How To Use TikTok Influencer Marketing To Grow Your Brand In 2023

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TikTok has exploded in popularity over the last few years, emerging as one of the most influential social platforms shaping youth and popular culture. For brands wondering how they can leverage this ubiquity to drive real business growth, the answer lies in TikTok influencer marketing.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore why you should have TikTok influencer marketing on your 2023 strategic roadmap and provide best practices to succeed.

Why TikTok Should Be Part of Your 2023 Strategy

Before jumping into tactics, it’s important to level-set on why TikTok needs to be part of your 2023 marketing plans.

TikTok‘s Monumental Growth

As of September 2022, TikTok officially hit 1 billion monthly active users globally – a landmark it achieved faster than any other social media platform in history.

TikTok’s monthly active users have tripled since 2018 and grown over 70% in just the last two years alone.

Year Monthly Active TikTok Users Annual Growth Rate
2020 689 million Over 100%
2021 1 billion 45%
2023 (projected) 1.8 billion 80%

These stunning figures underscore TikTok’s incredible growth trajectory. Projections estimate around 1.8 billion monthly active TikTok users by 2024.

As both an influencer and social commerce powerhouse, brands simply cannot ignore access to this rapidly expanding audience universe in 2023 planning.

Magnetic Audience Appeal

But it‘s not just sheer size – TikTok’s audience makeup explains why smart brands are flocking to the channel.

  • 41% of TikTok’s users fall into the coveted Gen Z demographic (ages 16-24).

  • Another 40% represent Millennials

With Gen Z and Millennials heavily influencing brand choice and consumption trends, TikTok enables direct access to audiences dictating market direction.

Extreme Audience Engagement

And TikTok users aren‘t just passive viewers – they are deeply engaged.

  • The average user spends 52 minutes per day on TikTok.

  • Typical session length is 15-20 minutes, with over 8 sessions daily.

  • Benchmarks show TikTok boasting engagement multiples substantially higher than Instagram and Facebook.

TikTok Instagram Facebook
Avg. Minutes Per Day Spent by Users 52 30 58
Avg. Daily Opens Per User Over 8x 4-5x 2-3x
Benchmark Engagement Rates 10-25% 1-3% 0.5-2%

TikTok’s proprietary recommendation algorithm analyzing viewing habits and interests fuels this engagement intensity. The machine learning surfaces content it believes individual users have a very high propensity to enjoy – and gets it right a staggering 90% of the time per internal TikTok research.

For marketers, this algorithm-enabled engagement means your messages resonate more deeply once you crack the code.

Ecommerce & Influencer Marketing Upswing

TikTok has also pioneered highly engaging new formats – like integrated live shopping functionality – that influenced ecommerce culture in China and are now migrating worldwide.

  • 63% of users have purchased a product after seeing it used or endorsed by a TikTok creator

  • Over 70% currently follow 1 or more brand profiles

These behavioral indicators reveal accelerating commercial intent amongst users – fertile ground for brands combining entertaining content and conversion-focused calls-to-action.

With such commanding user growth momentum, aligned target demographics, and multi-faceted tools to drive engagement and conversions, TikTok clearly warrants prioritized focus for digitally savvy brands in 2023.

Spotting The Right TikTok Influencer Partners

Influencer collaborations are integral for impactful TikTok campaigns. But accurately identifying creators who align to your brand amongst the platform‘s viral video stars can be daunting.

Here’s a proven step-by-step process for confidently locating your best TikTok influencer matches:

Step 1: Profile Your Target Audience

First, detail your ideal customer demographics, psychographics, interests, and more through comprehensive persona development. Laser focus on who you need to reach above all else.

Step 2: Map Creators To Audience Attributes

Leverage TikTok’s built-in analytics to identify influencers with exceptionally strong resonance across your audience personas – including gender, age, geo, interests and more.

Step 3: Vet Content Style & Values

Analyze potential partners‘ content styles and personal brands more subjectively. Given creative control, would their vision and voice authentically align to amplify your messaging?

Step 4: Assess Content Innovation & Engagement

More objectively examine metrics like creativity, consistency, production polish, follower sentiment, and engagement rates.

  • Micro and nano-influencers can drive higher engagement than celebrities with casual followers.

  • Seek 7-15% engagement benchmarks from vetted creators

Step 5: Validate True Audience Reach & Resonance

While aggregate reach matters, focus more on identifying creators with exceptionally strong rates of community connection and emotional rapport.

  • warning sign = high vanity metrics but lifeless audience interactions

Step 6: Immerse In Their Community

Scan comments, listen to creator-to-follower dialogue, understand inside jokes.

  • A brand acronym or reference done wrong earns quick follower ridicule

  • Effort studying community context pays dividends ensuring accurate cultural fit

Follow this six-step process and you’ll confidently spot the right TikTok influencers to deliver your brand incredible campaign results.

Now let’s explore top-performing content themes and formats to produce with your partners.

Top TikTok Influencer Campaign Ideas

Once you’ve identified promising creator partners, collaborating on novel content themes and formats is the next challenge.

