So you want to dip your toes into the waters of TikTok influencer marketing?
Congratulations on making a great decision for your clients or organization. And welcome to a safe space for people of all ages to learn about Gen Z’s favorite social media app and how to work with its influencers.
We speak from experience: Idea Kraft has worked with content creators on behalf of manufacturing and nonprofit clients to create TikTok campaigns that reach young audiences in an authentic, educational, and entertaining format.
Here’s what we learned along the way.
1. Content is a business – and an established one.
Influencers are professionals. Even part-time influencers might create content with the goal of earning money and growing their brands.
Any collaboration with a content creator is a professional agreement and should be treated as such. Draw up a contract that lists the monetary terms of the agreement, including deadlines that will keep the creative process moving forward. Who will own the content should also be part of the final agreement.
Don’t let the process intimidate you. See it as a reason to reach out to influencers – especially ones you’ve carefully researched and believe could be great spokespeople for your TikTok campaign. Preparation is key.
2. Know your audience.
Not all teens and young people will resonate with the same content, which is why you shouldn’t skimp on the audience research.
Narrow your audience down by gender, interests, age ranges, and geographic regions. And don’t take that task lightly. Tastes and opinions can vary widely based on slight changes in age. (Just see the online debate over high-waisted jeans)!
Once you have a shortlist of creators, we suggest digging a little deeper on each one and considering all the people they appeal to. If people who are not in your target audience will see the content, you want to make sure they’re an audience that will be open to your message.
3. Give direction, not instructions.
The best TikTok influencer marketing is collaborative! You know your brand’s message, as well as its intended audience. But content creators on TikTok understand what resonates with your audience on that particular platform.
In our experience, we’ve found that it’s best to provide content creators with a list of points that are central to the campaign and a list of points to stay away from. However, we leave almost everything else up to the content creators – including visuals, scripts, jokes, and tone.
Everything else we provide, including research on the intended audience, is best considered a helpful tool for the influencers. In turn, content creators have been more than happy to send first drafts of scripts and videos for agency and client review. Teamwork is pretty sweet.
4. Keep it timeless.
If there’s one thing you know about TikTok, it’s probably the trends. There is never a shortage of them, from widely used audios to internet slang and formats that originated on the platform itself.
Trends can be great for an in-house TikTok page. But it’s best to avoid trends for an influencer collaboration or for TikTok campaigns. Even if the trend is funny, resonates with your audience, and might have a long lifespan, you can never predict how the tides will change.
At best, a trend that seemed inventive and fun will feel worn eventually. At worst, a trend you used in your campaign could be parodied or ridiculed while your video is still up (and being paid for by you or the client).
5. Tell a story.
TikTok influencer marketing comes with a unique advantage: Content creators are able to make sponsored content look very similar to organic content.
To fully capitalize on this, the content creator you work with might give your message a setup that feels authentic and consistent with the rest of their regular content. So don’t worry about your message getting “lost” if it isn’t presented immediately.
Opening with a story, fun fact, or another entry point may mean your message comes later in the video, but that’s okay – especially because viewers may be more likely to keep watching if their interest is piqued from the start. Successful content creators are very aware of their audiences’ viewing preferences and know how to tell a story that aligns with those preferences.
Let the collaboration begin!
The right content creator will want to be a collaborator, not just an influential mouthpiece for your brand. With enough research and planning, you can find the right fit.