If your dream is to become the next social media sensation, TikTok could be the platform for you. With a rapidly growing user base and videos on every topic under the sun, there’s plenty of room for you to create your channel and find an engaged audience for your content. But it’s not going to happen overnight. Making viral TikTok videos and earning money from your account takes time, hard work, and a well-thought-through TikTok marketing strategy.
In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about TikTok marketing, how to get started understanding algorithms and analytics, as well as a few ideas for taking your personal brand to the next level.
What to Know About the TikTok Algorithm
Like most social media platforms, the TikTok algorithm is a well-kept secret with the platform keeping its lips zipped about the intricacies. But there are a few hints that we can gather from looking at some of the best-performing videos. The algorithm behind TikTok picks up on all kinds of user data whenever someone actively engages with the app.
That can be anything, from their country and location, device type, and language, to specific interaction data such as what videos that user is liking, the amount of time they spend watching certain videos, and who they follow.
All of this data is fed into the algorithm to help make the TikTok user experience better. That’s why the longer you use the app, the more relevant videos you’ll see for what your interests are. TikTok knows what you like based on your previous behavior and, because they want you to stay on the app for as long as possible, they’ll keep showing you content they think you’ll enjoy based on the signals from your older activity. All of those videos will be shown to the user on the For You Page (FYP), which is separate from the Following tab (which is home to only the videos of people you’re actively following).
There’s a good chance that content that ends up on the FYP will go viral, as that’s what TikTok is predicting to be some of the best and most interesting videos that they think users will enjoy. Add a few hashtags in too and you can quickly see how dance challenges, trends, and certain niche topics can go from relative obscurity to worldwide fame.
When you’re thinking about your own TikTok marketing strategy, analyzing the For You Page of your own account (aka the videos that TikTok thinks you as a user will like most) can give you some good insight into how the algorithm is working for you, which you can then apply to your own content creation.
TikTok Marketing Analytics
Any good marketer will tell you that your plans mean nothing without some solid data to back them up. To understand where your videos stack up, jump into your TikTok Analytics within your creator profile. You’ll be able to see data from the past seven or 28 days for your profile in general (which is great if you’re posting several times throughout the week or month). You’ll also be able to see if any specific videos triggered high-level engagement, like additional followers to your account.
You can find even deeper insights under the Content tab. That’s where you’ll get information about specific videos like total views, total likes, number of comments and shares, average watch time, traffic source (great for finding out who found the video from their FYP vs. your profile), and where your audience is located. This level of data is only available for seven days, so make sure you’re checking the analytics side of things before the time is up.
The Followers tab will give you data about the community you’re building as part of your TikTok marketing plan. You’ll see where your audience is from, the times and days of the week when they’re most active on the platform, along with the change in your follower numbers compared to the previous period (either the previous seven or 28 days). This will help you to get a better picture of whether your TikTok social media marketing is working and attracting a bigger and more committed audience.
Ads on TikTok
TikTok ads have only rolled out in the last year or so, making this aspect of the platform fairly new to everyone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get started now! Ads are a great way to build your personal brand and attract the attention of an eager audience.
Similar to Instagram filters or Snapchat lenses, branded effects are one of the best ways to use TikTok ads. When you run an ad using this format, your custom effect will appear on the first page of the effects panel and stay there for up to three days. Your sharable stickers and filters can then be used by anyone else on the platform, which is the perfect way to drive user-generated content (UGC) around your brand and increase your audience engagement.
Everyone loves a hashtag challenge on TikTok, and they’re now even a feature in the creator advertising area. Build your own brand challenge page with a description of the challenge rules and a link to your website or profile. Like the branded effects, users can then create their own responses to the challenge using whichever hashtag you decide on. They’ll show up on the challenge hashtag page for everyone to see and share!
Create an In-Feed Ad
The most traditional type of TikTok ad is the in-feed advertising option. Most brands will typically work with this type of ad first, particularly if they have products to sell. But even when you’re building your own personal brand, in-feed ads can be utilized effectively to grow your audience. While TikTok recommends videos of 10 to 15 seconds, you can make in-feed ads up to 60 seconds, just like a regular TikTok video. Users can comment, like, and share, but you’re also able to add a call-to-action button to encourage users to follow your account.
How to Go Viral on TikTok
Everyone wants to make one of the next big TikTok viral videos and, with a bit of planning and a dash of luck, that very well could be you! Here are a few ideas to help you get started on the path to being the next viral sensation.
Jump on a Trend
Most of the best viral TikTok videos come from piggybacking on an already popular trend. But the key here is timing, and that’s why you should be spending a good amount of time becoming familiar with the platform and trying to determine what the next big trend is going to be.
