TikTok Best Practices
Engaging the audience through hashtag challenges, tapping into influencers or creators, leveraging a catchy song, image, or meme, and showing the lighter side of the brand appear to be some of the best practices for effectively executing a marketing campaign on TikTok.
Engage Audience Through Challenges
- The success and effectiveness of the challenges that Chipotle, Burberry, Center Fruit, Guess, Crocs, and HP have launched on TikTok suggest that running a hashtag challenge is one way of effectively executing a marketing campaign on the platform. Challenges are an important element of successful TikTok campaigns, as they drive viral growth and are a fun way of encouraging users to engage with the brand and submit content.
- Though not all challenges will go viral, running a challenge will help a company improve brand awareness.
- The more subtle a brand is about being behind a hashtag challenge, the better. It is often the simple creativity and the entertainment factor that makes a challenge successful.
- Chipotle saw success on TikTok mainly through the hashtag challenges it launched. Its #ChipotleLidFlip challenge, which featured online celebrity David Dobrik, was inspired by a video where a person closes a burrito bowl by flipping its lid, and was launched in time for Cinco de Mayo, generated 104 million video starts and 110,000 video submissions.
- Its second branded challenge #GuacDance, which called on users to upload videos of themselves dancing to The Guacamole Song, and was launched in time for National Avocado Day, generated 250,000 video submissions and 430 million video starts in its six-day run, and eventually became TikTok's best-performing branded challenge. Chipotle saw record-breaking sales of over 800,000 guacamole sides as a result of the campaign.
- Through its #InMyDenim challenge, which encouraged users to upload hashtagged videos of them donning Guess clothes, Guess was able to generate 37 million video starts.
Tap Into Influencers/Creators
- Too Faced, Uniqlo, Guess, and Hero Cosmetics have all leveraged influencers or creators in their successful TikTok campaigns. This suggests that using influencers or creators is one way of increasing the likelihood of success of a marketing campaign on TikTok.
- So that more users would become aware of its #InMyDenim campaign on TikTok, Guess partnered with a number of influencers on the platform, including @ourfire who has around 2.3 million followers, @madison_willow who has around 983,000 followers, @operamericano who has over 380,000 followers, and @jammincammy who has over 184,000 followers. More than 30 million views were generated by the campaign.
- The Get Ready With Me campaign of Hero Cosmetics on TikTok, which featured 20 creators uploading videos of their morning routines with the hashtag #schoolsurvivalkit, generated 4.3 million views.
Leverage a Catchy Song, Image, or Meme
- The successful TikTok campaigns of Chipotle, San Diego Zoo, and E.l.f Beauty suggest that using a catchy song, image, or meme in a TikTok campaign is one practice marketers should give serious consideration to.
- Chipotle's #GuacDance challenge is a very good example of how a brand can leverage a popular or catchy song or meme in promoting its own product. For this challenge, Chipotle used the viral music video of The Guacamole Song, which was perfect for TikTok as it was both musical and silly. As previously mentioned, this challenge is the best-performing branded challenge on the platform to date.
- The catchy song or image can be original, like in the case of E.l.f Beauty's #eyeslipface campaign on TikTok. An original song that has well-timed sound cues that users can pout or wink to was composed for the campaign, which, in turn, generated 1.6 billion video starts in just over seven days.
Show the Lighter Side of the Brand
- The effective TikTok campaigns of NBA, The Washington Post, and NBC's Stay Tuned suggest that brands benefit from showing their lighter side on the platform.
- NBA, which has 5.1 million followers on the platform, was able to make its athletes appear more relatable by posting motivational, funny, or more personal videos of these athletes. Videos of athletes dancing or "working out dramatically to music" and of team mascots doing basketball tricks are some examples of the videos NBA posts on TikTok.
- While it offers highlights in its Instagram account and news in its Twitter account, NBA offers memes, motivation, and comedy in its TikTok account.
- The Washington Post may be the serious news organization that it is, but on TikTok, it shows its lighter side by posting "post comedic behind-the-scenes videos and skits about the newsroom." It tailors its posts to the younger audience that TikTok serves by posting funny and pleasant videos. This strategy has proven effective, as the news organization now has over 200,000 followers on TikTok.
We initially checked if best practices for executing a marketing campaign on TikTok are readily available in the public domain, but quickly found that they are not. While some articles, including one published by The Drum, offer tips, the tips are not substantiated with facts or data. As a workaround, we looked for examples of successful or viral marketing campaigns on TikTok, and examined what these campaigns have in common.