Ever since its launch in 2016, TikTok’s growth and popularity continue to skyrocket.
Aside from being a video-sharing platform, TikTok has also become home to a variety of content creators and influencers who have their own mostly organic community.
With over a billion active users in 2021, more and more brands and companies are tapping into this social media platform’s influencer marketing potential. There are tons and tons of brands that have boosted exposure thanks to viral branded content videos on the platform.
This article details everything you need to know about starting influencer marketing on TikTok.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is working with people who influence the brand’s target audience or market. These influencers are tasked to create content that promotes the brand.
At its core, the principle of influencer marketing is that these individuals with a solid following already have a certain credibility in their community, which means their followers will likely trust what they have to say.
You’re essentially paying for the influencer’s ability to affect their community’s purchasing decisions.
Why Influencer Marketing on TikTok Works
TikTok started out as a platform for sharing short videos of recreated dances and mimed karaoke-like clips. How has it become such a strong marketing tool, especially for influencer marketing?
One reason is TikTok’s diversity of communities. Tiktok allows anyone to create vertical short-form videos about virtually anything. You’ll find that the platform has a video for every single possible niche imaginable.
There’s also a community surrounding whatever that niche may be. In addition, there will almost always be an influencer or a known expert within that certain niche too.
The platform has given voices to diverse communities all over the world. Users have even created names for certain communities within the platform. Booktok, for example, is the side of TikTok that focuses primarily on books and reading.
Tiktok is Good at Showing Off Personalities
Whether it’s the brand’s or the influencer’s personality, TikTok is really good at showing or highlighting these to the audience.
Because of the short nature of TikTok videos, they seem less formal and less structured than the lengthier videos on other social media platforms, for example YouTube. TikTok videos are more casual, it lets brands and individuals show off their personalities more without the pressure of looking more polished and professional.
TikTok’s algorithm also goes beyond your account statistics. Simply put, the way TikTok works is that it doesn’t limit who gets to see your content based on your followers, unlike other social media platforms like Instagram. The engagement on an Instagram post relies heavily on the number of followers.
When you post a video on TikTok, virtually anyone will be able to see it, whether they follow you or not. TikTok videos feel more personal and curated because of the platform’s algorithm. It will naturally bring in content that fits your interests based on the videos you engage with.
With its informal nature, TikTok seem to enhance strong connections between influencers and audiences. This is essentially one of the biggest reasons why influencer marketing works on Tiktok: an influencer’s community is usually built on seemingly real connections. Because Tiktoks are more personal and feel less scripted, content creators are given the chance to build strong connections with their community members.
Aside from likes and comments, the ability to duet, stitch, or re-post a Tiktok video takes engagement to another level. It strengthens that connection between the community and the influencer because Tik Tok allows them to interact.
In turn, these influencers know their audience well too. They know how to create content that their audience will like and engage with.
This means that influencers themselves provide better marketing than any other advertisement out there.
How to Start Influencer Marketing on Tiktok
If executed right, influencer marketing is a very powerful tool for expanding your brand’s reach.
You’ll find dozens and dozens of successful influencer campaigns on TikTok, but how exactly can you do this for your brand too?
Below are the steps that can help you start influencer marketing on TikTok.
Define Your Niche, Audience, and Target Market. Before you can start looking for an influencer to work with, you need to have a clearly defined niche, audience, and target market.
What industry does your brand belong to? Who are the people you’re trying to reach?
Having a specific niche helps you narrow down which communities you need to get in touch with. Your target market has to be the individuals within these communities.
Choose and Reach Out to an Influencer. The next step is to choose the right influencer. If you’re a skincare brand, working with an influencer who specializes in financial advice may not be the best option. Once you’ve settled on influential content creators you want to work with, what next?
Reach Out and Introduce Your Brand. Most influencers will have a business email somewhere on their bio. You could reach out through TikTok’s messaging system too, but assuming your influencer has a solid following who’s sending them DMs on the daily, your message might not get noticed.
If your brand has been around for a while, maybe some influencers have heard about you so don’t be afraid to send a message and reach out. It’s easier to work with people who already know and support your brand.
However, if you’re a brand that’s just starting out, don’t worry you can still reach out to influencers. Introduce yourself and your company. Talk about your brand identity and your goals.
Essentially, influencer marketing is a two-way deal. Influencers won’t usually agree to deals they know won’t make their followers happy. If your brand piques their interest and if they know it will pique the interest of their audience as well, chances are, they’ll be happy to work with you.
Study Your Influencer’s Media Kit. Usually, influencers have a media kit if they’ve worked on other projects before. Study these media kits and use them to gauge if it’s the type of content and community you’re looking for.
