TikTok Influencer Marketing
TikTok has quickly grown to be a leading platform for influencer marketing. Boasting over 3 billion downloads, the short-form video social media platform has evolved since its launch just 5 years ago into being an essential place for brands and their Influencer partners to connect with engaged audiences.
Let’s take a look at all of the ins and outs of TikTok influencer marketing, from the benefits of using the app to all of the best practices you need to know to run a successful influencer marketing campaign on the platform.
What is TikTok Influencer Marketing?
Simply put, TikTok influencer marketing is when a brand partners with an Influencer to produce branded content on the app in order to increase brand awareness, attract a new audience, and create a presence for your brand on a new platform. With the possibility of any number of new trends to emerge on TikTok on any given day, the essential factor of TikTok influencer marketing is keeping up with those trends in order to create content that gets in front of as many relevant eyes as possible.
This makes it so essential to make an educated decision about which Influencer you partner with on your campaign. But, before we dive into the intricacies of partnering with Influencers, let’s run through all of the benefits and limitations of TikTok influencer marketing.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing on TikTok
- TikTok is a current social media powerhouse with over 1 billion videos viewed every day.
- Due to the accessible virality of TikTok, users don’t need to have an existing follower base to get eyes on their content— which means all users have an equal opportunity to create viral content.
- When Influencers use intentional hashtags, trending audio, or create content that adheres to ongoing platform trends, they are able to grow their content view rates at a rapid pace unlike on other platforms.
- For brands who are interested in further boosting their content, paid distribution and advanced measurement (i.e. brand and sales lift) are also available on the platform.
- Because TikTok is designed for mobile use, brands can more accurately market to their audiences at any moment of the day.
- The TikTok ranking algorithm is purposefully designed to show users content aimed directly at their unique likes, allowing influencers to easily gain more views.
- Due to the innately intimate nature of video content, TikTok Influencers are able to foster a meaningful connection with their followers and are more likely to gain their trust on brand and product recommendations.
- TikTok is a platform that rewards and promotes creativity, allowing Influencers to create content that reaches the far sides of the creative spectrum.
Limitations of Influencer Marketing on TikTok
- Unfortunately, because TikTok is a strictly video-based platform there is no variety available in the specific form of content that is created.
- TikTok is an ever-changing platform with new trends emerging seemingly every day, this factor alone can make it difficult for brands to keep up with creating trendy content.
- TikTok attracts a younger audience (62% of TikTok users in the US are between 10 and 29 years old) and has a growing audience of older millennials and Gen X.
- TikTok does not let you link out to an external website on organic content, making it difficult for brands to drive users to a specific webpage.
TikTok Influencer Marketing Best Practices
To ensure that your content is seen by the widest, most relevant audience possible follow these three key TikTok influencer marketing best practices.
1. Keep it natural.
The strength of TikTok lies in how well the platform gives content creation control to its users, allowing them to be endlessly creative and innovative when crafting their videos. Due to the wide range of creative freedom users have, each TikTok Influencer evolves to have its own signature style and voice on the platform. When creating branded content for your campaign, remember to always keep it natural and in line with the vibe, feel, and tone of the content your chosen Influencer makes on their own. This way, the Influencers’ followers will be more likely to engage with it in a meaningful way.
2. Choose the right Influencer.
As with any campaign on any platform, choosing and vetting the right Influencer is monumental to the success of your campaign. Without taking the time to do the proper research before making initial contact (more on that later) you could find yourself in the midst of a floundering campaign, wondering where it all went wrong.
3. Embrace trends.
TikTok is a platform that rewards trendsetters but also rewards trend-followers. Due to their unique and powerful algorithm, every TikTok creator has an equal opportunity to create viral content— as long as they are willing to embrace the most recent trends such as dance challenges, audio clips, or hashtags.
4. Amplify TikTok content using partner agencies.
TikTok content doesn’t have to live exclusively on TikTok. By amplifying content from TikTok on other channels using platform-specific strategies and advertising, you can improve reach exponentially. Agency partners and influencer marketing companies specialize in influencer campaigns that take content farther than the standard features of the app.
Understanding Influencer Tiers
Before you can begin vetting influencers and crafting your partnerships, you first need to develop an understanding of the different influencer tiers. For the most part, depending on which tier any given Influencer belongs to will dictate how well that Influencer does or does not perform on a platform.
