TikTok has changed everything about social media in just a few short years.
“Social media is no longer just about posting the perfect photos, only focusing on long-form live or pre-recorded content, or connecting with long-lost high school friends,” according to Keenya Kelly. Keenya is the CEO of If You Brand It, a video marketing and consulting firm in San Diego, CA, where she strategically helps business owners build their brands through video marketing.
“It is now a way to reach an audience of people for various reasons.
“Videos have gone from 30 minutes to an hour to sometimes 15 seconds or fewer that are powerful, intentional, and unforgettable.
“I have had the pleasure of watching how TikTok has completely changed the world and how it’s radically altering how we market our businesses online.
“Our business has generated over one million dollars in revenue in the last three years. We have served thousands of companies and increased their bottom line by implementing organic strategies for short-form videos.
“I am so excited that Agorapulse is releasing this book because millions of business owners need to understand how to create content on TikTok and the value that having a presence on the app will bring to their business.
“As you read this, I encourage you to have the app open on your computer or mobile device so that you can experience the app while learning. You will be amazed at how differently you will see the app when you look at it through a business owner’s eyes.
“So get ready to be blown away and start working with Agorapulse today on marketing your brand on TikTok.”
Why TikTok Is No Longer an Option for Marketers, It’s a Must-Have
“TikTok is mainly for Gen Zers. How can it possibly offer me the same opportunities to reach and engage my audience as established social media platforms like Instagram can?’’
Is this why you haven’t jumped aboard the TikTok train yet?
Does TikTok have the same engagement and reach potential of established social media channels?
Let’s address the biggest elephant in the room straight away: Is TikTok only an effective marketing channel for brands that have followers mostly less than 23 years old?
Though we can’t deny that a lot of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old, the golden oldie Millennials and Gen Xers are quickly catching on. Some 29% of people between 25 and 34 years old are now on the app.
As the graph below demonstrates, around half of TikTok users are now over 30.
But the initial adoption of a new social media channel by the younger generation isn’t a new concept.
So, don’t worry about not reaching your target audience with TikTok right now. That will change in time.
Putting age groups aside … TikTok has recruited over one billion active users since it launched six short years ago.
This growth rate is phenomenal. Compare it to Instagram, which has roughly the same amount of users but took 12 years (double the time it took TikTok) to reach that number.
Every month, TikTok is downloaded more than millions of times, with the average user spending over 1.5 hours a day browsing their FYP (For You Page). That popularity presents brands with an opportunity to promote their products and services to a vast amount of people.
But social media isn’t just about getting your content in front of lots of people.
You want your content to evoke reactions and engage your audience.
Let the below statistics sink in:
- Instagram has an average engagement rate of around 0.83%.
- Facebook has an average engagement rate of around 0.13%.
- TikTok has an average engagement rate of around 5.96%. The highest engagement rate across all social media networks.
If it’s reach and engagement you’re after, TikTok is a channel to utilize.
Yes, it’s early days for the social media network. It’s still building momentum and popularity. But the upward trajectory is there, and it’s strong.
And you know what they say about the early bird catching the worm …
“If you go now, you’ll be ahead of the competition because in five years, when no one cares about Instagram anymore, and EVERYONE is on Tik Tok, you’ll be way ahead of the curve.” (Drake Andrews, founder of Kozen Creative)
Before you do go on TikTok, know that TikTok will only be an effective marketing channel if you plan for success. It’s no good counting on previously used marketing tactics or repurposing old content.
TikTok is a unique platform that requires a unique approach.
The Ultimate Strategy for Launching on TikTok
To keep content fresh and interesting, TikTok encourages its creators to post short, sharp, snappy videos that range from 15 seconds to 10 minutes.
The bite-sized, snackable content is what entertains users and keeps them scrolling for more: “I’ll just watch one… Maybe another… OK, one more… Just this LAST one…” Before TikTok users know it, they’ve lost an hour watching comedy skits, lip-sync videos, and viral challenges.
So you can see why 6.4% of TikTok’ers are at risk of developing an addiction to the platform.
“TikTok has videos you want to see because they make you feel good. When things make us feel good, it releases dopamine into the brain and you start wanting more and more.” (Dr. Williams, mental health specialist)
TikTok’s ferocious level of addiction creates a double-edged sword for marketers:
- On one side, TikTok offers digital marketers the chance to deeply hook their audience in and engage and connect with them through their content.
