If you‘re a brand that knows you should be leveraging TikTok but aren‘t sure where to start, don‘t worry—you‘re not alone. A lot of businesses are in the same boat. While TikTok advertising isn‘t one size fits all, there are some general tips that can help any brand get started on the platform.
This FAQ is a great overview of how to use TikTok effectively as a brand. Check it out and find the answers you’ve been searching for!
What do I need to know if I’m just getting started on TikTok?
A great way to get up to speed on the platform is to watch content before you try to make anything. If you’re brand new to TikTok, you can watch all kinds of content on your For You page (the “For You” section on your Home tab) and on the Discover page (the Discover tab). Watching content in either of these places will give you a feel for how TikTok content works, what you like and don’t like in other people’s content, what’s currently trending, and what you might want to emulate for your own content. Then, it’s best to just start trying out content to see how the process feels and get a basic understanding of who your TikTok audience will be.
Does TikTok work for [insert my industry here: B2B, finance, law, nonprofits, news, music, crafting, etc.]?
We can’t touch on every single industry in a few sentences, but the short answer is a resounding yes! You might be surprised at some of the content that goes viral or gains a following on TikTok. Part of the explanation for this is that the algorithm is especially effective at putting your content in front of the people who are most likely to enjoy it, but also TikTok audiences are unique in that there isn’t necessarily an expectation that your content has to fit a certain mold. As long as your content is entertaining, educational, or otherwise engaging, it has a shot at doing really well.
Any tips for writing creative briefs for influencers/content creators? How can I give them creative liberty while still staying true to our brand?
This is a great question, and it’s a challenge for all forms of partnerships with other brands or creators. We’d recommend sharing some structure for the content, such as using a hook, but giving the creator freedom over how to execute your vision. Helpful information you may want to share with them often includes your brand guidelines, your goals for the content (like brand awareness vs. driving sales), any specific taglines or product features you need them to share, and any visuals they should include or avoid.
Beyond this basic framework, it’s important to let the creator have some control over the concept and execution. After all, their followers like their content for a reason, and the more it looks authentic to their typical style and content, the more viewers will trust the partnership.
Thoughts on using TikTok for recruiting new employees?
TikTok can definitely work for recruiting new employees. One common approach is to show behind-the-scenes content of what it’s like to work at your company to generate some excitement around it. Other options include asking applicants to create a TikTok as part of their application (Nerf did this recently with great success), snippets of work from people in different areas of the company, or highlighting your company’s unique mission, selling points, or perks in video format. This may not work as well for niche industries or positions, but it can work especially well if you hire frequently and have many openings to fill or if you’re looking for entry- or mid-level talent that may be in the age range that’s most active on TikTok.
Is there any penalty for uploading footage filmed on like a DSLR and then uploading it to TikTok or Reels instead of filming it right in the app?
Not as far as we know! Filming on another camera can work really well for TikTok, and many creators take this approach for higher-quality content. Our only caution is to make sure the final content still feels authentic and genuine. Sometimes, focusing on production value can make video content feel stiff or formal, which doesn’t often work well with TikTok’s user base.
How can we ensure that the content created is accurate and establishes credibility given the number of voices on any topic?
There are a few things we’d recommend to ensure your content is accurate and credible. First, try not to share expertise about topics you’re not familiar with. Second, do some quick research before you record your video to fact-check your talking points. A quick Google search can often save you from sharing content that’s not entirely correct. Lastly, if there’s anything you’d like to talk about that you’re not quite as knowledgeable about, disclose that in your video. It’s completely okay to say that you’re still learning about something and welcome corrections or feedback in the comments if you’re hoping to learn more.
How should brands evaluate having a presence on TikTok and what things should we plan for if we decide to move forward?
We often recommend that if organizations have the bandwidth and internal resources to test TikTok content, there’s very little downside and a ton of potential upside. At the very least, you’ll be dipping your toes into video content that you can likely repurpose later if TikTok doesn’t work out as a platform. However, if investing in TikTok content will mean that other parts of your video content strategy suffer or that you’re stretched too thin to do any of your content justice, it might not be the right time to try out a new platform. It’s better to excel at what you’re already doing than to start doing lots of things poorly.
How can I create brand content without it feeling pushy like an ad?
On TikTok, it can work really well to be transparent about your position as a brand owner or marketer and highlight your product or service from a personal perspective. We’ve seen lots of brands with successful product videos where they just explain what they make and why you might like it. The key can sometimes be to talk about your product the way you’d explain it to a friend or family member rather than treating it like a traditional ad. The less stilted and pushy it seems to you, the better it will likely work on TikTok.
