TikTok Creators: A Brand's Guide to Partnerships
TikTok has taken the world by storm with its fun, short-form videos and easy-to-use creator platform. TikTok has brought to life a new category of entertainment that’s easy to mass-produce but still digestible, humanized, and pleasing to audiences.
This makes TikTok a relatively new but major marketing channel rapidly emerging into a social media giant. It now stands on the top shelf alongside Facebook and YouTube as digital marketing platforms — but it’s also challenging streaming platforms like Netflix in terms of viewership.
TikTok immediately knows users’ interests once they sign up, unlike YouTube, which bases this data on users’ searches and videos watched. TikTok obtains this data through a preference center within their sign-up phase. This quickly matches new users to niche influencers and content. The “For You” page then changes according to TikTok’s algorithm, monitoring a user’s likes and shares.
As a brand, working with the right TikTok Creators is crucial to exposing new audiences on the app to your products. Creators often have established audiences, and know how to create engaging content that matches the raw, authentic feel of TikTok.
Here’s your guide to working with TikTok creators.
1. Use Customer Feedback and Demographics to Build a Target Audience
Before diving deep and allocating resources into a marketing strategy, you should first determine who your audience is.
Note that different influencers appeal to different ages, interests, and cultures. Knowing your audience’s interests and demographics will give you proper insight into which influencers to reach out to.
You can start by identifying your audience’s demographic data. That includes age, gender, and location. Next, identify their interests, hobbies, and other nuanced details. One way to do this is by analyzing your brand’s existing social following on various channels. Pixlee TurnTo’s platform allows you to easily view audience demographics like age and gender, as well as discover which types of posts they’re most engaged with.
Other techniques include:
- Using Ratings & Reviews and other customer feedback tools to understand what your customers are most interested in when it comes to your brand and industry. Checkout Comments™ are a great resource to learn why your customers are purchasing certain products.
- Practicing social listening and collecting user-generated content (UGC). Monitoring what your customers share on social media can help you understand what types of creators they’re drawn to. Plus, UGC can also be used as a community-driven marketing asset for other areas of your business.
You may also be able to discover creators on TikTok within your existing fan base by collecting and sharing UGC like cosmetics brand Morphe does.
Knowing detailed information about your audience will allow you to determine the best way to go about your TikTok influencer campaign.
2. Discover Creators & Practice Outreach
Once you’ve determined the right audience, it’s time to find the right creator to reach out to. The keyword there is “right” because you can only benefit from TikTok creators if you’re partnering with the right personalities — and this may not be the users with the largest following.
Luckily, finding the right TikTok creators can be straightforward with the right tools. Plus, there are various ways to go about it. First, you can use a specialized tool to discover influencers like Pixlee TurnTo
TikTok also has a creator marketplace where brands can find the perfect creators for their campaigns. The marketplace also has several search filters that you can use to narrow down your search.
Beyond the tool, you can use hashtags to find the ideal TikTok creators for your brand. Most TikTok users include hashtags in their video descriptions. Therefore, searching for hashtags relevant to your niche should help you find relevant content creators.
For example, a beauty brand selling hair could search for a hashtag like “#braids,” “#braiding,” “#braidstutorial,” etc. This will show you some top creators making content relevant to your brand. You can then research the creators further before contacting them.
While TikTok’s creator marketplace is useful for designing campaigns run on the app, it may be worthwhile to invest in an influencer marketing tool that allows you to scale content to other channels like your brand’s website.
After identifying the right influencers, reach out to them with a personalized message. Here’s a template for inspiration. Some influencers prefer to be reached by email, while others may favor a DM. This preference can often be found in the user’s TikTok bio or connected links.
It’s now time to think about the expenses of working with TikTok creators.
3. Design a Budget Plan With Your Creator(s)
Naturally, the more popular a creator is, the higher their price tag is likely to be. But keep in mind that some influencers like to charge based on the size of the company approaching them. Others prefer to charge per package of 3 videos instead of just a fixed rate per one video.