Each tier contributes in different ways to an overarching campaign, and can easily be combined since they complement each other and reach different niche audiences. Since the dawn of Influencers, they have been distinguished from one another in terms of follower bases, virility, and general public acceptance. However, as the role of the modern Influencer continues to evolve, so does the language we use to discuss them.
Regardless of which platform they are producing content for, influencer marketing tiers are:
- Nano influencers have between 1,000 and 10,000 followers.
- Micro-influencers have between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.
- Mid-tier influencers have between 50,000 and 500,000 followers.
- Premium/Macro influencers have between 500,000 and 1,000,000 followers.
- Celeb/Mega influencers have over 1,000,000 followers.
Before you decide which tier or combination of tiers is best for your campaign, here is a rundown of the benefits and what to avoid when working with influencer marketing tiers.
Benefits of Working with TikTok Creators in Multiple Influencer Marketing Tiers
- When you work with mid-tier, macro, or celebrity Influencers you are partnering with someone who can gain you not only an increase in name recognition on your chosen platform, but on a national and global level.
- Typically, the tier of an Influencer will coincide with their overall engagement levels, offering brands a clear view of what to expect once they partner with them.
- No one is a greater expert on what attracts their audiences than the Influencers themselves, a fact that holds true even as they scale upwards through the tiers.
- When you partner with an Influencer who is quickly rising through the tiers you may find your brand awareness rising with them. After all, the higher of a tier an Influencer is the more likely they are to be a trendsetter in their industry.
What to Avoid with TikTok Influencer Marketing Tiers
- Picking an Influencer based solely on which tier they are a member of is a slippery slope— in most cases, it is best practice to choose them based on their proven engagement levels instead.
- Avoid approaching your TikTok Influencer partnerships as transactions, instead of as the interpersonal relationships that they actually are.
- Instead of planning one-and-done brand partnerships with Influencers, consider crafting more lucrative 6/9/12 month campaigns that allow your campaign to evolve alongside your Influencer.
- Speaking of evolving, failing to evolve alongside your Influencer can weaken your partnership. Instead of sticking to a concrete campaign, remain flexible and be able to retool your campaign to navigate new trends as they may arise.
- Refusing to involve TikTok creators in the creative process of the campaign. Remember, you chose your Influencer based on the strength of their creations, if they request to be involved in the creative process then by all means, let them.
A Quick Guide to Micro TikTok Influencers
Micro-influencers are the hidden gem in the world of TikTok influencer marketing. As one of the smaller tiers alongside nano Influencers, they typically have a highly engaged niche. And alongside that niche comes a community of dedicated followers with a specific set of interests. Therefore, when working with micro Influencers it is even more essential to get out of their way creatively. Of course, you’ll need to ensure the branded content published through your partnership speaks to your brand ethos and in your voice, and doesn’t stray too far from the content your micro Influencer naturally produces in order to retain their engagement levels.
Speaking of engagement— one of the primary benefits of working with a micro Influencer is their organic audience engagement. TikTok is an exceptional platform to host your partnership with micro Influencers in large part due to how quickly Influencers are able to rise on the platform. Partnering with a collection of micro Influencers can be an effective campaign strategy to reach a wider audience.
Other benefits of working with micro TikTok influencers are:
- Micro-influencers are more relatable, therefore they have an easier time growing an organic following.
- They often don’t stay micro for long and continuously gain new followers, quickly moving them up the rank of Influencer tiers.
- They have some of the most impressive influencer engagement numbers of all the tiers.
- They are more likely to accept an offer for an ongoing partnership to lengthen your successful campaign.
- Their reliability is their greatest asset, lean into that factor when creating content.
Your TikTok Influencer Outreach Strategy
Regardless of which tier your chosen Influencer is a member of, when reaching out to TikTok Influencers the process looks pretty much the same. All influencer outreach strategies start with the same initial moment— first contact. The best part is, there is just a simple, three-step process in-between you and the first moment of your next partnership.
Step One: Research Influencers
Before you can begin firing off DMs and emails, you will first need to research your potential pool of Influencers in order to narrow down your search to a short list of your top candidates. When researching Influencers:
- Check their follower count to ensure they are a member of the right tier.
- Check for organic follower growth and demographics, to see if any of their base could be bots or bought followers.
- Look at their audience data to see if they are reaching users who align with your consumer base.
- Do a deep dive into their past partnerships and consumer behavior, to see how the competition fared with them as their Influencer.