It’s definitely easier said than done, but staying on top of the Discover page will really help you out. This is where you can start to see what other people are enjoying that goes beyond your own FYP and preferences. You’ll soon start to see patterns emerging, and if you can act fast enough before there are too many other videos, you could see your content go viral. It’s also good to look around on other social media sites by following popular creators and influencers. After all, what starts on one platform can quickly spread to another.
Duet With Someone Famous
Plenty of celebrities and notable influencers are all over TikTok these days, creating their own content and sharing it with the world. Using the duet feature, you can easily incorporate their videos into your own. From challenges to dances and singalongs, there are endless options for you to find viral fame using existing content.
You might be wondering how this plays into your TikTok marketing strategy. Like any growing social media platform, many notable accounts like to share UGC from their followers and fans. Musicians like ABBA and Lizzo often share the duets that their fans make with their videos and even duet with them themselves. If you find yourself lucky enough to be one of these featured users, your audience exposure can skyrocket and earn you a sizable number of new followers.
Use Popular Audio Clips
Finding trending songs and audio clips is another great way to make a possible TikTok viral video. Once a song hits notoriety on TikTok, there’s no limit to how far your reach can spread. Like with trends, it’s important to try and use a popular song early in its lifecycle, before the song’s page is flooded with millions of other user videos.
The best part about using trending audio clips is that what you do in the video is entirely up to you. Unlike challenges where you often have to repeat or replicate the original, songs and audio clips can be used in any way you’d like, making it easy to stay on brand while still making use of a popular and trending clip.
Influencer Marketing on TikTok
Collaborate With Other Influencers
If you’re trying to become an influencer yourself, developing a TikTok influencer marketing strategy is crucial. Collaborating with others is not only an excellent way to build community (after all, you’re connecting with other people and using the platform to stay social), but it also helps you to reach new audiences that may not know about you yet. Particularly if you create content in a certain niche, working with others who make similar content is a fun and easy way to grow your followers quickly.
Work on a Brand Takeover
Approaching brands can feel a little intimidating at first, but working with both big and small companies to help promote their products is also a fantastic way to show yourself off! Once you’ve started to build up an audience of your own, brands may be more interested in working with you, like hosting you on their brand channel as you use or talk about their products. The Creator Marketplace is the perfect place to find collaboration opportunities with brands all over the world.
TikTok Social Media Marketing
Just like with any other marketing channel, building an effective marketing strategy isn’t simply about the big picture. While this is still important, breaking down your goals into actionable chunks will help you to grow your TikTok profile in a more sustainable way for long-term success.
So how do you do that? That’s where TikTok marketing campaigns come in.
Lay the Groundwork for TikTok Marketing Campaigns
Marketing campaigns are typically structured around one specific goal, using organized and strategic efforts to promote or highlight a product or attribute of your brand. These aren’t only for big companies though. You can easily build a campaign around your personal brand and make use of the tactics we’ve already discussed.
Think carefully about what you want to be known for and how you can grow your audience around that. Once you have some goals in mind (like reaching a certain follower number by the end of the year or increasing your video watch time by a set percentage), you can work on a plan to make those goals happen.
Break down everything into smaller pieces to make everything easier. For example “collaborate with other influencers” could be separated out into specific steps like:
- Reach out to 20 influencers in my topic niche
- Create a list of 35 content ideas that could work with another person
- Watch 15 collaboration videos of others in my niche
Making Money on TikTok
When it comes to marketing on TikTok, money is usually what most creators are thinking about. But ads aren’t the only way to do that. Once your account becomes popular, brands may start approaching you about working with them, and that’s usually where most TikTok stars make their money. Companies will pay to run their own influencer campaigns, and you could be one of them!
It’s important to remember what this means beyond money, though. When you’re working toward long-term success, keep in mind what your audience likes and enjoys about your content. You don’t want your channel to turn into ad after ad, with products or services that your audience has no interest in. Staying in your niche can help you to gain popularity more quickly and attract the types of brands that will connect with your followers.
TikTok Money Calculator
When you’re in a position to start working with brands, a TikTok Money Calculator (there are several of them, and a quick Google search will lead you to them) can help you to decide how much you should be charging for each post.
It’ll give you insights into what’s happening in your niche, figure out how likely you are to become a successful influencer when stacked up against other similar accounts, track your earnings and engagement, and can even help to predict how much money a single TikTok post could make you.
Become a TikTok Marketing Superstar!
Now that you know some of the best ways to build your personal brand on TikTok, it’s time to get creative and post your first videos!