How Brands are using TikTok in Their Marketing

by Federica Rustico

12 min read
Last Updated: December 30, 2022

Your company is on social media? Good for you. It doesn’t take a genius to know that social networks are the best channels to cultivate a virtual community, engage with your followers and show off your personality in the meantime. While Facebook kind of feels like the grandpa of social networks, there’s a new kid on the block that’s getting lots of attention—TikTok. It's been a little while since we've seen a new social media shake up the scene as much as TikTok has. Which is exactly why I want to tell you how you should use TikTok in your marketing strategy, taking into consideration the latest tools and trends you absolutely can’t miss out on. Shall we? 

TikTok usage and demographics

Before we get into the details, as in every platform it’s fundamental that you know who you’re dealing with, as in who actually uses this platform. In 2021, TikTok was the one that received the most downloads all around the world. TikTok had a staggering 656 million downloads in 2021, which was 111 million more than Instagram, which came in as a distant second. So it's looking like TikTok is here to stay.

It was first conceived as an application that would enable younger users to choreograph dance routines to music that was popular at the time. As a result of Generation Z taking over the platform and labeling as "cheugy" anyone who has a middle part in their hair or wears skinny jeans, many of us have come to see this as something that belongs to the younger generation. On the other hand, as TikTok's popularity has grown, the kinds of content and communities it offers have become increasingly diverse, and the app is rapidly becoming a platform that companies shouldn't ignore.

The age distribution of 2020 users was broken down by the demographic information, showing a significant proportion of users to be under the age of 25 (69.74%). Users between the ages of 25 and 34 made up 21.78% of the whole population, while users between the ages of 35 and 44 only made up 6.18% of the total population. In 2021, however, we observed a trend toward a nearly equal distribution of users across all age categories, with older consumers rising in the market. The younger age groups continue to make up the majority of the audience, with those aged 10 to 19 making up 25% of the audience and those aged 20 to 29 making up 22.4% of the crowd respectively. When looking at older groups, such as 30-39 year-olds, who now make up 21.7% of users, and those in their forties, who make up 20.3% of users, the shift becomes immediately apparent. Perhaps the most interesting statistic was that 11% of users were now over the age of fifty, which was almost double the percentage of users in the age bracket 35-44 one year before.

TikTok shopping

The proportion of viewers who have the ability to make purchases and have spare cash has increased dramatically. TikTok has fast become a lucrative platform that marketers need to be exploiting in order to engage with potential clients. This is particularly important considering that the company debuted in-app shopping in 2021 following a partnership with Shopify. TikTok commerce gives users who have a business account the ability to host a store front within their profile. This makes it possible for other users to explore and purchase things without having to leave the app.

It should come as no surprise that TikTok is exerting a great deal of effort to continue expanding this component of the site. Users of the TikTok app spent $2.3 billion within the app in 2021, which included the iOS version of its Chinese translation Douyin. This was a 77% YoY growth over the $1.3 billion that users spent in 2020. It appears that the current uptrend will continue. TikTok was responsible for generating $821 million in customer expenditure throughout the globe during the first quarter of 2022 via both the App Store and Google Play.

Even more interesting, TikTok discovered that 67 percent of its users said the app prompted them to make a purchase even when they weren't intending to do so. When compared to other platforms, a significant percentage of TikTok users (73%) have reported that they have a stronger connection to companies that they interact with on TikTok.

So what kind of experience have they created? An "endless loop" is how TikTok characterizes their one-of-a-kind method for navigating the buying experience on their platform. According to the findings of their research, customers spend 14% more money when TikTok is a part of the purchasing process; therefore, it is not something that should be ignored.

If all of this has persuaded you that you should have a piece of the pie, continue reading to find out how brands are developing content that is appropriate for their brand on the platform.

The ways in which brands are utilizing TikTok

TikTok's e-commerce and advertising offerings represent one side of the platform's business model, but the app's primary function is as a content distribution platform. People will only follow your brand if they enjoy the material that you produce, therefore in order to build up a following and engagement with your brand, you need to produce content that isn't directly tied to conversions but instead develops your presence. In other words, it’s time you start entertaining your followers!