- Look at their organic content, to see if their values and voice are in alignment with your brand and upcoming campaign.
Step Two: Foster a Connection
Before reaching out, continue the vetting process by spending some time following and researching your prospective Influencers. Begin liking their posts that speak to your brand ethos, and leave encouraging comments whenever it feels appropriate and natural. Then, once it is time for you to officially introduce yourself to them they will already have some degree of name familiarity with you and will be more likely to respond to your message.
Prepare a detailed pitch for the project with all specifics of the campaign expectations mapped out. Having ideas and a thorough strategy shows that you take their time seriously and are a professional with experience with these types of campaigns.
Step Three: Make Contact
Speaking of your message, the last step is to make contact with your Influencers of choice. If your chosen Influencers have their contact info prominently displayed in their bio, feel free to email or contact them there. Otherwise, it is standard practice to direct message Influencers on the platform where you’ve been building your connection— unless you prefer to reach out through an influencer marketplace using an influencer marketing agency or representative firm who will own that step in the process.
TikTok Influencer Outreach Best Practices
- Even if you are using an outreach template, be sure to tailor your message specifically to the connection you’ve fostered with them and their personality instead of making the mistake of sending a stock message.
- You researched Influencers for a reason, use that research to inform the language you use in your message.
- Be honest and transparent during outreach. Of course, no one expects you to attach a contract to your initial message, but there’s also no reason to be discreet about the reason you’re reaching out.
- If you’ve already had a successful partnership with a past Influencer whom you understand to be friends with your new Influencer, feel free to name-drop that past Influencer to reinforce your credibility.
- Before you reach out you should already have an understanding of your planned campaign so you can thoroughly answer any questions your Influencer may have about your intentions or your prospective partnership.
- While messaging, remember to commend Influencers for their creativity and unique content creation skills. After all, that is the reason why you are hoping to partner with them.
- Ensure the Influencer that you know the process and will follow up with a detailed brief with a firm offer (including compensation details) as things progress.
TikTok Influencer Outreach Template
Hi there [insert Influencer name],
Wow! Your dance moves are impressive, my team here at [insert brand name] is consistently finding ourselves more and more impressed by your videos. We are a [insert company description here] and we’re looking to connect with talented creators like you for an upcoming campaign to launch our new [insert product here].
If you’re interested in hearing more about us and what we have planned, shoot me an email at [email@example.com] and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have, and provide you with more information on the campaign & compensation.
Excited to chat with you!
[insert your name here]
TikTok Influencer Marketing Agencies 101
As TikTok has grown to become one of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing, the demand for TikTok influencer marketing agencies has grown as well. While many brands are capable of conducting their partnership and running their campaigns in-house, both startups and emerging brands and enterprise organizations alike can benefit from working with an expert partner agency to handle the complex timelines and best practices associated with the most successful brand-influencer partnerships.
At RhythmInfluence, we’re ready to teach you which TikTok metrics matter and how to interpret them, all while using data-backed insights to improve your campaigns. Read our Guide to Influencer Marketing Analytics to find out why data is so important to influencer marketing.
Custom Influencer Marketing Contracts that Protect Brands
While TikTok packages don’t currently include exclusivity or content usage, influencer marketing agencies (like RhythmInfluence) draft contracts that clearly define the scope of the activation. Contracts include the competitive list with exclusivity terms and content usage details, including where the content can be utilized and for how long. By putting exclusivity terms on paper, you can ensure that your brand will get the most out of the TikTok content and amplify the campaign beyond the walls of TikTok’s offerings.
Benefits of Working with a TikTok Influencer Marketing Agency
- They have easier access to Influencers, saving brands time by skipping the step of vetting Influencers themselves.
- Agencies are stock full of influencer marketing experts who have all of the experience and resources it takes to run a successful campaign.
- In contracts, agencies can include exclusivity and content usage details,
- For newer platforms like TikTok, working with an agency with experience on the platform could give you a leg up over your competition who is choosing to run campaigns in-house.
- When you find an agency you like and stick with them you can grow that partnership, leading to more fruitful campaigns and a more meaningful agency-brand relationship down the line.
- In terms of content creation, agencies are able to use their team of creatives to generate world-class content for your campaign.
To get started on your next TikTok influencer marketing campaign, our team of experts at RhythmInfluence are here to help. Contact us today.