- On the other side, brands only have 60 seconds to stop the scroll while they swim in a sea filled with thousands of other TikTok videos.
As more brands join TikTok, digital marketers will need to find new ways to thrive on the platform.
A stop-start campaign-based approach, which often works well on platforms like Instagram or Facebook, is unlikely to have the same impact on TikTok.
TikTok is too fast-paced and demanding for sporadic posting. Content just gets lost or forgotten.
Instead, brands need to be present. All the time. They need an always-on marketing strategy.
Why an always-on strategy is needed for TikTok
“Always-on marketing represents a marketing strategy centered around consistent audience engagement and messaging.” (Hello Social, “What is Always-On Marketing (And What Are The Benefits?”)
An always-on approach to marketing on TikTok enables a brand to establish a constant presence on the platform through continuously posting organic and paid content.
Releasing a steady stream of content will:
- Regularly expose your audience to key brand messages, which will keep you in the forefront of their minds
- Allow you to constantly monitor performance, and quickly change or optimize content when it’s not working
- Let your audience get to know you, making it easier for you to build and strengthen relationships and create loyal TikTok communities
The four pillars of always-on marketing on TikTok
Building your TikTok content strategy around the four pillars below will keep you focused, stress-free, and successful on TikTok.
Pillar 1: Maintain a regular organic presence
Authenticity on social media is big right now, especially on TikTok. TikTok is not a place for idealistic, pretentious videos. It’s a place for reality, creativity, and lighthearted (but sometimes controversial) fun. A continuous stream of real, organic content that comes directly from the heart of your brand will make you relatable and keep you interesting to your TikTok audience.
Pillar 2: Release a steady stream of in-feed ads
Support your organic existence on the platform with a steady stream of in-feed ads. Those ads will appear seamlessly alongside your organic content on your audience’s For You pages. This is where you can bring in subtle messages around products, features, and services to strengthen your organic presence. Continuous in-feed ads combined with sustained organic content is the best way to earn respect and trust from your followers while you also achieve your marketing goals.
Pillar 3: Build strong relationships with creators
TikTok content creators are the ones who bring the real flair, creativity, and authenticity to the platform. They can tell a story, they can make a video go viral, and they can sniff out the hottest TikTok trends before you can say “Tell Me, Without Telling Me, That You’re a …” Partnering or co-creating with professional content creators is, therefore, essential if you want to start trending on TikTok while resonating with your audience.
Pillar 4: Use additional paid ad formats to support one-off campaigns
Running additional paid ads, alongside your organic videos, in-feed ads, and creator-led content, during one-off campaigns will strengthen your core messages and cut through the general TikTok clutter.
This four-pillar approach to always-on marketing on TikTok will positively impact your reach and broaden your brand’s visibility on the platform.
But we need to delve a little deeper into these four pillars.
Pillar 1: Building a Regular Organic Presence on TikTok
The first pillar is the strong, central pillar in place to support your entire always-on TikTok marketing strategy.
If this pillar crumbles, your TikTok debut will flop.
To build up an organic presence that keeps you at the top of your audiences’ For You pages and, therefore, in the front of their minds, you need to consider the following when creating or optimizing your organic content:
- Posting frequently
- What time to post
- Using sounds (Make sure they are not copyrighted!)
- Following trends
- Adding hashtags
- Writing descriptions and comments
- Understanding your audience
- Finding your niche
- Optimizing your TikTok profile
- Exploiting algorithms
- Utilizing performance metrics
TikTok experts say that to build and sustain an always-on organic presence on TikTok you should post at least once a day. (Some brands even post up to five times a day.)
“The quantity of uploads has a direct impact on the speed of account growth. The NBA’s account is a good example. It is currently the most followed account in sports and has posted 2,700+ videos.” (Social Media Week, “How to Launch Your Brand into TikTok Stardom”)
If this all sounds like a lot of time, effort, money, and personnel, don’t panic.
TikTok is a fast-paced platform that welcomes fresh, new content as it comes. It doesn’t need to be perfectly polished and box-fresh. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t.
You can knock out a quick, 60-second video using only your phone and get it in front of your audience in minutes.
