How to Use TikTok for Marketing – Organic and Paid

TikTok has grown in popularity very quickly, especially among the younger generation. It was the most downloaded app of 2020 and currently has around one billion active users globally.  

There are various benefits to marketing on TikTok – they offer several options for having creators participate in your advertising, making the platform highly engaging, and there are a range of simple steps you can implement to boost your following organically.  

So, if you’ve been looking for ways to market your brand on TikTok without having to spend a lot of money, I’ve put together a list of suggestions for organic marketing, as well as some paid methods.   

Organic Methods

1. Optimise Your Profile

If you want to reach TikTok users organically and build your audience on the app, you first need to make sure that your page is noticeable (you want it to be in the “top row” of TikTok.) To do this, you’ll have to make sure that your profile is set up optimally – use an eye-catching profile picture, include a concise description of your brand, use emojis, and make sure you include a CTA. 

Adding a link from your bio to a landing page or company website is a great way to drive traffic and continue the user journey. You will need to have a business account to do this. From there, you simply add your website into the “website” field when editing your profile. 

3rd Edition of Digital Marketing Strategy OUT NOW

The third edition of my international best-seller, Digital Marketing Strategy is out now. Including updates on cookies, covid, TikTok and much more with new case studies and supporting guides. Pick up a copy now.

Digital Marketing Handbook

The Digital Marketing Handbook is out now and includes over 250 pages of practical tips and advice on running all areas of your marketing campaigns from paid search and SEO to web design and email marketing.

2. Create Engaging, Valuable Content

TikTok is all about user experience, favouring content that engages and entertains. The algorithm gives new users a fair chance at having their content go viral – as long as viewers enjoy it, it doesn’t matter how many or how few followers you have, you can still get millions of views.  

So, start growing your following organically by creating unique, engaging, and valuable content that resonates with the TikTok audience. TikTok users are highly visual, so it’s important to create content that captures their attention and creates the urge for them to share it with others. Some good examples of engaging content include challenges, polls, and quizzes. You can also create videos that show your brand in a positive light.  

3. Polls

Polls are a great way to get feedback from your audience and gain valuable insights about them. You can use polls to collect information such as their age group, gender, location, interests, and preferences – all of which can be extremely helpful when creating content. 

When creating a poll, you can use TikTok Polls or you can host your poll on another platform and share it on TikTok. If you want to create a poll that reaches a wide audience, hosting the poll on TikTok is the best option as they give you the option to promote it. Simply click on “poll” and type in your question. You can then click “promote” and choose which of TikTok’s channels you want to host your poll on. TikTok will then share your poll on those channels. 

4. Add CTAs in Your Videos

Another great way to reach TikTok users organically is by adding a call-to-action in your videos. Make sure that it’s short and to the point. TikTok videos also have a “tile”, or a large image at the top of the video – another space to include your CTA. 

5. Hashtags

Hashtags on TikTok work in the same way as hashtags on Instagram or Twitter. Using them makes your videos more discoverable and attracts qualified leads. They’re an easy way to help people who are already interested in the topic can find your videos more easily, so there’s no excuse not to use them. Use hashtags that relate to the main concept of your video. 

Another benefit of hashtags is that they help with competitor research. You can discover competitors you weren’t already aware of those the important hashtags for your industry, and you can then check how their performance compares to yours. They also provide inspiration for content creation, and the opportunity to capitalise on trends.

6. Branded Effects

Branded effects include assets such as filters and stickers which users can use in their content. You can also incorporate them into your branded hashtag challenges. Since they involve action on the user’s part, they are highly engaging.  

7. Live Videos

Live videos have become increasingly popular in recent years and have proven to be an effective marketing strategy. They allow you to interact with your audience and respond to their comments in real time. An added benefit is that it helps build rapport and trust between your brand and audience, and gives them a personalised experience. 

Paid Methods

1. Ads

TikTok ads can be in the form of videos, photos, or text only (unsurprisingly, the most common format is video). The types of video ads are: 

  • Pre-roll: These ads are shown before a user starts watching a video. They should be visually appealing in order to capture a viewer’s attention.  
  • Mid-roll: These ads are shown during the middle of a video. They don’t have to be as visually appealing, and their purpose is to provide information about the product being advertised. 
  • In-feed: These videos appear in users’ “For You” page, just like regular videos from accounts they follow. They can be up to 60 seconds long. Users can like, share, and comment on these ads.  
  • TopView: These ads appear at the top of the ”For You” feed. They can be up to 60 seconds long and because of their unmissable nature, they’re great for increasing brand awareness.  
  • Brand takeover ads: These are full-screen ads that appear for a few seconds when users open the app. They can be up to 15 seconds long, and a user will only see one of these ads per day. 

