TikTok’s growth over the past year is undeniable. The journey of the app is also quite fascinating as it’s the first major social media network that started in China and spread to the United States and the rest of the world. As of February 2021, the app has 689 million active users worldwide, and is the most downloaded app on the app store.
These numbers are staggering and while the larger demographic of users skews toward young adults and teenagers aged 16-24, this is certainly not the only demographic on the app. With the app growing so quickly (and everyone finally getting over the banning drama) it’s become a hotbed for brands. With this influx of brands popping up on TikTok we thought this would be a perfect time to discuss how to successfully launch on the app.
Below we’ll discuss why your brand should be on TikTok, who else is there, who’s entered the space well, and why you should be incorporating influencers into your strategy.
TikTok is Booming
With over 689 million monthly active users worldwide, It is of no surprise that brands and content creators are partnering to launch powerful TikTok campaigns. The power of the app lies in the vast audience it is able to reach through the personalized creativity of each influential user, making it relatable to their viewers. Its fast-paced nature keeps viewers engaged over long periods of time with new viral trends that are constantly emerging, such as new dances, transitions or recipes.
The relatable content is what keeps users interested and coming back to spend time on the app. By no accident brands have been launching like wildfire on TikTok and doing so through the lens of influencers. Creators are hungry to share large amounts of content with their followers and promote their favorite brands along the way. Over the past few months we’ve seen the power that viral creator videos can have on a product or brand, oftentimes leading to the product being sold out for months. Brands have caught on to the provenly successful app and are increasing or just now designing new TikTok influencer budgets, Dunkin’ Donuts being a great example. Their collaboration with huge TikTok star and known Dunkin’ lover, Charli D’Amelio, includes a new Charli inspired drink and led to the launch of her merch line with the coffee company. Essentially, if your targeted audience includes anyone between the ages of 13 and 50, your brand should be on TikTok.
Who’s on the app?
At this point TikTok is full of brand content across a variety of industries. You can find brands on your feed like Spikeball, EOS, Guess, NBA, NFL, WWE, The Washington Post, HP, Calvin Klein, Gushers, and many more. They have all grown to be successful in followers, likes, and views by creating platform-specific content tailored to their specific audiences and capitalizing on the current trends. By having a good understanding of their audience and how it overlaps with the app’s demographics, brands are able to creatively engage users with their videos. Different campaigns have grown rather quickly for a variety of reasons such as consistency, giveaways, challenges, songs, trend forecasting – the routes to blow up on the app are truly endless.
Clorox is an example of a company getting creative with their strategy. They partnered with actor Billy Porter to create an original tune for their hashtag challenge. Jumping on a popular slang phrase heard in today’s pop culture “yas queen”, they flipped the script to make it #YasClean to relate to their products. The hashtag challenge includes a sweepstakes portion and hopes to engage with younger consumers -the hashtag has already seen over 7 billion views!
Let’s look at some successful launches
Now that you know WHY your brand should have a presence on TikTok and who else is currently on the app, let’s dive into a few successful launches. We’ve decided to share a range of brands to show that TikTok really is a platform where all brands can play.
The beauty industry was one of the firsts to jump on the TikTok wave. Elf Cosmetics launched on TikTok with their now very successful #eyeslipsface challenge. This campaign began in October of 2020 and since then has amassed over 6 billion views and 5 million user generated videos, making it the most viral campaign on the app. The brand commissioned a custom song for the challenge and worked initially with a small group of influencers to kick off the campaign. Not only did the original song do so well that it made its way to the top 10 in global Spotify charts, but the challenge was participated in by swaths of unsolicited celebrities.
This campaign was wildly successful and it’s clear why. Elf jumped onto the app early and created a campaign challenge that was easy and fun to participate in. The best and most impactful part however was having celebrities and influencers join in on the challenge organically, making all the difference in the end.
By now you’re probably familiar with Chevrolet’s grand TikTok entrance. Using a rebooted version of Breland’s song “My Truck” they created a music video showcasing three models of the Silverado full-size pickup truck. The brand wanted to target younger consumers who tend to be heavier users of social media and they did just that. Their account now boasts 180K+ followers and nearly 1 million likes and this quick growth is attributed to the campaign which generated 76M+ views alone.
This approach worked well for Chevrolet because the Gen Z audience they were targeting connected with the genre of music, artist, and platform on which they chose to activate. Breland’s sound is similar to that of Lil Nas x, who’s hit “Old Town Road” was popular last year, making the hype around it even bigger. As more brands look to launch on TikTok this case study will serve as a prime example of how to do so.
Chipotle is another brand that took to TikTok quickly, being one of the first brands to utilize the app as a marketing tool they were able to build up a sizable following. TikTok is now Chipotle’s biggest social media platform with 1.5M+ followers and 28.6M+ likes. Launching the platform during the height of the pandemic allowed Chipotle to meet their audience where they were spending time. One of the most memorable Chipotle TikTok moments was bringing Miley Cyrus’ go-to Chipotle order to the Chipotle menu in December. Users began an “If Miley Cyrus comments, I’ll do something” challenge that the brand moved fast on. “We created our very own ‘If Miley Cyrus comments, we’ll make a Miley burrito in our app’ video. Miley immediately commented her favorite order and the ‘Guac Is Extra But So Is Miley Burrito‘ became an official limited-time menu item,” says Liberman, the Vice President of Digital Marketing and Off-Premise at Chipotle.
Chipotle benefited from being an early adopter of TikTok and testing out many different types of campaigns to find what really worked for them. They are consistent with their content and that allows their following to know what to expect from them on the platform.
Just this month we’ve seen Mint, a finance and budgeting app, make their debut on TikTok as well. Mint launched on TikTok with their first brand campaign, that was designed to guide consumers through their savings journeys and remind them that even the smallest steps toward a better future are worth celebrating. “Any Day Can Be Your Big Day” grew Mint’s TikTok following from 0 to more than 11,000, and generated nearly 33 million impressions over six weeks. This campaign gave off a positive and playful tone that isn’t common in financial advertising. This was of course intentional, as the brand was looking to target “enthusiast millennials” between 25 and 35 years old with major life events coming up.
Budgeting and financial planning aren’t typically hot topics for young people BUT Mint was able to create content that was engaging, educational and entertaining, which brought those who were interested in the topic to their page. Highlighting a topic such as financial literacy to a young audience in a fun and engaging way is allowing Mint’s following to grow quickly.
Influencers are key!
All of this being said, TikTok is without a doubt the platform to be incorporating influencers. The influencer community on the app is alive, thriving, and extremely profitable. Over the past few years influencers have seen more issues arise around authenticity but TikTok has provided a place for them to be unfiltered and more authentic.
All of the successful TikTok launches that we’ve seen so far have incorporated influencers in one way or another. Creating a launch in partnership with influencers who represent your brand will work to your benefit as their audience will come over and engage with your content as well. So whether you’re launching with a challenge, a giveaway, or a customized song, influencer should be a central focus of your strategy.
We’re looking to help more brands launch on TikTok, if you’ve been thinking about it or want to talk strategy hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.