That is something that TikTok supports in its own mission statement: “TikTok empowers everyone to be a creator directly from their smartphones.”
Top Tip: Before you launch on TikTok, have a bank of at least 30 ready-to-publish videos to give you something to post every day for the first month. You’ll then have a good cadence to start with and a solid buffer for when life gets in the way of filming new content (which it inevitably will). Use a social media management tool, like Agorapulse, to create and schedule these posts in advance, giving you even more time to focus on creating future content.
What time to post on TikTok
It’s not only how often you post on TikTok that matters, it’s also what time you post.
To get the biggest reach and the most interactions, post when you know your audience will be on the platform.
Benchmarks that tell you when TikTok users are the most active are handy, but analytics will determine the best time to post on TikTok.
Again, if you use a social media management platform that has built-in analytics like Agorapulse, you’ll be able to monitor patterns in user behavior and see when people are engaging with your content on TikTok. This will tell you when the right time to post is.
How to use sounds
Just like the quality, type, and style of images are central to your success on Instagram, the quality, type, and style of sounds are central to your success on TikTok. More than 90% of TikTok users say that the soundtracks that accompany the videos they watch can either make or break their experience.
Users can find your content based on the soundtracks you choose, either from the TikTok Sounds Library, a song that another creator has used, or from your own concoction of sounds. So make sure you tag it well.
And remember: A well-chosen soundtrack that goes viral could take your video with it. Like Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” for example.
How to follow trends on TikTok
TikTok is a fun platform because its content is largely trend-based, which often makes it transient, lighthearted, and entertaining rather than heavy, serious, and formal.
The trick with trends is to catch them before people get bored. Which is usually within 3-5 days.
To discover new trending ideas, continuously:
- Research hashtags and sounds
- Check what’s trending inside and outside of your niche
- Scroll through your For You page and Discovery pages
A word of warning, though: Don’t just jump on any old trend. Relatability and authenticity are essential if you want to get noticed on TikTok.
Say you’re an insurance company, for example. A transformative glow-up post might get you a lot of views, but it won’t build your presence as a respectable financial brand. Stick to trends that show your brand in its true, authentic light.
For example, to celebrate National Avocado Day, (yes, National Avocado Day is a thing) American restaurant chain, Chipotle, decided to give free guacamole to all their online customers.
To promote this offer, they posted a TikTok with a member of staff dancing to the “Guacamole Song” (yep, also a thing) with the hashtag #GuacDance.
Not only was the video quirky, lighthearted, and funny, but it also managed to capture the core essence of Chipotle as a brand. As a result, Chipotle’s TikTok video went viral and sparked the #GuacDance challenge, which then became the highest-performing branded challenge on TikTok, in just one week.
Why add hashtags on TikTok
When adding hashtags to your TikTok content, consider:
- What hashtags to use: Adding niche hashtags to your TikTok content, like your brand name, will help your audience find you. Adding commonly used hashtags like #ForYouPage will do the opposite. If there are too many videos associated with the same hashtag, people won’t be able to scratch through the thick surface of hashtags to find you.
- How many hashtags to use. Don’t waste your video description space with an extensive list of hashtags, hoping it’ll help people to find your content. Think quality over quantity. Use words and hashtags that describe your video or brand. That will help your audience find you more than a list of meaningless hashtags will.
How to write descriptions and comments on TikTok
When writing any description on social media, always aim for quality: Describe what the viewer is about to see, and add a tantalizing question or sentence that encourages them to engage with your post.
And don’t neglect comments either. Comments on TikTok are ranked according to how many likes they get, so posting on a highly liked comment is a great way to get noticed.
Understand your audience
You need to understand your audience so that you can create content that resonates with them.
I know, this is the first rule of marketing. It’s probably something that you’ve been doing since day one. But understanding your audience is such an important part of creating content on TikTok, that it’s worth adding here. (Even if you already know it!)
People these days don’t like being sold to. Most have grown immune to ads, preferring to align themselves with content that speaks to them and their personal interests.
So, take a closer look at your audience on TikTok and other social media platforms to find out what kind of content they like, follow, and engage with.
And don’t be afraid to experiment. As we’ve previously established, TikTok is the perfect place to try out new ideas.