TikTok ads can also take the form of sponsored posts and sponsored channels. Sponsored posts are similar to mid-roll ads, but they can also contain text-based content. 

2. Branded Hashtag Challenges

A branded hashtag challenge is when a company creates a hashtag and challenges their followers to post creative content using the hashtag. These challenges not only build the reach in terms of numbers, but also in quality, as users will be emotionally invested in the interaction. To further incentivise them, you can throw in prizes for the best videos. To get some inspiration, see these examples of TikTok challenges that other businesses have created. 

3. Live Video Ads

Live video ads bring the same benefits I mentioned above, about live video in general. These ads are simple to create – login to your account, click the “Advertise” tab, and click “Start Now” next to “Live Video”. You can also select “end date” and “budget” so you can manage your campaign accordingly. Once your campaign is set up, you can share your live video ad on TikTok by selecting your audience and selecting “share”. 

4. Spark Ads

TikTok launched spark ads in 2021 and they have proven to be effective (they have a 30% higher completion rate and 142% higher engagement rate than in-feed ads). So what are they? Spark ads appear in-feed or as TopView ads. They allow users easy access to your landing page via a CTA, your profile by simply swiping left, and follow the account by clicking the + sign.  

The best part is that as well as using your own content, spark ads allow you to leverage the content of other users who mention your brand. The advantage of this is the enhanced credibility due to social proof – seeing other people using a company’s product can be extremely influential, more so than the company talking about their product, and this is reflected in the statistics above.  

You can use the Discover feature to find videos that mention your brand (make sure you choose videos that are performing well). Also note that you will need to get permission from the creator to use their videos for advertising.  You can run the ad for either 7, 30, or 60 days. If the creator agrees, they will have to change the status of their video so that it’s set as “available” for ads. 

5. Influencers

Seek out creators that can help spread the word about your brand. A few tips to keep in mind include: 

  • Make sure your goal for using influencers is clear and measurable. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, you can track how many people saw an influencer’s post about your product and then compare that number to a control group. 
  • Choose influencers who are relevant to your target audience to ensure that their followers are actually interested in what you have to say. 
  • Work with influencers who have a good relationship with their followers. In this case, followers will be more likely to trust their recommendation and consider buying your product. 
  • Be clear about what you expect from the influencer and what they will get in return. This will help ensure that both parties are on the same page and that the partnership is beneficial for both of you. 
  • Make sure to monitor the campaign closely so you can adjust it as needed. This includes tracking how well it’s performing and whether or not the influencer is meeting your expectations. 

The TikTok Creator Marketplace is at your disposal to make it easier to find people for collaboration. With the opportunity to work together on paid campaigns, this is the perfect place for creative minds to come together and create amazing content. 

6. Sponsored Stickers

TikTok has an in-built feature where brands can create their own stickers that users can then add to their own TikTok posts. Sponsored stickers are a cost-effective way to market your brand, engage your audience and reach new customers organically. You can create a variety of stickers to appeal to different types of users, and you can even create stickers with various call-to-actions.  

To sum up, TikTok has a large and diverse audience making it a great place to explore new marketing strategies. There are a variety of ways to use TikTok for marketing, and the best way to find out which one works best for your brand is to experiment and try new things.  

If you want to reach TikTok users organically and build your audience on the app, you first need to make sure that your page is noticeable. Once your page is set up, you can start growing your following organically by creating unique and engaging content that resonates with the TikTok audience.  

TikTok users are highly visual, so it’s important to create engaging content that captures their attention and creates an urge to share it with their friends. Including them in the content creation process through challenges and other collaborations provides an outlet for creative self-expression, increasing their emotional investment in your brand.  

Need help with your TikTok marketing? Click here to see how my team and I can assist you. 

Share this post


Related Posts

What is generative AI?

Generative AI is helping lots of marketers and businesses be more creative, efficient and cost-effective. Find out all about the technology in this article.

Read More »

Need help with your marketing? Get in touch