TikTokers, Take The Wheel: Why Brands are Hiring Creators to Drive Their Digital Content
By: Jenny Howell-Stiles
Known for its viral videos, magnetic design, and rapid-fire pacing, TikTok has cemented its place as one of the premier social media apps in use today. And as organic traffic continues to scale, more and more brands are flocking to the channel to reach content-hungry audiences.
With such a high volume of users, content, and creators, how do companies jumping into TikTok ensure their message isn’t drowned out by the noise?
“There’s always a risk of oversaturation, but there are other avenues for advertising on TikTok aside from just paid ads,” says Rob Jewell, Chief Growth Officer of Power Digital. “We advise brands to focus marketing efforts through a holistic lens—to take an integrated approach.”
But what does an integrated approach look like on such a competitive feed? Pairing shoppable paid ads with a strategy propelled by the people who made TikTok the megalith it’s become: the Creators themselves.
Why Are Brands Partnering with TikTok Influencers?
With tried-and-true channels like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook on hand, why do brands need to be on TikTok in the first place?
One word: engagement.
TikTok touts an active user base of 1 billion users—and they’re a dynamic, rather than static, audience. The app boasts the most robust engagement rates per post of any social platform in the media ecosystem, extending to “mega-” and “micro-influencers” alike.
TikTok has given brands an unheard-of opportunity not just to generate and reach leads, says Jewell, “TikTok as an engine really necessitates and demands daily content.” And Creators have the skills and following necessary to manufacture that prolific, on-trend material.
From Influencers to Creators: What TikTokers Bring to the Strategy Table
When a company joins TikTok, its top priority should be to provide a consistent content output.
There are three main reasons why Tik Tok Content Creators can get the job done:
- Versatility – Creators are a multi-hyphenate talent pool: they write, direct, act, film, and edit their own content. Not only is their skill set diverse, but TikTok’s all-in-one content stream attracts users across audience segments, widening the net of potential leads and converts.
What’s more, TikTok’s design lends itself to content that’s intrinsically versatile: branded content arrives in the same flow as homemade products, so that viewers are both entertained and invited deeper into the funnel with a simple hashtag: #Ad.
- Agility – Successful Creators need to have their finger on digital culture’s pulse—and TikTok’s beats faster than any other online platform. Virality is built into its mechanics. Not only are Creators wise to trends as they emerge, but they’re nimble enough to produce content apace with TikTok’s breakneck cadence.
- Genuine interest in brand partnerships – While being an independent Creator comes with creative autonomy, Tiktok creator jobs can be economically precarious. Brand deals for Tik Tokers are a win-win—while Creators have the opportunity to secure a stable, guaranteed income, companies can streamline production costs and plug directly into their desired audience.
What Kind of Creators Are In-Demand Right Now?
When users download the TikTok app, they’re prompted to select the content categories (from “Babies” to “Crossfit”) they most want to see. But self-reported interests change shape over time—TikTok’s algorithm builds as it’s used, delivering content based on in-app (and off-app) user behavior.
“TikTok is changing the search game for brand awareness, engagement, and sales enablement, bringing users and marketers an experience at the intersection of other platforms,” explains Jewell. It’s a mix of “YouTube’s core video business, Instagram’s feed functionality, and Google’s deep search capabilities.” This hybrid structure not only gives brands an advertising advantage—versatility—but it answers what users crave most: novelty and diversity.
In 2020, these were the platform’s top 10 categories:
- Entertainment and culture
- Pranks and gags
- Sports and fitness
- Home improvement and DIY
- Beauty and skincare
- Cooking, baking, and recipes
- “Life hacks” and advice
- Cute animals
Despite the apparent discreteness of these categories, TikTok’s design makes ample room for crossover. The same viral song can serve as a soundtrack to a pottery tutorial or a funny video, and current trends (e.g. “Glow-Ups” and “Documenting a day in the life) are generic enough to let brands hop aboard, no matter their industry.
TikTok trends vary from week to week—which is why it’s so advantageous to partner with Creators who are already plugged into the online zeitgeist.
How To Contact TikTok Influencers for Branded Content
Today, TikTok is poised to join the league of content stream apps propelled by an advertising business model. There are several ways companies can tap into the channel:
- TikTok Resources – This year, TikTok put its Creative Agency Partnerships (CAP) University program in motion, which teaches creative teams how to take advantage of the app and hire a TikTok influencer who’s already producing relevant content.
- TikTok Agencies – Many Creators now work with marketing partners that specialize in the platform to serve as representatives, and they broker brand partnerships.
But learning how to hire influencers and establish long-standing, adaptable, and on-point partnerships from scratch can be difficult—particularly as TikTok agencies aren’t trained in multi-pronged marketing strategies.
Taking a holistic approach means partnering with a marketing firm that’s both plugged into TikTok influencers and dexterous in a robust set of marketing strategies that tick (pardon the pun) in tandem:
- Organic content creation
- Paid ads
- Community management and engagement
- Influencer relations
As TikTok continues to grow and become more shoppable, we predict search capability and SEO will become an increasingly important feature for putting users in front of content they want to see. And as the app matures, so do its class of Creators—which is why it’s vital for brands to partner with marketing agencies that understand a broader ecosystem of strategies and can translate between all three key players: the brands, the creatives, and users themselves.
How to Hire A TikTok Influencer for the Long Haul
Any brand hoping to establish partnerships with TikTok creators need a cohesive marketing team to discover trustworthy prospects, broker deals, and assess the success of those contracts.
In our experience, executing a successful TikTok marketing strategy includes:
- Building a strategic marketing plan informed by SEO tactics, and partnering with marketers who can help you identify which keywords you want to own
- Electing the right influencer partners who can use predetermined keywords, hashtags, captions, viral music, etc. to tap into your desired audience(s)
- Diversifying and honing your content strategy to include YouTube shorts, IG Reels, paid ads, web, email marketing, etc.
- Taking advantage of one of TikTok’s newest roll-outs: its ad management platform
What makes TikTok a uniquely hospitable digital space is its simultaneous breadth and opportunity for specificity—and that’s true for Creators and brands alike. But to find your unique niche, widen your reach, and establish even deeper connections with your audience through Creator partnerships, you need a data-driven marketing partner to execute with.
Ready to explore TikTok for your brand? Reach out to us here
Influencer Marketing Hub. TikTok Statistics – 63 TikTok Stats You Need to Know [2022 Update]. https://influencermarketinghub.com/tiktok-stats/
HootSuite. 14 of the Most Important TikTok Trends to Watch in 2022. https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-trends/
Later. The Top TikTok Trends to Try This Week. https://later.com/blog/tiktok-trends/
The New York Times. That Fun TikTok Video? It’s Actually an Ad. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/21/business/tiktok-ads.html
TechCrunch. TikTok launches new program to help creative agencies reach its audience. https://techcrunch.com/2022/04/06/tiktok-program-help-creative-agencies-reach-audience/