Find your niche on TikTok
Posting niche content is usually good for engagement, but not so much for reach, right? No, not on TikTok.
TikTok was built to bring small communities, bound by unique but common interests, together. It’s full of little pockets of engaged people that are thirsty for diverse content. They are eager to engage with content on TikTok.
“You’d expect niche content to have less reach but a higher engagement rate, but the reach and impressions of niche content still does phenomenally well on TikTok, compared to any other platform. This tells us that being niche on the platform is highly effective.” (The Drum, “Everything Brands Need to Know About Launching on TikTok”)
Optimize your TikTok profile
Like LinkedIn and Facebook, treat your TikTok profile like it’s your storefront. Your profile is a window into the heart and soul of your brand. So, spend time making sure that it reflects who you are properly, and authentically.
First, choose an image that visually represents your brand. Something like your logo, brand colors, and fonts should help people make an instant connection between your TikTok profile and your brand.
Top tip: Make sure that your profile is consistent across all of your social media channels so that you’re showing your audience a consistent visual brand identity.
Second, write a clear and concise company description. You only have 80 characters, so keep it snappy, but not at the sake of losing the essence of your brand. For example, BUXOM Cosmetics has chosen three words to describe their brand on TikTok: Big. Bold. Sexy.
Third, choose your clickable link carefully. TikTok only allows you to add one link to your profile, so make sure that you pick a URL that aligns with your marketing goals. You could include a link to a landing page, a product demo, or a free trial, for example.
Regardless of where your link takes your audience, make sure that the URL you add is clean and recognizable. People don’t click on URLs with misspelled words, extra punctuation, and lots of unnecessary characters and symbols.
Figuring out algorithms, whether it’s Google’s latest search update or the new Facebook ad algorithm, is a bug that all digital marketing professionals have to bear.
Understanding how the TikTok algorithm works and exploiting it to your advantage is the game you must play if you want your organic content to land at the top of your audience’s For You pages.
Word of warning: Like any algorithm, TikTok’s algorithm is likely to change over time. So, take these four TikTok algorithm rules that I’m about to divulge (although in regard to content creation, they’re all good, standard practices to follow anyway), with a pinch of salt and a little research of your own. This is probably the best place to look if you want the very latest TikTok algorithm updates.
TikTok algorithm rule #1: Post regularly
If you post regularly, you’ll increase your brand’s visibility on the platform and also be rewarded by the TikTok algorithm. The more content you post, the more your content will be shown. It’s as simple as that.
TikTok algorithm rule #2: Encourage interaction
Like with the Instagram algorithm, the TikTok algorithm will also show users more of the content that they interact with the most. So a video that they like, share, or comment on is more likely to appear on their For You page, over a video that they just watch. Even if a user follows your brand account, if they don’t interact with your content, they’re unlikely to see it on their FYP.
TikTok algorithm rule #3: Strategically pick popular sounds
We’ve already covered the importance of using TikTok sounds to help users find and enjoy your content. But the TikTok algorithm will also favor the videos that contain music that users often search for. Choose your tunes wisely.
Top Tip: Make use of TikTok’s music library to avoid any risk of copyright infringement.
TikTok algorithm rule #4: Get people to watch right until the end
What’s the biggest sign that someone has enjoyed a video? Yep, they watch it in full. This explains why the TikTok algorithm ranks videos higher if they’ve been watched right the way through, from start to finish. So create content that catches people’s attention at the beginning and holds it until the end.
Utilize performance metrics
There’s little point in implementing all of the above tactics if you don’t monitor and measure their impact on your organic and paid content performance.
How can you shape future TikTok strategies if you don’t have data that establishes what is and isn’t working, or when people engage with your content the most? Or, how can you prove to the board that your TikTok activity is worth the budget if you don’t have data that tracks users from engagement through to conversion?
Of course, like Facebook et al, TikTok also has in-house analytics that can measure your top-level performance on the platform, so it’s worth taking advantage of these.
But, if you’re still logging into each individual social media platform to manually collect and consolidate performance data so that you can build a report that compares performance across all of your social media channels, you’re wasting your valuable time.
Choose Agorapulse to pull data from all your social media networks. The social media management tool connects with Google Analytics to track user journeys from engagement to conversion and also builds reports that prove performance and Social Media ROI.
