4th April, 2021 | Social

How to Give Your Brand a TikTok Identity

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Imogen Hunn

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Let’s start with an important question: if your brand isn’t on TikTok, why not?

TikTok was the most downloaded app in April this year with over 59 million downloads. It’s now surpassed two billion downloads worldwide, which makes it the fastest-growing social media platform in history.

Like it or not, it’s something we, as brand marketers, need to pay attention to.

Despite over 800 million active users, the platform is still considered to be in its infancy - which makes it the perfect time for your brand to build a presence before your competitors do.

The importance of Gen Z

The illusive, notoriously hard-to-reach Gen Z make up over 60% of users on TikTok.

Even if Gen Z aren’t one of your target markets, they should be a factor - research has found 36% of household purchases are influenced by Gen Z.

McKinsey & Company research shows that one of the defining characteristics of Gen Z is an expression of individual truth. They are more willing to connect with people of different groups on similar causes and interests.

TikTok’s point of difference is it’s high tech algorithm, which delivers personalised selections straight to its user, each will have a completely different experience on the app.

It’s no wonder Gen Z are obsessed!

How to stand out

According to Neil Horowitz from Greenfly, “if Twitter is where brands can build their voice, and Instagram is where brands establish their aesthetic, TikTok is perfect for brands to activate their multi-dimensional personality.”

So how do we recommend your brand gets started on TikTok, and how can you stand out?

#1 Authenticity is KEY

TikTok draws users in with its authentic entertainment, which was especially true during the pandemic when people were desperate for connection.

Stefan Heinrich, TikTok’s director of marketing, sums it up perfectly: “People have been in a perfect, manufactured world for a while, where they have to live up to expectations and ideals. Now it’s about real life. Real people. It’s getting a window into someone else’s life, with surprise and delight.

And because it’s content-driven, not connection-driven, you see people you wouldn’t normally see outside of your traditional circle. Gen Z and not just passive consumers anymore. They want to see things in an authentic way, and leaning into that by reacting immediately.”

As digital natives, Gen Z appreciates a fresh take on advertising. TikTok empowers self expression, so it’s best used for brand awareness and building a brand identity rather than generating sales.

Your content needs to be authentic and different to be engaging on TikTok, so take the time to plan out a strategy and make sure it aligns to your specific brand identity.

#2 Team up with influencers

The best way to reach your audience is to team up with influencers who already speak to them.

Influencers can finesse your ad to ensure it's organic to the platform. TikTok-native creators also generally have a better understanding of what makes content viral and engaging.

For best results, you’ll need to give TikTok influencers creative freedom. They need room to tailor what will work best for them and their audience. A good starting point to locate influencers is through Scrunch, or through TikTok’s Creator Marketplace (although most TikTok influencers are not on this database).

You also want to ensure the Influencer has a good engagement rate and strongly aligns with your brand and product.

Below are the average engagement rates on TikTok, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, based on follower count:

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 1.43.18 pm.png

Elf Cosmetics conducted an extremely successful TikTok influencer campaign for its teen-led beauty products.

The American company utilised dance influencers to promote its original song, ‘Eyes, Lips, Face’, hoping it would encourage followers to do the same. It did: there are nearly 18,000 TikTok videos using the song and the videos tagged with #eyeslipsface have over 1.2 billion views.

In the last 18 months, Elf Cosmetics has gone from the sixth to second-highest rated beauty brand for teens, according to investment bank Piper Sandler.

#3 Get trending

It’s easy - just jump on a current trend or create your own! Think of the ‘Flip the Switch’ or ‘Wipe it Down’ challenges. You just need to add your unique spin on a current trend and you’re ready to go viral.

You could even create your own trend. US brand Chipotle challenged users to upload a video of themselves flipping a Chipotle burrito bowl lid and tag their videos #ChipotleLidFlip. Over six days, users submitted 110,000 videos and the brand garnered 104 million video views.

#4 Employee activated content

The best way to showcase your unique brand is to give a unique glimpse into your everyday office or workplace.

According to Forbes, “your employees are your first line of connection with customers and can be an untapped source of valuable content. Audiences love hearing from the people behind the scenes, especially in these days of loneliness, where even friendly chit-chat with cashiers and customer service people is in short supply.”

Content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Wendy’s repost of a video of an employee building a Baconator has received more than 3 million views on TikTok.

You’ll notice a lot of brands designate their TikTok content to one specific employee who represents the brand completely. Before COVID, The Washington Post was using the platform to showcase the action inside the newsroom and build trust.

However, now that the entire office works from home, they just have Dave. He posts skits and translates news stories from home so that TikTok’s younger audience can easily understand them. A comfortable-on-camera employee can truly humanise your brand. But be careful - if that employee leaves, so does your brand personality!

#5 Repackage content

Depending on what your current product or business is, why not just recut your existing content? Ellen simply repackages her show in 15 second snippets for TikTok, and has over 8.2 million followers.

#6 Get advertising

Unsure where to start with TikTok advertising? TikTok has just launched a new top ads library, enabling you to find the best performing ads in a range of categories.

For marketers embarking on their first TikTok journey, in-feed ads are great since you can test out your content with a small budget. This is TikTok’s main type of ad as it allows for direct click-outs to landing pages and the app store. There are several ways to buy in-feed ads, including TikTok’s self-service ad platform. Pricing on TikTok can be much better than other platforms, however pricing is increasing as brands realise the platform's true value.

Or of course, you can always connect with us over at Scrunch for advice on how to start your TikTok journey!

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