Do you think it’s important to differentiate content between Reels and TikTok?
Viewers on both platforms can often tell when a video was created for something else (like a TikTok being repurposed on Reels or an old marketing video being adapted for TikTok). While you may have success despite this, viewers like to know that they’re creating content that was designed with them in mind. If possible, create slightly different content for each platform. If that will make your process too complicated, don’t worry too much about this and just share the content you like. If you do want to repurpose the same content across platforms, find a resource to remove TikTok watermarks to repost on Reels (or elsewhere).
How do I make the most of a viral video moment?
There are several things you can do to tap into the success of your viral video, such as interacting with the comments, either by replying via text or by creating a new video based on a particular comment (which you can pin at the top of the new video). It’s also a great idea to consider whether you can create similar content in the future, either by using the same trend or sound or by turning your successful video into the beginning of a series.
How do you balance preparing content in advance and producing content on the fly? How do you incorporate trends when you don’t know what the trends are going to be?
This is a tough question for all of content marketing—not just for TikTok. We’d recommend putting together a content calendar that plans out your baseline content in advance, leaving some gaps where you might take advantage of trends. Let’s say your goal is to post two videos a week on TikTok (more on post frequency later). You might want to make one in advance that’s largely unrelated to current trends and make one during the week to post right away. Most brand content creators can’t just decide every piece of content on a whim, but it can be nice to leave some room for that kind of content in your plan to allow you to go with the flow.
How do you balance the need to match the informal/authentic/personal aesthetic of TikTok while wanting to uphold the creative integrity of a larger institution?
The great thing about trying a new platform is that you often have some creative liberty to go in a different direction. Even if your content on other platforms is more formal or regulated, it’s okay to take a slightly different approach on TikTok to appeal to the platform’s user base. The most important quality you mentioned here is authentic—it’s okay if the content isn’t super informal or personal, but it does definitely matter that it feels authentic to the viewer.
How do you gain insight into what your audience is watching? How do you ensure you are reaching this audience?
A great way to understand what your audience wants from your content is to watch videos from other similar creators and to explore the hashtags that are relevant to your content. Both of these practices will give you ideas about what might work well for your brand. In terms of reaching your audience, utilizing those same hashtags is a great strategy, but in many ways, TikTok’s algorithm is great at helping your content find its best audience. While you can still take steps like adding hashtags to help contribute to the success, even videos with no hashtags or captions can take off if the algorithm presents it to the right people.
How can I drive interaction with viewers and get them to click into my profile/follow as opposed to simply liking/commenting and moving on?
Many creators will end their videos with a call to action asking viewers to follow them for more content on _____ (fill in the blank for your own page). This is a great way to remind people that if they liked what they just saw, they can get more of it by following your account. You can also encourage comments by asking questions or requesting feedback on your content. Lastly, you’ll want to add your website link and any other relevant CTAs in your profile’s bio to drive further engagement beyond the TikTok platform.
How can you stand out when everyone is creating the same thing?
You don’t necessarily have to focus on standing out, although you may want to try to approach your content from a new perspective or put a twist on similar content you’re seeing. If not, though, rest assured that many TikTok users actually follow similar accounts on purpose. When they find a content style or a topic they enjoy hearing about, they may not mind following multiple accounts that post the same type of content. If this is what’s stopping you from creating content, we’d recommend trying a few videos and seeing how it goes before you count yourself out.
What advice do you have for older (40+) people looking to get started making TikTok videos?
Do it! While TikTok has a reputation as being for Gen Z or a younger audience, the reality is that there are tons of users and creators in older generations. As you watch content as a user, try to watch for adult content creators that you like and note what you think they do well. Then, try to emulate those qualities in your own content. At the very least, you’ll be able to validate that there’s a place for you on TikTok and it’s not just for Gen Z and Millennials.
What are the three top competencies necessary to be successful as a content creator and marketing influencer?
You’ll get different answers to this question depending on who you ask, but here’s our answer. First, curiosity. So much of content creation is just being curious about what’s already out there and noticing what you like and don’t like about what other creators are doing. Second, basic tech and production skills. Thankfully, TikTok’s app makes many technicalities of video production super simple, but you will need to understand how the app works and nail video basics like lighting and audio quality. The easiest way to learn is by doing, so you’ll likely pick up these skills over time. Lastly, we’d say authenticity. It’s been a theme in many of these responses for good reason—it’s so important to your audience that it can really make or break your content.