Take advantage of this free Agorapulse trial and leave the hard work to Agorapulse.
Pillar 2. Creating a Continuous Stream of In-Feed TikTok Ads
The second pillar in your always-on TikTok marketing strategy is there to support your organic presence, maintain visibility, and push key marketing messages to your audience.
It involves running a steady stream of TikTok in-feed ads.
What are TikTok in-feed ads?
In-feed ads are TikTok’s standard paid ad format. They’re similar to Instagram ads because they appear as users scroll through their FYP feed, and they’re skippable.
In-feed ads are short and sweet, usually no longer than 60 seconds, and TikTok users can like, share, and comment on them, like they can with organic content.
Why choose a steady stream of in-feed ads over other paid ad formats?
First, in-feed ads can be created from within the platform, which makes them the most cost-effective option if you’re planning to run them continuously.
Second, because in-feed ads sit among organic content, they’re more natural and authentic. This means that the marketing messages within these ads are subtle as opposed to salesy. So, that is the perfect format for the general TikTok audience, who often suffer from direct ad blindness.
Are TikTok in-feed ads worth the investment?
Let’s rip this bandage off: It’s currently $10 per 1,000 views, and the minimum daily spend for in-feed TikTok ads, is $20 per ad group.
There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?
But pouring a budget into a continuous stream of paid ads, on a social media platform you’ve only just joined, is like taking a jump off a cliff, blindfolded. Who knows where you’ll land?
While there’s some truth in this, there’s also some proof that in-feed TikTok ads do work, alongside regular organic content: For instance, the average CTR for TikTok in-feed ads is between 1.5 and 3%. The average CTR for Instagram story ads is around 0.58%.
A 3% CTR vs a 0.58% CTR. I’ll leave that there for you.
How to create stellar TikTok in-feed ads
Your in-feed ads will only drive a CTR of 3% if they’re effective. So, follow these four tips:
- TikTok in-feed ads tip #1: Keep them short and sharp
While your ad can be up to 60 seconds long, the sweet spot for in-feed ads is somewhere between 9 and 15 seconds.
- TikTok in-feed ads tip #2: Design for sound
Like when you’re making organic content, the sounds you use in your in-feed ads could be the difference between an engagement or a scroll-by. Sound should be one of your first considerations, never your second
- TikTok in-feed ads tip #3: Be subtle, not salesy
Make your in-feed ads raw, authentic, and entertaining. They should naturally blend in with the content on FYPs and complement your own organic content.
- TikTok in-feed ads tip #4: Have clear CTAs
While your ad messaging needs to be authentic and subtle, make sure your CTAs are clear and concise. Your audience should know exactly what you want them to do next.
Pillar 3. Strengthening Partnerships With TikTok Creators
Like the first and second pillars, the third pillar is there to support your brand presence on the platform, through forming solid partnerships with TikTok creators.
TikTok is calling the next generation of influencers the term creators because the consumer market is turning its back on content that’s inauthentic and unrealistic, and moving towards content that brings them value.
TikTok creators don’t sell products or services. They create off-the-cuff, real, authentic content that gives something back to their audience: usually entertainment, inspiration, or a good laugh.
The first-wave influencers, who still have their place on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, post more contrived, scripted content that seems to almost take something away from their audience. (Usually it’s their trust and belief in the products or services they’re being coerced or “influenced” into buying!)
Our modern-day audience prefers the nitty-gritty truth of real life, over picture-perfect, but fabricated glamor. So it makes sense to use TikTok creators to promote your products or services. That, and the fact that ads featuring TikTok creators get an 83% higher engagement rate compared to non-creator ads.
Crocs, the love-them-or-hate-them footwear brand, has given us a great example of how effective TikTok creators can be for a brand looking to increase its followers:
Crocs created the #ThousandDollarCrocs hashtag challenge to promote its new line of Crocs. In the challenge, the brand asked a group of carefully picked TikTok creators to share videos of themselves wearing Crocs, while acting like they’d paid a thousand bucks for them. They used a Post Malone soundtrack to back up the videos. When the challenge started to gain traction, the brand partnered with Malone himself to increase engagement and hype. It worked: The hashtag went viral, the shoes sold out, and their followers went up by 18%.
