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10 Tips for Working With Influencers on TikTok

Every marketer knows the benefits of using influencer marketing in the age of digital and social media. You’ve probably read the reports about influencer marketing ROI being just as effective if not more than other marketing channels.

And many brands have taken to YouTube or Instagram influencers to help them reach a broader audience or get authentic and organic posts about their product or service. And this 2020, there’s an up-and-coming marketing platform you’ve probably heard is climbing the charts and the next big thing for marketers to look out for.

Enter TikTok. 

Hailed as one of the fast-growing apps on the market, TikTok is more than just an app for teens to share quirky videos. It turns out many adults download and use TikTok regularly, where its rapid growth in the US shows how many people are starting to join the app.

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About 1 billion videos are viewed daily on the app, and with a growing audience actively consuming content made by other creators, marketers are flocking to the app to see how they can leverage it too.

If you’re here, you’re probably wondering how to use TikTok – especially working with influencers on Tiktok who have the reach and audience trust you’re looking for. 

Keep reading because, in this post, we take a look at how you can create a step-by-step strategy to collaborate with Tiktok influencers and get the most return on your influencer marketing budget.

Challenges marketers collaborating with TikTok influencers

Gen Z audience hate marketing

Surveys and studies have found that the biggest demographic on TikTok – Generation Z – don’t respond well to brands who market to them traditionally. If you take a look at their media habits, they tend to skip ads at every given chance, even going as far as installing ad blockers on their devices.

Their media habits are also a far cry from generations before them. Because they grew up in the age of the internet, Gen Z people don’t always watch TV, listen to traditional radio, and have learned to shut out advertising messages and platforms.

With this in mind, marketers can create TikTok influencer marketing campaigns that are creative and unique. Instead of seeing younger generations’ dislike for traditional marketing as a sign not to market to them at all, marketers should look at this as an opportunity to create more effective campaigns that focus on value and creativity that pull people in – a far cry from the typical push messaging that often drowns in advertising news.

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Privacy issues

In February 2019, TikTok was issued a hefty $5.7 million fine by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), citing predecessor app Music.ly’s practices of collecting and exposing private data of users, many of whom were under the age of 13. Details such as their age, school, and birthday were visible and accessible to 

Needless to say, privacy issues were a big concern for marketers thinking about moving to TikTok. And they still are to this day. 

Even if it isn’t consumer data you need to protect, it might even be your own company’s. As of writing, TikTok has no two-factor authentication setting, so privacy features might be quite limited.

But these issues shouldn’t stop you from diving into TikTok marketing. An easy fix for this is using a virtual private network (VPN) on your phone when accessing your brand TikTok account – and just about any brand account, for that matter. 

Many of the best VPNs use protocols known as OpenVPN and IKEv2 that encrypt your traffic almost all the time. While they may not fully protect you from the prying eyes of a state-sponsored surveillance mechanism, they will keep your data out of the hands of hackers, ensuring your accounts are safe even with emerging apps and platforms like TikTok.

The Minority issue

A bulk of TikTok users are minors, many being aged 13 and under. Because of this, marketers may find it tricky to market on the platform while staying compliant with privacy laws involving children and minors.

TikTok has since claimed that they’ve taken measures to delete TikTok users whom they’ve found to be underage, but that might not deter said users from creating new accounts or lying about their age.

Because of this, marketers should take proactive steps to make sure all their marketing messages are safe for all TikTok users, regardless of age. This also means trying to get general information and insights about influencers’ followers – but we’ll talk about that in-depth in the next few sections.

How to work with influencers on TikTok

Now that you know some potential challenges and limitations faced by other marketers on TikTok, you can move on to crafting a more informed marketing campaign. To work with influencers on Tiktok successfully, follow these essential steps.

Have a clear goal

Start with your goal of doing influencers on Tiktok marketing. Are you launching a new product or service and need more awareness? Are you an established brand in your niche and need better conversions and sales? Or are you perhaps wanting to work with influencers on Tiktok to boost brand image?

Treat TikTok like any other marketing platform and have tangible goals your brand can work towards together with your chosen influencers. Identify essential key performance indicators for this marketing platform and set targets you want to work for. As with all things marketing: what we track, grows.

Understand how the platform works

TikTok thrives on short video content, with an emphasis on creative AI-powered filters, effects, transitions, and the like. Look into what type of content performs best on TikTok to help you understand and later screen the right influencers for your campaign. 

Chances are leading influencers on Tiktok are both trendsetters and trend followers – which can show you at a glance what kind of TikTok has the likelihood to perform well.

Once you know how TikTok works, you’ll be inspired to create unique and engaging marketing messages, while helping you weed out influencers that aren’t right for your brand.

