Social media has grown astronomically over the last few years but more recently, TikTok is on everyone’s lips. While the usual platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram remain a vital cog in business branding, TikTok is making waves with over 500 million monthly users as of 2019.

What Is TikTok?

While those with teenagers were probably the first to hear about TikTok, this video-sharing social networking service is gaining popularity across the globe. It is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company which was founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. This app was officially launched in 2016 with many describing it as a mixture between Vine, Twitter and Instagram.

It was originally known as but changed its name after Vine shut down. TikTok quickly became a focal point for younger users but businesses have taken to it as well. Users can create short-form, music-focused videos and edit them with lenses, filters and Augmented Reality features.

Almost half of TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 19 which makes this app ideal for businesses targeting Gen Z, especially if you consider the short but highly engaging content.

Is TikTok Like Other Social Media Platforms?

This popular video-sharing platform allows people to share videos with friends, family members and followers. Like any other social media platform, there are rules and regulations in terms of using the app, and that includes the type of content you can post. You will also be blacklisted if you don’t conform to the general guidelines and come across as clueless and “spammy”.

TikTok is relatively new compared to other social platforms but much of the best practices apply here as well. It all starts with posting original good quality, interesting and engaging content. A big mistake is to post duplicate content or something that is not in any way linked to your business.

How To Get Started

If you want to promote your brand successfully on TikTok, you need to improve your TikTok fame and increase the number of followers. You can only do this by regularly publishing good content that people actually want to share. Sound familiar? It should, as this applies to almost most other online marketing tools or channels.

Start of by creating a profile and spend some time on the app. Follow popular users and create some test content until you feel that you have an idea of what real users like to engage with. This will also help you understand the platform’s culture a little better. For any business to be successful on TikTok, they have to be active on TikTok.

How Brands Can Advertise On TikTok

As of 2019, there are four types of advertisements on TikTok with each one serving a unique purpose with a different outcome based on the type of ad campaign. The four types you can use are as follows:

Infeed native content

These ads are similar to Snapchat or Instagram story ads which are skippable and played in full screen. Like any other TikTok video, these must be between 9-15 seconds long. You can measure your success through tracking clicks, impressions, click-through rate (CTR), video views and engagements.

Brand takeovers

As the name suggests, a brand takeover allows one brand to take over the app for a day. It allows you to create images, GIFs, and videos with the option of embedding links onto landing pages or to hashtag challenges. Once again, you can measure the success of a brand takeover by looking at impressions and click-through rates.

Hashtag challenges

Hashtag challenges are the most popular as businesses can do hashtag takeovers. Here, you can create a hashtag with an end goal or a prize for anyone who participates. A great example is a recent campaign by Dreamwork Pictures who ran a successful hashtag challenge to promote its new Netflix show.

The studio asked TikTok users to create a video of themselves dancing to the show’s theme song and post it on the app using the hashtag #SpiritRidingFree. The campaign reached over 34.4 million users with over 2.6 million engagements.

Another successful hashtag challenge that saw a massive surge in downloads was Jimmy Falon’s #tumbleweedchallenge on the Tonight Show. It asked viewers to act like a tumbleweed and upload the video to TikTok which generated more than 8,000 submissions and 10.4 million views.

Branded lenses

Last, but certainly not least, your business can create branded lenses similar to the filters on Snapchat or Instagram that users apply to their videos. This creates a unique, branded effect that could go viral if done properly.

Content Will Always Be King

As mentioned earlier, quality content remains the primary focus and it’s arguably more important on TikTok than any other app. TikTok mostly rejects polished, high-quality content which has earned them a reputation as a casual platform, unlike Instagram and many others. The goal is to make users feel comfortable expressing themselves without being overly concerned about “polishing” their content.

According to Mike Prasad, CEO of Tinysponsor: “The beauty of TikTok is that it’s an accessible creative space. That means it thrives on a touch of quirkiness and avoids heavily commercial-style productions.”

Engagement should always be your guide and TikTok actually makes you dive deeper to find what makes your brand fun. Before you create quirky, funny and engaging content, be sure to clearly understand your culture, values, and identity. This will ensure that you create content genuine and true to what your brand stands for while avoiding the common corporate guidelines.

TikTok social media marketing

How Often Should Brands Post On TikTok?

Like other social media apps, posting frequency is important and brands should post their video content daily. On TikTok, people will generally only follow accounts that are active. Not posting regularly could result in people forgetting about the account and stop following you.

While you don’t have to post non-stop, you need to have a regular posting schedule, like a content calendar of sorts. A regular schedule will help create a sense of anticipation in followers who will feel encouraged to keep a watchful eye on any new videos that might pop up.

A golden rule for TikTok videos is to use popular songs. Who doesn’t like a good soundtrack complimenting an engaging video? Using popular music is a great way to make your account more relevant and the good news is, TikTok has a massive library of songs you can choose from.

Becoming A Famous Brand

Considering TikTok was made for music, one way to increase your fandom and fame is by doing “duets”. No, it doesn’t actually mean performing a duet with another user but rather about creating content that will feature side-by-side in a square format. You can join forces with other TikTok users which will essentially combine the fan bases and make both accounts more popular.

The duet functionality on TikTok allows you to team up with another person and perform without being in the same location. Users can effectively add to another person’s video and create something truly unique, captivating and often hilarious.

For example, a user could post a video of someone riding on an office chair and then another TikTok user can add a corresponding action into the same video. Check out the video below for some great examples:

Who To Follow On TikTok

Not too dissimilar from YouTube and Twitch, TikTok also opens onto a page recommending popular hashtags and creators. The homepage is a good place to kick off your TikTok journey but the fun lies within the different communities and niches. If you find the right ones for your brand, you’re going to have loads of fun, both personally and business-related.

Here are a few top creators across a variety of categories you should start following:

  • Mia (@mmiiaax) – comedian and YouTube lifestyle creator
  • James Henry (@jameshenry) – comedian and YouTube creator who often collaborates with TikTok users
  • Watch Her Bake (@watchherbake) – unique and funny baking channel
  • Pepperoni Joe (@pepperonijoe) – a comedian known for his duets with other top TikTok personalities
  • Tooty McNooty (@tootymcnooty) – an animator and meme creator
  • Juicy (@juiceesaft) – a comedian who has quickly become one of TikTok’s most notable creators

Advertising On TikTok

TikTok’s competitive edge is the fact that it is still relatively new, especially for businesses. As a result, it’s far less saturated than Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter. In addition, advertising is much cheaper as there isn’t a strong community of influencers, at least not yet. There are also fewer users competing for sponsorship and ad placements compared to other platforms.

Seeing that TikTok is a place that promotes fun and crazy things, it almost forces you to look at your business in a different light. It helps you unleash your inner creative spirit which is often the missing link with mostly corporate messaging. More importantly, it helps you market to the often difficult Gen Z who is becoming a bigger player in the economy.


Even though TikTok doesn’t currently have as much advertising power or methods for monetisation, things could change overnight as they usually do in the online world. Businesses should use this time to build a good follower base and enjoy organic advertising to promote their products or services.

Have some fun by issuing a quirky hashtag challenge to your followers showcasing one of your standout products. While marketing your brand is the main priority, you could inadvertently get some valuable ideas from other users on how to promote your content on other platforms.

Need help with your social media marketing strategy? Please get in touch with WSI eMarketing and request a FREE consultation to discuss all of your requirements. Together, we can create a no-obligation solution that is unique to your business.

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