TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media apps in the world and has become the perfect tool to visually and audibly communicate with audiences in a fun, creative and engaging way.

Content creators have set the standard, with new and emerging TikTok stars often outperforming some of the biggest and most established brands across the globe. For example, take a look at Charli D’Amelio, a 17-year-old American dancer who shot to TikTok fame in 2019 after posting dance routines to trending sounds. Charli is the most-followed individual on TikTok, with a whopping 135.8 million followers and currently sits at 10.5 billion likes! On the other hand, McDonald's, the international fast-food chain, has racked up only 2 million followers and 13.7 million likes, paling in comparison to Charli.

So, how can you incorporate TikTok into your marketing strategy to ensure you stand out and reach the right people? How can you get creative whilst still keeping search at the heart of it and driving traffic as well as brand awareness? Keep reading and you’ll find out 😏

1. What’s trending?

Firstly, why is TikTok so addictive? Because it’s the least repetitive app out there. There are new trends, new songs and new dances every single day, and it always leaves you wanting more. It can be hard to keep up with, especially as a brand, so let’s fix that.

TikTok has their own Discover Page, so by checking this on a daily basis, as well as scheduling time out to have a scroll down your For You Page, you’re already viewing the most current content.

These trends are literally made to be easily replicated by content creators, so utilise this. This can be by using trending sounds and effects, or hopping onto a topic that is doing well.

TipTok: Find your niche and adapt trends to your content pillars to respond reactively while staying relevant. For our TikTok channel, we’ve focused on office culture. This ensures that we are relatable to as many people as possible whilst targeting corporate/workplace/agency audiences.

The key to cracking TikTok: stay current and consistent. See below for a great example of this (not biased).

2. Be the challenger

Even better than staying current is being a step ahead: taking part in trends and challenges will only get you so far. With 68% of users being passive browsers (users who scroll through TikTok, but don’t necessarily interact), you want to be that account that stops scrollers in their tracks and gets them actively involved. The best way to do this is to become the challenger. Challenges that you set can range from transition masterpieces, creating a dance with an already trending sound, or even making your own song.

A great example of this is Samsung’s Dance Awesome campaign. Samsung collaborated with K-pop stars BLACKPINK to disrupt the ‘For You Page’ with a catchy track paired with an easily replicable dance routine. This trend had over 4.7 million user-generated videos as well as an impressive 20.8 billion views! This campaign won Samsung the Best Use of Paid Social award (UK Social Media Awards 2021) as well as being recognised by the world-renowned Design and Art Directions Awards (D&AD) in 2020.

Samsung isn’t the first to create its own TikTok song, and it certainly isn’t the last, so now is the perfect time to create your own viral challenge.

3. TikTok as a search engine

Our motto is that search is at the heart of everything we do. By producing awesome social content that will encourage engagement, your brand will become even more searchable; you appear more on non-follower newsfeeds and your social content will experience exponential reach.

However, just like any marketing material, your socials must be kept up to date with genuinely useful and relevant content to support your Google index. You’ve seen #LearnOnTikTok, yes? The hashtag that has over 138.2 billion views? You read that right: billion. People seek out educational pieces amidst the amusing content and share it with their friends. As a result, journalists are adapting to TikTok culture by monitoring the app for story ideas and watching out for trends that could inform news articles.

We also track these trends using our Early Risers tool, putting us ahead of the rest when it comes to giving hot info to journalists. These ideas, while they come from an internal tool, can have a very close link with social media - not only do they showcase the latest trends, but they also create them. Do you remember THE PrettyLittleThing crossover top that everyone wanted to get their hands on? PLT already ranked #1 for this style of top, so we pushed them as a trending item using influencers and product PR, with the aim of starting a trend and leveraging all of the traffic. We reached 4.29m people on TikTok and searches went up by 841%. TikTok views reached over 10 million and the trend gained 19 links, putting PLT in the centre of the trending topic - because we created it. Pretty impressive, right?

4. TikTok Optimisation

TikTok only allows you to write captions that are <100 characters long, so you need to choose your words wisely. I would recommend using most of these characters on your hashtags. However, try not to use more than five to avoid your content coming across as spam. So, from millions of choices of keywords, how do you pick your top five?

As I have mentioned, the Discover Page is the hub of all things trending - including hashtags. Take a look at the page and see if any tags are relevant to your video, but resist including hashtags just because they are trending. For example, if your TikTok is of a shopping haul, don’t use #HealthyEating just because it shows up on your Discover Page. Remember, hashtags are used as a search method, so if users have gone to TikTok for healthy recipe recommendations and your Zara haul comes up, they will just watch the introduction and skip. The algorithm rewards videos that are watched from start to finish, so you don’t want people to scroll away immediately. Lastly, the best hashtags for your content will already be out there, but don’t be afraid to make your own to be unique and stand out. You could even try creating your own personal hashtag, so that people can search for it to find your videos alone.

Ultimately, your shopping haul hashtags could be…

  • #OOTD (currently a trending topic)
  • #Streetwear (another trending tag and describes the style)
  • #Zarahaul (making it specific to the brand)
  • #shoppinghauls (6.5M views as opposed to an overly saturated #shoppinghaul with 4.8B views)
  • #fashionessentials (targeting fashion lovers)

Don’t be that brand that plays it too safe… TikTok is about having fun and being a bit cheeky. If you want to optimise your TikTok visibility, keep an eye on what's trending, start the trends yourself, and produce genuinely useful content whilst ensuring it is easy to find.

Need some inspiration? Follow the Rise at Seven TikTok to see what we’ve been up to.