But partnering with TikTok creators will only work if they’re the right fit for you, and you’re the right fit for them.
Although there’s a slight difference between influencers and creators, the principles behind finding the right person to promote your brand and then developing a strong relationship with them, remain the same.
We recently published the free ebook “‘What, Where, and How to Invest in Influencer Marketing,” which goes into detail about this very subject, download it here, for free.
To summarize, when trying to find the right creator to partner up with, look at:
- Their audience: Do their followers match your target market demographic?
- Their content: Are they creating content that will resonate with your audience and align with your brand values?
When you’ve found your person, build a mutually beneficial relationship with them by doing these two things:
- Treat them like friends, not employees
- Trust them by giving them creative freedom (they’re the TikTok experts, not you)
Go check out the “What, Where, and How to Invest in Influencer Marketing” ebook if you want to nail your TikTok creator partnerships.
Top tip: TikTok has a feature called Creator Marketplace,” which you can log into and connect with thousands of creators that are perfectly aligned with your brand. Narrow down your search using filters such as location, follower count, audience demographics, and topics.
Pillar 4. Using Additional TikTok Ads for Peak Campaign Performance
The fourth and final pillar leverages other forms of TikTok paid ads to boost campaign performance and solidify the foundations of your always-on TikTok marketing strategy.
If TikTok paid ads are released at key times during a campaign, they can ramp up your visibility, strengthen your presence on the platform, and push your campaign messages out to your audience.
They are the ultimate pow! that’s needed during critical campaigns, such as a product or new feature launches.
Your regular organic TikTok creator and in-feed ad content will bring people to the line. Additional paid ads will push people over it.
Types of TikTok ads
We’re already using a steady stream of in-feed TikTok ads to support your organic presence on the platform, build brand awareness, and send out subtle messages to support your marketing objectives.
But there are five other types of TikT0k ads that you can run for one-off campaign-specific purposes to bolster your other efforts.
- Top-view ads: Top-view ads are good for visibility because the ad will appear at the top of a user’s FYP as soon as they open the app.
- Brand takeover ads: These ads guarantee visibility because the ad takes over the entire screen for five (unskippable) seconds, as soon as someone opens the app. The ad then remains on the user’s FYP, as an in-feed ad.
- Spark ads: These types of ads “spark” life back into your existing content. Instead of creating a new ad, you can use spark ads to promote old, but effective, content and attribute any new engagement or views to the original post.
- Branded hashtag challenges: Hashtag challenges are synonymous with TikTok. TikTok users upload a video with a challenge and a supporting hashtag. They then encourage other TikTok users to complete the challenge and post their attempts (with the hashtag). Before you know it, everyone’s doing it, and it’s gone viral. Branded hashtag challenges are the same, except TikTok gives them priority because you’ve paid for the visibility.
- Branded effects: Sometimes known as special effects, stickers, or TikTok lenses, branded effects allow you to create branded, customized filters, 2-D or 3-D lenses, and stickers, which can last for up to 10 days, that TikTok’ers can use to enhance their own content.
Let’s talk about money
Paid TikTok ads can cost you a small fortune: Think at least $2 million for a premium slot or placement.
But you don’t have to be Nike or Disney to afford to run TikTok ads:
“You can spend under $100 a day on TikTok ads; a lot depends on your timing and your desired ad placement.” (Marketer Hire, The Power of TikTok Ads)
The cost to run a series of TikTok ads during a campaign will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The length of the campaign
- The size of the audience you’re targeting
- The time of day/week
- The competition for ad space
But we can ballpark some figures.
For example, at the time of writing this, it will cost you between $50,000 to $100,000 to take over a popular TikTok channel. And a hashtag challenge will cost you a straight $150,000 for six days (not including costs to promote the challenge).
And, like with in-feed ads, all these other TikTok ad formats start at $10 per CPM (cost per 1,000 views). For campaigns, you’ll need to spend a minimum of $500.
“To run cost-efficient TikTok advertising, you’ll need to combine the right ad formats with accurate audience targeting and eye-catching creative assets.” (Upbeat Agency, “How Much Do TikTok Ads Cost?”)
Be clear and realistic about your campaign goals and the amount of budget you set aside for TikTok ads. But because you’re only running these ads to support one-off campaigns, you can plan the budget in advance and allocate specific amounts for ads during specific times.
