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Learning From the Best—How Brands Are Using TikTok

Blog / Mar 13, 2022

Learning From the Best—How Brands Are Using TikTok

Caroline Dan
TikTok Strategist

How Brands Are Using TikTok and What You Can Learn From It

Remember when TikTok first came out, and everybody neglected it thinking it was a Gen Z fad that would fade away in months to come? Nobody is neglecting it now.

TikTok is the fastest-growing social media app that now attracts over a billion users. More and more companies flock to this platform, creating trends, hashtag challenges, and other TikTok marketing tricks to grow their business.

Today, TikTok is a powerful platform for businesses that want to reach out to the younger generation. The platform’s insistence on creating unique and engaging content allows you to develop a more personal relationship with your customers in a way you can’t replicate on other social media.

We’ll show you how brands are using TikTok and give you some great examples you can follow to make better use of your TikTok business account.

How Brands Use TikTok—How It Started

One of the first companies to realize the power of TikTok was Chipotle. Around 40% of their U.S. customers are Gen Zers, and what better way to attract their attention than this platform? Back in 2020, Chipotle used the biggest TikTok stars to promote their free delivery app during Super Bowl LIV.

That same year, a user-generated viral TikTok made Ocean Spray so popular that the company struggled with the demand even though the brand itself didn’t use the platform at the time.

@420doggface208

♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

Source: Nathan Apodaca (doggface208)

Soon, other companies started to understand the power of this app and realized that independent content creators could make them popular on TikTok.

Another example comes from e.l.f. Cosmetics, which had one of the most influential campaigns on TikTok and was the first brand to commission an original song specifically for their TikTok marketing. Their hashtag #EyesLipsFace attracted over 7 billion views and is now on millions of user-generated videos, some of which were created by celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Lizzo, and Terry Crews.

Fast forward to 2022, and you now have companies from various industries all over the world fighting for users’ attention and attempting to start the newest TikTok trend that would increase the number of their followers.

How Brands Are Using TikTok To Grow Their Business

Businesses have two main goals on TikTok:

  1. Brand awareness
  2. Conversion

Your marketing strategy will differ depending on what you want to achieve. Brand awareness means spreading the word about your company, and the goal is to attract more followers and get more views on your content.

When it comes to conversion, that can relate to a host of actions, such as:

  • Increasing sales
  • Increasing the number of app installs
  • Bringing traffic to your website

The way companies grow (i.e., achieve both goals) is through creating original content, running paid ads, or using influencers to reach their audience.

Creating Original Content

Source: Ivan Samkov

TikTok is arguably the most difficult social media platform when it comes to creating content. You need to capture the essence of this fast-paced app and create videos that are original but don’t go too far away from the mold.

To succeed on the platform, you should make content that’s:

  • Spontaneous—There’s no need to strive to make the perfect video with an enormous production value. Try to make your videos seem off-the-cuff and focus on expressing your brand’s personality
  • Relatable—Always explore what is popular on TikTok using the Discover page. The platform encourages businesses to jump on trends and give their own take on trending dances and other challenges
  • Consistent—While it can be rewarding to follow the hottest trends, make sure your content delivers what your followers expect. Try to find what works for you and upload such videos consistently. For instance, you can focus on one type of content (unboxing, tutorials, etc.) or a specific duration of your videos (anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes)

Paid Advertising

If you’re struggling to break onto the For You page organically, you can always turn to paid posts, as you would on any other social media platform. TikTok offers two types of paid advertising:

  1. Ad campaigns
  2. Video promotion

Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns consist of promotional videos posted separately—they don’t show up on your account feed—or promoted hashtags and effects. Using promotional videos allows you to reach a new audience and increase your brand awareness or get your viewers to perform an action, such as visiting your website or buying a product.

Here’s the breakdown of video ad campaigns and their objectives:

Ad Type Format Location Objective
In-feed ad 15-second videos On the For You page, between other recommended videos Traffic to your TikTok account or an external landing page
Top view 15-second videos The first in-feed post on the For You page Reach and engagement
Brand takeover A >5-second video, GIF, or a full-screen static image On the screen, when users start the app Brand awareness

With promoted hashtags and effects, you rely on other users to promote your business by finding your hashtag on the Discover page and posting a video that relates to a challenge you’re trying to turn into a trend.

Effects have a similar purpose, but they become a part of the actual video. They can be stickers or AR, 2D, or 3D effects users have fun with and incorporate in their posts, promoting your brand.

