Taking the risk with any new platform is daunting. After all, no one wants to dedicate their time, energy, or budget into something with little return.
That said, it's hard to ignore the hype around TikTok, its fantastic engagement rate, and its massive user base. If you're willing to get creative, TikTok could be the perfect home for your short-form videos.
Here, I spoke with HubSpot's social media team to gather their best tips for bringing your brand on TikTok.
1. Know where your audience hangs out.
It's important to know where your audience hangs out online. For some brands, this includes TikTok — for others, not so much. For instance, if you sell retirement homes, you won't get much traction with the platform's predominantly younger audience.
"TikTok is obviously all the rage right now, and it makes sense that brands want to jump in. But before you do so, make sure to take time to ask the right questions: Does it make sense for our brand to show up on TikTok? Is our target audience there?," advises Annabelle Nyst, senior marketing manager at HubSpot.
If you're debating whether or not to bring your brand on TikTok, remember to hinge your decision on the most important factor: your target audience.
2. Find your "why."
Getting started on TikTok can feel overwhelming, especially when you don't have a goal to work towards.
Think of your goal as your compass. It influences the videos you make, the topics you cover, and your overall strategy. You don't need to have a specific goal right off the bat — and it will likely change over time — but you should have an idea of the general direction you want to go.
Here are a few common goals:
- Build an engaged community
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve brand image
- Promote products
- Generate website traffic
- Expand your audience
- Provide customer service
- Educate your audience
It's just as important to track your progress. Take a look at several key performance indicators (KPIs) like profile views, video views, video likes, and follower growth to see if you're inching closer to your goals.
3. Determine how you'll provide value.
The next step is determining how you want to present your brand on TikTok. For Nyst, this starts with answering a simple question: how will you provide value to users?
"Asking this question upfront will help you establish what your purpose is for being on TikTok, and what your brand's presence might look like on the platform," she told me.
For instance, Gymshark, a popular fitness apparel brand, provides value by entertaining its fans with fitness-related challenges, skits, and clothing hauls. It's no surprise the brand has over 4 million followers on the platform.
Because TikTok is quirky by nature, it creates a misconception that "serious" brands don't have a place on the platform. This isn't true. However, you may have to approach your brand from a different angle.
For example, the Washington Post has raked up over 1 million followers on TikTok. If you haven't seen their videos, you might expect serious content. Instead, you'll find comedic skits about the latest breaking news.
The ultimate goal is to provide value in an engaging way. This is achievable for many brands — serious or not.
4. Save time by creating a content calendar.
TikTok surpassed 1 billion monthly active users in 2021. On top of that, millions of conversations happen on the platform daily, and trends come and go at rapid speed.
In short, TikTok can get overwhelming. For this reason, Nyst recommends planning a content calendar.
"Things move quickly on TikTok, and gaining new followers often depends on having a bank of existing content on your profile. So, think ahead to how many videos a week you'd like to post, and what kind of topics you'll focus on," she advises.
That said, TikTok is a trends-driven platform, so make sure to leave space in your content calendar to jump on trends and create time-sensitive content.
Additionally, you also need to decide how often you should post on TikTok. Nyst favors quality over quantity, advising brands to aim for 1-2 videos per week. In other words, consistency is key.
Another upside to posting consistently? The more you post, the more insights you gain from your viewers. This will help you understand what topics and video styles they respond to the most.
Want to know the best day and time to publish your videos on TikTok? Check out this helpful guide.
5. Insert your voice strategically.
When you first join TikTok, it's tempting to join every conversation, hop on every trend, and participate in every challenge. However, brands need to set guardrails and be strategic with their content, says Nyst.
"There are so many conversations happening at once on TikTok, and they're changing all the time. It's important to remember that your brand doesn't need to be a part of every single conversation – so try to pick the ones where it makes sense to insert your voice," Nyst told me.
She adds, "Sure, the latest dance trend might be exciting, but can your brand actually bring something new, unique, or valuable to the table?"
Not every trend or challenge will align with your brand or its messaging. On top of that, if you can't add a new or unique spin, it's better to skip it entirely. But don't worry about missing out — trends on TikTok are a dime a dozen, and another one is right around the corner.
Back To You
TikTok is the new kid on the block — and has quickly become a viable (and exciting) marketing platform. Before jumping in, make sure that TikTok makes sense for your brand. Once you're on the platform, focus on targeting your audience with valuable content on a consistent basis.