When planning to create content for TikTok, one of the first things that should be thought about is who will play the lead role in the video. There are certain companies that have staff members that are willing, who are comfortable in front of the camera, and who are eager to perform what needs to be done. Include a variety of staff members to serve as the faces of your business rather than relying solely on a single representative of your company in the event that you do choose to use real employees in your films.

It's possible that some companies don't have staff members who are as enthusiastic about being on camera, and that's perfectly fine. There are ways to avoid dealing with this. TikTok trends are simply trends, and this is something that you should absolutely take into consideration. Unlike other platforms where content calendars works, it's a bit trickier with TikTok because if you create a video weeks in advance, it could become obsolete by the time you post it. You need to search for a business model that fits your needs and enables you to adapt swiftly to shifting market conditions.

Including GIPHY Clips in your TikToks

If you’re up-to-date with the latest news, you’ll probably already have heard of GIPHY Clips. They’re simply GIFs with sound—or short, high-quality, culturally-relevant videos that have been made available on TikTik thanks to their partnership with GIPHY. But why did they do it? TikTok is a video platform, and as such, sound is extremely important. So much so that I’ve dedicated a whole section of this article about how to spot the latest trending songs. 

People spend time on TikTok to get entertained, you’d be surprised by the amount of people who come to the platform to consume TikToks rather than create them. The vast majority. Which means there are a lot of people who are ready to get entertained. Just like you would insert a GIF Sticker on Instagram, the game gets even more interesting on TikTok. While you’re creating your TikTok, you’ll have the chance to include bits and pieces from famous tv shows, movies or cartoons that have become pop culture references! They could even be excerpts from some of your favorite films and television shows. If you add a GIF clip from GIPHY to your TikTok video, you can not only take advantage of and join in on the latest viral trends, but you can also take your visual narrative to the next level in a way that is both more entertaining and innovative.

Allow me to walk you through the process of adding GIPHY Clips to your videos on TikTok:

  1. Open the TikTok application (make sure you’re using the most updated version)
  2. Proceed to the Camera screen 
  3. Tap the new Library option at the bottom of the vertical sidebar.
  4. On the Library page, you can find a Giphy Clip by scrolling upwards
  5. You can also use the search box at the top to find what you are looking for
  6. After you have located a Clip, you will be able to edit it so that it fits into your TikTok video
  7. After you have completed everything, you may move on to recording your video and then uploading it.

A creator who is doing a great job in incorporating GIPHY Clips into his TikToks is @itsqcp. He makes hilarious cooking videos and is great at including GIPHY Clips. Check this one where he includes a scene from SpongeBob

The best type of GIPHY Clips to include in your TikToks

To get a bigger picture, here’s a list of some of the types of GIPHY Clips to include in your TikToks! 

TikTok: a guide to spotting emerging trends

TikTok trends typically revolve around a particular 'sound' that becomes popular on the platform. The subject of the video will most likely have an obvious framework to follow, based on other trending videos that are using the sound; this structure, which you can then apply to your brand and make your own, will allow you to construct the video. If you have a business account, you will need to locate an alternate sound because it is possible that the viral sound you want to use will not be licensed for commercial use. This is something to keep in mind. This is something that happens to all brand accounts, and while it can be frustrating at times, it shouldn't have a significant influence on you at all.

Utilizing hashtags is another important tactic that can help your content get picked up by the system. On their posts, users frequently include a couple of hashtags that are currently popular.

A guide to fostering a sense of community on TikTok

Interacting with other users is one of the most effective methods to cultivate a sense of community within a platform. This involves not only responding to comments, but also pinning remarks and posting follow-up videos in reaction to specific comments. All of these strategies are surefire ways to engage your audience and stimulate discourse. When you're posting a TikTok to respond to someone's comment, it's another opportunity to include GIPHY Clips to further convey your reaction to that comment!

Participate as a brand in the activities of the brand community. Leave comments on each other's posts to encourage a lighthearted and friendly friendship. TikTok is a more irreverent platform than others, and its fans enjoy seeing businesses behave in a manner similar to their own. It is important to adhere to the network's restrictions, but you should also enjoy yourself here and allow your brand's personality shine through.

