Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok was one of the most talked about social networks with over 1 billion app downloads in 2019. Now, it's the #2 most downloaded free app on the Apple App Store. Because of this, many marketers are considering launching their brand on the channel accompanied by a TikTok influencer marketing strategy.
Before you dive in, our influencer marketing agency advises you make sure you're not only familiar with the unique ways TikTok operates, but that you understand how partnering with TikTok creators is very different than traditional influencer marketing.
8 Things to Know Before Working With TikTok Creators
First known as Douyin in 2016, TikTok merged with musical.ly in 2018 and is owned by parent company ByteDance. Many marketers have compared the app to Vine, another short-form video app that Twitter purchased in 2012 that shut down just a few years later.
TikTok's social video platform allows users to create, share, and edit 15-second videos with built-in tools to add music or special effects. Users can also string together multiple clips for up to 60-seconds in length.
There are also two ways for users to consume content using the app:
- For You: Videos that TikTok's algorithm feeds you based off your activity
- Following: Quite simply, videos from creators your follow
Who's Using TikTok?
While it might seem like everyone is on TikTok now that we all have so much time on our hands, that's not exactly the case (nor will it continue to be after the pandemic is over, we assume). According to research from GlobalWebIndex, there are roughly 60 million US monthly active users on the app, and about half of those users fall into the 16-24 age bracket. That means about 76% of all 16-24 year-old's in the US are using TikTok (which has likely increased within recent weeks).
How TikTok Creators Fit Into Your Strategy
Because TikTok was built for rapid consumption of entertaining video content, it's the perfect breeding ground for influencers. Literally anyone could create a post that gets millions of views, which makes partnering with influencers beneficial to brands. Of the content that's published, regular users are responsible for nearly 50%, well-known influencers and celebrities 46%, and brands just 4% of all posts. But what's more important is the amount of engagement (audience attention) that influencers generate compared to other popular social channels.
Take the example below of Ariana Grande's Instagram following and engagement against TikTok influencer Loren Gray. You'll notice that while Ariana Grande has a larger following and the ability to reach a larger volume of Instagram users, Loren Gray's TikTok content garners more views on average per post.
And this example isn't limited to just one influencer. By comparing data from the Creator Marketplace, you'll see that TikTok influencers consistently amass a high volume of video views. This shows that TikTok's organic reach and viral capabilities are very beneficial to brands looking to partner with influencers.
What is The Creator Marketplace
TikTok has their own Creator Marketplace, however it's currently in Beta and you need to be invited to participate. Lucky for you, we have access to the Beta if you're interested. From our experience, we've found the marketplace to be very powerful and much more sophisticated than other platform's "creator networks". Users are able to search by audience and topics, as well as have the ability to see previously sponsored posts from the influencers.
Note, while there are only an estimated 2,000 creators in the marketplace at this time, more will be added in the future.
TikTok Influencer Rates
While influencer costs are rising across the industry, TikTok influencers are fairly inexpensive. For example, our latest research indicates that the cost per viewable impression from an IG Influencer ranges from $40-$110, while on TikTok influencers only cost $0.50-$5.00 per video view.
That said, when offering any influencer compensation for their work, but sure to take into consideration the production time it takes to create the content, and how much content you want the influencer to produce.
Understanding FTC Disclosures on TikTok
When it comes to having influencers properly disclose their partnerships, best practices from other channels should translate over to TikTok. That means all content should be clearly labeled in the caption of the post, and because TikTok is a video-centric platform, there also needs to be a text overlay and an audible disclosure in the beginning of the video. This can be a challenge when an audio track is being used in the content, but since multiple videos can be strung together the first video should clearly disclose that the post is sponsored.
Ideas for Activating TikTok Influencers
With a large opportunity to leverage influencers on TikTok, here are a few ideas for activating these partnerships.
- Seed Q&As: Using a voice over audio track, questions are being posed and the influencer is visually demonstrating the answers by pointing at a person/object/overlay. What's more intriguing and unique to TikTok is that once an audio track has been created in the platform, others can use that track and then recreate their own versions of the videos.
- Ask for Tutorials: Influencers demonstrate quick tips and tutorials for people to learn from. This is very popular with beauty, fashion, and food content right now.
- Give Them a Storyboard: Develop a storyboard (or content pattern) that multiple influencers can follow. For example, provide your influencers with the same product and ask them to each create original clips that follow a similar pattern.
- Give Them Original Music: Though it might sound daunting, use the platform to create an original music track that influencers feature in their content.
- Seed a UGC Challenge: TikTok is very much about challenges and inspiring users to create their own content in participation. Influencers are a great way to start challenges and help spread the message and inspire others to participate.
Because TikTok is a new channel, their measurement capabilities are very basic. Make sure you have a Pro Account for your own brand, and recommend to your influencer partners that they upgrade to Pro also to allow access to more valuable insights.
Without a pro account you're able to see light audience insights, but other than that you're only able to see views, comments and likes of the content. Furthermore, if you're not working within the creator marketplace, you have to pull metrics manually.
With a pro account, you're able to dive a little deeper into the content. In addition to above, you're also able to see total shares, total play time, average watch time, and traffic source types.
When it comes to using TikTok, there are three main watch-outs brands should be aware of before launching an influencer campaign:
- UGC Content Could Take On a Life of It's Own: When it comes to UGC, there's no approving what content gets put our there. In some cases, people could be using your music or hashtag and then featuring competitors.
- TikTok Thrives of Authenticity & Speed: TikTok is very different from Instagram, and so are the influencers. If your brand requires polished content and the ability to approve everything, TikTok may not be the right channel for you.
- TikTok Terms of Service: TikTok has unlimited right to repurpose your content, and your influencers content. Meaning at any point, your influencer content could be used in a TikTok commercial, ad, or more.
If you're interested in learning more about working with TikTok influencers, feel free to contact us or download our capabilities deck using the form below to learn more about how we can help your brand.