An incredible library of built-in TikTok effects have contributed to the app’s popularity, but users’ creativity and approach with these effects essentially are what separates successful TikTok creators from the rest.(Image source)

Know your audience

It also helps to look back at your buyer persona to glean why your audiences are using TikTok themselves. Are they in it for entertainment? Do they get information out of it? How well do they respond to new TikTok trends?

This is an important place to start because knowing your audience can help you find influencers and brands that they may already be following on TikTok or are likely to follow in the future.

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Carefully choose the influencers you work with

One part of an effective outreach marketing strategy is working with the right people. Choosing to work with just about any influencer willing to work with your brand won’t guarantee any results if any.

So if you want to make the most bang for your buck, you need to screen influencers and choose only the ones who can stand to benefit your brand and campaign. 

Here are a few things you’ll want to look out for when choosing your influencers on TikTok:

The relevance of their content with your goals and brand

You’ll want to only recruit social media influencers who are either part of your industry or may complement your niche in some way. 

For example, if you’re in the business of meal planning, the obvious influencers on your radar might be those already talking about meal plans, calorie counting, and the like.

But consider a fitness influencer who regularly posts workout content for their followers – this might be a good fit for your brand, especially if the influencer’s broader niche is about wellness or caring for your body.

Who are their followers

If an influencer has several people in your audience following them, you’re in a prime position to reach said influencer’s following. When it comes to effective influencer marketing, quality always trumps quantity. While a TikTok creator with a huge following may seem like a gold mine for any brand, if your audience isn’t among their following, then you might not be making the most of your budget.

Engagement rates

Take a look at how audiences engage with these influencers. Are they getting a lot of comments? What kind of comments are they getting? Pro-tip: while a number of likes can be important to look at, they might very well only be a vanity metric.

Cross-check their activity in other platforms

If you can work with influencers who have reach across a variety of platforms, you might be able to get more out of your influencer marketing campaign. Check whether these influencers have a presence on YouTube and Instagram aside from TikTok and see whether they’ve already worked with brands in the past.

Invest in the right tools

Influencer marketing has long been in the game, and many businesses have sprung up precisely to help marketers like you find and recruit the right influencers for your brand. Use these top influencer marketing platforms designed to find relevant influencers, get to know their audiences, as well as getting insights that might have taken days to weeks to get on your own.

Create a TikTok content playbook for inspiration 

You’ll want to have a separate playbook for influencer campaigns across each platform. Because social media channels vary in their supported (even preferred) content types, allowable captions, and the like, it’s important to make one for TikTok as well. 

This playbook will inform your influencers about key brand messages in your campaign, talking points about certain products, and perhaps even inspiration for the content they can create. This playbook is meant to set up your influencers for success – just remember that your influencer’s success is your success.

Create a branded hashtag challenge for influencers to engage with

You can reach more influencers by creating a unique branded hashtag challenge. Challenges are a popular content format on TikTok, and you can make the most of this by first working with a few key influencers to help get the challenge out.

Once you have a few people doing your branded challenge on TikTok, you can attract more people attempting it themselves. This way, you can find more influencers whom you might have missed or simply get user-generated content to post on your profile. After all, people love being featured by brands.

Give TikTok influencers room to “do their own thing”

TikTok rose to popularity because of users’ creativity. So it makes sense to give your influencers the space they need to create content for your campaign in a way that makes sense for them.

Great influencers are also more likely to work with brands who value their creativity and input when posting sponsored content, so you can get higher-quality influencers than, say, people looking for quick cash by copy-pasting verbatim a caption you’ve supplied.

Set clear rules to make sure they comply with FTC guidelines

Inform yourself about important FTC guidelines to avoid hefty fines and violations when working with influencers. Knowing this, you’re able to cascade that information to your influencers so they’re able to use the right disclaimers and disclosures that inform audiences about advertised posts and content.

Opt for a commission-based payment model

Influencers may be more willing to work with your brand if you don’t cap off their earnings with a set fee. By incentivizing all conversions from their accounts, they can make a bigger income more sustainably.

This also benefits your brand as well. Because influencers will need to talk about your brand consistently to get a commission from your products, you can start more influencer-led conversations about your brand.

Repurpose influencer content on your own profile

You can amplify both your and influencers’ content by repurposing influencer-created content and republishing this on your own profile. This is a way for you to keep posting content consistently while also helping the influencer reach more people who might not be following them. 

Of course, you should have an agreement beforehand with influencers that you’re able to republish content for your own brand’s marketing. 

Time to TikTok

The beauty of social media is it’s a space where users themselves are able to create content that is engaging and interesting to their audiences. Brands might be able to create their own content and release their own TikTok videos, but when paired with the right influencers, your campaign can go much farther. 

Use the tips and steps above to help you work with influencers on Tiktok effectively – and legally. As with anything new emerging in the digital space, keep an open mind, don’t be afraid to experiment, and keep tracking those results.

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