In addition, check their audience demographics and verify if these are the same people you want to sell your brand to. Most of the time, these media kits will also include numbers and statistics about things like their follower count.
Decide How Much Creative Control An Influencer Will Have. Most of the time, these influencers already create a distinct type of content. So, when choosing to utilize influencer marketing, you have to consider just how much creative control you want to give your chosen influencer.
Here’s a nugget of advice: Give as much creative freedom as you can but make sure that both parties understand the goals of your brand or campaign. Influencers know their audience best and will likely know what type of branded content will resonate with them.
Discuss Your Campaign Terms in Detail. At the end of the day, influencer marketing is still a transaction. This means you’ll want to create a contract with well-defined terms.
Create clear terms on things like payment, timelines, and deliverables. Is the influencer allowed to participate in campaigns within the same niche? How long should each branded Tiktok video be?
In addition, discuss the campaign’s goals and expectations too. How will you be able to track these goals? Will you be looking at video views, video engagements, or sales from the product itself?
All of these should be discussed and included in the formal agreement. Make sure that both parties understand and agree to the campaign’s terms.
How to Find The Right Influencers
Now that you know how to start with influencer marketing, the next big question is, how do you find the right influencers? Below are some nifty tips to help you out.
Look Within Your Niche. The best place to start looking is within your brand’s niche, which is exactly why you want a clearly defined one. Look for influencers that have built communities with these interests.
Fortunately, TikTok makes it very easy to find content through hashtags. Look through which videos are getting traction and who’s making them. Check which trends are popular and see if you can find the content creator who started it or one that has recreated it in a more creative or engaging way.
TikTok’s Creator Marketplace. TikTok has its very own Creator Marketplace where brands and businesses can search for creators and invite them to collaborate. All creators have a follower count of no less than 100,000 and most of their account and video statistics are available for viewing.
However, many marketers don’t like simply browsing through Tiktok’s Creator Marketplace. For one, the 100,000 and above follower requirement can be limiting.
There are influencers with less than a hundred thousand followers, but they know how to make great content and have a tight-knit community. You might miss out on these content creators that are only starting out and are bound to do great things within their communities. Another concern is that the Creator Marketplace isn’t really heavily moderated, which means there isn’t a screening process that actually looks at the quality of content an individual has made.
The marketplace is definitely a good place to start if you truly have no idea where to start looking but don’t end your search there.
Browse TikTok. One of the best ways to find the right influencer for your brand is to browse TikTok itself. Fortunately, because of the way the algorithm works, you’re bound to easily see the latest trends appear on your For You page.
By doing your search on Tiktok itself, your mission to find an influencer won’t simply be a numbers game. Don’t get us wrong, the numbers are important; you want an influencer with a decent amount of reach and well, influence. However, you also want one that can create quality branded content.
Browsing through their Tiktok videos allows you to watch their content and their community.
In addition, you should also look at which content creators are popular among the community you’re trying to reach.
How to Measure the Success of an Influencer Campaign
Whether your goal is to increase brand awareness or drive up sales, you need to find a way to measure and track the progress—and hopefully the success—of your influencer campaign. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single one-all-be-all metric to measure an influencer campaign’s success. Instead, you need to use a combination of different metrics and strategies.
Key Performance Indicators. An important method to track progress is to set up key performance indicators or KPIs. Through KPIs, success is measured by looking at how well the objectives of your influencer marketing campaign are met.
Some KPI metrics worth tracking include: follower growth rate, hashtag performance, and traffic before, during, and after the campaign.
TikTok Analytics. One of the best ways to do this is through Tiktok analytics. It can give you a lot of information on impressions and engagements. Impressions show you how much reach an influencer’s content had—this shows how many people saw their video. The reason why impressions shouldn’t be your only metric is that it doesn’t really show you if the people who saw the video watched it in its entirety or even interacted with it.
This is where engagements come in. Engagements can come in different forms such as likes, comments, shares, and re-posts. These will give you an insight into how well the campaign material or branded content is received. These numbers can also tell you what works and what doesn’t so you can optimize your materials better.
Influencer marketing on TikTok is a powerful tool that’s been around for quite some time. Influencer marketing on a giant social media platform like TikTok makes this strategy even more powerful, particularly for e-commerce businesses or companies wanting to strengthen their brands.
To start with this strategy, you have to prioritize finding the right influencer for your brand. Influencers who belong to your brand’s niche and share the same goals as you will create better and more organic branded content. This might sound a bit tedious, but it will also be best if you can track the progress of your influencer campaign by looking at different metrics and using TikTok’s analytics, taking note of nuggets of information such as like impressions, engagements, and traffic.