Another factor to consider is the scope of work you want from the creator. Will the sponsored video be an entire sponsored video, or will it simply be a mere mention on one of the videos? Additionally, if you’re working with a creator to share content on their channels, you’ll want to base payment off of metrics like engagement and views. Other creators may be willing to build content for your brand’s TikTok channel, so time spent creating and content quality may be better price point indicators.
With Pixlee TurnTo, your brand’s team can automatically collect and re-share TikTok videos from authenticated creators on your brand’s social channels (beyond just TikTok) and website pages.
Negotiate for a reasonable payment once you’ve ironed out the details regarding the campaign. For example, you can negotiate for lower influencer payments if it’s a long-term engagement. Check out our influencer pay guide for more details on this.
4. Develop a Detailed Campaign Plan
One advantage of collaborating with an influencer is creating unique content tailored to your audience’s preferences. However, you can only achieve that if you get your content concepts spot on.
When collaborating with a TikTok influencer, the possibilities for a TikTok post are endless. There are numerous types of influencer-led videos that work well on TikTok, from brand hashtag challenges to haul videos.
Alo Yoga uses Pixlee TurnTo to partner with TikTok influencers on unique videos like product ratings and tutorials.
Here are other concept ideas:
- Product placement - The product is placed somewhere in the background or foreground of the video. It could be interacted with by the influencer or not, so long as it’s physically seen on the video.
- Product demo - You can have the creator try out your product or service and possibly give a review. The short-form format of the TikTok post should make for an engaging product demo.
- Product giveaway - You can partner with influencers for giveaways. This is an easy way to build awareness about your brand and products. It also drives more engagements, especially if the giveaway is also linked to a challenge.
Keep in mind that your concept and ideas will affect the pricing.
5. Give Creators Artistic Freedom
Whether on YouTube or TikTok, any community of creators will tell you that they want creative freedom. That’s one of the unspoken benefits of being a full-time creator.
Giving your influencers artistic freedom allows them to create genuine and engaging content for you. This freedom also lessens the tendency for an intrusive sales ad – the kind that definitely won’t work on a short-form video platform like TikTok. This is also why UGC is much more popular on TikTok than polished brand videos.
However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t give them some guidelines. Here are some tips:
- Inform the creator of your goals for the TikTok campaign.
- Let the creator know about the item you want to promote (or website, service, app, etc.).
- Let the creator know what they can’t do (i.e., feature another competing brand in the creative). You’d want to keep this short and straightforward. Too many constraints may limit their artistic freedom.
Artistic freedom is what makes a TikTok creator so effective. It’s what makes them influencers in their niche. Don’t interfere with the creative process since the influencer knows more than you about what their own audience wants to see.
6. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Influencer Marketing KPIs will help you predict the success or failure of your TikTok influencer campaign. These metrics suggest whether your marketing budget is going in the right place.
You may need to track different KPIs depending on your goal. For example, if your objective is to increase sales, you may need to provide unique affiliate links to your creators. These make it easier for you to track and attribute sales to specific creators.
Affiliate links also allow you to track the influencers raking in more sales than others. They’re an efficient way to pinpoint underperforming influencers and what a potential problem may be (e.g., their audience can’t afford your product or their content isn’t compelling enough).
With an influencer link tracking tool like Pixlee TurnTo’s, your brand can easily map revenue to specific influencers and content pieces, allowing you to track campaign success.
Here are additional KPIs that you may also want to track:
- Views and engagement of the sponsored TikTok(s)
- Website traffic using the affiliate link you've provided
- Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). This is calculated by influencer spending - revenue generated by purchases using the affiliate link.
There are other unique KPIs as well, depending on your marketing goal. If you’re aiming for brand challenge virality, you can look at the rising use of your hashtag.
TikTok is growing rapidly, and its streaming-style home feed caters to influencer discovery and original creator content. This means that to stand out on the app and take advantage of the vast marketing potential it has, your brand should put TikTok Creators at the forefront of your influencer marketing strategy.
Martin Gessner is the Founder of Focus on Force. He has spent over 10 years working in various Salesforce roles, including business analyst, project manager, consultant, and solutions architect. Along the way he has earned twelve certifications, published "The Salesforce Career Playbook", and helps Salesforce professionals learn more about Salesforce, develop their career and prepare for certifications.