Categories of content that should be shared by brands on TikTok

You may certainly capitalize on trends; in fact, many of the most successful businesses on the platform produce videos just for the purpose of riding a trend rather than showcasing a specific product.

Behind-the-scenes content is something that a lot of people really enjoy. The sporting sector is an excellent example of this. Drive to Survive, a documentary on Formula One racing that was streamed on Netflix, brought in a significant number of new followers of the sport. Through consistent postings of behind-the-scenes content on TikTok, the participating teams have managed to maintain the interest of a new and younger fanbase. This kind of material increases supporters' buy-in and spreads the name of the club, which in turn promotes the general reputation of the company and their commitment to it.

An example of this may be seen on the Mercedes website, where driver Lewis Hamilton sits down for a series of videos in the format of a question and answer session, in which he responds to questions posted by viewers. This is content that is not available anywhere else, and it also helps to promote engagement because it enables fans to interact with the athletes that they look up to, which in turn encourages comments.

You will, of course, want to keep posting news and goods for a good number of your brands. Innocent Drinks is a company that immediately comes to mind as being successful at using social media, and TikTok is not an exception to this rule. They have found that breaking through the fourth wall of marketing works incredibly well for them. In addition to bringing humor to the platform, they give information on new goods and activities. The subject of this movie they uploaded is their rewilding effort in its entirety. As a result of the brand's hilarious content attracting a sizeable audience, the company is seeing an increase in the number of views on its more professionally produced films, which contribute to the achievement of their overall marketing objectives.

Wrapping Up

TikTok is undeniably a social media platform that is creating waves, and businesses ought to be making efforts to acquire a piece of the action. If you do not have the means to build and maintain an account, which is clearly one of the social media sites that requires the most upkeep due to the visual component, then you might think about utilizing influencers to share your product, just like you would on any other network.

You should also keep in mind that the content you create for TikTok may be repurposed and distributed on other social media platforms; a well-known example of this would be Instagram Reels. This will allow you to get more mileage out of your work.

In the end, there is no turning back for TikTok. As is the case with the majority of things, what was once just a platform for sharing material has recently witnessed the emergence and growth of a viable commercial side, and the numbers prove that it would be irresponsible to ignore its growth. Don't forget to include all of the platform's amazing tools, by this I mean GIPHY Clips especially!

Frequently Asked Questions

How is TikTok being used for marketing?

TikTok has become an increasingly popular tool for marketing campaigns due to its innovative approach to content creation. Brands can use TikTok to create engaging, quirky, and humorous video content that stands out from the crowd. With TikTok's suite of editing tools, marketers can create exciting campaigns that stand out from competitors. Furthermore, brands can use analytics to track the success of their campaigns, as well as analyze trends in user behavior. Ultimately, TikTok provides a unique platform for brands to engage with their customers in a fun and creative way.

What are the best type of GIFs to use in your TikToks?

1. Reactions are the most obvious and powerful answer. Imagine you’re saying something funny, or outrageous or really anything in your TikTok and you want to highlight how the user watching your TikTok should feel. Including a reaction Clip (with sound) will do the trick. 

2. People: everyone likes or follows someone famous, whether they are a celebrity, an influencer, a TikToker, or a Youtuber. Clips of them saying a famous quote or a reaction should be included to further express your point!

3. Emotional moments: these types of Clips work very well to foster a sense of belonging. For example, it’s Christmas time, the famed Clip from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York where Kevin says “I just want my mother” in front of the giant Christmas tree.

How do you use GIPHY clips on TikTok?

1. Open the TikTok application (make sure you’re using the most updated version)
2. Proceed to the Camera screen 
3. Tap the new Library option at the bottom of the vertical sidebar.
4. On the Library page, you can find a Giphy Clip by scrolling upwards
5. You can also use the search box at the top to find what you are looking for
6. After you have located a Clip, you will be able to edit it so that it fits into your TikTok video
7. After you have completed everything, you may move on to recording your video and then uploading it.