Keep this algorithm in mind when you create content so your videos are shown to audiences who don’t know your brand.

For example, if you are a pet care company, don’t limit yourself to videos describing your products. Think outside the box! You can try to reach out to audiences who love animals with videos that feature dogs doing hilarious antics. Or of cats doing the Mufasa and Scar scene on the Lion King on top of their scratching post. These animal lovers may have pets of their own and might be interested in what you have to offer.

3. Build Trust with Your Audience 

Social media users are bombarded with many advertisements and this makes them want to skip ads or block them when online. Unlike bigger and more established social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube, TikTok is relatively unsaturated. This is an edge that you want to maximize as early as now while TikTok is not yet flooded with company logos and product placements.

Marketing on TikTok will require creativity on your part so that it does not feel invasive or out of place in the user’s feed. You want your content to feel like it is part of the whole TikTok experience and not just another brand that wants to sell something. Some sample strategies include taking part in popular challenges that are aligned with your brand’s vision and principles or creating short, informative videos featuring your product.

This anti-marketing approach to marketing helps build trust with your audience as they actually find value in your content.

4. Humanize Your Brand 

Unlike oversaturated social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram, TikTok appears less invasive and offers a more human touch when it comes to content. TikTok users feel a more personal connection to the content available because of the many features that allow for interaction with your brand.

Second, one of the unique qualities of TikTok is that nobody expects the content to be staged and perfect. In fact, users welcome the opposite and prefer more authentic and raw performances. With only seconds for you to push your TikTok advertising message, you want to come across as real and engaging as possible sans complex storylines and extravagant production costs.

Finally, TikTok is known for its interactive and compelling content. TikTok users are not just on the app to passively watch videos, they want to try their hand at the newest viral challenge or create original videos for their own followers. On TikTok, you have a significant opportunity to build a community where two-way communication with your audience is encouraged.

Key takeaways

Tiktok is relatively new so there is still a lot to learn about this app. This makes it all the more important to get a headstart on your TikTok marketing strategy while the platform is unsaturated. Below are key insights to remember about this social media trend:

  • Establish your TikTok marketing goals. Yes, TikTok has a very fun and “anything goes” feel to it but that does not mean you should lose sight of your brand identity. Clear TikTok marketing goals that are aligned with your company’s overall vision will guide your content creation and help track the progress of your campaign.
  • Keep track of viral trends and challenges. The best way to get to know TikTok is to try it yourself. Follow influencers and celebrities that are nailing their TikTok game. Keep up with what hashtags, activities, music, and effects are trending so you can apply the ones that are relevant to your brand and objectives.
  • Create an online community. Build better engagement with your audience by creating content that will make them feel part of your online community. Tailor fit your videos to what trends and content your target audience responds to.
  • Evaluate your campaign progress. Just like any marketing campaign, you need to regularly evaluate your TikTok strategies so you will know what works and what does not and make tweaks when necessary.

TikTok is certainly an exciting place to be around with the fun and innovative features it has to offer. Use the checklist above to guide your next marketing move on this new platform.

Do you want to know the ingredients for a viral marketing campaign? Do you want to build better engagement with your next TikTok video? Comment below or talk to us through Facebook, X and LinkedIn if you need help  with your next social media strategy.