Bonus Content: How to Use TikTok to Generate Leads by Keenya Kelly
TikTok is going to be the No. 1 marketing platform in 2023. Period.
There, I said it.
What was once an app for music and dancing is now a lead-generating machine for brands. The TikTok algorithm can help you get eyeballs on your brand, unlike anything we’ve experienced before.
Over the last few years, social media (especially TikTok) has changed how you can generate leads online.
Maybe you’ve tried TikTok, maybe you’re confused by it, or maybe it seems too much work. Don’t worry if it hasn’t worked for you yet. It’s not your fault!
All it takes is knowing the right strategies to monetize with TikTok and to make a consistent effort.
How we made six figures from TikTok
I first joined TikTok in 2020. The only thing I knew about TikTok was the Baby Shark Challenge, which my friend Chalene Johnson had done years prior. It didn’t make any sense to me at the time, but I decided to jump in and do it anyway.
I started creating content there, and within six months, our audience content started to blow up.
Fast forward to today: We’ve made over $900,000 from TikTok. We landed over $100,000 last year in brand deals alone.
You might be wondering if I was already an influencer when I joined TikTok. The answer is no. It wasn’t until I joined TikTok and consciously decided to focus on generating leads that I became an influencer.
Recently, we had a course called Monetize the Tok, which taught businesses how to generate a massive amount of leads.
In a matter of 12 days, we made over $100,000!
Like any other brand, my team and I tracked our marketing efforts for the launch.
We promoted the course on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, our blog and podcast, and even TikTok. We discovered that $85,000 of that revenue came from our email list!
If you’re not leveraging social media to build your email list, now is the time to start.
One day, a follower on TikTok downloaded my free tool for female coaches. She later came back to my profile and binge-watched my videos, and purchased a $147 upsell on my website.
That is how you get people hooked on your content!
I’m happy when people who follow me engage positively enough, so they feel inspired or informed–which is why generating leads through this social platform makes sense, considering how quickly we can turn around fresh perspectives.
5 Steps to Generate Leads with TikTok
1. Identify your audience
With a defined target market, your chances of succeeding on TikTok can increase significantly. You need to find out who would want to buy your product and what they are interested in before you can start getting people on your email list.
For example, if you are selling water bottles, you need to identify who would want to buy them and what topics they would be interested in.
Once you understand your audience well, you can start consistently creating content that will appeal to them. That content should be interesting, engaging, and relevant to their interests, so that your audience keeps coming back for more.
2. Optimize your bio
You only have 80 characters to make an impression in your bio.
So how do you make the most of it?
Start by being clear and concise, and by highlighting what makes you unique.
In today’s age of social media, first impressions are more important than ever.
For example, my TikTok profile says I help female coaches increase sales using TikTok.
To be clear, that doesn’t mean I don’t like working with men. It just means that our typical clientele is women.
As a result, my bio specifically says that if you’re a woman and a coach, then I can help you.
Your bio can be an opportunity to drive followers to a specific opt-in. (More about that in just a bit.)
3. Don’t pitch your product in every video
When creating TikTok content, focus on content that caters to your audience’s needs.
That means creating content that provides value instead of hammering them with a hard sell. If you pitch your product in every TikTok video, you’re not catering to your audience’s needs.
Your audience wants content that is helpful and entertaining, not a commercial masquerading as videos. Instead of trying to sell them something in every video, focus on creating content that will benefit them.
For example, coaches just starting their journey launch their business because they’re passionate about helping others. Some learn the hard way that a thriving coaching business requires effort and consistency.
Anyone who tells you that making money is easy is not being truthful.
The fact is that making money takes time, focus, and dedication. However, making money is almost impossible without making an investment.
That’s why we created a video that told viewers that, when we started our business, our sales were terrible. We didn’t know what we were doing. Because of that, we weren’t getting the results we wanted.
When we invested in a coach, things then started to change. We became more focused and consistent with our marketing efforts and saw a drastic increase in leads and sales.
Sharing that was our way of telling viewers that if they want to make money, they have to invest in coaching, which is exactly what we offer.
The moral of the story: Focus on creating content that offers value and benefits your audience. Don’t try to sell them something in every video. That’s a surefire way to turn them off.
