Over the last year and a half, we’ve witnessed TikTok grow into a must-have platform for brands. We’ve seen products like Aerie’s crossover leggings, Maybelline’s Sky High mascara, and even a cleaning paste called The Pink Stuff catch extreme traction on the app and sell out both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. It’s no wonder there are thousands of videos across the web titled, “TikTok made me buy it.”
While many products have become popular due to TikTok, it’s not as easy as simply posting a video, using the hashtag #fyp, and calling it a day. If you want to land on your target audience’s For You Page and have a moment in the spotlight, follow these tried-and-true methods.
Here’s your recipe for success.
1. Host a Branded Hashtag Challenge
To boost a TikTok campaign, put some spend behind a Branded Hashtag Challenge. This is a way to encourage TikTok users to participate and create content around your campaign theme, with every piece of user-generated-content (UGC) aggregating on your Branded Hashtag Challenge page.
This ad option is a great way to bolster engagement and drive awareness on the app. According to Business of Apps:
- Over a third of TikTokers take part in Branded Hashtag Challenges
- The average Branded Hashtag Challenge generates 6.1 billion views
- Branded Hashtag Challenges drive an average engagement rate of 8.5% through likes, comments, and shares
Many brands have seen extreme success from running their own Branded Hashtag Challenge on TikTok.
Just take a look at Simmons. As the pandemic canceled exciting events like Lollapalooza, Simmons kicked off the #Snoozzzapalooza challenge — encouraging TikTok users to stage dive into a bed and unlock an imaginative festival experience in the comfort of their own rooms.
The campaign resulted in over 1.1 million participants, more than 2 million videos contributing to the challenge, and a whopping 6.3 billion views. In terms of actual business impact, the six-day TikTok campaign boosted brand engagement through creative participation, raised brand awareness among Gen Z on the platform, and spurred a +107% increase in traffic to the brand’s site week over week.
2. Work with TikTok creators
You may have seen brands work with creators to promote their Branded Hashtag Challenges, but the collaborations don’t stop there.
Running a traditional influencer marketing campaign on TikTok is a great way to increase awareness, provide social proof, and inject unique voices into your campaign. Plus, 72% of consumers prefer to learn about a product or service through a video, meaning TikTok’s quick and digestible video format is perfect for influencer marketing. Here are just a few examples of how brands and creators can leverage TikTok to promote a product:
- If you’re a skincare brand, have influencers record a before-and-after shot to showcase the real impact of your products over time
- If you’re a fashion brand, ask influencers to film a try-on haul to display how your clothes look on various body types
- If you’re a food brand, encourage influencers to share their favorite recipes and show off their cooking skills
- If you’re a beauty brand, get influencers to post an easy makeup tutorial or show different looks they can achieve with one of your products
- If you’re a tech brand, have influencers walk their audience through a step-by-step process of how your product or app works to demystify any confusion
The list goes on.
Note that in all of these examples, content is educational, authentic, and valuable — meaning it will resonate even though influencers disclose it as an #ad. Encourage your brand partners to get creative with the campaign. As more people see the real value of your products, they’re likelier to be interested in your brand, thereby boosting you to the For You Page.
3. Participate in TikTok trends
It’s hard to understand why certain TikTok trends take off. But when they do, it becomes a movement. We’ve seen viral dances, pranks, skits, challenges, and everything in between flourish on TikTok (and beyond). Typically, these trends are paired with a popular sound or musical track on the app.
It’s a smart move for brands to jump into these trends and take part in the cultural zeitgeist. Because these trends are highly relevant on the platform, participating in them will increase your chances of getting on the For You Page, gaining virality, and increasing visibility.
Remember that TikTok trends move at lightning speed, so you have to constantly be on the app to keep up. Think about how the trend can apply to your brand and get creative with it.
For example, there’s a current trend on TikTok where people are posting their own takes on Adult Swim’s long-running linear bumpers, which are short clips that have appeared for years between shows running on the network. The videos are set to a remixed version of “Time Moves Slow” by BadBadNotGood, and end with the bracketed [Adult Swim] or [AS] logo. To jump in on the trend, fitness brand Gymshark created their own Adult Swim bump, making out the [AS] sign with some pre-workout powder.
4. Work closely with your brand community
Many brands have taken off on TikTok due to a single video by a customer, influencer, industry expert, and so on. Ocean Spray went viral on TikTok last year, thanks to user Nathan Apodaca’s famous longboarding video. Peace Out Skincare saw a growth surge due to Hyram Yarbro, TikTok’s top ‘skinfluencer,’ reacting extremely positively to the brand’s pore strips.
Regardless of follower count, each member of your brand community can turn your brand TikTok-famous, which can create real business impact down the line. So, listen closely to what your customers, influencers, and other brand enthusiasts are saying about you on TikTok. Engage with them by commenting back, stitching or dueting their TikTok, and repurposing their content onto your own page.
Better yet, co-create with your community and turn them into true brand partners like Arby’s did with TikTok user John Casterline. Last October, John made a viral TikTok sharing that he bought a used TV that only displayed a special deal from Arby’s. When this caught the restaurant chain’s attention, Arby’s brought things to life IRL and launched a special menu item called the “$5 Missing Menu Meal,” and displayed John’s TikTok on its menu screens.
Because TikTok’s unique algorithm relies on interactions, consistently engaging with your community can increase your chances of getting on the For You Page.