The 3 Pronged Strategy for Success on TikTok

If you're a brand hesitant about joining tiktok… stop whatever you're doing. 

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Despite the misconceptions TikTok is NOT an app full of Tweens doing funny dances. Far from it.

TikTok has grown to over a billion users worldwide. Nearly a third of all Americans are on the platform. And, it's driving sales. There’s a reason #TikTokMadeMeBuyit has 10 billion viewers. TikTok has inspired 43% of users to buy something new.Additionally, it has amazing organic reach and engagement. Average organic reach for brands on TikTok is 118%.Compare that with Facebook or Instagram where it ranges from 5 – 5.5% (if you’re lucky). That’s at least 21 times more reach than Facebook or Instagram!Those aren’t just empty impressions. TikTok is the ideal place to cultivate a community. Brands average 8% engagement on TikTok vs 0.09% on Facebook & 1.6% on Instagram. Of course, programming for any platform can be difficult. So where should your brand start?There are three pillars to success for brands on TikTok:

  • Make TikToks not ads

  • Collaborate with the community

  • Leverage the Flicker, Flash, and Flare content strategy

1) Make TikToks Not Ads

We scroll through over 500 feet of content a day, The competition for your attention is fierce. As a result, we've become adept at identifying the content that feels jarring and out of place. On TikTok that means highly produced, glossy ads. It's jarring - akin to running a radio spot on TVWant to create content that’s thumb stopping? Make it native.According to TikTok, “Hyper-polished, aspirational content has been losing its shine. In its place: authenticity. Over the last year, we have seen countless brands embrace this side of TikTok and actively integrate realness into their marketing strategy.”


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Watch the Video This strategy is reinforced by the data. In a recent brand summit TikTok revealed that 56% of users prefer brands that publish human, unpolished content. In short - brands that make TikTok’s, not ads, are handsomely rewarded.


2) Collaborate With The Community

Collaboration is embedded into the DNA of TikTok. No other platform has removed so much friction to facilitate collaboration. Within its in-app editing features it has duets, stitching, and even the ability to credit creators for their ideas.Brands should create content that incentivises participation. This in turn generates awareness and exposure to wider audiences. A great example of this is when e.l.f. Cosmetics created a custom song. They challenged the TikTok community to create content around the “Eyes. Lips. Face. (e.l.f.)” track. The results? Over 1.4 million creators used the track generating over 3 billion video views. Additionally, featuring creators within branded content is a persuasive marketing tool.Studies show that 63% of TikTok users prefer it when brands show creators in their videos.


3) The Flicker, Flash, Flare Content strategy

Lastly, every brand should use TikTok’s Flicker, Flash, Flare content strategy to program their brand’s channel. The strategy is a straightforward framework encompassing the following:

  1. Flicker content – reactive (ie participation in trends)

  2. Flash content – proactive (ie planned/episodic content)

  3. Flare content – interactive (large scale campaign initiatives)

Flicker Content - Reactive

Flicker content is quick-turn and reactive. It’s for participating in real time moments like hashtag challenges, sounds, or trends.These are a turnkey way to generate earned exposure. As trends and sounds rise in prominence more and more creators participate. As a result, it creates a flywheel of awareness and participation. Brands who participate early (and appropriately) can benefit from the hype cycle. A great example of this is Sanrio, the Japanese toy maker.An audio track ‘going to the fridge to get a snack’ went viral in April. In response the created a TikTok of Sanrio character, Pompompurin, dancing in front of an open refrigerator. That TikTok became their most viewed and most engaged video - generating over 3.1 million views.@sanrio #Pompompurin needs a snacky snack 💛✨ #sanrio #foryou #fyp ♬ Snack - Alucard Everlasting

Flash Content - Proactive

Flash content is planned and/or episodic content. According to TikTok these should bring the brand story to life in an original, entertaining way or highlight product attributes. They can incorporate elements such as recurring storylines or formats. A great example of this would be Red Bull’s ‘This Is How’ series. The format is a behind the scenes look at how Red Bull creates content and helps their athletes complete their death defying stunts. The format is consistent. Each video opens with ‘This Is How’ and then goes into a different breakdown of a death defying stunt and the work that went into getting the shot. traveling in style ✨ w/ Kenny Belaey 🚲 #redbull #givesyouwiiings #bikelife #helicopter ♬ original sound - Red Bull

Flare Content - Large Scale Campaign Initiatives

Flare content is meant to be created a handful of times a year. It’s for major brand moments such as product launches or campaigns and should drive participation. TikTok recommends branded hashtag challenges, lenses, and influencer collaborations as ‘go to’ flare tactics.A recent example of this would be LG’s Life’s Good challenge. The brand launched a Branded hashtag challenge and branded effect. According to TikTok, “the Branded Effect was designed with a bespoke background filter to track body movements as the audience dances along to the track. The Hashtag Challenge #lifeisgooddance was created to further generate awareness and encourage participation”Due to the invitation to participate, ad placement, and high-profile creators involved the campaign generated over 7 billion views and 2 million videos.@lg_lifeisgood Check out some highlights from the #lifeisgooddance ♬ 오리지널 사운드 - Life’s GoodSo what’s holding your brand back?Leveraging the strategies outlined here you’re armed with everything you need to adopt a ‘TikTok first’ mentality. This means adding value to your community. As well as using the language and form function of the platform.Like any new platform it may take time. But, don’t let that hold you back. Focus on improving 1% each day, with each post. Embrace the fact that you won’t come out of the gates knowing exactly what works. That's OK.Ultimately, TikTok drives culture (and sales). With the tools outlined above you’ve got everything you need to get started.


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