Video Promotion

When you post a video that’s going the rounds, you can enhance its reach by promoting it outside an ad campaign. The video will show up to your target audience and will help you increase the number of:

  • Views
  • Interactions
  • Followers
  • Website visits

Companies like MetroTap have used the Promote function successfully, leading to 78% of their sales coming from TikTok.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is perhaps the most powerful of the three methods. It revolves around collaborating with an established TikTok content creator and having them publish sponsored posts on their account. This allows creators to make money on TikTok, while companies can benefit from someone else’s popularity.

Content posted by creators with millions of followers, like Bella Poarch and Addison Rae Easterling, is more likely to end up on the For You page, and those videos will reach a great number of people more easily.

Sponsored posts could be anything. For instance, the influencer could film themselves using your product or do a dance using your hashtag.

If you get more creative, you can fuse their “brand” with yours and create a product that would interest TikTokers. Dunkin’ Donuts released a drink called The Charli in collaboration with one of TikTok’s biggest stars, Charli D’Amelio.

@dunkin

Song is straight 🔥. Show us your moves to ‘The Charli’ while you drink ‘The Charli’- using #CharliRunsOnDunkin @charlidamelio #dunkin

♬ The Charli – Dunkin’

Source: Dunkin’

Soon, people started buying the drink, doing the dance, and using the hashtag—there are currently 6.9 billion views on videos with #dunkin in their captions!

Finding Your Influencer

If you’re not a multinational fast-food chain that can afford to pay one of the most expensive influencers on the internet, you can settle for a content creator with a smaller following.

TikTok awards its influencers—the ones featured in the Creator Fund program—and is more likely to put their videos on the FYP feed. This means that you can score with an influencer who has several thousand followers, especially if they are prominent within your niche.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, here’s how much money influencers make through sponsorships:

Tier Price per Post
Nano-influencer (1–10,000 followers) $5–$25
Micro-influencer (10,000–50,000 followers) $25–$125
Mid-tier influencer (50,000–500,000 followers) $125–$1,250
Macro-influencer (500,000–1,000,000 followers) $1,250–$2,500
Mega-influencer (more than 1,000,000 followers) $2,500+

If you don’t have a specific creator in mind, you can use TikTok’s Creator Marketplace to research different influencers and their reach potential.

Get Inspired—How Are Brands Using TikTok?

When you’re struggling with content ideas or you’re unsure what would work best for your brand, it’s best to check out what other businesses are doing to get inspired.

Check out your competitors’ accounts and see what type of content people engage with the most. While it’s good to jump on trends, try to stay in your lane and do something aligned with your brand’s messaging. If you’re a clothing brand, check out other fashion or retail accounts and see how they promote their products.

Sure, you may not be able to hire David Dobrik to do a Super Bowl commercial, but you can still use Chipotle’s ideas that are more affordable to carry out.

Some of the brands that have found the right approach and success on TikTok include:

  1. Ryanair
  2. NBA
  3. Chipotle
  4. Gymshark
  5. Netflix
  6. Guess
  7. Yahoo News

Ryanair

Ryanair is a low-cost European airline that became popular on TikTok during the pandemic when most flights were canceled. They achieved this through using humor. This can turn out to be a risky approach because there’s a thin line between humorous and cringeworthy posts, especially when coming from a brand.

Ryanair managed to find the right spot and hit the nail on the head with their videos that included editing facial features onto an image of a plane.

@ryanair

Jokes Sending Love to USA💋 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #ryanair

♬ original sound – Speedy & The G

Source: Ryanair

As seen from this example, they don’t shy away from using audio tracks that many wouldn’t consider too business-friendly.

NBA

The NBA figured out that TikTok content should be different from posts on other social media. If you check out their Twitter account, you’ll see they focus on basketball games—sharing results, stats, post-match interviews, and so on.

They use TikTok to show the funnier side of the game and get the younger generations interested. On their TikTok account, you’ll find funny interview answers, videos of players dancing, etc.

Chipotle

Chipotle is the king of TikTok hashtag challenges among brands. While their follower number is nowhere near more popular accounts, such as the NBA, they benefited from user-created content through their famous challenges.

They first started with the #ChipotleLidFlip challenge created by one of their employees, with thousands of TikTokers soon following suit and trying to replicate the action.

Chipotle’s most successful campaign was the #GuacDance hashtag. TikTok users embraced the trendy dance, and videos featuring this hashtag have amassed over 1.1 billion views!

