TikTok‘s meteoric rise with over 1 billion monthly active users has brands racing to leverage TikTok influencer marketing. With viral videos fueled by a powerful recommendation algorithm, influencers drive massive awareness on TikTok.
However, developing a sound strategy that resonates with audiences on this viral entertainment platform requires a deep understanding of what makes it truly unique.
As a social media consultant guiding Fortune 500 brands on TikTok over the past 2 years, I‘ll map out crucial tips and recommendations in this comprehensive guide to crafting a successful TikTok influencer strategy in 2023.
Understanding TikTok and How Its Algorithm Fuels Growth
TikTok‘s relentless growth owes credit to its masterfully tuned algorithm. This AI recommendation engine analyzes endless signals including captions, hashtags, sounds, effects, topics along with individual user interaction data to determine every users‘ unique interests.
It then recommends an endless stream of personalized content – be it funny, inspirational or educational – curated to keep each user engaged for hours on end.
This is vastly different from platforms like Instagram where most discovery happens via accounts you choose to follow. On TikTok, who you follow has minimal influence over what you see. The algorithm is king.
My analysis shows that in order for branded content to achieve viral distribution on TikTok, it must provide entertainment and joy for users rather than pure promotional value for brands.
Authentic, creative and catchy content that makes people laugh, smile or provides them usable value fuels success.
Crafting Your TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign Strategy
For brands new to TikTok influencer marketing, developing a cohesive strategy oriented towards this unique platform is vital before activating any campaigns.
Research If TikTok Aligns With Your Audiences
With over 70% of users on TikTok belonging to Gen Z, the platform naturally skews towards a younger demographic compared to Facebook and Instagram.
Before investing in influencer campaigns, dig into existing content related to your brand, products or industry using relevant hashtags and sounds.
Analyze what formats and content types drive engagement through comments and sentiment. This shows whether your brand resonates organically and which creators align well tonally.
Set Measurable Goals
Every successful campaign starts with measurable goals serving as guide posts. Potential objectives for TikTok influencer marketing include:
- Awareness: Growth in followers, views or engagement with branded profile and products
- Consideration: Increased site traffic or online searches
- Conversion: Sales driven through special promo codes
Be sure goal metrics directly track with overall marketing objectives.
Create an Influencer Marketing Brief
I recommend developing a brief for external teams or influencers including:
- Goals + Objectives: Success metrics?
- Guidelines: Preferred content format, length, mandatory brand inclusions
- Influencer Qualities: Target follower size, engagement benchmarks
- Timeline: Campaign milestones and deliverable dates
- Budget + Compensation: Direction on content costs
- Performance Tracking: Promo codes, UTM links to provide
- Legal Requirements: Contracts, usage rights conversations
This brief becomes the guiding blueprint for the campaign creative and activation.
Finding The Right Influencers
There are two primary methods for identifying relevant creators to partner with on TikTok campaigns.
TikTok Creator Marketplace
TikTok‘s own Creator Marketplace showcases influencer options across niches alongside visibility into account performance data directly from TikTok.
However, brands must still identify and vet relevant influencers with audiences aligning to campaign goals along with handling contract negotiations and campaign management.
- Accurate First Party Data
- Pre-Vetted Creators
- Advanced Search + Filter
- Manual Vetting Still Required
- Limited Negotiation Assistance
- Self-Service Model
Influencer Marketing Platforms
Alternatively, managed influencer marketing platforms including AInfluencer provide end-to-end campaign management from identifying and vetting creators to relationship building, content direction, legal paperwork and post-campaign performance analysis.
This full-service approach allows brands to focus solely on campaign strategy, creative guidelines and collaborating directly with creators rather than getting bogged down in executional logistics.
- Full Service Influencer Expertise
- Established Creator Relationships
- Handles Vetting + Contracting
- Variable Metric Access
Develop Ongoing Influencer Relationships
The most successful long term influencer marketing efforts focus on fostering ongoing relationships with creators deeply aligned to the brand rather than one-off transactionsal partnerships.
Identify standout creators that embody your brand values from initial test campaigns, then nurture collaborative opportunities over time. They will become your ultimate brand advocates in the medium of short-form video.
Unique Ways To Boost Branded Content Performance on TikTok
While other social platforms rely predominantly on followers and hashtags to distribute branded content, I‘ve identified specialized tactics to improve TikTok campaigns based on its unique video-first, sound oriented experience.
Lean Into TikTok‘s Sound Culture
Sound is deeply woven into the TikTok experience with 88% of users stating it heavily impacts enjoyment.
Songs and sounds often spur viral trends with creators reinterpreting them through lip-syncs, dances and more. This presents creative opportunities for marketers as well.
Develop unique branded audio that creators can incorporate into videos organically. Then track videos using your sound to measure campaign reach.
Ensure proper rights and permissions are place with original tracks and attribute creator appropriately within TikTok‘s sound listing. Viral sounds become anthemic brand themes.
Create Your Own Branded Effects
Augmented Reality effects have become ingrained in the TikTok experience. Branded effects like product galleries, virtual try-ons and interactive branded lenses that live natively in the app provide creative ways for audiences to interact with your brand while capturing shareable content.
Work with influencers proficient in Effect development for insider expertise. Unique effects personalized to Creator‘s audiences sees tremendous engagement potential.
Sponsor Top Videos as TikTok Ads
TikTok‘s Spark Ads allow brands to amplify top-performing organic influencer videos as paid ads to expand viewership even further to targeted users that overlap with original creator audiences.
This takes already high-performing creative from influencers proficient in the platform and exposes it to new audiences at scale while keeping campaigns hyper targeted.
In my client programs, Spark Ads with influencer content continually outperform standalone creative.
Post at Peak Times Based on Niche Interests
While late afternoons and evenings see natural spikes in TikTok usage, I recommend identifying the precise times your niche engages most actively.
Beauty brands see weekends drive more views and engagement as audiences browse and shop. Analyze when your specific audience visits TikTok and schedule influencer content to align with those patterns.
Tracking Campaign Performance + Continual Optimization
Like all good marketing today, I highly emphasize meticulously tracking TikTok campaign performance using a combination of quantitative measurement and qualitative feedback.
Leverage TikTok analytics to capture granular metrics per video including views, completions and engagement. Compare performance across creators and delivery dates to determine ideal partnerships and timing.
Understand which specific videos drive site traffic by unique UTM links and track ecommerce purchases directly to partner codes.
Analyze this data to double down on what works for greater efficiency over time.
Survey audiences on sentiment towards influencer partnerships and content direction. Capture verbatim feedback through engagements on what resonates that you can directly apply to ongoing efforts.
Continue checking in with creators on ideas for novel concepts as well based on their first hand experiences with your brand and community response.
I hope this comprehensive guide provides helpful recommendations in developing your 2023 TikTok influencer marketing strategy.
With compelling video content entertaining audiences daily, strategic brand integrations through endemic creators offer tremendous awareness and performance when tuned effectively to this one-of-a-kind channel.
As you dive further into TikTok and begin collaborating with creators, don‘t hesitate to reach out if any guidance is needed in growing your influencer practice. Best of luck and have fun!