As the sixth most-used social media app in the world, TikTok is a force to be reckoned with – especially when it comes to marketing. Brands on the platform have access to approximately 1 billion active users. If they’re able to utilise the right marketing strategy, it could potentially be very beneficial in both the short and long term.
How are brands using TikTok as a marketing tool?
While TikTok’s short-form video format offers creative freedom to brands across all sectors, some strategies have proved to be more effective than others. With an average watch time of 3.33 seconds per video, it’s essential that creators capture viewer attention from the outset to keep them engaged.
Food brands such as MyCookieDough have found success in posting aesthetically pleasing videos of their products, while restaurants and celebrity chefs such as Ottolenghi and Jamie Oliver incorporate well-produced visuals with a recipe structure. This helps to retain viewers for a longer duration, and the practical context leads to an increase in likes, saves, or shares.
Brands on TikTok can also take advantage of the platform’s numerous viral trends to cultivate a more down-to-earth and relatable image among consumers. Language learning platform Duolingo, for example, uses an informal and humorous voice that resonates with viewers.
Which brands are utilising TikTok the best?
Despite the billion active users on TikTok, it’s still incredibly difficult to get an audience – especially when you consider that more than 100,000 creators are competing for attention. So, how are successful companies differentiating themselves?
Popular gym wear brand Gymshark has been particularly successful marketing with TikTok. With a following of over 3.8 million, the firm has clearly taken the right approach.
So, what is that approach? An activewear brand might be expected to promote its products and sales on TikTok, or encourage people to navigate to its online store. However, Gymshark has found a much more viewer-focused way to attract its target audience.
Here are some of the approaches that make up Gymshark’s TikTok marketing strategy.
Popular trends and challenges
By creating trends or challenges that can be replicated easily by other users, Gymshark capitalises on its audience and lets their participation act as a free marketing campaign. A seemingly simple ‘guess the weight’ challenge, for example, encourages viewers to display their own talent, while simultaneously acting to build brand awareness.
Relatable fitness and lifestyle videos
By engaging viewers on an emotional level, the brand can foster a relatable, and therefore relevant, image, setting itself apart from other, more corporate companies.
On a deeper level, Gymshark has some powerful SEO strategies:
• Creating and using trending hashtags (such as #gymskit).
• Collaborating with popular fitness influencers to boost traffic.
• Running campaigns during high internet traffic seasons (for example, its Black Friday campaign in 2021).
Gymshark’s account consistently gets 50k or more views on all posts – so clearly, the strategy has been an overwhelming success.
Black Country Living Museum
For a local history museum in Dudley, Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) is performing shockingly well on TikTok – the account has 1.2 million followers and 22.3 million likes as of November 2022. There’s hardly a single video without 10k-100k views.
It’s no secret that people are intrigued by history in general, and TikTok’s short-form videos utilise informative content that engages viewers without being overly complex or boring. BCLM presents followers with digestible, historical information – and the posts often incorporate elements of humour, education, and meme culture to keep viewers interested.
Here’s a rundown of BCLM’s strategy.
On almost every video, replies from the BCLM account admins can be seen clearly throughout the comment sections. They take the time to answer questions, showcasing the company’s personability and involving their audience in the conversation.
Pop culture references
Popular celebrities, trends, and events are the bread and butter of social media. By tying its content to these cultural cornerstones, BCLM positions itself as an up-to-date and socially conscious brand.
High-quality, cinematic content
BCLM’s videos are planned, staged, and shot beautifully. Every video features a period-specific outfit or accessory, creative transitions, and on-location footage. Clear evidence of a high-effort production goes a long way with viewers.
• Maintains relevance with prevalent hashtags.
• Utilises the same fonts, sounds, and transitions that the average user would expect to find on their own FYP.
• Balances informative content with an appropriate tone of voice that does not alienate viewers.
BCLM really demonstrates the power of quality content, niche topics, and a focus on the interests of its target demographic.
World-famous fashion brand Gucci boasts an incredible 2.4 million followers and 19.7 million likes. It’s easy to suggest that billion-dollar brands have lots of followers simply because they’re popular, but Gucci’s consistently high like and view rates indicate that it is using the platform’s visual format to its advantage. Gucci often gets views in the millions, with its most popular clip being viewed over 56 million times.
Extremely high-calibre collaborations
Gucci’s regular collaborations with famous musicians, actors, and models help to maintain its sophisticated brand image. Collaborations will bring in a lot of views regardless, but the fact that they’re tastefully done and on-brand push Gucci even further ahead.
Gucci’s videos are quite simply beautiful to look at. They catch the viewer’s eye with stunning camera work, elegant fonts, and the brand’s classic, colourful palette.
Product release campaigns
Known for its high-end designs, Gucci produces unique campaigns for each of its products that are tailored to TikTok. The fashion-savvy demographic can rely on Gucci’s account to keep them updated with new product releases.
Should brands be using TikTok more?
Facebook lends itself to paid ads, Instagram is an aesthetic hub, and LinkedIn is strictly business – but TikTok provides a way for companies to showcase their creative side or foster a relatable brand persona.
The app is popular with Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012), a demographic that accounts for 40% of consumers, according to NPD data. It’s therefore the ‘place to be’ for brands pursuing success in the coming years.
While no company should rely on sensationalism to carry its success, TikTok certainly adds more dimension to a brand’s profile. With the right mix of relevant tags, meme and internet culture references, and creative visuals, your company could be next to achieve TikTok marketing success.