Gymshark

Gymshark shows that you don’t have to do anything too outside-the-box and blow everyone’s mind with your creativity. They were one of the first brands to jump on the TikTok bandwagon, having created their account back in 2018.

Their videos are a mixture of workout routines, gym-related memes, and motivational videos to keep you going. They don’t have a unique approach to content like Ryanair, but they make up for it with consistency, and the audience keeps engaging with their videos.

Netflix

Netflix’s TikTok account has 22 million followers. They benefit from being a popular streaming platform that has tons of content ready-made by taking snippets from their shows and posting interviews with actors.

Still, they made this list because they are great at utilizing user-generated content. They share videos posted by actors and fans alike, influencing other users to post about their shows. The reward for many users—especially the ones with fewer followers—is that they can be featured on the Netflix account.

Netflix also found success in promotional campaigns, especially with their AR branded effects. Videos with the #WhatsYourPower effect received 6.4 billion views in total!

Guess

When Guess joined the TikTok scene, the company hit the ground running, and their first-ever promoted hashtag became a success.

With #InMyDenim, they encouraged TikTok users to post transition videos that showed them going from old, torn clothes to shiny Guess outfits. They boosted the popularity of the hashtag through influencer marketing, and the videos based on this challenge generated 53.3 million views.

Another successful hashtag was #LoveGUESS, which featured people wearing and unboxing Guess clothes. This hashtag has 22.5 million views.

Yahoo News

This is probably one of the strangest mixes—Yahoo being popular on TikTok. Not only that, but it’s Yahoo News (1.6 million followers), with Yahoo’s main account having only 15,000 followers.

So, how did they do it? They’ve managed to create informational videos that steered away from the general light-hearted type of content popular on TikTok. The news clips they share are short and offer small updates on U.S. politics that affect Gen Z.

They have managed to gather a whopping 88.9 million likes showing that you can break the TikTok mold and still be successful if you have the right approach.

Source: Yahoo News

Optimize the Way You Use TikTok

For brands, it can be extremely challenging to succeed on TikTok. It’s a relatively new social media platform that caters to the younger generations that require a unique approach and will not get fooled by a brand reposting their Instagram content without any second thought.

You need to strike the perfect balance between creating content that’s unique but still fulfills the expectations of an average TikTok user. If you fail to show your company’s personality, users will find your content is nothing more than a marketing stunt and will not accept it.

To use TikTok properly, you need a team of social media experts ready to pounce on the latest trends while still delivering consistent content that relates to your business’s everyday needs. Running a business account requires:

  • Creating content strategies
  • Creating unique content
  • Following the latest trends
  • Creating ad campaigns
  • Engaging with followers
  • Studying analytical reports

This can be overwhelming for a small, in-house team of social media managers, especially when you add the fact that TikTok is not the only platform they need to take care of.

Use TikTok Experts To Create Some Magic

Kubbco is a TikTok-partnered social media agency that will put its team of professionals at your disposal. With our social media strategists, graphic designers, content writers, video producers, sound engineers, and other experts, we’ve managed to turn the TikTok fortunes for many brands so far and create and execute their marketing campaigns to perfection.

As our partner, you will receive the whole package—all you need to do is tell us what your goal on this platform is.

We’ll develop the strategy for you, create engaging videos, and plan and execute ad campaigns. We always seek to improve and optimize your returns, which is why we constantly monitor the performance of our campaigns and tweak them accordingly.

With years of experience under our belts, we know how TikTok functions and always seek to incorporate the latest trends in our work. If you want to learn more and apply our expert insights to your digital strategy, subscribe to our newsletter, where we share tips and tricks about all social media platforms.

How We Used TikTok for Brands Like OLAPLEX, Matas, and NATURLI’ Foods

Once we establish what your goal is, we’ll create a marketing campaign dedicated to achieving that objective. When we’re done, you’ll join a list of companies that have grown on TikTok by leaps and bounds.

When we partnered with OLAPLEX, we created and uploaded 28 videos within five weeks, two of which went viral and received over 1 million views each! In the same period, their account grew by 22,000 followers and received 5.1 million views overall.

In just under two years, we created 112 videos for NATURLI’ Foods with 6.2 million organic views and 179,000 interactions. Matas was no different—eight videos we created during eight weeks of working together went viral and received over 300,000 views each.

If you want to generate the same or better numbers and find new customers on TikTok, contact us, and we’ll have your campaign set up in no time!

Featured image: George Milton