New viral trends constantly emerge within the platform’s fast-moving culture. As you ideate branded concepts, consider these top-performing content styles:

Trend-Based Challenges

Hashtag challenges continue gaining incredible organic traction on TikTok, with standout examples like #GuessTheGibberish (1.7 billion views) and #SilhouetteChallenge (over 5 billion views).

Producing a customized branded challenge that aligns organically with platform trends can work brilliantly. Invite audiences to create videos showcasing your product or putting their own spin on content you develop.

Behind-The-Scenes Creator Content

Followers love getting a “backstage pass” glimpse into the lives of their favorite TikTok stars. Give influencers special access to intriguing areas of your business – like product development labs for instance – and encourage them to give fans insider access.

Shoppable Live Streams

TikTok’s native live streaming functionality now enables creators to tag and sell products right within broadcasts.

Work with influencers in categories like fashion, beauty, and consumer packaged goods to produce engaging shoppable programs spotlighting your newest items. Give creators flexibility showcasing products as they choose – the results can be incredibly powerful.

Sneak Peeks & Product Seeding

In exchange for early-access product seeds, collaborate with influencers to craft teasers building pre-launch intrigue.

Dispense hot product samples to encourage reviews – unboxing a shiny new item drives great content.

Hybrid Physical & Digital Events

For large brands with omnichannel retail presences, bridge digital programming and tangible pop-up happenings. Dispatch creators to produce exciting Grand Opening livestreams or document an exclusive VIP soirée for top fans.

Fuse the digital and physical to create engaging experiences amplified through creator content.

The opportunities to generate buzz and sales via innovative TikTok influencer campaigns are truly endless for creative marketers. Use these top content formats as inspiration while also continually monitoring platform trends to spark additional ideas.

Tracking TikTok Influencer Marketing ROI

While fun, entertaining branded content is fantastic for awareness, marketers need to connect efforts to concrete business impact. Carefully track the following metrics to accurately measure your TikTok influencer marketing return on investment:

Content Views & Engagement

  • Analyze overall views and engagement rates (likes, comments, shares, follows) for both creators’ organic posts and your branded content

  • Benchmark performance vs. category averages to gauge impact

  • Seek 7-15% engagement rates from vetted partners

Website Traffic

  • Leverage trackable links (like in bios and posts to quantify how much website traffic the campaigns drive

  • Assess traffic sources, landing pages, attribution windows

Online & Offline Conversions

  • Monitor online conversions like email sign-ups, ecommerce sales

  • Connect in-store visits to TikTok when possible through attribution

  • Calculate true campaign ROI by tying bottom-funnel behavior to top-funnel video views

Brand Tracking Surveys

  • Conduct brand lift surveys with target audiences before and after campaigns

  • Assess uplift across relevant attributes like awareness, consideration, favorability

While perfectly isolating ROI remains difficult, efforts generating positive momentum across all four areas clearly warrant ongoing brand investment.

To conclude our guide, let’s explore 5 key 2023 TikTok marketing trends I anticipate based on researching emerging platform features and advising leading brands on cutting-edge campaigns:

1. Mainstream Adoption Of Shoppable Livestreams

TikTok rapidly enhanced livestream functionality in 2022 after stellar initial success in China. With tools like real-time product tags and integrated checkout blossoming, brands outside high-velocity categories will flock to shoppable live programming.

Expect niche launches like collectible items, limited edition CPG flavors, and lead gen for financial services layered into creator livestreams.

2. Rise Of "TikTok-First" Video Strategies

As TikTok increasingly monopolizes video consumption for young demographics, pragmatically launching short-form cuts on the platform first – instead of repurposing existing assets – will accelerate.

With TikTok‘s algorithms rewarding creativity, brands designing natively "TikTok-first" will win big.

3. Micro & Nano-Influencers Still In Favor

While some brands gravitate toward celebrity names, smaller niche influencers fostering connection and credibility will still rule.

Expect creator management platforms helping pair brands with micro-influencers thriving in every corner of the platform to gain adoption.

4. Expanded TikTok Ad Offerings

Mirroring parent company ByteDance’s Chinese platform Douyin, enhanced audience targeting and retargeting capabilities will better challenge platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

However, I still believe influencer marketing earns the strongest ROI for most brands on TikTok vs. ads given high organic engagement rates.

5. Continued Evolution Of Branded Content & Challenges

Branded content formats will continue advancing as creators seek differentiated, valuable brand sponsorships and marketers search for new viral engagement opportunities.

Hashtag challenge evolution mixing AR lenses, cross-platform promotions, and niche community angles highlight the new innovation frontier.

While 2023 industry trends will assuredly evolve as the calendar turns, one universal recommendation shines through — brands wanting cut-through amongst younger demographics need an influencer-powered TikTok strategy to drive business success.

The window of opportunity is right now. I hope this comprehensive guide has equipped you with actionable best practices to launch your first TikTok campaigns and become an early adopter within your category.

Tremendous organic reach and conversion potential awaits on TikTok for savvy brands moving swiftly! Feel free to reach out with any other questions.

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