TikTok seems overwhelming, but taking the plunge now will benefit your brand
from the guest | October 15, 2020
TikTok has gone crazy this year and has caused some controversy along the way. The Trump administration attempted to ban new app downloads in the U.S., but a federal judge recently blocked the administration’s ban with an injunction. It is currently not clear what will happen to TikTok in the coming months.
We’ll all watch and see what happens next, but the app remains incredibly popular with consumers. It has become an essential marketing tool for brands.
But for many, controversy aside, it’s already overwhelming. They’re uncomfortable with the app for marketing because they’re uncomfortable with the app time – but it becomes more obvious that they need to adopt TikTok if they want to stay relevant and reach their audience. How can you drive marketing with TikTok in the face of these challenges?
The TikTok Challenge
TikTok is huge. This tremendous leeway enables brands and developers to experiment and get creative. But marketers still don’t know how to test content in the app or what metrics to use – and many still struggle to even understand the basic purpose of the platform.
And it’s not just the format and the novelty of TikTok that pose a challenge for brands. Now that the Trump administration has targeted TikTok as a means of regulating China’s influence in America, the platform doesn’t seem worth the effort.
Furthermore, there isn’t a standout brand that has revealed TikTok’s secret to success. Some, like Chipotle, lead the way by creating viral challenges to attract potential brand followers, but they’re just brave runaways for now. No brand has the game book on how to win at TikTok – especially a smaller brand that tries to create campaigns on a budget. Some might say that this means that the chance is greater than on platforms like YouTube or Instagram, where the winners have already been selected.
Brand leaders hold discussions and look for instructions as to whether it is still worth experimenting with TikTok. Is it a strategic marketing decision? If you have to invest a lot for this, is it even worth investing?
The answer is yes. But how?
How To Do TikTok Marketing
Use TikTok to create your marketing plan by forgetting the misconception that your first video has to go viral in order for you to stand a chance of success. While it’s possible for your first post to go viral – like my wife and I – it isn’t the end of the world if your first video is barely getting any views. It’s just about getting started!
Here’s how you can start small and potentially grow big with TikTok without letting anything hold you back.
1. Know what you don’t know.
When you find your way around the world of TikTok, your first task is to understand what you don’t know. Make a list of questions. What can I do to understand more about what TikTok is and how it works? How have brands been successful there? What would my goals and my presence on the platform be?
2. Experiment with your campaign idea.
Your brand image and values determine what you post on TikTok. Your brand’s profile is not about what you sell. It’s about who you are behind the scenes and what you value. Because of this, experimentation is critical. You need to be willing to pour a little marketing spend onto your TikTok campaigns, see what happens, and make changes to future videos based on the results.
3. Create a code of conduct.
Start with clarity to avoid problems and misunderstandings – especially when working with developers. Define your expectations. Make a code of conduct visible and open to the creators of your website. This way you can allow them to express their creativity without worrying about leaving messages or affecting your brand image and perception on social networks.
You have to experiment as you grow. So shake off the idea that a million people question everything you do. Thankfully, Gen Z has a lot more patience for branding experimentation because it feels authentic. They want brands to be vulnerable, which makes TikTok a great place to experiment and show personality.
4. Review the process before going live.
Once you’ve added your checks and balances so the developers know what your brand is looking for, there is still room for reviews. Before anything goes live, do one final check that everything in the campaign matches your values and personality.
Once you’ve created your code of conduct and reviewed the contents of your creator, your goal should only be to get started. Nobody knows you are there yet, and it will be a long time before the brand visibility increases on a large scale. In the meantime, enjoy relaxing your brand’s creative muscles.
Does the difference between the first TikTok video you uploaded and your later, better quality videos matter? No. What matters is that you keep popping up and growing – even when you step onto a new platform, you feel overwhelming and insecure. Sometimes the best things come from uncertainty.
Brian Freeman is the CEO and founder of Heartbeat, the premier platform for ambitious marketing on a large scale. Heartbeat has more than 140,000 on-demand brand ambassadors deploying turnkey ambassador solutions. Their mission is to empower real women by giving them a voice in marketing and paying them for the power of their collective authentic voice. Heartbeat has run campaigns with Amazon, Laura Mercier, Saks Fifth Avenue, Warner Brothers, Netflix, and other major brands.