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Is TikTok the right platform for your brand?

Sahiba Dhandhania, Co-founder, Confluencr, a new age influencer marketing agency, writes about the growing trend of influencer marketing and how brands can best leverage the TikTok platform to gain the maximum advantage. 

For an application that is just 4 years old, TikTok has gained a lot of popularity among the masses, especially young adults. Today, with around 500 million global users, it stands as a plausible platform for influencer marketing. But to carry out an influencer marketing campaign on TikTok is not an easy feat.

We have analysed the growth of TikTok over the years and have been using it as a potential platform to collaborate with influencers for campaigns that can help our brands grow and convert better.

If you want to use TikTok for your brand, you first need to understand how it works.

New, but not inferior

  • TikTok is essentially the amalgamation of two similar applications – Douyin and Musical.ly – used in two different parts of the world. TikTok was first launched in China under the name A.me in 2016. The name was later changed to Douyin.
  • Owing to its user-friendly interface and features, it soon gained traction and acquired the following feats in no time.
  • In September 2017, Douyin was launched globally under the name TikTok.
  • By December 2017, it overtook Musical.ly, which was a major music platform of the West, quite similar to Douyin.
  • By the end of 2018, it became the 4th most downloaded non-gaming application globally beating Instagram too.

Since then, the only direction TikTok has moved is up (which is quite evident from its increasing use). There stands a fair reason for this staggering growth and that is ‘Organic Content’.

The working of the TikTok algorithm

If you have ever opened the TikTok application, this is what it looks like.

Every user sees two sections on the screen, one named ‘Following’ and the other ‘For you’. Where the ‘Following’ section displays content uploaded by the creators they follow, ‘For You’ displays trending content respective to their choices. The algorithm that works at trending videos in the ‘For You’ section is what sets TikTok apart.

“The only reason for popularity on TikTok is Original, Creative, Organic Content.”

Where Facebook and Instagram often come off as biased, where only influencers with a lot of followers are acclaimed, TikTok is unbiased to these filters. Irrespective of the number of followers creators have, if their videos are creative and engaging for their audience and are being shared, they will rank, otherwise not.

If people love a creator’s content, they will share it and hence, it will rank better on the application. This is also the reason why it is seen that famous TikTokers often don’t have the same following on other social media platforms.

“On TikTok, creators have less than 20 seconds to impress your audience.”

Another aspect of the TikTok algorithm is the time span. Creators get a 15-second span for every video. They can also create a series of 4 such videos amounting to a minute long, but it is the first 15 seconds that are the most important. They have 15 seconds to hook their audience.

So, if an influencer is trying to endorse your product, the first 15 seconds will decide how much engagement they will drive for you.

Brands benefits

In the last few years, we have seen various brands opt for TikTok for influencer marketing. Though a variety of brands have used it, the brands that have always had the upper hand have been lifestyle brands.

Take the example of Mucinex, which endorsed their cold medicine in a very unique way. Influencers made the ‘before-after’ format videos, where they woke up looking sick and in a moment’s transformation turned to hale and hearty. The approach was unique, but the result was impressive.

But, finding the right influencer on TikTok is a dicey job. You have to have a keen eye (like us) to find the right influencer that will bring the conversion you expect.

“Finding the ideal influencers on TikTok is unicorn-hunt for most brands.”

Brands usually don’t know what to look for in influencers. And even when they do know the right influencers to work with, their strategies aren’t perfect enough.

What can you expect from a TikTok Influencer Campaign?

If done right, a campaign on TikTok should bring you nothing but positive organic engagement. Consider the campaign for Nirogam, where a large part of the engagement was driven due to TikTok influencers.

If done right, influencer marketing campaigns can bring you great results. Besides other things, it can help leverage the content strategy of your brand. But the catch is, IT NEEDS TO BE DONE RIGHT!

Marketing
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