Focus on creating content that educates, entertains, or both.
If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a TikTok superstar.
4. How to make an opt-in your audience actually wants
Now that you have your bio optimized and have started to plan out your content, create an opt-in that your audience wants.
You want to create an opt-in that is going to help your audience in some way. It could be a free PDF, an email course, or a simple checklist.
The key is to make sure that whatever you offer is valuable and that it will help your audience in some way.
Asking your audience what they’ve been struggling with in the last 30 days is a great way to design an opt-in.
Unless you’re a psychic or a mind reader, don’t assume that you know what your audience needs. Ask them, so you can create the perfect solution to solve their problem.
Our team would ask small business owners on Facebook every three to six months, “If you’re not marketing on TikTok, tell me why.”
I’d explain that I was just doing research, and every time I posted that question, I would receive dozens of responses.
By understanding my target audience’s problem, I was able to see if my opt-in was still a viable solution to solve their problem.
Listen, you’re not going to solve every single person’s problem with your free offer. And that’s OK.
The goal is to get a few people to raise their hands and say, “Hey, this is something that I need help with.”
And then, you can provide them with the solution in your opt-in.
Moving your audience from TikTok to your email list is like winning the golden ticket from Willy Wonka.
Our TikTok account has 489,000 followers, but when I publish a video, it’s not guaranteed that all of my followers will receive a notification. However, if I have 489,000 email subscribers, I can send a personalized broadcast and have a better chance at a higher open rate.
5. Live stream your way to more leads
We’ve talked a lot about publishing TikTok videos, but there’s another way to attract more leads.
TikTok Live allows you to connect with potential customers in real time. They can ask you questions and get to know you better. This is a great opportunity to show you’re an authority in your field.
When people like, know, and trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you. That’s why using TikTok Live is such a valuable tool for driving leads. You can answer questions and give people a behind-the-scenes look at your business. It’s the perfect way to build relationships with potential customers.
If you’re thinking about starting a live stream, or you’ve already got one up and running, you may be wondering whether you should have moderators.
There are a few good reasons to consider adding moderators to your live stream team.
For one thing, you can focus on serving your audience, while the moderators can help keep the chat organized and on topic. They can answer questions in the comments and paste the link to your opt-in.
Moderators are also great for keeping things civil in the comments section by discouraging trolling and bad behavior.
Overall, having a few moderators on hand can help to make your live stream more professional and successful.
Of course, moderation is not for everyone.
If you feel like you can handle everything yourself, or if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, you may not need moderators.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether having moderators is right for your live stream.
TikTok Success Stories
One of our clients had a TikTok video that went viral. When she saw her engagement skyrocketing, she asked us what she could do to convert those browsers into buyers.
She had already had a webinar coming up, so we suggested that she reply to a comment on her video with a new video promoting her webinar and then pin that to her profile.
Her quick action resulted in 3,000 new webinar signups and $100,000 in revenue.
Most brands think that to be successful on TikTok, they need to go viral, but that’s not important. It’s about being strategic and creating content that your audience craves.
For example, another of our clients Kathleen posted a TikTok video addressing her target audience’s problem, which drove 20,000 new email subscribers.
Instead of trying to go viral, she showed her personality and focused on being relatable. More importantly, she solved a problem for her audience.
So there you have it, friends! With the five strategic tactics shared in this chapter, you can increase your views, followers, leads, and, ultimately, your revenue on TikTok in no time.
TikTok is growing by leaps and bounds every day, so now is the time to jump on board and start leveraging it for your business.
If you need help launching your brand on TikTok, my team and I are here to help. Reach out to us at KeenyaKelly.com to get started.
Wrapping Up How to Launch a Brand on TikTok
TikTok is used by more than a billion people. That’s a massive audience that you can engage and inspire with your creative branded content.
But, with a massive audience comes a huge amount of competition. To stand out and be seen in the dense crowd of other brands on TikTok, you need to have a strong, constant presence on the platform.
Follow the four pillars of the always-on TikTok marketing strategy to make sure that you’re:
- Constantly releasing authentic, organic content and relatable, natural in-feed ads
- Building relationships with aligned content creators
- Supporting campaign efforts with targeted paid ads