Influencer marketing. It's everywhere. It's taking the social media world by storm. It's big. But it's also getting bigger.
TikTok has also really taken off in the last two years, captivating audiences and turning heads. In fact, its one of the fastest growing social networks out there right now. And with TikTok soaring to new heights, the influencer marketing opportunities on the platform will continue to flourish as well.
But how can you make the most of the platform in terms of influencer marketing? How can you find and even utilize micro-influencers for your brand on TikTok?
Let's jump in.
A Quick Overview of TikTok
TikTok: Everyone's favorite short form video platform, packed full of relatable, amusing and interesting content that can keep you scrolling...and scrolling...and scrolling for hours of entertainment.
Users of the platform can choose between uploading 15 second or 60 second videos chalk full of lip-syncs, dances, pranks and pretty much whatever comes to mind. It's a spontaneous platform, for sure.
With filters, music, sound effects and more, its the perfect platform for creatives, wannabe creatives and even individuals who don't feel particularly creative.
Just How Popular is TikTok?
If you don't want to take our word for it, we'll give you a little insight into just how popular this creative app has become. Check it out:
Image Credit of: MediaKix
TikTok had a major surge in popularity since 2016 when parent company ByteDance merged Musical.ly and TikTok, giving TikTok an open door to hit the GenZ market hard.
The monthly app downloads since 2016 have steadily increased since then, giving TikTok a 500 million active user count and surpassing both Facebook and Instagram for downloads. This also means that TikTok has long surpassed Vine, (RIP. 😢) which, at the peak of its popularity had around 2oo million active users.
WHO is the TikTok Audience?
The majority of users on TikTok are made up of GenZers. However, more and more businesses are realizing the power behind what this app can do for them, making the crowds and opportunities quite diverse.
With users spending an average of around 52 minutes on TikTok, that gives marketers like us plenty of time to make the most of platform.
Building Your Influencer Marketing Campaign on TikTok
While its true that TikTok hasn't been around long, we're already beginning to see the major benefits of using TikTok influencer marketing and finding better ways to utilize the tool for our social media strategies.
When it comes to influencer marketing on TikTok, there are five guidelines you will want to very carefully follow if you want to get the best results.
1) Research the Platform
And when we say research, we mean research. Learn the ins and outs and what to expect from your campaign at its best and its worst. Of course it'll take some experimentation, but at the end of the day, having the information under your belt can be the lifeblood of your strategy.
2) Carefully Vet Potential Micro-Influencers
You can get a pretty good idea of a micro-influencers track record based on their profile, but have your list of questions and concerns prepared anyway. Find out what they have to say and what they think worked the best in past experience. If they can point you in the direction of a past client and you can catch an opportunity to get their feedback, do it. You'll be surprised at how much more comfortable it will make you through the process.
3) Determine the Goals of the Campaign
Make sure that before you're bringing in a third party, you have carefully mapped out what the "official" rules of your campaign include. What do you expect to get from the campaign? What will it take to get there? Are there known "hiccup" points? Write it all out and discuss it with your team to avoid confusion and make sure your chosen micro-influencer candidate is also in on the conversation.
4) Don't Tie Your Influencers Down Creatively
Let them be creative! Let them use their imagination and get their input. After all, no one is going to know their audience like they do. Make the most of it and the end results will prove the point.
5) Avoid the Legal Mess and Stay FTC Compliant!
If you've worked with micro-influencers and influencers before, this warning isn't for you, but for those who haven't. Heed the warning and make certain that your TikTok influencers comply with FTC guidelines. Otherwise, it can be a costly, legal mess. Don't be caught!
Finding Influencers on TikTok
Before you can ever jump start your campaign, you need influencers. So how can you find them? How do you know who will best fit your brand and your product?
There's three ways that we have found seem to have the best results for brands on TikTok that we have outlined below.
1) Identify Existing Influencers Through the "Discover" Feature
Who knows, maybe they'll work well for your brand! You can narrow this down also by searching #ad + whatever hashtags you feel are relevant to your brand and narrowing in on the influencers that are speaking directly or indirectly to a portion of your audience.
2) Cross-Check Relevant Influencers on Other Platforms
If they're on Instagram, chances are, they're probably on TikTok. Give it a shot and check out what they have to offer. This will also give you an idea of how your micro-influencer will market products to different audiences.
3) Knowing Your Target Audience Goes A Long Way
If you know what they would want to watch, what they ARE watching, how they're interacting and who they're interacting with, you can narrow in on who might influence them the most. And no, just because they have a lot of followers doesn't mean they're the best influencer for your brand, so choose carefully.
Finding your ideal candidate may seem difficult, but trust me. It's worth it.
If you feel like you're exhausting your options and can't find a suitable influencer, there are tools like Julius and Fanbytes that also work well in place of organic searches.
TikTok Influencers: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does TikTok pay influencers?
A: The answer is no…but it’s also yes. If a creator is lending their name and support to a product or service, the business behind that product or service is paying them, not TikTok—they’re just the platform. If an influencer lands a brand deal with TikTok for a specific campaign, then TikTok would pay the influencer just like any other business. TikTok creators can also receive financial support from TikTok through the Creator Fund. The Creator Fund is a set amount of money that gets distributed to a pool of creators based on video views and engagement and includes, but is not limited to, influencers.
Q: How can I contact TikTok influencers?
A: The most direct way is to search TikTok for the influencer you’d like to contact using their username and then either send them a DM or contact their management if posted in their bio. The major drawback with this method is that many creators have strict DM settings, and you may not be able to contact them unless they follow you back. If they don’t have an alternate form of contact posted in their bio, you will then likely need to turn to one of the influencer databases that are available. These searchable databases can be expensive, but they can be the most efficient: They help pair brands with influencers based on account size and location so brands don’t have to do any hoping and poking.
Q: How can I find influencers on TikTok?
A: Everywhere. If you have some financial resources but don’t want to spend a whole lot of time trying to find the influencer that will work the best for you, a searchable database like Upfluence or Fanbytes might be your best bet. You could also turn to an agency that specializes in social media marketing—they’re the pros. If you have some time to invest, but a more limited budget, using the search function or For You Page within the app to find large creators with relevant niches helps. For example, if you sell makeup, search for “makeup” to find beauty influencers. You can also look to see who your competitors are working with and use that information to guide you to the right accounts.
Q: How do I work with TikTok influencers?
A: The important first step is to “know thyself.” You need to know your goals for your campaign, your target audience, and your branding before you start looping internet celebrities into your process. Then, be sure you know who your influencer is. Research their platforms, their message, their background…you don’t want to end up with a PR nightmare on your hands.
If you’ve never worked with an influencer before, you may find it useful to do some research on influencer contracts and even hire a lawyer to make sure everything is above board. After the contract is signed, trust the research you did, and try not to crimp their style by telling the creator exactly what to say or do. It’s important that influencers maintain authenticity when trying to make a sale—if they aren’t acting like themselves, their audience will be skeptical.
So there you have it. Influencer marketing on TikTok. Is it complicated? Yes. Difficult? Sometimes. Worth it? Absolutely.
Are you hiding any valuable TikTok secrets? We want to hear from you!